nothing but a heartache

These past few days have been really difficult. I don’t know why, but more than ever, it seems that all I can think is: I lost my baby…I lost my son. Almost four months after we had to say goodbye to you, it sometimes seems even harder than it was immediately after. It’s as though I’m feeling the weight of this loss even more than before. You are really gone. You really won’t be joining me in this life. That, and with my expected due date fast approaching, the loss of you is feeling all too real.

I’m just so sad. I’m sad that we had to say goodbye to you. I’m sad that we won’t be bringing you home in a few weeks and spending the fall getting to know you. I’m sad I’ll never know the colour of your eyes or hear the sound of your voice. I’m sad for all that could have, should have been.

At the same time, I feel like there are people in my life who just don’t “get it” at all. It’s so obvious that they don’t understand why I am still sad about you dying, why I haven’t “moved on” yet, why it’s still hard for me to go to work, or go out with friends, or do all of the “normal” things I used to do with ease. If you haven’t experienced this type of loss, if you haven’t experienced the kind of love that happens when you are pregnant, the kind of love that I had for you, then you can’t possibility understand the enormity of my grief, the hugeness of my loss.

My baby died and I’m not over it. Truthfully, I know I never will be. This is just so hard.

waiting for my real life to begin

I feel like I’m constantly waiting for something to happen. It’s as though someone has hit the “pause” button on my life and I’m just….frozen.

I’m waiting for my expected due date to pass.

I’m waiting for my body to be “ready” to be pregnant again.

I’m waiting for the day when I can offer someone a genuine smile, instead of faking it.

I’m waiting to stop feeling so angry all of the time.

I’m waiting for this constant ache in my chest to go away.

I’m waiting to be happy again.

I’m just stuck. I have to admit that I’ve been a bit of a mess this week. Back to that bare, vulnerable, empty place again. It’s been creeping up on me and seems to have culminated into this huge, overwhelming feeling of hopelessness today.

Next week it will be August. August, the month which still conjures a bit of aniticpation somewhere in my heart. It’s the month you would have been born. The month I began waiting for way back in November. I can’t believe it. It’s hard to imagine how different things would have been if it had all gone according to plan. I’m really trying hard not to think that way though, because you were not well from the beginning and no matter what, it would not have been as I expected.  I just had so many damn expectations. So much excitement. I should have known better.

All I have now is a complete and utter lack of expectations. That and a dark, empty hole in my heart that makes its presence ever known.

I’m just really sad all of the time today. I really need something good to happen. I’m so sick of waiting.

the rainbow connection

I’ve become obsessed with “happy endings.” I often scour the internet, searching for stories of women who have lost babies and then gone on to have other (living) children. In the babyloss community, these children are commonly referred to as “rainbow babies.” A “rainbow baby” is the baby that comes after a loss. The rainbow after the storm. A ray of light shining through the darkness. Joy after sorrow. Hope after despair. I think this quote explains the concept best:

“A rainbow baby is the understanding that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of the storm. When a rainbow appears, it doesn’t mean the storm never happened or that the family is not still dealing with its aftermath. What it means is that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds. Storm clouds may still hover but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of color, energy and hope.”

I think I seek out stories of pregnancy after loss because I need to know that “happy endings” do actually happen, that these so-called “rainbow babies” do exist. While I am not going to divulge much about our future plans for getting pregnant again here, I will say this: I want my rainbow baby. Bad.

My “mother switch” has been turned to “on” and I need a living baby to be a mommy to. A baby that I can hold in my arms, and sing to, and tickle, and watch grow up.

A baby I get to keep.

naive

I was reading one of those trashy celebrity gossip magazines the other day. After reading all about Kate Middleton’s “birth plan” and the new cast of “Teen Mom 3”, I flipped to a section that announced yet another celebrity pregnancy. Oh, joy! (sense the sarcasm?).  Reading that, I finally decided I couldn’t take anymore and put the magazine down.

