I suppose the easiest way, or really the only way to start this is to just get the word out of the way first.
Twenty-six letters in the English language, and no matter how you arrange them, that eleven letter word is more terrifying than anything. Speaking it, writing it, reading it, typing it, no matter how it’s presented, it is the single most powerful word I have ever come across.
Previously in my life, the word ‘miscarriage’ hasn’t meant much to me, because it’s something you must experience yourself to truly grasp the sheer power it possesses.
1.the expulsion of a fetus before it is viable, especially between the third and seventh months of pregnancy; spontaneous abortion.
The very definition, according to Dictionary.com and Merriam-Webster, says that it is a body expelling a fetus before it is viable (physically fitted to live). That definition is bullshit.
Complete and utter bullshit.
The actual definition of that hated word, according to bereaved mothers everywhere, is the worst thing that could ever happen. To a mother, it means the death of a child, your child, her child, their child….my child.
Who the hell is Dictionary.com or Merriam-Webster to tell me that my child is, was not physically fitted to live? My body says so, my empty womb says so, but that clump of words strung together in a feeble effort to try to explain to my grief-ridden mind, my shattered-to-pieces heart, says no.Truthfully, there aren’t enough words or letters in any language that can express the grief one feels when they lose a child. There are tornadoes of emotions, ones you never thought would be possible, that consistently rack your brain, your heart, your very soul, swirled with an insane combination of thoughts that can drive you mad.
I have started this blog entry a million times since June 2. Writing has always been an outlet, and for the first time in my life, I hated writing. I have drafts of this same entry saved on my computer, written in a journal, jotted on post-its, and looking at them, all I see is anger and confusion. So this time, now that I’ve started, I want to try to work through this in a way that won’t bring me back to the spot I was standing in 1 week and 3 days ago, and everything in blue above are things that I have written (or typed, depending on how technical you want to get) in spurts of grief. If I am being honest, I am not angry anymore. I can’t for sure say I ever really was, but I just needed to be angry. I’m a firm believer that sometimes, on those very rare occasions, anger can be the crutch that carries you over rivers of sorrow that you would otherwise drown in. So for this to bear any resemblance to “working through it”, to really get it all out, I have to go back to the beginning.
I have PCOS. Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome. A long-winded medical term that simply means, “Hey, your female parts don’t work right.” The severity of this ranges greatly, but my particular case, has caused years of infertility, weight gain, and hot flashes. The infertility is the piece I’d really like to focus on, as that is the most important part. As a woman, sometimes when your hormones are less than where they should be (as far as estrogen goes), your eggs don’t fully mature, so once a month when you ovulate, instead of dropping a sperm-ready egg, the egg just kind of sits there and most of the time makes a little pocket that shows up as a little black dot on an ultrasound, medically known as a cyst. You can see where conceiving a baby could be difficult, and also heartbreaking if that’s what you’re actually trying for. The good news for those that suffer from PCOS is that most cases are entirely treatable, and fertility medications have a huge success rate in helping women conceive. My best friend and her little girl are testament to that.
I’ve suffered from PCOS since I was about 19, but only learned about it a year and half ago when I finally broke down and made an appointment to find out exactly why I had not gotten pregnant. Now, don’t get me wrong. I haven’t and wasn’t actively going out, having unprotected sex, hoping that I’d all of a sudden have a baby, but I had been in two serious relationships where in both, we were actively trying to conceive. After the ending of the relationships, it’s obvious that it probably was a good thing I hadn’t, considering how different my life would have ended up.
My ex-boyfriend, (fiance`, if I’m being completely truthful) Jay, has children of his own, and even though we had very vaguely discussed us having a child one day, my pregnancy was a complete shock to both of us, as it was most definitely unplanned. We had what I would call a…whirlwind romance. There was never any shortage of love, but between distance (he lives in Atlanta), opportunities that were wasted, and decisions that were never made, we had to separate. A series of incredible ‘ups’ accompanied with unimaginable ‘downs’, I was convinced that he was the love of my life. Unfortunately, those ‘downs’ wreaked havoc on our relationship, and even though I was pregnant, we just couldn’t force it anymore. Don’t get me wrong, loving each other was never forced, but…well anyways, point is, we were’t together, but we still had a positive relationship for the sake of our child.
