Sunday, January 23, 2011

On the Outside, Not Looking In

I've had a bad week, with the last few days being the worst.  This past Thursday marked 3 weeks since my D&C that I had to have because of a missed miscarriage.  I thought by now, the residual bleeding would be done and I could start looking forward to having a few "normal" cycles.  You see, according to my OB, I have to have at least 2 regular cycles, then go in for some blood work to have tests done to see if I have any underlying conditions that could be causing issues, which may or may not be linked to Brianna's death and this last miscarriage.  But, since I am still having light bleeding from the D&C, I can't even look forward to having a normal cycle yet.  It is just so discouraging.

Then, yesterday, a good friend of mine delivered her son, safe and sound.  And while I'm happy for her, the fact that she gets to bring home her healthy child just magnified my grief over Brianna's death.  I feel like a horrible person because I can't even bring myself to send her an email or Facebook message to offer any congratulations.  I refuse to look at the pictures her husband emailed out of the new baby.  I've "hidden" her and her husband (as well as a few other friends) on Facebook so I don't have to see the happy status updates and congratulations to them.  I'm terrified that the fact that I can't get past myself and my grief is going to ruin this friendship.  And I worry what that will do to my husband, who is also good friends with them.  I want him to be able to still stay in contact with them, if that's what he wants, but I worry that he won't because he feels that he has to protect me from being hurt any more than I already am.

I just so wish that it wasn't like this at all.  I wish I was a stronger person, able to handle the fact that others get to bring home their babies even though I didn't.  I wish I could be more mature in this situation and take the "high" road.  But all I'm capable of right now is to stay down here on the "low" road, wallowing in my grief and sadness and jealousy.  So, as a result, I stay away from my friends, including all of the rest of this group of friends.  I just don't want to hear about the new baby, even if it's something I might just overhear.  I don't want to have to sit there and pretend that I'm ok when I'm clearly not.  And I don't want to ruin everyone else's good time with my gloomy attitude.  So, I just shut myself out of my life on purpose.

My best way of explaining just where I am right now is like this.  Shortly after Brianna died, I felt like Tim and I were on the "outside" of our lives, looking in.  I felt like we both wished that we could be back on the "inside", where our friends and family were waiting for us.  Over time, Tim seemed to manage to get back on the "inside" and then he helped me to get "inside" as well.  Then, we found out we were pregnant again and seemed to move closer to the middle of the "inside".  Then, I miscarried and was immediately thrust back to the "outside".  But this time, Tim didn't come with me.  He stayed there, on the "inside", close enough to see me on the "outside", but he wouldn't follow me.  I was still looking in, wishing I could join him, but realizing it would take some time.  Then my friend had her healthy baby boy.  And I'm still on the "outside", but now I'm not even looking in anymore.  I don't want to look in and see all the people there, enjoying the new baby, enjoying their "normal" lives.  I just want to turn my back to the "inside" so I don't have to see it anymore.  I hope that one day soon I will be able to turn around and again start looking in and that will be followed by actually moving closer to being on the "inside" again.  But right now, I can't.  I just simply can't.  And I hope that Tim will be patient with me and just wait there on the "inside" until I can join him again.

So, that's where these days find me.  It's a very dark, sad place to be, here on the "outside".  But I read on a blog post somewhere that the tunnel always gets darker as you move through it, journeying towards the light on the other side.  I just hope that this isn't a really long tunnel.

Friday, January 21, 2011

My Rock

During the first few days after Brianna died, I was a mess, both physically and emotionally.  I was numb from the shock of losing our daughter.  I had trouble concentrating on anything.  And here I was, in the hospital, being peppered by questions from the staff on what I wanted to do with my dead baby.  Did we want her cremated, buried, or donated to the State Medical Board?  Had we chosen a funeral home to handle her remains?  Did we have a pastor or chaplain or priest we wanted to come to the hospital?  And the questions just kept coming.  During all of this, Tim was so calm.  He was my rock.  He was the one who stepped in and told the staff to slow down.  He was the one to ask if we really needed to make the decisions right then or did we have a few hours/days to decide.  He was the one to take the questions, one at a time and help me concentrate on making the decisions.  He was the one to make all the calls to the funeral homes and visit them to decide on the right one for us.  He was the one who fielded all the phone calls from our friends and family as they were finding out what had happened.  During it all, he was my support.  I couldn't have made it through those first few days without his support.

