Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Hole

No bleeding at all yet, almost no cramps.

J~ is getting better, planning to go back to work on Monday, though he will rush home if I need him. B~ will be around for the weekend, starting tomorrow.

We went to the beach in Rhode Island on Tuesday, J~ and I, walked for miles away from the crowd at Watch Hill toward the crowd at Misquamicut. In between, nothing but wind and sun and the surf's deep breathing, and me, finally, opening my mouth. "As much as I'd like to push myself to be done, I have to admit, I'm not done yet."

"Yeah," he nods. He feels the same.

It is hard for us, at this point, to say, No more, although it seems it would be a relief if we could. I know the chances are not good at this point, taking into consideration my three-in-a-row miscarriages, my age, my unwillingness to hop myself up on supplemental hormones, but how can I stop trying? And yet, how can I possibly bear another loss? So far there are four: four children I have grieved, having never seen a face, never held a one. The only presumably viable life of the lot, the first, ended because I chose to end it. I have to live with that.

And yet, if there was a magic pill to guarantee a healthy child, I'm not sure I could bring myself to take it. It seems like a no-brainer, but it is not. I don't trust that I would be adequately supported, that my love for a baby would outweigh the burden of the work, of putting myself, my own selfish pleasures and pursuits, on the back burner. But this does not reduce the grief. It only twists it. It makes me wonder if somehow, subconsciously, I am influencing the demise of these pregnancies, if I am at fault.

No amount of rational, scientific reason can dissuade me of this fear. It is torturous.

On the day of the final ultrasound, we spent some hours with family who only addressed our bad news in hushed asides. There were children around. It seemed inappropriate to speak openly, or for me to cry. My brother tried to crack jokes, to make me smile. "I don't want to be cheered up," I interrupted, "but you can hug me whenever you want." He puts one arm around me briefly, but that was the end of it. My father insisted on snapping pictures of J~ and I. "Please don't" I said, "I'm not in the mood." "Too late!" he quipped, grinning. "Feel better," he said to me later, in lieu of good bye. My mother reiterated her offer to help, whatever we need. But what do we need? We need love. We need flowers. We need cards. We need condolences. We need room to grieve, witnesses to our grief, sharers in the burden of it. These are not easy things to ask for. Or to receive.

When J~'s neck hurt too much, I was relieved to go home. In the car, we were both sad, surprised at how alone we felt amidst family, that only the women (two of three - the third said nothing at all acknowledging the loss) asked how I felt, though there were in-depth discussions of J~'s surgery and its aftermath.

The phone rings. After too many conversations that made me feel worse, I can no longer bring myself to answer. It is as if this loss is carving a hole into me, exposing a lifetime of hurts. People don't know what to say, so they ask questions. Even the ones who say all the right things are no help. I don't have it in me to make any more reports.

But there is something good about this solitary process. It is a cleansing; it is a purge. For example: In the shower this morning, I found myself thinking of A~, my first husband, who admitted before deciding to marry me, that he feared that such a union would bind him to me for eternity. To him, this was a nightmare. And yet, though even then, I suspected he only did so out of fear of leaving, I felt lucky that he chose to stay.

It hurts that I spent so many years clinging to him, believing I could do no better. I am indignant that my self-esteem was so little nurtured, that I was left vulnerable to this kind of thinking.

Ultimately, I feel good to be shedding all of this old pain, fortified to be angry. I get it now: I deserved better! I always have deserved better. And right now, I deserve better than this motherhood limbo.

And so, I am willing to be opened up emotionally, carved out, emptied, forged into something stronger. Maybe, at the end of all this, I could welcome that magic pill after all, or walk away from it unequivocally, head high.

Eventually, I will answer the phone.

For now, I am here. Where ever that is.

15 comments:

missedconceptions said...

Motherhood limbo is hell. Even when your body heals, you emotions and your mind will continue to stay in that evil, horrid land.

Very few people know what to say when you tell them about miscarriage. I know they don't mean to be cruel and/or awkward, but I just could not bear the company of people who didn't understand for weeks after both miscarriages. Not talking about it does not make it go away.

Have you read "Coming to Term?" He talks about recurrent miscarriage statistics, and they are not as bad as you might think. I also have "Avoiding Miscarriage," which also has good, up-to-date information about recurrent miscarriage.

Sheridan said...

The best thing anybody ever said to me after my first miscarriage was "That just really sucks!" - and maybe it was just the way she said it, but I knew that she wasn't even trying to make me feel better or give advice or prove to me that she could feel my pain... Grief and sympathy and caretaking and support are all mixed up together, but they are each their own thing and it's not easy to sort out your own feelings from someone else's best intentions. That said, I offer my sympathy and my heartfelt understanding that miscarriages within the context of infertility struggles are about the death of so much more than that one embryo. I'm so sorry for your loss, and if the best wishes of internet strangers count for anything, please know you have mine.

Your writing is very honest and direct, and even when you write about anger there is a contemplative quality to it that leads me to believe you will be able to make the right decisions about all this. (And, for what it's worth, I think those qualities would also make for very good parenting.)

Anonymous said...

Most people don't understand and some even diminish the kind of loss a miscarriage is.

When I was going through a similar loss, I read this bit of poetry on the NYC subway, and it spoke to me in some way. I don't know who the poet is. "In secret we met/in silence I grieve/that thy heart could forget/thy spirit deceive/if I should meet thee/after long years/how should I greet thee/with silence and tears."

I also read something that described watching a single beautiful leaf fall from a tree, unwitnessed by so many others.

It is a loss that leaves a hole in you. Having jumped on the roller coaster of trying to have a child, there were many, many times I just wanted to make it all stop, but emotionally there was no way to do that. I think ambivalence is part of the journey.