After our breakup, I had an extremely difficult time coping with not only that, but a spectrum of different things. Finances were already tough, in need of a new vehicle, and a couple other issues, I was lost. I was terrified of being a mother, even though I had dreamed of it for years, and the ‘single’ that attached before ‘mother’ scared me even more, but all of those fears disappeared the moment I saw our baby on that ultrasound screen. A couple clicks on a random tool and our little bean filled the screen and their little heartbeat became my world. Eventually, all of those other issues, aside from missing Jay, worked themselves out. My parents graciously offered me a place in their home (including my little terror of a dog), and I began to see hope.
I’m getting really off-point here. I really don’t need to go into a novel, sheesh, get a grip Andrea.
Long story short, I had never experienced joy on the level of the joy of being a mother, and that is the one thing I can never thank Jay enough for. We may have not had everything together, but he made me a mother, I made him a father again, and for those two reasons alone, we had everything.
June 1st. The day that the miscarriage made its presence known.
I woke up with a soul-deep knowledge that something was wrong, and before I even found the blood, I knew. A morning spent at the ER and a lot of different people saying, “Well, we’re not sure.” did nothing for what I already knew. I wanted to scream at them, “I DO!!!!” In fact, I did get nasty with the ultrasound tech. I’m laying there, in that dark room, wishing that he would just tell me something, anything. What felt like ten hours passed, when in reality it was only ten minutes, before he said, “Ma’am, you can’t be more than five weeks pregnant. There’s nothing in the sac.”
I think I must have blacked out for a second, because I lost a few moments of memory before I told him, “Look man, unless I’m pregnant with a fucking vampire, you’re wrong. I’ve SEEN the heartbeat!”
He didn’t respond after that, just rolled me back to the too-tiny room in the back of the hospital to wait for the doctor to come in and tell me he didn’t know. Again. They sent me home actually telling me to pray and hope, because this all may just be some weird first-time pregnancy thing, but I knew. I don’t know when our baby’s heart stopped beating, but if it was no longer visible, I knew.
That night didn’t bring any sleep for me, just an excruciating amount of pain, and an unimaginable amount of blood. I can’t tell you how much blood was lost, but suffice it to say that I never thought someone could lose that much and still be standing.
My mother found me sitting in the shower, as that was the only thing I could do, and in the intermission of a wave of pain and blood, brought me back to the emergency room, where we were “officially” informed that our darling baby had left us. Not that the obvious needed to be stated. Needles in my arms, drugs in my system, passing out, the pain, the blood, the pain, the blood, nothing compared to what was moving through my heart and mind with the knowledge that our baby was gone.
There is no amount of physical pain that can ever compare to that single fact.
And so we are brought, full-circle, back to the word of this post.
A catastrophic event that changes your world forever, much in the way becoming a mother does.
After putting all of these words down, my brain has been flooded with a million other words I could say, but still none of them describe the devastation that accompanies losing a child, and none of them can bring him/her back.
Some may say that I’m not a mother, as I never got to hold our child, but those people don’t matter.
To me, you don’t become a mother the day you deliver your baby, but the day your baby is delivered to you. There is no amount of hugs or kisses that can convey the amount of love I feel for my…our baby, just like there is no way to measure the amount of love that still continues to grow inside of me for my first child.
I have probably cried a million tears, and will cry a million more, as this is something that I don’t believe you ever fully recover from, but there are moments that I find the courage to enjoy being a mother, instead of grieving as a bereaved mother.
And in that, there is only one other word I can leave you with that means almost as much….