Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Please Hear Me With Love

Today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.  I can only wish the same miracle that made the Virgin Mary pregnant could make me healthily pregnant once again, like I was just three weeks ago.  Sadly though, I've sort of heeded Lenny Kravitz when he sang 'It Ain't Over 'Till It's Over' and decided it's all over.  I decided to have my D&C (dilation and curettage) yesterday, December 7, 2010 and have some closure...somehow.

I wanted it because up until yesterday prior to the procedure, I still hadn't bled.  I had them perform another ultrasound on Monday, December 6, just for my peace of mind and again, I saw my baby in my womb, devoid of any heartbeat.  I no longer wanted to wait for my body to naturally expel my child and thought that ultimately, a D&C would be the best route so I went through it.  I did not break down or anything like that despite the fact that every single nurse I spoke to had to say sorry to me and tried to console me in their own caring ways.  I thought I was going to break down when, as I was being wheeled out of the hospital, I had to be taken through the hallway where the hospital's 'wall of baby footprints' was hanging, displaying the countless babies they've delivered.  This time around, as I left this hospital, there was no beautiful infant in my arms.  The only things I was bringing home with me were my hospital band and the physical pain from the procedure.  Empty arms.  Empty womb.

Things still don't make much sense to me.  I don't think they ever will or at least not anytime soon.  And while I really am appreciative of people's expression of their sympathy and completely understand that they are well-meaning, there are things that seem to make the pain and confusion even worse.  Again, I know that some are only doing their best to console me, comfort me, and I recognize that and am grateful.  However, please don't wonder if I don't respond politely or appropriately to some of the more common things we tend to say to people who are grieving.  

For instance, I do know that my missed abortion/miscarriage is 'nature's way' of taking care of something that would not have survived in the long run.  But that does not take away my pain and sense of inadequacy as a mother in failing to sustain my child, a child who was supposed to live a long, healthy and happy life, longer than mine.  It doesn't keep me from hating my own body for being 'defective', 'abnormal', 'incapable'.  

Then I've been told it's 'God's plan'.  This only makes me picture a God who is capable of such cruelty as to bring me this much pain and anger.  Why did this God make my IVF procedure successful?  Why did this God give me a positive pregnancy and even allowed me to hope, only to take everything away?  Did He change His mind?  Did He think it was entertaining?  Why did He not just make the whole procedure fail since the beginning?  It would have saved us all much trouble, much pain if He truly 'planned this out' pretty well.  Did I do anything disappointing to Him that he suddenly decided to punish me and my unborn child?  

So you see, I'm in a very tight predicament here.  Taking the 'nature's way' route makes everything seem so random and meaningless to me.  While taking the 'God's plan' route makes me think of a cruel God who knows what He's doing and yet still decided to thrust me into the depths of suffering without any explanation, no revelation whatsoever.  Where should I stand?  You tell me.

I've also heard 'It's all for the best'.  Really???  If you were in my place, grieving, feeling like someone bore a hole in your chest and crushed your heart mercilessly, would you be able to have this perspective and make sense of it?  If your own child died, would you readily accept that it was 'for the best'?  Please don't think that these words bring me comfort because in grief, one can only have the short-sightedness brought about by the unending flooding of tears.  

Though there is some consolation in telling me that I now 'have an angel in Heaven watching over me', the truth remains that I was not praying for an angel.  What I wanted so desperately was a child to hold, love, nurture until my dying days and beyond.  In this circumstance, it won't make sense either to tell me that I was given something I had hoped for, instead of something I had wanted and asked for.  This is not the time to make me imagine a God who thinks for me, never listens and misinterprets humans' desires.

When I was first informed of my baby's death, yes, my initial reaction and rationalization was, 'It's okay, at least I already have one'.  But now that the reality of it has truly sunk, the truth of the matter is that having Noah does not make the pain of losing my second child any less.  They are two separate people and I want them both.  I would not have gone through all that I've gone through had I felt that this pregnancy was only a whim or something unnecessary.  I was planning for TWO and no matter how we look at it, we ended up with less, the objective was not met, a dream left unrealized.  That is the only point.  That is the reality.  That is my grief.  

Truly, saying 'I'm sorry', 'I'll be praying for you and your baby', 'I'm here when you need me' are more than enough.  Anyone who has lost a loved one and grieved knows how powerful those words are.  I'm also TRULY appreciative of women (and men) who have shared their own stories with me;  hopeful parents who have gone through a similar experience and though they did not owe it to me to share their lingering pain, they chose to in order to somehow affirm to me that indeed, I am not alone.  That helps tremendously.  Thank You.

Pardon me though if I behave oddly towards certain things common people deem ordinary. These days, I find myself turning away from parents holding two or more children.  Pardon me too if I seem to stare with much envy at your older toddler playing with your younger baby at the grocery store, library, mall, restaurant, doctor's office, church or wherever.  The pangs of desire are still to raw for me to control at times.  Please try to understand if in the months to come, I'm not able to look at baby clothes, toys, diapers or baby furniture.  Most of all, I apologize in advance if I seem less than eager to celebrate with you as your new baby arrives.  Trust that I am happy for you and wishing you the best with all my heart (or what's left of it).  But if I seem lukewarm in my reactions and wishes, just excuse my behaviour and know that I'm still in the process of healing myself.

