It’s been a while since I have posted. Mostly because I have been adjusting to getting back into the world, starting work again, seeing loved ones and scarily enough, avoidance. I know that events in April have transpired and paved the path for this “new normal”. This “new normal” involves not taking any human life and interaction for granted, because for a person to exist, so many things need to go right. I know that now and the simplicity of things has been bringing a new joy to my life. That in contrast with the deep pain that I will feel from time to time. It can catch me off guard. My therapist has suggested that I schedule my grieving, which had initially struck me as a strange concept, since I was of the belief that I am grieving all over the place. The point she has been making, if I think about it, has been I haven’t been attaching my feelings (which have been grandiose), to the loss. I haven’t yet visited Anders burial site and I haven’t attended a support group since April. I know there is no “right” way to handle loss, but in all that I do since April, has been marked by the loss of our baby without really talking about him at all. In approximately one week would have been his due date and when I think about it I am faced with a gaping hole which could suck me in and keep me there so I know I need to go slowly….and carefully. This is my new mantra. Take no one and nothing for granted and tread lightly. I also owe a big thanks to all that have been so profoundly supportive and loving.
Running into people at the grocery store is generally not a big deal, except, when it is. Today is the first time I have run into someone I haven’t seen in just about a year who asked the dreaded question, “what have you been up to lately?”. I hadn’t thought about this scenario. If I have been asked, it has been someone I know well enough to disclose the truth, or someone who is enough of a stranger that “not much” or “busy busy” would have sufficed. This person was in the grad program I had graduated from and we knew each other professionally and for over the course of a couple years. I didn’t have a stock answer prepared, so I blurted out, ” I was pregnant for 6 months and lost the baby, I am taking time off from work right now to heal”. Now there’s a way to bring a conversation to a grinding halt. Luckily, she being a therapist, was very kind and said all the right things, but in that moment I realized that this is going to be a reality that I face over time until I get back in the swing. Normally, I could have avoided anything personal with the usual “all work no play”, etc, but literally, pregnant, is what I have been for the past 6 months, no further explanation needed.
Here we are, a month out from the dreaded day but the bills still remain piled up on the dining room table. I decided a beautiful Sunday morning would be a prime time to tackle them. The story comes to life again in dates and care rates. We are fortunate enough to say we have a pretty good insurance policy so we can pay these off as they come, but they come with vivid reminders of the sequence of when things happened, where they happened and who was there when it happened. I decided to balance the bills with thank you notes to all of my care providers to bring some humanity into the mix. That seemed to help a bit.
Not to mention, the maternity clothes I bought that aren’t returnable and the baby clothes/items downstairs. I am still not sure what to do about that. I convinced myself that the maternity bathing suit is wearable this summer since the material is meant to stretch anyhow.
We will get to all of it in time.
Things I will forever associate with Anders:
-Sharon Van Etten
-“The Princess who Believed in Fairytales”, by Marcia Grad
-Thanksgiving and Christmas
-Walking on the boardwalk
-The most excited excitement
-My amazing Midwife
-Birth Partners, LLC and their devotion to their cause
-Sleeping on my left side
-The desire to drink coca-cola
-Feeling reserved and protective
This is an ongoing list…..
All throughout my pregnancy I ate a LOT of oranges and drank copious amounts of orange juice. Not since. I would often lament this plastic orange peeler my mother had when I was a kid, making it so easy to just get eating. There would be days that I was afraid to move around too much and yes, honestly, would not get up to go peel an orange, for fear that I would stand too long and rock the boat. When my Mother came to visit me when on rest, I would talk to her about said peeler and she said she still had it. I don’t think I own anything that I had before age 23/4. In some ways I think that symbolizes something that changes when you become a Mother.
This past weekend we had some dear friends over. It has been a while since we have been up to being social. From early pregnancy, to the week of the loss and subsequent events that followed which I will share in time. A friend who I hadn’t seen in almost a year (who is one of my favorite human beings on the planet) and I sat on the couch talking about tangential nothing/everything. In our conversation I mentioned said orange peeler, he said his parents had one when he was growing up. Immediately thereafter he got his tablet and perused for the orange peeler from our childhood. He found close to the exact one and he bought two to be sent to our house, one for me and one for him so I will have to come visit him and deliver it…. Our other friend who was here walked in to see what we were up to and when he learned that he was buying me a peeler said with sincerity “that’s really so so nice”. I agree, it’s one of the simplest gestures that carried me through the weekend and has a good chance of sticking with me.
I woke up at 3AM with memories of the day when we found out we were losing Anders. Most vivid was when my water broke while waiting for my car that had been valet parked at Yale annnnnnd they lost my car. Marc waited in his found car, so that I could follow him home in case anything happened. The humility of standing there, waiting for my car, soaked, scared, praying I would make it through the night without laboring the baby. That is a moment I will never forget. I waited one hour, contractions every 5 minutes and no protection for this baby through the night. I tend to fall on the anxious side and the unknown is the anxious persons worst enemy. I came to be familiar with the unknown in this pregnancy, so I am inspired to make peace with it. It’s just a notion anyway. Anders will live with me in those moments where my heart is racing, the thoughts are whirring and remind me to breathe and recognize that it’s OK to let go and let what will be, be.
I chose to start to blog about this experience because for such an extrovert, I struggle with finding words when I really need to reach out. On April 1st of this year, Marc (my husband) and I lost our baby Anders Maddox at 22 weeks of pregnancy. It is such profound pain and partly because while knowing him so well by feeling him growing inside of me, we never had the chance to meet face to face. i found solace in reading other peoples blogs that are going through the grief and loss of losing their babies and hope I can provide that same thing. I am not working now either, which leaves me with a lot of time on my hands to create in whatever way possible. I spent a majority of my pregnancy on bed rest which adds to this complicated grief, since we were never able to celebrate. I didn’t reach out for the support I needed, and in no way, shape or form, was it not available. We had an abundance offers to help clean the house, pop over for a chat, phone calls missed, etc. I was stuck in this couch cocoon with only my head and this lil babe growing in me. Crying, worrying, reading countless threads on “incompetent cervix”, pre-term labor cues, etc. I had a doula, midwife and high risk specialist monitoring me, but I learned very quickly that “monitoring” creates a sense of control which really does not exist. Though each involved were a great comfort. It really is a miracle when babies can go to full term and be healthy and ALIVE! I still feel somewhat numb about the experience, but I keep telling myself that it’ll come in time and when it does, it will be a rush of complexity. Or maybe it’s already here and I have yet to connect with it.