Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Untitled

There are some moments in life you wish you could just erase.

Words that are said, written, thought…that as soon as they appear, you know are a mistake. You know it’s wrong to say things and tempt fate in such an idiotic way, but come on, fate wouldn’t interfere with something just because you said it out loud. I mean, does fate even really exist? Superstition has no business in a life built on reality and reason. But yet, somehow you still get that lingering doubt when the words tumble out of your mouth and you immediately realize you may have just made a devastating mistake.

I had one of these moments while I was writing the last entry of this blog back in March.

We didn’t get pregnant in December, but we did in January. Yes kids, sometimes is really is that easy…”

As soon as the words appeared on the screen I knew it was a mistake.

“Sometimes is really is that easy…”

Cocky? Probably in my pregnant state, I was. Stupid? A little. Tempting fate? No doubt. Why would I say something that could so obviously come back to haunt me? Pregnancy is anything but easy and we all know I was just lucky to get pregnant so quickly anyway. If that part was so damn easy, it probably meant that there would be harder obstacles to overcome in the next few months. I knew this, but I typed it anyway.

“Sometimes is really is that easy…”

While I pride myself on being a rational person who doesn’t fall for the idea of “fate”, I still had a lingering doubt about publishing this sentence. Besides, when you become pregnant with a child, all your reasoning goes out the window. You will believe anything if you think it will help. All your suppressed religious beliefs, superstitions, old wives tales, and understandings of fate and the universe rise to the surface with reckless abandon. You truly want to believe there is a God that would bring you such a wonderful gift, an understanding God that would make it so easy to conceive, a loving God that would keep you and your baby safe. Of course, God wants all babies safe and sound. And if there is ever a time to believe in an understanding and loving God or at least not mess with fate, it’s when you are pregnant.

But twenty days after I published that sentence we lost our baby. Z was 13 weeks old, just passing the point of when we thought we were home-free. It was without a doubt, the worst three days of my life, three days filled with tears, fear, screaming, praying, pacing, pain, guilt, research, questions, doctors, waiting…The darkness we experienced in those three days are like none I have ever known or thought I would ever experience. How do you grieve for the loss of your future? How do you deal with the loss of your child when you have never looked into its eyes, touched its skin, felt its heart beating against your body? How can you wrap your mind around seeing your baby dancing inside of your body on a computer screen so clear you can make out every line of it’s face only to know that in a few short hours it would probably be gone? You can’t. Anger, grief, disbelief, sadness, agony, heartache, suffering, torture…no word can really describe what it is to lose a child, even one you have never met. It just doesn’t exist.

The weeks after losing Z were intense. I stayed in the house for a week and did nothing but lie in the back bedroom like a sobbing zombie, being waited on hand-and-foot by my loving and worried husband. I wallowed in immense guilt that I could finally enjoy eating a meal again without feeling like I was going to be sick. After three months of not being able to eat a thing, I suddenly couldn’t get enough food. It didn’t matter that I didn’t have an appetite. I ate out of anger and spite that I was miserable and starving for thirteen weeks for nothing. I ate to fill my suddenly empty stomach.

I craved the discomfort of a long, sweaty, uncomfortable run to make myself feel a different type of pain, anything other than what I was feeling. I wanted to run so far it hurt and I could cry as hard as I could to get out every tear stuck inside of me. But I couldn’t run for three weeks, which seemed to make the grief all the more of a prison sentence. I suddenly had energy again with nothing to focus it on.

So I made all the necessary arrangements to transform my life back into a childless existence. I packed away all my baby books, magazines and onesies in hard to reach places hoping that I wouldn’t accidentally stumble upon them at an unfortunate time. I unsubscribed from all the electronic pregnancy newsletters that were infiltrating my inbox. I deleted the ultrasound pictures and congratulatory comments off of my Myspace page. I watched all the beautiful flowers that were sent to our home as a loving gesture from countless friends and family during those weeks wilt and die. We cancelled all the remaining Doctors appointments I had for the baby and replaced them with therapist appointments.

I watched in quiet appreciation as Jeremy, who in his own despair, did whatever he could possibly do to make sure I was going to be O.K. He called the Doctors; he made the arrangements; he called my work to tell them I would be taking time off and intercepted the phone calls from concerned friends and family for weeks when I just couldn’t face anyone but him. In his own way of grieving, he took care of the only thing he had left to take care of, me.

And when I honestly thought I wouldn’t make it, that it was more than I could handle, than we could handle…we made it through to the other side.

Over the past three months, the grieving process has been slow, awkward and uncontrollable. Sometimes I take giant leaps back just when I think I am making my way through it. The crying and pain haven’t stopped but have slowly subsided, becoming less suffocating and violent and more listless…dull, sometimes coming from out of nowhere and catching me by surprise. I thought once my hormones were under control again, this would end, but to no such avail. I went from crying maybe once every two months before I got pregnant, to crying on a regular basis nowadays, sometimes 3-4 times a week, mostly for no good reason. Well meaning friends and family respond by telling me “It’s ok, you’re young and healthy, you can have another baby.”

But I don’t another baby. I want the baby I lost, the one I made plans for, the one I named, the one I saw alive inside of me, the one I fell in love with. I want Baby Z back.

It is slowly getting better though. While I’m not the same person I was inside before Z came along, I’m not sure that is a bad thing. Some days the faint, ever-present numbness fades enough and I feel myself filled with hope. The person I am now is stronger, more aware of my family, friends and career than I ever was before. My marriage is better than it has ever been, and I am sure about what I want out of life more now than ever.