As the days turned into weeks, I spent a lot of time online.  I was searching the internet for stories of others like me, women who had lost their babies.  I discovered a huge online community of babyloss parents. And among this community, there were many websites that had different advice on how to grieve and how life would look in the aftermath of this horrible loss.  One thing I found through all my reading was that marriages were either made stronger or they fell apart due to the stress of the loss.  This really hit me hard.  At this time, I was starting to drift off into my own world of grief, leaving Tim on the outside, looking in.  It was after reading the sobering statistics about marriages failing after a loss that I vowed that Tim wouldn't lose me too.  He had already lost his first child, our beautiful daughter, and I was damned sure he wouldn't lose his wife too.  I wasn't sure how I would stay connected to him, but I knew that I had to try my hardest to make sure that connection still existed, day in and day out.  I knew that even if it got strained at times, as long as I could hang onto even the smallest thread of a connection, we'd pull through this awfulness as a whole couple and our marriage would survive.

Over the last few months, it has been hard.  There have been times where the two of us have noticed a disconnect in our relationship.  It was during these times that we made more of point to talk to each other, to draw out the other's feelings and discuss what was going on inside our heads.  Even though I wanted to crawl inside myself and shut out the whole world, Tim included, I knew that would be the sure way to losing my marriage and more importantly, my best friend, my husband.  So, even though it was emotionally painful and brought me to tears (sometimes even sobbing), I would tell Tim exactly what I was thinking on my darkest of days (even if it took some coaxing on his part to get me to open up).  It pained me to know that he felt awful too, knowing that he couldn't "fix" it and that there really isn't anything that can be done to make me better.  But by telling him just how I am feeling, our connection remains intact.

In the last 6 months, Tim has been my reason for getting up each day.  He has been the one to carry the hope for our future when I couldn't anymore.  He has been the voice of reason when I was in the depths of despair and grief, thinking that no one could understand.  He has been my rock of support, allowing my to grieve my way, no questions asked.  Without him, I'm not sure I could have made it this far without a complete emotional breakdown.  And I know that in the coming months and years, he will continue to be my rock, no matter what.  And for that, I am forever grateful.

Tim - I love you more today than I ever thought was possible.  I am proud to call you my husband. And if Brianna was here, she would be proud to call you Daddy.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

5 Months

Dear Brianna,

Today is your 5-month birthday.  I still can't believe that it's been five months already since you died.  Sometimes it feels like it was just yesterday and sometimes it feels like it's been years.  Baby, I miss you.  These last few days have been really hard.  I think about you all the time and have been playing the "should be" game.  That's where I think of all the things we should be doing with you.  At 5 months, you should be starting to try cereal and start on baby food.  You should be smiling and cooing and interacting with us.  You should be starting to sit up, with help of course.  You should be here with us, stealing your daddy's heart every day and wowwing us with all your accomplishments.  But, you're not here.  And it hurts, more than I ever thought possible.  But, your daddy and I are surviving, a day at a time.  It's really all I'm capable of these days.

Baby girl, I hope that you know how much we love you and miss you.  You will always be my girl, my first child, my little Neon light.  I will always remember you, especially on your birthday.

Happy Birthday Brianna.



Saturday, January 1, 2011

December Wrap-Up

Sorry I haven't been writing much lately.  December was a crazy month and I just wasn't up to blogging about it at the time.  But, I think it's time to summarize everything that happened over the last few weeks, if for no other reason than to just sort out all the emotions that have been stirred up.

