This was a tough one to blog.
I wanted to write a bit about my experiences, my feelings. I can't speak for every woman who's lost a child through miscarriage, but maybe I can help those who haven't understand. I'm truly a "glass is half full" kind of person. When I write in my blog, I rarely delve into the darkness. But how can I write about a miscarriage without doing so?
When the one year anniversary of our miscarriage - and it was "our" miscarriage, not just mine - passed, I was deep in the haze of New Baby. Joseph was only two months old. I was still recovering from my c-section. Chad was still noting sleep schedules into our spread sheet. But then...when the second year anniversary arrived...something deep inside of me recognized that this was the anniversary of a Significant Event. On my LiveJournal, that day, I wrote:
I woke up this morning with an intense urge to make strawberry jam. I got out of bed grabbed the boys and went to Farmer's Market to get fresh strawberries.
Chad had to go to work, so after putting Joseph down for his nap, I started hulling and smashing berries. In was very zen. As I allowed my mind to drift, I realized that two years ago this weekend, I made jam. It was June 11, 2005, the day after my miscarriage.
I sometimes think of that baby. I wonder what he would have been like, how he would have looked. I never found out the sex, but in my mind he was a boy. We would have named him Joseph Henry, but he'd be so different than Joseph. Would he have had red hair? Blue eyes? Would he have been so happy, he'd make me giggle?
I wonder if, in an alternate reality, there's a different Joseph Henry born to Chad and Mandy. If in some alternate universe, Mandy didn't have her miscarriage and is happily loving a beautiful, dark-haired boy with Chad's eyes.
Reality is me making strawberry jam for the baby that is and remembering a baby that nearly was.
Those first few days After were so very, very difficult. My body was doing what it needed to do, my hormone levels were all over the place and I had very kind people telling me things like, "You'll have another."
I would smile sadly and nod while internally I shouted and raged, "I don't want another! I want this one!"
Even worse..."It was meant to be."
How does one even respond to that?
Our friends and family didn't really know what to do to comfort us. We didn't know how to ask for help. We didn't even realize we needed help. After all, it's not like we'd actually had a baby. We buried ourselves in stats and studies. We told ourselves that it was normal. We assured each other that we didn't do anything wrong.
Two months later, when we discovered that we were pregnant again, we didn't react with shouts of joy. I walked into the bedroom, showed Chad the test and lay next to him on the bed. We held each other in silence. We didn't announce it in an email blast. We didn't dance in to work and share the news with our co-workers. We quietly made doctor's appointments and took blood tests. We tentatively shared the news with family, cushioning it with, "Don't say anything yet." I refused to allow anyone to mention the words "baby shower" until I was nearly 16 weeks along.
For the first twelve weeks, I didn't look at baby clothes, cribs, strollers, baby websites, pregnancy books or nursery themes. We didn't talk names. We separated ourselves from the experience, hoping to protect our bruised hearts.
When we got pregnant with Elizabeth, we knew that I'd carried Joseph just fine, but inside, I had a fear of patterns. "Lose one. Gain one. Lose one..." Irrational? Yes. But the fear was still there, a monster in the closet who lurked in the shadows during the darkest part of the night.
When I see a first time mom announce her news with a glowing face, I want to yell at her, "STOP! Don't. Say. Anything." I want to wrap her in cotton and protect her from potential pain. I want to insulate her from what "could" happen.
Now, here I am, five years and two children later. I've had friends and family who have suffered miscarriage. Some have suffered more than one. I doubt that I found the words of comfort they so desperately needed. I hope that I was a listening ear, a sympathetic shoulder. I hope they recognized, in me, a kindred spirit.
One who has had her world pulled from under her. One who sat in the doctor's office listening to clinical words describing a heartbreaking event. One who curled on her bed in tears. One who felt as if she failed at the one thing a woman's body should be able to do - even while knowing that very thought is illogical.
At times, I still I find myself wondering about the other baby and how different our lives would have been. Then, I look at my two miracles and thank the universe for sending them to me.