Then of course, something as simple as my hairdresser telling me she is pregnant or seeing all the babies at Jeremy’s cousin’s wedding will bring it all back and I am engulfed by sudden, intense panic and then blistering pain. And I realize that this is all bigger than me. That is it a process and like with any injury, a broken heart needs time to heal.

Maybe one day I will be brave enough or strong enough to tell the entire story of the loss, but after having to tell it over and over and over again to countless family members, friends, and therapists I need to keep the details quiet for a while. And I suppose, it probably isn’t even necessary unless I thought it would help someone else in our situation. I need to quit ripping the scab off so the wound can heal a little bit. The scar will be there forever, but the pain will slowly fade, at least that is what I’m told.

This, I suppose is why it took me so long to post this. Putting all these words into print seemed so permanent to me and makes everything that happened that much more real. It was the last step I had in dealing with this loss and I just never felt it was the right time. How could I possibly write it? Would I regret the words as they came out of me like I did before? But the rational side of me knows that it doesn’t matter if I publish these words or not, it wont change what happened to me, J and Z. What’s done is done.

So now, three months later, I am finally starting to take better care of myself again. I am eating better, running a bit more and trying to focus on the future instead of everything that has happened this past year. While I needed to take a break from the running blog, (some things suddenly seemed unimportant) I will slowly start to get back into it again. I will eventually catch up with you all and before you know it I will be posting again on a regular basis.

Thank you all for all your kind words, understanding and support, not only for the baby but for everything over the past couple of years.

16 comments:

Marcy said...

((((BIG HUGS))))) chica!! I am so so sorry for your loss. There is nothing that I could ever say to make you feel less (and I wish I could), but know that I'm thinking of you.

Sonia said...

Awww.... this is so sad, your post made me cry... I'm so sorry for your loss... I don't really know what to write but to tell you that you are amazing and strong and it will get better with time. Thanks for giving some news. You were in my toughts. Big virtual hug to you my friend. XXXX

D10 said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I am sure it must have been hard writing.

Three years ago my sister gave birth to a premature baby boy. He fought for 11 weeks, but there were just to many odds stacked against him. Even though it has been almost 3 years, the sting and pain of his loss is still felt. It is something that will always be with my sister and my family. Time will not take the sorrow away, it will just allow you time to learn to live with what happened and to cope.

Hang in there.

N.D. said...

No one can say the right thing, and only you know what you are going through with this. I experienced a loss at 6 weeks in March and it was awful (not as bad as your situation since you were further along) but I can say that I have experienced this part. Now I am going to be 7 weeks tomorrow and mentally I'm a wreck. I'm pretending I'm not pregnant to try to cope incase it happens again!

You are in my thoughts!

Michelle said...

Oh no. Laurel, I am so sorry.

I wish there was something I could do to take the pain away. :-(

Lily on the Road said...

Oh Laurel, I am so sorry for both you, your husband and your families...there are no words, just know that you are in my prayers.

It has taken a lot for you to be sharing your grief,
*hugs*
your Canadian friend,
Laurel

IrishBlue said...

Laurel, I'm so sorry to hear about the loss you've suffered. I had no idea.

You and your husband are in my thoughts. I hope that you will get through this and find peace.

Take care of yourself, even on those days when you don't care about you.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I myself lost 4 babies before I was blessed with my daughter. It is a horrible, painful thing to go though and I wish you much healing.

See Zanne Run said...

Laurel, I am so sorry for your loss. I have been here too, having lost 3 pregnancies - 2 of them like you, when we thought we were well out of the woods. It is devestating to say the least ... sounds like you are blessed with an amzaing husband and are starting to move forward. Thanks for sharing your story,it must have been difficult to write, but perhaps it helped you too ... Take care, girl.

My Life & Running said...

Big hug.

Josie said...

Oh Laurel...I am so very sorry. Your entry was so beautifully and painfully written. In my heart, Baby Z...even in her short life knew she was loved. Please try to find comfort in that. I'm glad to hear that you and your husband have become stronger...I hope you find the courage to try again. But I can understand that right now, it may not feel right and way too scary, and perhaps even disrespectful to Baby Z. I wish I could say more, but please know that I thought of you and worried for you and will continue to think of you and worry for you and hope and pray that things will feel better someday. Hang in there.

Lots of love,
J

Leah said...

Oh I am so so sorry for your loss. I can't imagine there is much more to say than that. Your post is incredibly open and thank you for sharing your story with us. You and your family are in my thoughts.

Ashley said...

How devastating. But it must be comforting to have this blog to help with your grieving process. During last year's ING Miami training, I miscarried a very early pregnancy the night before our 12 mile run. When I was able, I went out on my own crying the entire time, every single step of the way. It must have been a spectacle, but - you described it perfectly - I craved a different pain.

It's a terrible setback, but one that you'll return from stronger.
Thank you for sharing and I hope I am not intruding.

P.O.M. said...

Hi Laurel.
I'm sorry. I just read this post today. I'm sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your story. I hope you are both healing.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for your loss. My wife and I lost our son on the day we were to deliver. We found out in the Dr.'s office before we were to head to the hospital. I truly understand not wanting another baby, but the one you lost. Its a hard time, and I wish it got easier. Running is my communion. Two years later we had twins, both girls, who are now three. Its still hard.

Dori said...

Laurel, I'm so sorry you had to go through this pain. My good friend had a stillborn when she was about your age--her first pregnancy, also. Reading this post brings it all back. This was about 12 years ago, and although she has had three more beautiful children, we have never forgotten her first born. My condolences to you and your husband.

 
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