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When I started this blog, I never ever NEVER would have guessed that one of the subjects I would be writing about is pregnancy loss.
I posted about what happened when it first happened here on my blog. I have posted sweet stories in remembrance of Delaney. I have written micros on Facebook, stories on the Today Parents site and an informational Fetal Demise Delivery article on Pregnant Chicken. To say that this tragedy has been all-consuming inside my head would be an understatement.
And…apparently, I’m not done with writing about it yet.
Oh, how I want to be though, I truly do. I will be the first to admit that I have been known to wallow in my feelings well past due sometimes.
But this won’t go away.
I wish it never happened.
Those of you who have not experienced pregnancy/infant loss just won’t get it completely.
I know… because I was you.
It Becomes You
There is just something about it if it happens to you, it becomes you.
I did not know that.
I had no idea this would stay a part of me like it has. I know with it just being 5 months ago it is still pretty fresh and my emotions are raw and all over the place. Maybe the debilitating emotions will calm down as years go by (please tell me it gets better).
On Monday, March 2, 2020, at 5 a.m. I would have been heading to the hospital to welcome my 3rd child into this world by c-section.
And well…. now I’m not.
As this date is approaching and my body seems to be betraying me (more on that here) and there is no promise of a new life, I’ve come to the realization that I am going to have to face this.
Death and Grief
I have put off grieving properly because I was so consumed with getting my rainbow after the storm. It looks like that may never happen and so I am forced to come to terms with it. The realization of all this seems too much. Every day I am weepy. Everyday tears attempt to creep up as I choke them back. This may be one thing that is just too much to bear. I am so sick of grieving. For over a year now, I am overwhelmed with the deep sadness of not having my grandma anymore and now I have a daughter that has proceeded me in death… seriously! It is not supposed to be like that!
It’s too much.
It’s too sad. It’s too much loss too close together. I have never before in my life had to face death so much as I have in the past year, death has never hit this close to home before.
I think about it way too much.
I think about how permanent it is.
How unfair it is.
How weird it is for a person to be living and have a heartbeat and the next that’s it…it’s over. You can see them physically, but they’re not in there and you can’t get them back! I know I probably sound like a moron right now, and you’re thinking yep, that’s how death goes, duh. But in a split second, in a delicate invisible line that none of us can see, a person crosses over and there is not returning. It’s so final. Nothing prepares you for losing someone no matter what the situation looks like…. nothing. When we lose someone we love, we lose a part of ourselves. –Caleb Wilde, Confessions of a Funeral Director
It’s kind of strange how I came across this book and it is so relevant for me now. I came across one of Caleb’s posts on Facebook and it led me down a rabbit hole. From his Facebook page, I realized he had a website and a book! This was before my grandma died and before I ever started thinking about setting up a blog and writing.
Since my step mother’s sudden death in 2008, I have had so many questions. This was my first time actually helping to “plan” a funeral. While I was there with my dad and step-sister, I watched one of the funeral home workers get off the elevator from the basement. He looked very old. His face was long, and his eyes sunken in with dark circles around them. I played out this whole scenario in my mind of how he was the mortician and he had been doing this job his whole life and it had slowly sucked the life out of him. I mean, I think it was actually pretty true.
Anyway, me being me, and all the deep thoughts and curiosity I always have, plus my love for research (Enneagram 5 here), since then I have been very intrigued and looking for answers surrounding death, or more like how someone could literally “do death” for a living.
So, a few years ago when I came across this book, I knew I had to get my hands on it.
As I do with any book I’ve ever read, I like to mark the parts that stick out to me. As I just pulled it off my bookshelf to reference, here is one of the parts I marked:
“On the way home, I realized that I had begun to find words for death, but they weren’t the kind of words I was expecting. For the first time in a long time, I felt like I was ready to start writing again. Writing has always been the way I process life. It’s been more of a necessary outlet than a creative craft mainly because I’m not a very good talker. I stumble through my sentences like an offbeat drunk meandering down a sidewalk after he has left the bar. Writing has always felt more natural.” –This is SO ME!
“I kept a journal through middle school and wrote and wrote tirelessly about God in high school and through college. But it had taken me a while to find the words for death.
For so long I filled the silence of death with clichés, religious platitudes, and the solemnity one would expect from a funeral director. I needed time to rest in the silence and let it speak to me.
The words we say after the silence aren’t the same words we used before the silence. They aren’t prescriptive words about how everything will be better with time. Nor are they religious platitudes about how God has a plan. No, these words are brave words that come from the inside and flow outward. These words are naked, vulnerable words that aren’t looking for certainty. These words are looking for community. These words are meant to embrace, connect, heal and even laugh.” (p. 149-150 Caleb Wilde, Confessions of a Funeral Director)
This book touched my soul. There are so many other amazing things I marked in this book but obviously I can’t put the whole thing here. It just really spoke to me. And to be honest, it sucks because I don’t see any new stuff from him anymore. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t still wise words to get out of this book.
Apparently, there was a reason I was drawn to it and was meant to have it. Just a couple years later here I am heartbroken, dealing with death and grieving, and finally with a website of my own to express MY words. It is all relatable.
Then vs. Now
While I was in the hospital after the dreaded news of losing Delaney, I just wanted it to all be over.
And then it was. The physical pain was gone but then realization set in and there was all this weirdness. It seems weird to mourn over someone you never met. It seems weird and really wrong giving birth to someone that has no life. It is uncharted territory.
The brain can’t process so it just kind of doesn’t. The emotional pain releases in announced sobbing explosions over every reminder.
Like the registries you didn’t cancel and the samples of formula that come to your door unexpectedly. I felt like the mailman handed me a bomb.
The email updates you forgot you signed up for on every app and website that incessantly reminds you that your due date is approaching.
The pregnancy and birth announcements from your friends on social media, the infants you see when you are out.
When your daughter brings you, a book talking about brothers and sisters and she listens to every word so intently.
This past week every time I look over at the Google Hub, I see all these pictures of Journey when she was a few months old, and then here come the tears again. Next week I would have had that. In a perfect world, (or at least just in a normal world where there aren’t so many miscarriages) I would be looking at a baby girl that looks like her big sister. I could tell Delaney’s mouth and cheeks already looked the same as her sister did when she was a newborn. I see what I could have had, what I was going to have. I have visions of bringing a healthy full-term baby home and doing all the newborn stuff.
Now, with her due date here, I quit envisioning the tragedy and instead I daydream about what was supposed to be. How this week I would hold my daughter and study her in amazement.
BUT what really really gets me, is the daydream I think about when Journey meets her new baby sister Delaney. Watching her eyes light up as she walks into the hospital and sees me holding her new baby sister. The moment I bring her home and she realizes we get to keep her! What would that be like? To have two daughters close in age, resembling each other but with completely different mannerisms? I guess I may never know. It rips my heart to pieces.
I’ve spent way too much time on the internet reading everyone else’s loss stories searching for hope and community. Looking for answers through examples of what others have done and how they cope. But then I feel a fit of rage come over me because there are just too many women dealing with this and it is overwhelming, there really are no answers or perfect insight. Too many people are going through this over and over again. Some are horror stories and I thank God my situation wasn’t worse. Some have hopeful outcomes, either way, most of the time I actually feel a lot worse after submerging myself into the stories.
I want to turn my brain off to the fact that it happened.
Looking back, I realize I have been completely naive. I thought the hard part was over. I thought being induced and going through labor and delivering a lifeless baby was the end. Now I see it is actually the beginning of the grieving process.