I wish you some comfort in your grief and am so sorry for your loss.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for your loss! I know how you can imagine a lifetime in just a few short weeks. And I know how much it hurts to have it all disappear in an instant.

But, I am going to be blunt- which I admit is unfair since you don't know me- but flowers, condolences, cards, etc are not going to make you feel any better. Honestly, I speak from experience. Yeah, they mean somebody acknowledged your loss, but really they don't make you feel any better. Your family meant well. They didn't know what to say. If they had all hugged you all day long that would have felt good in the moment, but in the end it would have still been you and J~ holding each other while you cry. I think miscarriages are like wedding anniversaries- only meaningful to the two people involved. I hope you understand what I mean and that I have not been hurtful- that was never my intent.

I know you have heard this before, but time does heal all wounds. You and J~ will find a way to memorialize that tiny life (or not, if you prefer- no pressure). You won't forget, but you will go on and you will thrive- be it with children other than B~ or without.

Good luck! I wish you clear vision as you face the life that lies a head.

Meg said...

Amy,

This is for you:

http://diaryofmydivorce.blogspot.com/2007/08/today-i-was-reading-blog.html#comments

Patty said...

I can't tell you how proud of you I am, that you are fighting so hard to find your way to peace, not yet knowing what the final definition of peace will be.

Dee said...

Amy, I'm so sad to read your last post. As some of the others have said, I don't think your family knew what to say. What CAN you say, that makes any sort of difference ? Nothing at all. I've witnessed a miscarriage not long ago, and I just went to the hospital, stayed by her bed and held her for a while, then her husband. There is nothing more you can do or say. I wish you peace and happiness in whatever is ahead on the road before you. Babies or not.

Jaded said...

I am so sorry to read of your losses. We don't know each other, but I wandered over here from Meg's blog. You, your husband and your babies will be in my prayers.

I have been in your shoes. I won't detail it here, but if you want to know, you can read a previous entry in my blog:

http://jadedandopinionated.blogspot.com/2006/09/911.html

People are so reluctant to understand that we didn't lose a thing, we lost a child, or children as is the case of both of us. We have the same hopes and dreams for our child as any woman has, especially because we tried so hard to get pregnant in the first place. We loved those children no less than we would have had they been born. We lost children, and that needs to be mourned fully and properly. One person suggested that my blighted ovums - twins - was a symbolic death so I could get over it more quickly. There was nothing symbolic about it, they were deaths, period.

I did eventually have a child when I was 36. She's now 5. We weren't able to have more children after she was born, and I wasn't about to get greedy. She's healthy, but she does have a disability. She has something called apraxia, which basically means that while she understands everything you say to her, her brain doesn't communicate with her oral/motor muscles effectively, so forming speech is difficult. She has made enormous progress, but she's still difficult to understand. She supplements her speech with Sign Language, which is helpful. We've had to fight for her to get the things she needs from the school district.

No, she isn't perfect, and so what? The love you have for your child does outweigh the burden of the work. It's never occured to me that it IS work, only that it's what my child needs. As a parent, you do what needs to be done for your child, period. You know how much you loved the children who weren't born. The love only gets stronger. As impossible as it seems that you could love anything as much as you love the child you're carrying, the love and the bond get stronger with every passing day.

I still mourn the loss of my other children, but the pain subsides. This summer was the first in years that I didn't have to be alone on the anniversary dates - the twins on 6/21/99 and my first on 7/19/98. I still wonder who they might have been, and what they might have looked like, but it doesn't consume me with grief like it once did.

I guess I'll stop rambling here. There are so many things I could say, because I've been where you are. While it helped me to know that there were others who understood what I was feeling, it didn't help ease the pain. Don't cling too tightly to the past because you need a clear head for the future. And it's not your fault...you didn't cause yourself to lose these babies. It's not your fault.

Anonymous said...

You are handling limbo very well, with the best possible attitude under the circumstances. Your openness to experiencing your feelings as they come and as they are naturally is admirable.

Hang in there. This sucks, I know. You have my condolences for your loss.

-Been There, Done That

Limerick Gal said...

I've been following your blog & hoping and praying for the best for you. I'm sorry that you're going through this again - I wish nothing but the best for you.

megan said...

i'm just so sorry you are going through this again. wishing you peace.

elle said...

My whole heart goes out to you and J right now. All of it, every single bit. I wish I could send it through the internet to you and have it transform upon arrival into a hug or flowers or something comforting that you could truly feel. But all I can give you are these words. I know I don't know you beyond reading your words, but my heart is breaking for you and I hope time will bring you some measure of calm or peace. Take care!

teri said...

I am having a D & C on tues for I don't remember but the no fetus but a bag is what the doc said , any advice? I don't think I can go put up with much more everyone around me is pregnant

Amy said...

Teri,

I am sorry to hear about your struggles. I'm not sure what advice could be useful to you. Are you looking for second opinions about the D & C? Advice for dealing with the emotional burden? About the D & C, it sounds like it might be useful for you to fully understand why you're doing it. It might not be necessary, though you may prefer to "get things over with." Many do. About the emotional stuff, I know how hard it is to ask, I"m no prime example, but are there people in your life (even the pregnant ones) whom you can admit how you are feeling? They might be more understanding, and supportive, than you think. It does help to have people around you who can listen and hear and understand how you are feeling.

Feel free to write in again here, tell us all about it. If you get this message in time, good luck with Tuesday. I hope it all goes smoothly.

best wishes~

Anonymous said...

So much change in your life in such a short period of time. You do deserve better. I'm glad you really know that.
You don't know what you need right now or how to respond - - just as your family doesn't know how to make you feel better.

Sadness takes its toll.

The grieving process promises to take more time. This painful process will also bring you to a place where you can find peace.

Please know that people really do care about you and your loss.