It will take a while and probably longer than I expected.  Some of you might say 'But it wasn't even a real baby yet, so why do you grieve so much?'  It's because it was real.  It was alive.  It was our flesh and blood.  I had seen his/her cells divide, his/heart beating.  I'm also grieving not only for a very young life taken so prematurely, but also for the loss of a future I've so lovingly imagined.  I've seen my baby walking around the house.  I've heard his/her voice, saw his/her round, bald head, touched his/her toes in my mind.  I've seen him/her walking hand in hand with my Noah, seen them playing together, thinking how much this one looks more like me and how beautiful my children are.  I've thought about summer birthday parties and thought we should start improving the appearance of our backyard so I can host my kiddie parties there in July.  I've thought of how much Noah would enjoy his sibling's parties, running around in the summer heat, enjoying perhaps a circus theme or splashing water in various inflatable pools in our backyard.  

There will be no need for any nesting now, even though I've already made space for this child in Noah's existing dresser.  I've imagined which bunk bed to get for my two children in the years to come.  I've thought about where to position the crib this time around and how to rearrange the house.  And now this imagined, deeply-hoped-for world has died.  

I cannot even bear to look at myself in the mirror these days and cannot bear to see and touch my belly.  I had gotten so used to rubbing it lovingly and even talking to it occasionally but now what?...There is nothing in there, no life, no anticipating its growth and full roundedness, no caring for it, no adoring it....nothing.  

So you see, so much has been taken away from me.  It's not just a clump of tissue I never spoke to or even held.  It's an entire life I had so clearly envisioned, hoped and prayed for, a loving dream I was made to taste only to be woken up and thrust into a never-ending nightmare.

Now I'll always just wonder about that second one, my lost child.  Anyone who's gone through it understands....understands that the pain lingers on and on, though the passing years may dull it eventually.  Anyone who's gone through it knows that it's nothing you just 'snap out of' or 'get over'.  Anyone who's gone through it knows that you never ever forget.

*Image courtesy of,5958&um=1&itbs=1&iact=hc&vpx=633&vpy=224&dur=34&hovh=248&hovw=203&tx=99&ty=103&ei=jqz_TMO-F6DtnQfem83kCQ&oei=eKz_TNvvLtT_nAeexJinBw&esq=11&page=11&ndsp=28&ved=1t:429,r:10,s:289&biw=1280&bih=711


  1. I ache for you as only a mother who's lost not one, but two "angels" would.

    Yes, time will dull the pain but, I would be honest with you, I still find myself cry unabashedly when I remember who I've lost and what (& who) could have been.

    I actually deluded myself in thinking I'm over it. However, you never really get over "it" could you? You have indeed lost a part of you, forever.

    No, I am not posting this to make you feel worse. I am just affirming everything you've written.

    Yes, you will grieve but, you will also move on. The memories of both the joy of conception and the pain of the loss will always be with you but, you will manage in your own way.

    Go ahead and mourn. You have reason to. Be upset, be mad. You have the right to. Do what you have to do to heal yourself and your family. You owe it to yourself (and AJ & Noah).

    But do believe when I say, I feel for you. I know what you are going through. And I am truly sorry that you have to experience such loss.

    I am here, whenever you need a "kindred" more ways than one.

  2. Your words are so touching and you did such a good job of identifying people's well meaning comments. When my husband died, I got similar statements and although I knew that people don't know what to say, I really wanted to tell them of the damage their words do. But I didn't. They have our best interest at heart. But it still hurts.

  3. I am crying because some parts you wrote are exactly how I feel. Like thinking about where to put the baby's things, seeing a baby playing with my DD...but unfortunately I still don't have another little one yet. And it does break my heart every month that comes and - nothing. I will stop here but will cry with you. And yes the pain will lessen and you will be happy again.

  4. Just read this in your archives. I am so sorry for your loss. I know that time makes the pain less immediate, less raw, but no less a loss. God bless you and your family.

  5. Thank you for your message Suzanne. I am touched.

  6. Oh Joy I had no idea. So so sorry for your loss. Thinking of you, particularly as we try for our second baby...

  7. @TV: Thank you. I've gotten better (on most days) and the healing continues. I wish you the best on your 'project'!

  8. Joy,

    This is one of the most moving, human things I have ever read. It literally brought tears to my eyes. Pictures went through my mind as I read it.

    I can't say much, and I obviously can't say anything to take away your pain.

    Reading this made me think of my first cousin, who had two miscarriages before she finally was able to have her first child. She named that child, a little girl, SHAINA, which is Hebrew for "beautiful."

    All I can do is wish that the passage of time will dull your pain, and that the presence of Noah, rather than being a reminder of what might have been, will be a continuing source of joy and pride for you and your husband for many years to come.

    My son is 41 years old, and he has grown into a fine man, someone who my wife and I are very proud of. May it be so for Noah.

    And may you one day achieve your dream.

  9. Thank you Mike. The pain has definitely turned more dull but I know it's there. Everyday is a challenge to focus on the positive.


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