I can't concentrate today. I keep having little sad thoughts dropping into my head. Not "I'm about to break down in a weepy mess" sort of thoughts, just little pangs of sadness. As much as anything, I'm missing being pregnant today. I think this is the first day that I have missed being pregnant rather than just grieved for the loss of the little baby I would have carried in my arms next May. Today I grieve the loss of the 'here and now' that should have been my ongoing pregnancy.
I should have been 10w4d today. My m/s should be getting to it's worst point. Usually around 11w is where it starts becoming totally debilitating. I should be at work lurching from one bathroom to the next and sipping on mushroom soup or nibbling on plain mashed potato. I miss carrying around my little secret. Having quiet little chats with DH about next summer when we would have been juggling three LOs. Thinking of nice ways to tell family; how we would explain to DD and DS, imagining them interacting with their new little brother or sister. Most of all, I miss being part of that sisterhood of pregnant mummies. Particularly the little gang of us on DS's birth board. My BFP seemed to trigger a mini-rush of BFPs - two ladies in particular that I have known for the longest time on that board as well as the others whom I have come to know and love. I was so pleased and excited that we would all be going through pregnancy together again and having our little bundles together next May. I miss being a member of that particular gang. It hurts to see their tickers counting up. Don't get me wrong, I am beyond pleased for them. That old bitterness and jealousy just doesn't seem to be there when it comes to these ladies. Maybe it is because I have children myself now and I no long fear that 'never being a 'proper' mummy' label or maybe it's just because I know these ladies so well. We have helped each other along in the past 2+ years; celebrated each others' joys and consoled each other in harder times. I know that each of these ladies deserve their happy pregnancies and I wish nothing but positive things for them. It still just hurts a little, deep down in my core, thinking "that should be me too".
Ugh. Today I am miserable on a whole other level. DH works for the university and their students have all come back last week from the far-flung corners of the world bringing their bugs. It happens every year, I just hadn't realised the timing. DH and the kids have been a little snotty, but I have full-blown "Fresher's 'flu". Everything in my head is swollen and sore - head, throat ears - and I ache everywhere that it is even remotely possible to ache. My muscles, joints, even in my bones. It was a bit scary last night because all I had was the aching and a fever of 38.5C despite ibuprofen. I was worried that I might have endometritis. At least the sore ears and throat this morning have reassured me on that count. I do feel ROUGH though!
Today is my last day in my sheltered coccoon. Tomorrow it's the weekend - family days as DD calls them - Monday is a 'Mummy Day' and then Tuesday, the dreaded work day. I hope it will go ok. I'm nervous about Tuesday morning. I have clinic with my supervising Attending and he is not known for his tact. In fact, he makes a point of rubbing people up the wrong way for fun. I'm just afraid he will brush over what has happened or say the wrong thing and I will end up in tears in the middle of clinic. He was surprisingly compassionate though a few weeks ago when DH's aunt died and I took time off to attend her funeral, so for now, I'm hoping for the best. My work week will be a bit odd. I am co-facilitating a symposium on Grief and Bereavement on Thursday - great timing! The other co-facilitators do know what has happened though and they have both sent me really supportive emails so I'm hoping that will go well. Friday I am down to be on-call for the EPU. In a way I think that won't be such a bad day. They have doubled me up with someone else which is good, the nurses on there are utterly fantastic and I'm sure they will be supportive. Plus, I was supposed to have been on-call for the L&D suite. I am grateful to have a colleague with sufficient consideration to have changed things around for me. It will be ok. I will get through, but I do dread it.
I think I also just need to be shaken out of this reverie. I realised with horror yesterday that I had worn the same shirt, day and night, for 36 hours. This morning I put on a jumper stained with blood along the arms from when I was bleeding very heavily during the miscarriage. I need to wake up and start taking care of myself and not just drift around like a zombie. Maybe getting back to work is the kick in the backside that I need.
I read an excellent article this morning on the Miscarriage Association website about talking to your children about miscarriage. It's something I have struggled with in my head this time around. Wasn't an issue the previous times. DH thinks they are too young and there's no point upsetting them. Part of me does feel that way too. After all, we just want to protect our children and stop them from feeling pain. We hadn't told them I was pregnant either, so there is a 'get out of jail free card' there as we could just say nothing and go on as usual. Only trouble is, we can't go on as usual. Each baby angel has changed who we are as people. The kids were around when I miscarried, they know I've not been well and because they both follow me to the loo at every visit, DD in particular, knows that I am bleeding still. She asked me the other day if my tummy was still poorly because I was still bleeding. They have also both seemed to be that bit more clingy. I don't know if it is because they were told to stay away from me when I was having the worst pains and DH was physically dragging them off because all they wanted was to cuddle mummy. It may be a reaction to how I am emotionally. I try to be 'normal' for them, but it is difficult and they are not stupid. DD in particular, at 3 years of age knows Mummy is not her usual self. So, for many of those reasons, I think it is a fallacy to think that we can go on and not mention it and just brush over the whole thing. Little children make up their own reasons for what is going on and I think I'd rather be straight with them than have them thinking that I'm seriously ill or that something is going to happen to Mummy.
