In Perspective

I wrote over the weekend about a reality television personality, Bethenny Frankel, being pregnant again.  I am actually not sure about that now.  I think I heard that actually she had a miscarriage.  Perhaps she then got pregnant again?  Like I said, I don't actually know what is happening with celebrities most of the time.  But, I did see something about her speaking to Ellen about having a miscarriage at eight weeks and saying that she was devastated.

I too, had a 7 weeks.  I miscarried the week after what would have been Max's first birthday and it was sad and really disappointing and.....that's about it.  It felt like god maybe wasn't sure that we knew his wrath was directed at us and just wanted to make us feel extra sure.  Hopefully, he/she knows that we got the message.  Still, I don't really picture who that child might have been.  I don't feel a great sense of loss.  It felt more like getting a rejection letter from a school I really wanted to get into.  And, I KNOW that if we hadn't lost Max, it would have felt so much harder than it did.  It could have felt devastating...and, somehow that breaks my heart a little.

When Ted and I went to the hospital last week to make sure everything with Baby M was ok, the nurse asked how many pregnancies I've had and Ted answered "2".  Ted's not a woman, so he doesn't know that they are actually asking about all pregnancies - even the ones that didn't make it.  I corrected him and told her that I had had three pregnancies.  It just hardly registers for us.  I wish it were my greatest trauma or that it even really registered on my trauma meter (not that I need something else to feel traumatized about).  I know that sounds terrible....but I do.  And, I am not trying to be controversial.  I DO get it.  I DO get that a miscarriage is terrible.  Believe me.  And, that the further along you are, the more traumatizing it would be.  And, we were only 7 weeks along with the miscarriage we had.  Still, we felt hope with that pregnancy and then it was gone and in the moment, it felt really sad but, like a week later, it just wasn't that sad anymore.  The fact is I wonder if anything will ever really feel sad again in light of this loss.

When I wrote about that miscarriage, I got so many emails and phone calls from friends.  It was nice to feel so much support.  I even heard from people I hadn't heard from since Max had passed.  Lots and lots of miscarriage stories (it actually became too much...I wasn't strong enough to handle that much pain at that time).  Obviously, people could relate.  It had probably been devastating for them.  The truth is that for us, being that it was in the shadow of losing Max - a boy we knew and loved and kissed and hugged and played with and sang to - it just wasn't.  So, just for us, it was more of a disappointment than a loss.  Again, I know it would have been different under different circumstances but these were our circumstances and in our circumstances, it was just one more kick - but not a life altering blow.  Our lives had already been devastated.

Now, this is the part that probably will make you crazy but, I am jealous that the women who have miscarriages get to breathe a deep sigh of relief when their babies are born.  And, it seems like most people think that I will do the same when Baby M is born.  But, see, I won't.  I will be happy and thrilled to see he is here.  It is hopeful for sure, but giving birth to Baby M doesn't tell me anything about whether or not he will make it to his first birthday or all of the birthdays he deserves after that.  Having Baby M is something I am so looking forward to and it will give me a sense of wholeness again in some ways.  I believe that he has saved my life thus far (well, him and Teddy and family and support from others).  If I hadn't been trying to get pregnant with him, and then been pregnant with him all of this time, I just don't know if I would be here.  I have had some very dark thoughts - still do.  But, I love him already.  I loved him when I saw the pregnancy stick that showed I was pregnant with him and I have allowed myself to fall a little more in love with him as each week has passed.  But, a healthy pregnancy is something I have experienced before.  The real challenge for me comes AFTER Baby M is born.

I have asked the doctors what we will do if the genetic testing doesn't give us any answers and they don't have a strategy, which worries me.  I have asked if we can check Baby M's liver and the response I most often get is that if we find something wrong with his liver and we don't know what caused it, we won't be able to treat it.  Then, they usually say something like, "It might be better not to check it because all that will do is worry you".  Like there is any chance on earth that I won't be worried if they don't check it.  Other doctors say that they don't think there could have been anything wrong with his liver because if there was, we would have seen evidence of that in other ways (his behavior, the color of his skin, his appetite).  All we saw was a beautiful and happy baby.  Next to the fact of Max not being here anymore, the second greatest injustice and trauma is that we have NO IDEA why he is not here.  It makes me sick to my stomach and it feels so so so so so unfair.

This pregnancy with Baby M gives us tremendous hope for our future happiness.  His arrival will bring even more hope.  However, it is his survival that I am depending on.  Anything less would leave me more broken than I could possibly handle...and the kicker is that there is no magic threshold that will give me peace.  We will just have to do the very best we can with the very little information we have.... I hate this.