So, at the end of November, I started feeling sick.  You know, the kind of sick that might indicate early pregnancy.  So, on 12/2/10, I took a home pregnancy test and surprise, it was positive.  Tim was thrilled.  I was terrified.  It was too soon, I thought.  Brianna hadn't been gone for even four months yet.  We were told to wait at least 6 months before trying again.  And here I was, pregnant again.  Surprise doesn't even begin to describe how we felt.  You see, it took us 2 years of trying to get pregnant with Brianna.  We thought getting pregnant again would take some time.  We never expected to get pregnant after only one (yes, you read that right...ONE) time without any contraception.  But, there it was on the little stick..."pregnant".  And thus began the roller coaster of emotions that was December.

I immediately called my OB for an appointment.  I made a point to stress to the receptionist my history of loss and that I had to see a specific OB.  She understood my feelings and I was squeezed into Dr. E's busy schedule.  So, on 12/16/10, Tim and I met with the doctor.  He was surpised to see us for the reason we were there, but seemed happy for us.  We discussed all kinds of things, from VBAC possibilities to what the next step in the game plan would be.  Because I had only had one period between my c-section recovery and getting pregnant, it was hard to use my cycle as a way to determine gestation and the due date.  So, I was then squeezed into the sonogram schedule.  I was so nervous waiting to see the heartbeat.  And equally relieved once it was there on the screen.  It was determined that I was 8 weeks pregnant and my due date would be 7/27/11.  Tim and I were so happy, even if it was mixed with trepidation and worry.

So, even though it was pretty early, we started telling close friends and family the news.  Everyone seemed really happy for us and wished us the best.  No one said anything remotely bad and were very sensitive to our feelings.  I was worried that telling them so early was a bad idea, but Tim reminded me that these were the same people we would tell if anything bad happened anyway.

The next step was to see the perinatologist that my OB recommended.  He would help me formulate a plan for this pregnancy to try to avoid the infections and pre-term labor that had led to Brianna's death.  So, we met with him on 12/30/10.  First thing was to look at the little one on an ultrasound.  I was terrified going in that there wouldn't be a heartbeat.  And my fears were realized.  No heartbeat.  And the baby and sac were only measuring 8 weeks, and I should have been 10 weeks pregnant.  It was just awful news.  Tim and I cried together, right there in the sonogram room.

After talking with the perinatologist, I was sent to my OB for an immediate appointment.  Since it was pretty apparent that my body still hadn't gotten the message that the baby had died (no spotting, cramps, or other signs of a miscarriage), we decided to just go ahead with a D&C.  I wanted it as soon as possible.  I lucked into a spot at the outpatient surgery place at the hospital for that afternoon.  So, at 4 pm on 12/30/10, I had the D&C and was no longer pregnant.

That's the quick and dirty version of my December.  I am still trying to process all the emotions.  This time is very different than when I lost my Brianna.  I'm mostly just sad and disappointed.  And for whatever reason, it has made me miss Brianna more.  Don't get me wrong, I feel bad that this new baby is gone too.  But, I hadn't really allowed myself to see this pregnancy as a real baby.  I couldn't go there.  I had to protect myself, just in case the awful happened.  And when it did, I was very sad in the loss of the potential baby.  And mostly very disappointed that I had let everyone down, again.

Intellectually, I know it's not my fault.  It's just another very bad luck, sad situation.  But emotionally, I feel that since my body can't keep a baby safe and healthy, it somehow is my fault.  And I felt bad having to tell the friends and family that again, we had lost a baby.  And even though they were all great and supportive, I still had to bear their sorrow and disappointment again.  I basically just feel like a failure right now.  And I hate it.  My whole life, I believed that if I just tried hard enough, I could do anything and achieve my dreams.  And the past few months have shattered that viewpoint.  All I really want is children.  I've tried my hardest, done everything I was supposed to do and I don't have my children.  I've had two pregnancies in the last year and no babies to show for it.  So, that's why I feel like a failure.

I apologize for the rambling of this post.  But I just needed to put the thoughts down to get them out there and clear up my head a little.  If you're still reading, thanks for bearing with me.  I appreciate it.