The question arises about what to say. I think it will go over DS's head at 20months, though I could be wrong. DD though will be able to take the words on board, but I don't know how she will be able to comprehend. I've read a lot of different phrases this morning in that article and I think perhaps the way to go is to make an analogy to plants. We planted raspberry canes (well, MIL did) in our garden this year and they turned out to be a bad batch - the garden centre just gave MIL her money right back when she went to mention is as they had had so many complaints about that batch not growing. Anyway, we planted about 18 and maybe 6 or 7 grew. I think perhaps I can draw an analogy from that to explain to DD. Tell her that just like some of the raspberry canes weren't well enough or strong enough to grow into plants, that Mummy's baby wasn't well enough or strong enough to grow in her tummy and be born.
I think my own childhood experience informs my decision somewhat. I was just a couple of months older than DD is now when my brother died (just before his 2nd birthday) and obviously my parents didn't have any choice but to talk to me about it. It was nice though as a child to keep that memory alive. I think I just accepted it. We weaved him into our everyday life. When I drew a picture of our family in my first year at school (I would have been 4) I drew him too. We used to have birthday parties for him for several years after he died. Any time there was a thunder storm and my brother and I would be frightened of the noise, my Mum would tell us that my other brother had just scored a goal in heaven and all the angels were cheering for him. Those are nice and happy memories from my childhood. I don't think of them with sadness particularly. I guess perhaps being Irish my take on grief is a bit different from the British 'stiff upper lip' attitude. There have been two deaths in DH's family since our kids were born - MIL's mother (the kids' great-grandmother) about 2 years ago and DH's aunt just a few weeks ago. Both times we just brought the kids to the funeral. It just seemed natural to me. The other grandchildren didn't go though and I think MIL thought it a little strange that we took the kids. When DH's uncle died a couple years before we had children, it was the first time that DH and his siblings had been to a funeral. That stunned me. Here were three adults in their 30s who had never been to a funeral. I don't see why kids are banned from funerals (or from weddings for that matter, but that is an issue for another day). To me, they are family events. A chance to celebrate the person's life, say Goodbye to them and help those left behind to find some peace.
We had the death of my aunt's DH a couple years back in Ireland and we took DD to the funeral, but no one batted an eyelid. My aunt was very grateful to see her. It made her smile, albeit briefly. All the grandchildren were there. It's just normal in Irish society. Growing up, we regularly went to wakes and funerals. Some were of people very close to us and some were of relatives of my parents' colleagues or our neighbours. It wasn't a big deal really. We accepted it as part of life. We witnessed people grieving the loss of their relative. We even saw dead bodies laid out in caskets without it being a big issue. To us, it was normal to go and pay respect to those that had died and to comfort those left behind. We learned very early on how to say "I'm sorry for your loss" and shake hands with a row of mourners.
I have become very side-tracked, but what I was getting to is that you can't shelter your children from everything in life. Indeed, to do so does them a disservice. I also feel it is in some way disrespectful to our youngest angel baby to somehow keep his/her existence from the kids. Like it's some little sordid secret that we have to be embarassed about. And so, I have made my decision to tell them. I think I will wait until there is a natural way to introduce it. Perhaps next time DD talks about how she grew in my tummy - which she is doing a lot lately - or next time she sees me sad and asks. I just hope I can do it 'properly' and in the 'right' way. I think she will probably be matter of fact about it. I will also tell them about the older angel baby siblings they have. I think it is the right way to proceed.
Gosh. I've been away from this for a while. Freshers' flu was followed by rip-roaring tonsillitis and a mayday call to the ILs so that our poor kiddies could have some fun time this weekend. Back on the road to recovery now hopefully. I have a scan tomorrow about the retained tissue and hopefully if it's still there (as I expect it will be) I can get some treatment and get it sorted out.
PAIL day has hit me really hard this year. I guess it's because I'm still in the midst of everything. It's been nice to think that there are so many people across the world remembering all the angel babies, but it is also sad to think of how very many of them there are.
