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It still hurts

10/16/2015

Belle

 

Lexington Cemetery, October 2012

Lexington Cemetery, October 2012

Three and a half years ago I had a miscarriage at 7 weeks gestation after my first frozen IVF transfer. The loss was devastating and rocked my world but, true to form, I soldiered on. Several months later after my second failed frozen transfer it became clear I had not actually healed. I started medication and therapy, I had a private and very spiritual walk to remember where I set my baby free and then I declared myself fixed. Done. Ready to move on.

Yesterday was Miscarriage and Infant Loss Awareness Day. My Facebook feed was peppered with fellow infertiles sharing their story and spreading awareness. I took a moment to read each one and send love and light their way and then I went about my day. Sabine and I hiked, we ran errands, we had lunch and I went to therapy. Therapy started much as it always does with discussion of current stressful topics – mainly the Professor’s job hunt. Then the conversation veered of the nice comfy track of “other people’s problems” and I found myself sobbing over the miscarriage, our infertility journey and the sadness of not giving Sabine a sibling.

After what seemed like an eternity of struggling to breathe and wiping tears before they ran down my nose and wetted the still healing skin graft (which can’t get wet) I looked at my therapist and said, “What the fuck. I’m supposed to be over this. I mean, the miscarriage was only at 7 weeks and I’ve long since gotten over not having other children. I even wrote about both on my blog!”

Because, you know, once you publicly state something on your blog it is as good as law. Right? Evidently not.

My therapist drew a long breath and said, “First, this is not a comparison of whose loss is greater. Just because you lost a baby at seven weeks does not make it any less devastating than someone who delivered a still baby.”

I started to protest this statement as I know many women who have lost babies far later than I and the experience tore them apart and continues to haunt them. I did not hold my dead or dying baby, therefore I do not deserve to still be so sad. This, I realized, is not true. In the same way that all deaths are unique – and that is what a miscarriage is: a death – they are also similar. Every single woman who has mourned the loss of a child, no matter how old that child was, has felt the same suffocating sense of loss. A loss of life. A loss of hope. A loss of story. A loss.

My loss is just as valid as the next.

I asked my therapist when it will stop hurting. When will I stop feeling sadness over my lost child and over the loss of having more? “Never,” she said. This one word, never, is so soul crushing right now and goes against every cell in my body. In my family you toughen up and move on. You repress and forget. You don’t revisit this kind of shit and “re-feel.” This, she said, is not healthy. It’s ok to feel sad about these things from time to time and it is ok to reflect. It’s not ok to let them run my life, but to occasionally sit back and feel for a loss is good. It’s natural. So today, one day late, I’m taking time to write this and to feel sad for my loss.

I miss the tiny baby I named Pip. I am so sad he or she will never share pretend snacks and blanket capes with Sabine and I. I am sad I’ll never see his or her story unfold. I’m sad I’ll never know pregnancy again, and sad that I’ll never say those amazing words to Sabine, “Meet your baby sister/brother.” And when I’m done feeling sad I am going to make every attempt to not box these emotions back up and hide them away, or to downplay them as less than they are. I want to set them on my metaphorical shelf as they are a chapter in my life story. These losses together with my triumphs are what make me, me. And me is a pretty rad person. Me who does not suppress emotion would be even more rad.

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30 Comments

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  1. APE #
    October 16, 2015

    Perfect! And exactly why I love to read your blog still. Because I can relate! My biggest regret in life will always be that I couldn’t give Bugs a sibling. Now I need to learn to accept that and move on but I will never lie to myself or others about it, and I will never deny that I loved and lost 5 other pregnancies all during my struggle to try and give Bugs a sibling. Every. Single. One. Hurt!

    • APE #
      October 16, 2015

      And I need to add, still hurt. And always will.

    • October 16, 2015

      The sibling thing is so fucking painful. The pain strikes at the worst time, too it seems. Thank you for continuing to follow my scattered story!

      • October 16, 2015

        Yes. The sibling thing for me is devastating.

        • October 17, 2015

          I know. We are in very similar places with that. Sabine is in love with babies right now and I know it is only a matter of time until she asks why we can’t have one. I dread the day.

  2. October 16, 2015

    Wow, thank you. Having lost 6 babies to early MC, and now starting with IUI, my emotions have been all over the place lately, and hearing what your therapist stated about the hurting, the feelings, and all the emotions never being over – I needed that today. Thank you! Accepting there will still be very tough days, and remembering that it is ok to dwell there for a bit, then move on is something I need plastered in front of my face!

    • October 16, 2015

      I agree with plastering on the face! Maybe I need it tattooed on my arm… 🙂 Bet of luck on your IUI. I hope your miracle baby is not far away. xoxo

  3. October 16, 2015

    ♡ I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s so difficult. Thank you for sharing your Pip.

    • October 16, 2015

      And I’m sorry for your loss. Your blog is beautiful, by the way. Your voice very powerful.

  4. October 16, 2015

    Pip and your walk are what I always think of on October 15. I’m sorry, Belle, I should have reached out to you.

    • October 16, 2015

      Knowing you remember the walk means so much. ❤

  5. October 16, 2015

    I understand this so well. You put into words everything I’ve been trying to understand about my own early loss. Thank you for sharing. xo

    • October 17, 2015

      xoxo, sending you lots of love. Early losses are such a complex web of emotion that even bringing home a healthy living baby can’t seem to cure. It’s so hard.

