WARNING: THIS POST INVOLVES THE LOSS OF A CHILD. IF THIS UPSETS OR TRIGGERS YOU, PLEASE DON’T READ.
Have you ever had one of those headaches that creeps slowly down your neck, makes its way to your face, and then mercilessly attacks your teeth and your eyes? I hate those friggen things. Every day feels like that lately; literally and figuratively.
When I was at the ripe old age of 21 I was diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome). A doctor with disgustingly horrible bedside manner told me I’d never get pregnant and if I ever did conceive, I’d lose it. This was devastating to me. Not that I even wanted children, but try to tell me I can’t do something – I’m an Aries, dude. Bring it on. Not that we were trying, but at 24 I got pregnant with my son naturally. It was equally exciting and terrifying. That awful man’s words swam around my head like an olympic sport. I was going to lose him. I saw a high risk doctor throughout my pregnancy. I saw every kind of specialist, did blood thinning needles, got iron infusions – the whole 9. I was due on 12/24 and on 12/10 my doctor told me I was having him the next morning. My anxiety was through the roof, especially with spinal anesthesia leaving me feeling paralyzed. He was here and healthy. What more could I want? But those words, “you’re going to lose it”, haunted me even after my perfectly healthy baby was right there in front of me. I completely detatched. I couldn’t get close to him to lose him. When he was a few weeks old, I checked myself into the hosptial. I couldn’t stand the thoughts anymore; killing myself to keep him safe, paranoid I was doing something, anything that could hurt him. I spent 10 days in a psych ward and was diagnosed with postpartum OCD and anxiety. Shocker. I already suffer from those things, now they’re just a whole lot worse. But with medication and time, I bounced back.
This May, 4.5 years after my son, I found out I was expecting again. I cried such happy tears. I always considered J to be my miracle baby; my one and only. But now here I am, pregnant again. Back to the high risk doctor, back to the needles. Oh well; I had to keep my baby safe. We found out we were having a little girl. J was so pumped to get a little sister. He’d ask if she was kicking (she was, just not strong enough for anyone but me to feel) and he’d kiss my belly and say “hi baby!” We read her stories and talked to her often. 3 weeks ago, I was 17 weeks pregnant. I rolled out of bed at 5:50 am to a gush of fluid running down my legs. The ER tried to tell me I had a UTI and must have PISSED MYSELF. No. I informed them that I have been out of diapers a very long time and didn’t wet the bed. Tests later, we learned that my water had broken. No one knows why. But she had no fluid around her and we had to deliver her. It wasn’t a “viable pregnancy” so I had to have a “medically induced abortion”.
What people don’t understand is that she was still there; I felt her moving. Even after they began the induction, I felt her fluttering around. About 6 hours passed when I tried to tell the nurse that she had dropped into my birth canal and I felt like I may have to push. “Ok, we’ll call the doctor when it’s time”. My body took over. Her head came out of me and I called for the nurse to inform her she was coming. She looked under the blanket and called for the doctor STAT. The nurse, doctor, and resident stood feet away from the left side of my bed huddled in a group talking amongst themselves. Again, my body took over and pushed my daughter out entirely. I said, “she’s here” and no one even turned to look at me. The fourth time I said it, the doctor finally turned to me and impatiently said “ok”, as if to say “yeah, we heard you already.” A few minutes later the resident and the doctor were on either side of me and the Dr. was explaining to the resident never to pull on the placenta (about 7 times) and had me push to deliver it. Because, clearly, my traumatic and tragic experience was a teachable fucking moment for the resident, right? I know she has to learn; teach her on someone fortunate enough to bring their baby home and not just a memory box.
We got to hold her hours later when we were ready. She weighed 5 ounces and was so, so tiny. All we could do was tell her how loved she was and kiss her.
People don’t understand the extent of my mourning. My body failed her. I know that things happen for a reason, but why give her to me to rip her away in such a cruel fashion? I resent the staff for letting her fall out of me despite me telling them it was time. I hate that my paperwork says “abortion” even though it’s medically accurate. My daughter was taken from me. I won’t know her laugh or smile, her hair or eye color, her personality, her interests. I mourn the life we won’t have together. I hate myself for losing her even though I know I did nothing wrong.
The only thing that makes me forget for a while is working. I have to be “on” at work. But when I go home, all bets are off. I lie down and just cry. For reasons in this post and for reasons I’ll keep to myself for now. I know my son and husband need me. But I left a piece of my heart in the hospital that day and I’m clueless as to how to repair it.
Therapy is on Friday. I’m hoping it helps.
Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night. I miss you like hell. – Edna St. Vincent Millay