Thursday, September 1, 2011

Loss

Yesterday marked the first day of my 14th week of pregnancy! Every week that passes brings me closer to the ultimate prize..my sweet baby. But, this week also marks the critical point in my pregnancy that I've been dreading since I found out I was pregnant. In March, I was 17 weeks pregnant, and at work when I noticed some light spotting. Nothing bright red or alarming, but still worth looking into. Since I'm a nurse, it was very easy and almost routine for me to hike down to the OB floor and get a "just in case" doppler to make sure everything was still fine. Well, it wasn't. The nurse, with a worried look on her face, said in a upbeat voice, that was a little shakey, she was going to call the resident in and have her do a ultrasound. Cue panic. I mentioned I'm a nurse, so I knew without a doubt that my baby was gone. Maybe it was just a feeling. So the doctor came in and did an ultrasound, and found that indeed, there was no heartbeat. To further torture me, she insisted we go to the actual sonographer to get a "professional" opinion. Really?? You're going to make me sit through that again? Okay, by this time I was in full freaking out mode. I reached my husband, who also works at the hospital, fetal demise. WOW! Whoever said sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me, has never heard those words spoken to them. Turns out our baby has stopped growing at 14 weeks, and it took 3 weeks for the bleeding to give me an indication something was wrong. We were scheduled to find out the gender in less than a week. We'll never know if our baby was a boy or girl. Atleast not in this life. We have an angel waiting for us in heaven now and I can't wait to meet face to face. I'll never know the reason for my miscarriage, but I do know that I trust God's plan for me and my family. Now, luckily, I'm pregnant again and teetering on the edge of sanity. If we can make it through the next couple of weeks, I think I'll relax a bit. Maybe.
My friend, Amy, gave me this link that I thought summed up some of my own feelings on this matter. Hope you enjoy it..I did. Thanks, Amy!

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August 19, 2011
Ken Harbaugh is a former Navy pilot and an NPR commentator.


It has been three months since the miscarriage. We weren't far along, still in the first trimester, so only our closest friends knew we were expecting.

Annmarie, my wife, is fine. At least, her body is fine. There is something broken in both of us, though.

My wife and I have every reason to be grateful. The miscarriage happened early on. Annmarie was never in danger. We have two beautiful girls already. If we want, we can still have more. But the whole experience left us wondering how one deals with a tragedy that happens quietly at home.

A few weeks before we lost the baby, my wife's grandfather died. His funeral, like any other, was solemn. But also beautiful. Everyone came — all 10 kids, from across the country. Distant relatives, co-workers, people from church stopped by to pay their respects. They mourned alongside the family. We buried Grandpa Kel that afternoon, and woke the next morning with the memory of a beautiful send-off.

There is a reason that such ceremonies exist. Who knows if it meant anything to Grandpa, lying in his coffin, but it meant a lot to everyone else. I gave him my gold Navy wings, pinned to an American flag laid on his chest. He was the only other Navy pilot in the family, and I felt the need to solemnize that connection. Others said goodbye in their own way. Some talked to him, some knelt for a while by his side. Most important, we all said farewell together.


Courtesy of Ken Harbaugh
Ken Harbaugh lives near Cleveland. He is currently finishing his first novel.

A miscarriage is tragic enough by itself. What makes it worse is the fact that no social custom has evolved to help us through the loss. There is no ceremony, no coming together, no ritualized support. Annmarie and I suffered alone, in silence. Most of our friends had no idea we were grieving. It took me two weeks to tell my own mom.

And it's not as if life stopped, or even slowed down to allow us a moment to reflect. We had jobs to get to, kids to take care of. Real sadness seemed an indulgence we could not afford.

In the months since, I have learned something about this kind of grief. It is not a luxury, but an essential part of healing. So this weekend, after the kids are in bed, Annmarie and I will do something that may seem a little crazy. We will head into the garden with a bulb we've been saving. We will bury it, say a few words, and hold each other. We will finally have our ceremony.

I suspect that watching the first green shoot push up through the earth will hurt. Every time we see it, we will be reminded of what happened to us. But that's alright. Grief cannot be buried forever. With enough time, and a little sunlight, it might just transform itself into something that aches a little less.

4 Comments:

Blogger Kaci said...

I've been thinking of you during these last few weeks. Miscarriage is a horrible thing and no one ever really thinks of it as a tradgedy. Just because you never hold that baby or see it, etc. it's still very real, life was growing inside of you. Sigh, I love you!

September 1, 2011 at 6:40 PM  
Blogger RedusRN said...

thanks, kace, i love you too.

September 1, 2011 at 8:13 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Congrats on your pregnancy! It's so hard to go through such loss. I agree with what Ken said about pain transforming, it doesn't go away, but it transforms. It's weird, but sometimes I'm jealous of women who lost their little ones later on, and that they had a baby to hold and bury, to me my loss seems insignificant compared to theirs. I know that's not true, and I'm sure my pain would be magnified if I lost an infant at birth. When I was younger if someone I knew mentioned they had a miscarriage or were having trouble getting pregnant I felt like they were broken or something was wrong with them because it was so taboo to me (and seemed like a rarity), it just wasn't talked about. I hate that about miscarriage and infertility - I plan to talk openly to my son about my loss when he is old enough. It's SO common. I'm glad things are going well for you, sending love your way!

September 7, 2011 at 11:35 AM  
Blogger RedusRN said...

I totally agree, Michelle! Miscarriage is just not something you can relate to AT ALL unless you have simply been there. I'm a nurse, so I spend my days trying to relate to others, but this is one time when you can't put your feet in someone's shoes. My problem was that after a week or two, life went on, and everyone just kinda assumed I was okay since it wasn't the main topic of dicussion. Inside I was dying. Thank you for being so open and honest about your struggles. I know you are helping people through your blog! Sending love right back at ya!

September 7, 2011 at 4:46 PM  

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