Today marks the first milestone date: precisely one month or four weeks ago today I stared at the ultrasound screen that didn’t show me a heartbeat.
Each week has brought new pain and sorrow.
First, a strange calm punctuated with ripples of laughter. I know there is no hope, but I am numb and, looking back, still in denial. I walk around in a daze. I can’t eat. I am wide-eyed in shock and insomnia.
Week two, grim reality sets in. I fluctuate between acute anger and shock, and gradually accept that there was nothing to be done. I enjoy what I could of still being medically pregnant before taking medication to speed up the process. I rarely go out — how, when I could start spontaneously miscarrying at any moment? — so I come out on Facebook and my other blog and am met with an overwhelming surge of love and support. I am buoyed by day. At night, I withdraw into contractions, wave after wave of indescribable pain. When I deliver the placenta, the pain is so intense, it is a visceral and primitive experience. I feel fully prepared for a meds-free birth, should I ever be so lucky to carry a baby to term. I feel like I can do anything. Except bear this loss.
Week three, I am officially no longer pregnant but surgery beckons. Multiple doctor appointments are the new norm by now. I take ’em in my stride, but am so glad I don’t have to go to them alone. I don’t want to be alone. I still have no appetite. I don’t want to be seen by anyone. I begin to worry about all the work I already have to catch up on. But I am grateful for the many women in my life, and beyond, who have stepped forward to say, one way or another, I know what it is to lose a little baby. I think I am beginning to heal.
Week four, the most challenging yet. How can I be healing when the horror seems to have only just begun? The physical pain is gone, but I am awash with grief. My heart has never been so broken, and the enormity of the past few weeks has hit me. I am tired all the time. I am tearful all the time. I give in to my sadness and find I am less angry, but I still can’t help but see pregnant women or happy mothers proudly pushing strollers everywhere. But at this time I am learning that there are others out there who are going through this experience right now and it feels so good to hear from them.
Today, I’m listening to the same sad and sentimental songs over and over again and thinking of how to quantify this past month. My systolic pressure at yesterday’s post-op check-up was higher than usual, indicating stress. I’ve lost 12lbs (5.5kgs) but I still have the extra padding on my belly that I gained in my short pregnancy. It’s not a pot belly, but I wear it with sad pride.
Much as I am loathe to admit this, even to myself, I don’t think I’ll be able to not add a weekly mental notch to my lost pregnancy belt every Saturday. But today’s milestone date will be the last I mark until October 5th, what would have been my due date. I’m not thinking about that date now. If I am pregnant again by then, it will be bittersweet. If I am not… well, I won’t entertain such a notion.