Wednesday, August 4, 2010

And Now

If anything, the journey over the past twelve weeks has provided me clarity. It seemed a whirlwind decision that Ken and I made when we conceived Baby Mic. The impact on our lives seemed disproportionately larger than we felt it would when we made the decision. I think we both felt in over our heads once I was pregnant, and both felt we had a moment to step back and rethink our decision once I was not.

That made sense at the time, but now I am resentful of that as well. I resent that there was ever any relief at all – that there was ever any question of whether or not a baby was a great idea. I resent Ken’s ambivalence about having another baby when I want another baby so badly. We haven’t even had the discussion, and I’m angry at the possibility that this is the end of our journey. It can’t end this way.

This voice in my brain that began as background noise and has now grown to the only thing I hear. It drowns out anything else. Everything that’s said to me – every idea and every plan is framed by wanting a baby. Do you want fries with that? Yes – and a baby. Did you know I lost mine? What are we doing the weekend of September 18? I don’t know and I don’t care. What about the baby? WHAT ABOUT THE BABY? To those around me, I’m sure I appear distracted and scattered. Really, I just can’t hear them.

Broken Again

I sought to find myself through the journey of loss and hope and got stronger day by day. Reinvented and stronger.

Eight weeks after my fateful doctor’s appointment and subsequent surgery, I steeled myself and made a purposeful trip to the doctor’s office again, this time to see my baby for the first time. When the kind ultrasound technician viewed our baby in the office two months prior, I couldn’t look for fear, and then confirmation, of what I knew. I had never seen our baby. Just felt the void of what was, then wasn’t. Gratefully, I didn’t encounter any difficulty when I went in. It was very emotional taking the elevator to the office and walking in the office that housed so many mixed emotions – 2 joyous pregnancies and 2 devastating losses. The girl at the front desk swiftly handed me a CONFIDENTIAL: envelope with my name on it, which I gingerly slid into my purse and delivered to the car.

The internal conflict was being played out in my chest and my stomach. Emotions physically fighting each other to the point of making me sick. I wanted to see Baby Mic. I wanted to know what had been. Would there be nothing there that would identify a baby’s life had begun? Would I have nothing to look back on? I wanted him or her to have been real for the brevity of his or her life. I desperately wanted to see Baby Mic. I carefully opened the envelope and started to reveal the flimsy paper that I’d seen so many times before. It was with the same caution and apprehension as I handle my memories – squinting, composing myself, deep breath – looking little by little and trying to comprehend what I’m seeing. I was afraid the physical body would not match the magnitude of Baby Mic’s spiritual presence. I was afraid he or she would not be seen or known by anyone but me. That worry was in vain, and I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not. What I saw was my little angel, body curved into itself, head distinguishable, arms and legs fully formed. A perfect little body, suspended in mine.  It broke me again.

Any healing that had occurred felt undone and I was back to being devastated. Baby Mic wasn’t an idea, a fleeting thought, a promise. Baby Mic was a baby, and not just to me – to everyone. It was undeniable. I lost my baby, and here was the proof. Baby Mic was here and now he or she is not.


After the series of events that began the doomed journey of Baby Mic come the series of events that ended her journey. The first time I bled and knew something was wrong even though I told Ken “sometimes it’s normal”. He knew something was wrong and didn’t tell me anything. Going to the doctor, literally dizzy to the point of nearly fainting and heart beating so hard and so fast that it took all my energy. Slow down. Breathe. I can’t speak; I can’t think. I have to survive this. Little by little, the information was pieced together. The bleeding was not a good sign, but it’s *possible* it was alright. I was measuring a few days behind, but nothing significant. I lay on the table, head turned from the screen, comprehending after the first 30 seconds went by and the only thing was silence. Confirmation from the doctor, who’d relayed the same story three years prior. It all came in digestible pieces. I called Mom in the parking lot of our favorite restaurant to tell her the baby was gone, but I was alright. Through tears, I told two of our children. The youngest cried and asked if we were going to have another.

It wasn’t until the following day when I was again at the very hospital where I’d delivered three live babies and one lost baby – about to have another baby taken from me against my will – that the overwhelming loss suffocated me. I was incredulous. I was angry. I was breathless. I had a headache. I had heartache. Fix that. Give me anesthesia and let me sleep through that.

The focus over the following week or so was on my physical healing, and the condolences and support poured in – sustaining me. I was in the midst of a life changing transformation – in the deepest despair, underwater; not knowing which way was up. Confused, hurt, but for the first time in a long time, in a position to think about what I wanted from this point forward. It was “back to basics”. I was rebuilding my life on a platform of gratitude. I wanted to write, I wanted to volunteer, I wanted to eat my babies up – hug them, kiss them, spend time with them. I immersed myself in my life and the things that had always brought me joy. I felt exposed and raw, and I was starting from scratch. I was filling in the void with gratitude. It was liberating.

The Beginning of Baby Mic

When I made the decision to try for a fourth child and approached Ken with the proposition, I was reeling from the bad in this world, and needing an antidote. I was feeling nostalgic; feeling mercifully blessed and wanted to multiply that feeling. I wanted to give more good to this world, because I could, and to those I love. I wanted to bring more light and love to our lives – to give my children another sibling, to give my parents another grandchild, and to have one more thing to live for, to love for.

Those feeling continue to pervade my reality, and are even stronger now that we got a glimpse of how meaningful this little life was and how much joy our Rainbow Baby would bring. As part of my unending loop of thoughts, I play, over and over, the day I told my Mom by showing her a photo of my positive pregnancy test on my phone. I play the day that we told the kids at dinner. I play the day I told Ken by giving him a card and the positive test. I play the day I posted on facebook and congrats poured in – jubilant for our family. Each moment, I was so proud for all of us and so sure that adding another little person would make this great thing even greater. It would make me a better mother; Ken a better father. It would make our world better. It would make the world better. I watch these scenes in my head kind of like I’m watching a horror movie – with my hands over my eyes, peeking through the cracks in my fingers, and looking away when it’s too much.