  6. October 16, 2015

    Oh, I can SO relate. Our little raspberry is now 5 months old, and I find myself getting jealous of pregnant women, and then last night while the raspberry was asleep upstairs and we were watching a tv show, there was a pregnant woman, and I wailed to my husband that I wished I was pregnant. WTF????? I hax to go upstairs and gaze at her to ease that gnawing emptiness. It feels as though all my miscarriages and failed rounds of ivf have flipped a switch that can’t be turned off. I think I thought for some reason that the moment I gave birth to a healthy, live, baby, I would be healed from all the grief over all the failures and losses. Obviously it doesn’t work like that…

    We want to try for a sibling once the raspberry is weaned. I’m scared. Of the roller-coaster, of the ivf not working, of more miscarriages. AND, I still dream of getting pregnant at home in bed like all the normal people. Our sex life hasn’t even gotten back to normal (normal? After 5 years of trying?), and I’m nursing exclusively, so, hello, WHY ARE THESE THOUGHTS IN MY HEAD?

    So, yeah, that’s what my counselor and I talked about this week 😉 .

    Thinking of you so much. Xxx.

    • October 17, 2015

      Ugh! Why why why do we do this to ourselves? I was on the phone at 7 months postpartum calling insurances to see if our new plan covered IVF. What the fuck man? It is the physical and emotional rollercoaster that keeps us from seeking more treatments. I just can’t do it. Those two years nearly destroyed my marriage and left such a lasting scar on my persona. I can’t open that box again. Yet… I think about it every day. I guess that is part of the letting myself feel sad, right?

  7. October 16, 2015

    No loss,no matter the circumstances is ever insignificant. That’s why we call them losses. And no matter how much we accept them and move on, we will always feel them. It’s only normal for us to miss who we have lost so if it helps ease the ache, take the time you need to remember whenever you want,even if it’s just once a year. I believe every soul touches our lives for a reason no matter how brief their visit and Pip did for many of your followers on your blog as well as for you. I remember crying my heart out while reading about your walk and how much it touched me. Thank you for sharing your stories and even if Sabine doesn’t get a sibling,she has the most amazing mom.

    • October 17, 2015

      And now you have me crying. You are right. I know Pip touched a lot more than just my life in those 7 weeks. Pip was a beacon of hope for so many of us. I love this new perspective, actually. Pip had purpose.

  8. October 16, 2015

    I’m sorry for your loss and thank you for sharing this. I read this while moping about after Paige’s legally blind diagnosis and this helped give me some perspective.

    • October 17, 2015

      Perspective… it’s a bitch, right?! I am so sorry to read about Paige’s vision. My heart ached when I read that post. Sending you and your beautiful girls lots of love.

  9. October 16, 2015

    I know that loss is loss, but when you see a heartbeat, like you did, it’s not just a loss of what you viewed in your head as a baby, but also what you saw on the screen of a real, ACTUAL baby. I had an empty sac, and that has never felt like a miscarriage to me – and even the way early loss of Matthew’s twin didn’t feel like a loss because by the time we knew about it, whatever had been there was faded away along with the degenerating sac. I feel lucky that I never saw a flicker of life, a flicker of hope – because that would still bother me to this day. I just know it would.

    These things – IF, miscarriage, death, etc… we just never get over it. We’re not built to get over it. I am of the same, “soldier on” camp, but if I stop to think about the failed IVF’s, the loss of family, the loss of pets, etc… I can still fall into a mess of tears.

    Thinking of you and Pip. I thought of you yesterday when my FB feed was full of awareness posts. I remember that time so well.

    • October 17, 2015

      You are completely right. I saw that tiny flicker of hope. It’s never been my style to allow myself to just feel emotion, but I hope I can change. Thank you for thinking of Pip and I, too. That means more than you’ll ever know.

  10. October 17, 2015

    Your therapist sounds awesome. Much love to you and Pip and Sabine.

  11. October 17, 2015

    I am sorry you are still hurting. Infertility is a cruel bitch. Even though we have our “take home” baby, out heart aches and misses the one(s) that didnt come home. That is because we are mom’s. You are still young snd havent weaned off Sabine completely, so never say never. Who knows what can/may happen. If it helps keep telling yourself one day this wont hurt so much. Just dont box your hurt away. I think your therapist is fantastic!!

  12. October 17, 2015

    Just wanna say I love and miss you, old friend. ❤

  13. October 17, 2015

    Thank you for this. It’s just what I needed to you.
    And you ARE rad 🙂

  14. October 19, 2015

    Your therapist is right. You never get over the losses of the ones you love, and it doesn’t matter if how long you loved them or how long their precious heart was beating – for days or years; that loss becomes a part of us.

    My brother lost his wife very suddenly and tragically only 8 months after they were married. Unfortunately I don’t have his exact words (he put it so eloquently), but he said that as paralysing as the pain is at times, he wouldn’t give it up because his pain is a testament to how much he loved his wife. To deny that pain would be to deny his love.

    Don’t ever feel you have to “get over” losing your precious Pip or losing the possibility of future children. The ones that tell you that you should have never experienced loss or are in denial themselves.

    Sending you love and hugs.

  15. Alissa S. #
    October 23, 2015

    Oh my dear. I don’t care how early a loss you have, if that baby was wanted and longed for, it hurts! You should never downplay what you went through. I know it’s hard not to do. I find myself thinking often, “my babies were only 20 weeks…what if they had been born full term and still?” It’s all damn hard. All of it. The thought you won’t be able to provide a sibling is one close to my heart too. I know how you feel. Always here for you.

  16. jak #
    October 27, 2015

    thanks for sharing this. i remember crying tears of joy for you when i read you were pregnant with pip, then tears of sorrow when you lost pip. the anniversary of my “mc” is exactly one week before yours. weirdly, also, my only child’s birthday is exactly one week before the bean’s. i dont know what cosmic freakiness all that means, but i feel your pain, and i feel your joy, and i wish you the absolute best.

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