Maybe it’s the bitter, angry, me talking, but all I wanted to do was “jump” into that magazine, go up to that knocked-up celebrity and ask her, “how can you be so sure?!?” I’d like to tell her that being three months pregnant does not necessarily mean that she’s “HAVING A BABY!” (as the headline so boldly stated). Believe me, I would know.

It’s weird. Before we lost you, I totally assumed that being three months pregnant meant “HAVING A BABY!”. That once you hit the second trimester, bringing a baby home six months later was pretty much a guarantee. According to Dr. Google, my stack of pregnancy books and everyone else I would talk to, there was absolutely no reason for me to have any doubt that I would give birth to a healthy, living baby come August. Your dad and I never said “if we have the baby…” it was always. “when we have the baby…”. Pregnancy was a “when”, not an “if”, kind of thing.

But now that I’ve had my first pregnancy end with the loss of my first baby, pregnancy is most definitely an “if”, not a “when”, concept. Now, whenever someone announces they are pregnant, I automatically think, “well, I sure hope their baby is healthy” or “well, I sure hope they don’t lose their baby at 20 weeks.” When someone says “we have our anatomy scan today, we are finally going to find out the sex of our baby”, I think, “or, maybe you will find out that something is terribly wrong with the baby. Finding out the sex should be the least of your concerns.” The truth is, when someone says, “we’re HAVING A BABY!” I’m not filled with excitement, I’m filled with dread, so scared that what happened to me might happen to them.

I hate it. I hate that pregnancy will never again be the beautiful, miraculous thing it was to me before we lost you. I hate that I will never be able to enjoy my own future pregnancies, or even my friend’s pregnancies the same way I did before I knew, first-hand, how quickly such a beautiful experience could end in such ugly heartbreak. I hate that I will never be blissfully naive, ever again.

I wish that the next time I was pregnant I could loudly shout, “We’re HAVING A BABY!”  for the world to hear. But I know it’ll be more like a quiet, shaky, “I guess we’re pregnant, for the time being anyway…”. That is, if we ever even get pregnant again (my goodness – how we lower our expectations!).

I guess the only five months of beautiful, naive, pregnant bliss I’ll ever have belong to you, Hudson. And I kind of like that. I’m glad that I was unaware of all that could go wrong when I was carrying you. I’m glad I was able to enjoy and revel in every second of the time we had together. I’m glad I told everyone I met, “I’m HAVING A BABY!”.

I just wish it would have been true.

understanding

I’ve been bothered a lot by the lack of understanding that goes along with the loss of a baby. It literally makes me sick when people tell me “don’t worry, you are so young, at least you can have another baby.”  I’m sure they mean well, but this type of “advice” is quite honestly…ridiculous. It fails to acknowledge the fact that you were real. That you were unique. That you were mine. You are the baby I wanted and dreamed about for five months. Any future baby (should I be so lucky), will not replace you. That would be impossible.

I think it’s human nature to want to try to make things better, to somehow “fix” what is broken, whenever things go wrong. That being said, sometimes I wish people didn’t have this instinct. I wish more people could just say, “what happened to you sucks. It just sucks.” And leave it at that. I can’t tell you how many statements I’ve heard that start with “at least.”

  • At least you’re young. Because it’s harder and harder to deal with the loss of your child the older you get? I’m pretty sure it sucks whether you’re 19 or 25 or 39 or 45.
  • At least you know you can get pregnant. Well this was one hell of a way to figure that one out.
  • At least you can have more kids. I hope so, but if I’ve learned anything during the past few months, it’s that there are no guarantees in life, especially given my awesome luck.
  • At least your marriage is strong. True. But was it really too much to ask to have my husband and our first child?
  • At least [insert other really horrible tragedy here] didn’t happen to you. Yes, I guess I should be happy that I didn’t lose my baby and have the rest of my family die in an earthquake the same day, or lose my baby on top of having cancer, or lose more than one baby. But knowing that other people have gone through worse things than I have doesn’t make me feel any better about my own tragedy.
  • At least you got to take a whole month off of work. Seriously? My four-week leave was no “vacation,” I can promise you that. I should have had a whole year off with my baby, not a month off to physically recover from delivering a dead baby. What I would give to have been at work, pregnant during those four weeks.