I feel like I’ve let everyone down now and the world isn’t as great as it could be and it’s my fault. It’s not that I feel I don’t have enough. I am blessed more times over than I deserve or ever could have imagined. It just isn’t all that it could be. All that it should be.

The Gravity of Loss

Then what? I didn’t know and I didn’t want to think about it. I didn’t think about lost Baby Mic or any other baby because it was too much. Predictably, not thinking about it wasn’t an option. As is my nature, I silently fixated. I slipped on a tight fitting low cut dress for a friend’s wedding, put a drink in my hand, and tried to live outside of my thoughts for a while. Tried to not wish I were donning a maternity dress. Tried to not think I would be nineteen weeks along. Tried to not want to talk about such a morbid thing during such a celebratory weekend. I packed for our family trip to Disney, trying to relish my family and the opportunity to get away, without constantly thinking about the fact that I would have been twenty weeks along and would have given Baby Mic a proper name by now, consistent with his or her gender. When asked by people in the park – “what are you having?” I would have been able to tell them this little one’s name.

By this point, I began to think of little else. Every action or reaction was centered on a baby – the lost baby and the thought that there may never be another. The feeling that I may have missed my chance forever. I honed in on pregnant bellies with resentment and newborns with longing. What I wouldn’t give to have never miscarried and what I wouldn’t give to not be in the position of making this decision all over again. I shouldn’t have to make this decision all over again. I should be twenty two weeks pregnant now. It’s unfair and I’m profoundly depressed and feeling wildly unsettled. I’m without reigns – without an anchor – just desperately trying to make sense of things again.

Living Without

The above page was written somewhere around 2 months ago, not long after my loss of Baby Mic. I think there’s a soft place after a loss where you’re filled with adrenaline, and you’re lifted by friends and family. The loss is raw, but surreal. I was a little self-involved, and very self-preservative. The real struggle, and the one that has followed for me, is learning to live with the loss. The deepest depths were yet to come.

At first, not being pregnant anymore felt like a vacation from pregnancy. I figured we would grieve the loss and move on. It’s the moving on that’s proving extraordinarily difficult. Our loss provided us the opportunity to take pause and catch our breath and think about what’s best for our family. Something spooked Ken in the early weeks of my pregnancy. I don’t know what, but he seemed relieved when I miscarried. I focused on the positive when I miscarried. I would be able to spend the summer in my body without worry about the baby. I would be able to have drinks at my friends’ weddings, I would be able to ride Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios. It would be the best of both worlds. I would enjoy the summer to the fullest, and then . . .


May 2010 -

I’m here in front of the computer, on the verge of tears, yet giddy. That’s my existence, of late. Bipolar. One moment, I’m enticed by the freedom of not being pregnant and by the possibilities that lie ahead. I think about all the things I’ve put on hold in my life and see now as the opportunity to reclaim those opportunities that I’ve always thought of as pieces to my identity. On the other end of my bipolar spectrum is the desire to have another child. Right now, out of self-preservation, I am avoiding the issue in my head. It is pervasive and I know I’m not avoiding it. The loss is insistent and ever present. It edges in on the rest of my thoughts – coloring them and changing them. Still, I won’t meet the thought head on, because I just don’t want to cry. I just don’t want to right now, and every time I begin to allow myself to think about the fact that I’m not going to have a baby in November and allow myself to think about the loss our family has been dealt, the tears come from the pit of my stomach. It’s easier to focus on what I CAN do now and push down the bad.

The coping isn’t all bad. One of the indulgences I’m reclaiming is my writing. I’ve always identified myself as a “writer”, though I’ve never written for anyone but myself. Let me rephrase that. I think any true writer only writes for him/herself and just hopes someone can be touched by his/her words. I’ve never attempted to get published. Anyway – the fact that I’m writing, and I’m writing through this loss and time of transition will inevitably lead me back to facing the hole head on. Writing will just archive the process. Writing will also expedite the process, because writing is an exercise where your thoughts speak to you and lead you to your reality. There are no shortcuts. There is no denial. Only truth. It’s free and highly effective therapy.

Why have I considered myself a writer, aside from my love affair with grammar? Because my life is a constant narrative. It’s as if I’m telling my story all day every day. It reminds me of a voice over in a movie. My thoughts interpreted, twisted in my head as events happen around me. Retelling my story, my way. I attempt to relate those events to my life, even if they are my life. I’ve always felt like I was in the third row of the movie theater watching my life on screen. Never on stage – never the star – always the narrator. So stuck in my head and my thoughts that sometimes I miss out on important scenes. It’s exhausting and either the source of my anxiety or the symptom. I haven’t figured out which, and I probably never will.


The "After"

After my first miscarriage in 2007, I didn't think I could feel the ignorant bliss that went along with expecting a baby without expecting the worst.  The new mantra is typically one that accompanies most signature lines on iVillage of women who are expecting following a loss - "Faith Over Fear". 

Surprisingly to me, I had regained that innocence and that excitement.  That faith.  I was certain, despite my muted morning sickness, that this pregnancy was going well and we were on our way to parenthood again.  I was consumed with and comfortable with being pregnant once again. 

Three days later after my previous post on April 20, that faith would be tested when I began to spot blood.  Nine days later, that faith would be shattered when our little one's heartbeat would not be found on ultrasound.  Ten days later, the pregnancy would come to an end on an operating table.

The following posts will take you through the journey from then to now.