Losing a baby to miscarriage or stillbirth hurts like hell but know you are never grieving alone
I was 21 years old when I gave birth to my stillborn son Jacob. While my friends were out clubbing, I was home grieving. I grew up much faster than I wanted to in a way that I would not wish on anyone. Ever. It was 16 years ago. At that time in a smallish college town, the nursing staff didn't quite know how to handle me or what exactly to say. The extent of "reaching out" was giving me a pamphlet to read "when I felt up to it" and was ready. The first words out of my nurse's mouth when I delivered were, "Oh my goodness! He is so small. Are you sure you want to really see him?" She said it with horror in her voice.
Here I am 21 years old, my first baby and knowing not one soul who had ever gone through this before. My answer was "No. That's okay. Just take him." And I never saw my son. I regret it to this day. I don't blame the nurse for her ignorance as much as I blame the staff for not preparing the nurses better for situations like that. I had to beg them to move me off of the maternity floor seeing as my room was directly across from the nursery. I guess it was a different time. I hope things have changed and no one ever has to go through that kind of treatment when they lose a baby.
When I had a miscarriage later, I never really told anyone. I knew how I would be treated then. It was more painful to share than stay quiet then.
Today, there are amazing resources to help a Mom go through such a horrible time. Support groups. Online groups. Blogs. Friends you have met through blogging. You can say what you need to and find love and support. I wish I had that 16 years ago.
This week, I am so sad that two of my favorite bloggers have suffered such losses. Miscarriages. My heart breaks for them. And as alone as I know they feel, I can also see the out pouring of love for these women.
When I read that Alice of Finslippy suffered a miscarriage I sobbed for her. I felt the words she wrote with such a sharp pain I wanted nothing more than to reach through the computer and hug her tightly. It wouldn't change a thing but sometimes just knowing you are not alone helps.
Everything that follows is a blur. I believe the first thought I had
was, "And now I shall have a margarita." It was the best thing I could
think to stop myself from losing all control, but I couldn't stop it,
of course, and soon I was weeping so loudly that I imagined the office
staff ushering all the pregnant women out of the building. Nothing to see here, ladies! No bad news around here! Who's for ice cream?
The doctor left me alone so I could call Scott, and arrange for someone
to pick up Henry, there was no way I could pick him up from school in
my current state. The call to Scott was the worst call I ever had to
make. I kept repeating what the doctor had said. I'm so sorry, I'm so
sorry. Because if I could feel bad for him, if I could concentrate on
him and all he had lost, I didn't have to think about what was inside
me at that moment.
Her words took me back to a time when my heart was shattered. (Though I actually hit the nurse who tried to comfort me. Anything to not focus on what was happening inside me.) Losing a baby is a club I don't ever want to have new members join. Ever.
Just over a week ago I rejoiced over at Sarcastic Mom as she shared the news that her family of three was becoming a family of four. I adore her. She brings humor to just about everything. Then just nine days later she shared that she had a miscarriage. She has written some hearbreaking yet beautiful entries about this loss. You really should read her words. They take you on her sad journey. For those of you who have no idea what it is like, she helps you to understand. For those of us who have been there, we cry with her and know the agony.
Twenty-four hours later yet, I was standing in my kitchen, having not received the test results yet, speaking to my (empty) uterus with fractured, clinging hope.
“Are you still in there? Is it possible? I love you. Please fight; please hold on, little baby.”
That night, I fell asleep while I repeated the same thing over and over again in my head.
“God, please let my baby live. God, please let my baby live. God, please….”
I have tried to make that same bargain with God in her position. I have lost it, too. Again, I sobbed with a fellow Mom whose heart was shattered over the loss of her baby.
I know there is nothing I can say or do to make it better. Nothing I can say or do to help either of them feel "okay" right now. What I am thankful for for them is the community that is rallying around them. The people who are sending their love and thoughts their way. Because? No matter how many people you have around you, you feel alone and lost. Yet, when you see so many people sending you love, it does help in some way to at least know people care and your baby is not someone people will forget about or dismiss.
A new website was started this week. It's called Glow In The Woods. From their about page:
For mamas of still babies, tiny babies, lost potential of all kinds.
In the beginning you stagger, disoriented, through this storm.
want to be a glow through the trees, a golden refuge of log and glass.
Stumble up the steps, shake off the snow and the crust and the
stiffness, cross the threshold to be encircled by figures welcoming,
nodding, easing you to a roaring fire and piping hot tea and wine and
whoopie pies and whatever else warms you from the inside out.
into a battered old sofa, tuck your feet under your legs, a woodsmokey
quilt around your shoulders, fingers wrapped around a hot mug,
and be with us.
of us, only half-joking, said this will be a place where us medusas can
take off our hats, none minding the sight of all the snakes. Because
not only can we bear the sight of each other—we crave it.
Babylost mamas, this place is yours.
A place where you are not alone. That is priceless when you feel so alone. It is written by six women. Six women who have been through this. It is not your typical group blog. Every few months the six of them will come up with an faq of sorts, a
vanity fair-inspired inventory of darkness and light on this healing
journey. They ask questions. You can post them on your blog and answer them. But the best thing? It is a place where you can be understood. That is good. That is very good.
If you have lost a baby, please know this. You will never be alone-- even if you feel like you are. Sadly, there are many among us who are more than willing to hold your hand, hug you or just support you from afar.
For those women who have been through the loss of a baby--through
miscarriage, still birth, any kind of loss, I am sorry. I will always
cry with you. I will always listen to you. I will remember with you.