It seems my body remains stubborn. My scan showed the same retained tissue as 10 days earlier. Seeing it still there on the screen made me break down in tears. It's strange. I worked through all the 'my body is a failure' thoughts and feelings 4 and 5 years ago after the first two m/cs and the translocation diagnosis. I had got to the point of accepting that this is how the dice have been cast for me. DH was central in that with the comment he once passed saying that the translocation was part of who I am and he would never wish to change it because he wouldn't want to change anything else about me. I seem to have slid back a bit though with this miscarriage, especially with the way my body has been dealing with it. There's once again the whole not realising the baby has died part. In fact, if anything, my body kept up the pretence even better this time than any other in the past with the level of sickness I had. It then took another week to have the miscarriage and even after that, here I am another 10 days down the line and still my body is not doing its job.
I went for the drugs! It sounds awful, but I just wanted the tissue out of me and the whole thing over with. I want to start to heal again. I want to try and move forward for my own sake and the sake of my DH and LOs. They need me back and right now, I'm still not 'me'. I know I won't be the me of old. Each loss changes me, but I need to be at least something that resembles the essence of me.
The medication seems to be starting to work. I won't go into the gory details, but it does seem like things are moving in the right direction. I'll have another appointment in a further 2 weeks and hopefully all will be right with me, physically at least, by then.
Going back to work was really tough. It seems as though the colleague that I asked to let people know what had happened didn't really bother to. Clearly he told at least one person because she was utterly lovely to me. She's a loss mom herself, so I guess she understands better than anyone how difficult it is to work in a place like ours after losing a baby. No one else seemed to know though. Or, if they did, they didn't show it. I think though, on balance, people just don't know. There were some that I know would have had some acknowledgement of it if they had known, but who acted like I'd just been on holiday. I, myself, do accept some of the blame. After all, it is not my colleague's duty to tell people. I did tell two people - one responded reasonably nicely, the other just asked how many weeks pregnant I was. What does that matter? Clearly 10 weeks is not sufficient to gain any sympathy from her because she just went back to reading her magazine after obtaining the information. As for my Attending, he doesn't know. I would have been happy to tell him, but I was already seeing patients when he arrived in clinic so there wasn't an opportunity at the start. He did realise something was up. He commented that I was very sombre and asked if I was ok. Trouble was, he did this in the middle of a consultation whilst the patient was getting dressed in the next room and was due back in to talk to us at any moment. I was on the verge of tears and I just couldn't get in to it there and then. I did actually burst into tears as he left the room, managed to compose myself enough to talk to the patient when she came back out and then burst into tears all over again when she left. The nurse who had been with me throughout the consultation was really nice and I told her what had gone on, but it's difficult. There were other people I'd have loved to have told, but I just didn't feel strong enough. I can't talk about it aloud without bursting into tears. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with crying about my loss, but in the middle of the mess with a dozen colleagues around me is not the time I want to be doing it. Trouble is, now that they have asked where I have been and been met with a non-commital answer, they will not ask again and there will be no opportunity to tell them. I just feel sort of mad at the whole situation because I know that there are good people there who would give me support if only they knew.
I suppose at least it stops me being mad at people who know and don't say anything and it stops me being mad when everyone stops mentioning it. That's the hardest thing. It's ok in the first couple days. People who know ask how you are, they call or they text to see how you're doing. But, very quickly, people stop talking about it. I don't know whether they forget, they think you've gotten over it or they just don't know how or whether to bring it up. It really hurts though. Perhaps I'm feeling it more this time as I am STILL stuck in the acute phase until I've actually completed the miscarriage whereas everyone else seems to have put it behind them. I don't know. Maybe I just expect too much of people.
I had the most amazing dream last night. I was having this latest miscarriage all over again, only this time, the baby, although minute, was completely and perfectly "human-looking". Oh, and it was a little boy too. Strange, 'cos all through this last pg I had a feeling it was a girl. Who knows! It was so very lovely to get the chance to look at his face and to take pictures that I could share and show to people. I wish I could have had that chance for real.
I guess that's one of the things that I find difficult about losing my babies so early in development. I've never been able to see what they might have looked like. I've never been able to take a photo that I can share. I did take pictures of angels #2 and #3, but they are more like medical photos than family ones. I've never even showed them to DH and wouldn't dream of showing them to anyone else. It just seems such a shame. I wish I could have three little pictures on my mantlepiece, in a locket, on a webspace. Anywhere. Even my ultrasound scans don't seem 'baby-shaped'. It's yet another layer of loss and I think it's part of what makes it so difficult for other people to understand how I am feeling. If I had a little photo to say "this was my son, this was my daughter; aren't they tiny and perfect?", then I do think that people would 'get it' more. Not that it's about what other people think, it would just make dealing with things easier I guess if people around me were responsive and acknowledging what I was going through.