Tiffany said...

i understand. i was so jealous of those BLMs (and of course those who had never experienced loss) that could relax once their babies arrived. but that's when OUR nightmare really begins. i've had moments where i wake in the middle of the night and just freak because i feel like something is wrong with her. the monitor that we have helps ease my mind a little, but i still freak out thinking that the monitor isn't working properly. i don't think i will relax about SIDS until she is 2. but i think there will always be SOMETHING to freak out about now. thinking of you...

Fiona said...

I had a miscarriage before I had Jude and although I was 11 weeks when I found out, the baby had stopped growing at 8 weeks. I felt disappointed but I knew it was nature's way and we breathed easy when the next pregnancy got past 12 weeks.
This time I don't think I'll ever relax. Jude was 5 when he died and his disease wasn't diagnosed until 3 hours before.
I think that we just need to try to focus on what you said about people years ago not having access to such detailed medical information and having faith that everything would work out this time.
I do still worry about my surviving daughter but it's not all-consuming and we can still have fun together. I hope that's how we will all be with our babies.

Bianca said...

I am so, so, so sorry that you have to live with all of this heartbreak, plus real and overwhelming fear. It is so much to have to bear for one mama in one lifetime. You should get to be with both of your boys; this is so insanely unfair. I am sending so much love, but I wish I could send the peace and happiness that went with sweetest Maxie

Allisonkovac said...

I came across this prayer..I didn't write it and I don't know who did. Seems like it perhaps echos some of your sentiments.

Thinking of you all constantly...

Prayer After the Death of a Child

My life is upside down, loving God. The order of the world is out of place and I can’t do anything to right it again. Oh, Lord, you know the pain in my heart at all times and you know why: my child has died. How can it be that my beloved child is gone? The child I cared for with such concern in every illness, the one I held close to my heart and promised to take care of for a lifetime, is not here for me to care for anymore. It hurts deeply that I wasn’t able to protect this child I love with my whole being from a death that seems so unfair.

Let me feel calm. Let me breathe deeply. Be with me in this kind of deep and transformative pain. I now carry this darkness with me on my back and in my heart, always. It is my burden and my companion.

Lord, there is not a single minute of my life when this loss is not etched so keenly into my brain and heart, whether it is in the middle of a busy day or in those choking moments of grief in the solitary dark of night. Let me be grateful for every minute we had together. Let me treasure those memories and find joy in them.

Help me to deal with people better. They don’t know what to say. They stumble and look away when they see me. They pretend nothing has happened. I know they “don’t want to remind me” but they don’t understand it is with me always, always.

Teach me, Lord. Tell me what you want me to do with this. What am I supposed to learn from this kind of pain? What are you calling me to do?

Open my battered heart and lead me to comfort and peace. Only you can give me the peace I need. Let me feel your presence in my life.

Becca said...

Ugh. It seems kind of horrible for the doctor to tell you they can't treat it if they don't know what it is. Doctors treat symptoms all the ime before figuring out the root cause! Of course you are terrified. How could it be worse to do a test. I feel like doctors can be so out of touch sometimes.

I'm sorry you're dealing with all of this.

greg said...

Abs -

It sucks that you don't have an answer. It just sucks. Our prayers are that Baby M gets the full lifetime of your warmth and love that Maxie deserved.

Miss you a lot.

Joyce said...

Abby, I pray that you and Ted and every other parent has the joy of seeing their child turn 18 years old, as my kid did recently. He was born after 2 miscarriages and I couldn't have another after him. I can't know the pain that you all have experienced but I can say this. Faith is what keeps you moving forward as you parent. Faith is what you will need to close your eyes at night, to leave him at kindergarten for the first time and I won't even tell you about letting him get a drivers license. My greatest wish for you...18 years of anxiety and the faith to get through it.

Susan Ireland said...

Uncanny. I also had an early miscarriage about 5 mths after Catherine died. I told a few people and was taken aback by their distress and concern, when really it didn't seem such a big deal, as my pressing problem was Catherine's death. I remember thinking "God is really gunning for me" and feeling disappointed - but it was no more than that. The following month I got pg again, and now have Madeleine. I've never given the miscarriage much thought - I certainly never thought of the due date etc.,

Try not to worry about how much you'll worry after M arrives. By all means, put in place anything practical that can be done, in terms of specialists etc. But it's bad enough worrying about being pg. Who knows how you'll feel when M is here to hold. If it's any comfort, my anxiety was at a peak at then end of my pg. I felt I had so much to lose, that a loss now would be so painful, and it all felt so risky - and I had no real baby to hold to comfort me. Once she arrived, I could sit and watch her breathe. That was so blissful. Baby gazing.

As time has passed, my anxiety levels have continued to fall. I am still more anxious than I was with Catheirne - but it is manageable. One step at a time - you will get there x