While all these “at leasts” might be true, they are of little comfort to me right now. Nothing but incredibly lame consolation prizes.

Unless you’ve experienced this type of loss first hand, I truly believe that you cannot possibly grasp the enormity of emotions and feelings that are involved. The grief is tremendous. I stumbled across the following quote yesterday. I think it may help “outsiders” to appreciate what this type of loss feels like.

“Realize that the parents are sad because they miss this baby, this special person: he or she never can be replaced by anyone else. They had pictured their child in their minds, learning to walk, starting school, making friends, graduating, getting married, and having their own children. This was not “just” a baby but a real person and a whole future that has been lost.”

photograph

I was looking at some old pictures of your dad and me a few days ago. Pictures from when we first met, our university years, various trips we have taken over the years, our wedding, our honeymoon. There are such wonderful memories associated with all of those photos. But I didn’t feel those memories this time. Instead, all I kept thinking was “You are so young. So innocent. So naive. You have no idea what’s coming for you.

I look at us on our wedding day. So in love. So excited about the future. You see, we had a plan. It was simple: 1) buy a house; 2) enjoy life as newlyweds for a few years; and 3) start a family. We had no reason to believe that our plan wouldn’t work out. Of course, like anyone, we couldn’t be sure that we would be able to conceive a child, but we also had no reason to assume that we couldn’t. So when I got pregnant shortly after our second wedding anniversary, and especially after I made it though the first trimester, in our eyes, our “plan” was now more than some ideal concept; it was now a reality. We had no idea.

Sometimes I wish I could travel back in time and warn that young bride and groom, that innocent and naive version of ourselves, about what was coming. So that we could have known what to expect. So that we could have, at least in some small way, been prepared. Because let me tell you, we weren’t at all ready for this. We did not expect it.  It’s as though one minute we were standing on solid ground and the next minute, the next second really, we weren’t. The floor was so abruptly pulled out from underneath us. For me, it feels as though I’ve just been free falling these past few months, trying to find solid ground again.

I look at our wedding pictures now and it’s so hard to believe that that girl is me. I feel like I am looking at a completely different person.  Beneath the beautiful white gown, beneath the bridal hair and makeup….that girl had a sparkle in her eyes. I look in the mirror these days and I don’t see that sparkle anymore.  It’s gone. I do want it back, but I don’t know how get it.

At the same time, without a doubt, I know that I am even more in love with your dad than ever. It’s a deeper love now. We’ve been through a storm together….who am I kidding, we are still going through that storm, but I couldn’t have a better, more loving partner by my side. So even though life dealt us a horrible hand in our first pregnancy, I do know that in many ways, so, so many ways, I am still a lucky girl.

I just hope that the final step of our plan can come true one day. Even if it does, I also know that you will always be missing…you will always be missing from our future pictures.

seasons of love

I’ve been living without you for three months today. Three months. I really can’t believe it. That’s eighty four days…two thousand and sixteen hours…one hundred and twenty thousand nine hundred and sixty minutes. Have I really made it through all of that time without you? Have I really “made it through” at all? I don’t know. But I’m still breathing. That’s got to count for something, right?

Lately I have been wishing I could have one more day when I was just pregnant, before the ultrasounds and diagnosis, when everything felt so sure, so right, and so exciting. All I can think is, I was just so happy. I never could have imagined how much I would change, how much everything would change, in three months time.

Over the weekend, seemingly out of nowhere, the tears just started flowing. The loud, sobby, uncontrollable kind. It seems to happen a lot these days.

I miss you, baby. So much. I guess that’s really all there is to say.