MIL called tonight. I thought we had hit a breakthrough point when she asked how I was and whether I was starting to feel back to normal at all yet. I was just about to launch into an explaination of the scan on Friday and how I was still retaining tissue and that was making it difficult to move on, when she came out with "these viruses seem to be hanging around a long time". Oh. I see. You're not asking about my lost baby - your lost grandchild - you are asking after my sore throat! Fan-bloody-tastic. Don't get me wrong. I love my MIL dearly, but she hasn't mentioned this loss to me at all. Not once. Not a single "I'm sorry" or "how dreadful to lose another baby".
It just makes me so sad that my little baby seems to have meant so little to anyone other than DH and I.
Today has certainly not been a good day. In fact, I think it's been the worst day I've had since finding out about this last miscarriage. I think everything has been building up inside of me this past week and today was the day it finally spilled over in an overwhelming tidal wave of emotions. I spent the entire day either crying or trying very hard to blink away tears. I don't know what it is; something intrinsic to this miscarriage, the length of time the physical part is taking, working in ObGyn or just the general stress right now of upcoming boards, a new rotation on the horizon and the usual bustle of family life. I never for a moment thought it would be this difficult third time around.
My silver lining of the day has been the kind words of the wonderful ladies on DS's BB. Posting a thread there about how badly I was coping was a very difficult thing to do. I am not a 'bare emotions' sort of person. The response came in the form of wonderful words of comfort which have had me in floods of tears, but have also made me feel as though there are others who will think of and remember my little angels, which feels important to me somehow.
Seems like I've bounced off the bottom. Today was a far better day. I coped so much better with everything. I wonder if it's just coincidence that today was a SAHM day and yesterday was a work day...
I talked to DD about everything this morning. I think she understood. I told her about the baby seed that started growing in Mummy's tummy but wasn't strong enough to keep growing. We talked about how when we planted the raspberry canes some of them weren't strong enough to grow. She commented that some of the raspberry canes did indeed grow, so I explained to her that some of Mummy's baby seeds did grow too because she and DS started off as baby seeds but they were strong and grew and grew until they were big enough to come out of Mummy's tummy. I told her that I was feeling sad that my baby seed wasn't strong enough to grow. I think she took it in on some level at least. I will wait and see whether she talks about it again or not.
I've booked myself in for a massage right after my exam next week. It's been ages since I've done any 'me' activities. I'm looking forward to it. I hope a bit of de-stressing will help me with how I'm coping too.
The sun is shining outside my window. It's midday and I have not yet cried today. Could it be that someone has switched on the light at the end of the tunnel? My bleeding has been gone for 28 hours now. On the one hand it's difficult to think that this chapter is coming to a close, but on the other hand, it is so nice to think that my body is finally getting there after so many long weeks have passed since my baby died.
My boobs have shrunk back down to pre-pg size this past week too. I remember having such a hard time with that after my second angel. It took several weeks to happen then and at one point I thought maybe they wouldn't go down. It was like bigger boobs were all I had to show for having been pregnant and being a mum to two angels and they seemed to be sticking around as testament to that fact. And then they went down, all of a sudden. It was such a blow. This time I've hardly noticed them going. Strange how different things are from one loss to the next.
Why do I find it so difficult to tell people about this last miscarriage? I desperately want to talk about it and I know that there are people who would listen and try to understand, but I really struggle to bring myself to actually tell them. I met up with a friend of mine yesterday for a play date. She's a lovely girl that I met through work a few years ago when she was pregnant for the first time. She m/c that pregnancy and I tried to be a support to her through that time and her subsequent TTC. We both got pregnant again shortly after one another and both had healthy pregnancies and little boys last year. We both started TTC again this year - she got pg first go, me the 5th. She told me about her pg right away and we chatted about how worrying it is etc. I wasn't yet pg at the time. Last time I saw her she hadn't yet had her first scan so when I found out I was pg I hesitated to tell her just in case anything bad had happened to her pg. Then when I m/c I found it even more difficult to get in touch just to tell her that. Anyway, we met yesterday and she is, thankfully, very healthily pregnant and well into her second trimester. I went with the intention of telling her about what we had just been through, but I just couldn't do it. I don't know whether it's my natural reluctance to talk about it or the fact that she was so obviously and gloriously pregnant and happy that I just didn't want to put a dent in that or make her feel uncomfortable. I'm sure she would have understood and I would have been very glad at the opportunity to talk about it with someone like her. *sigh*