Sunday, 11 October 2009

Balloons and hormones

My thought when I woke up: I miss my big fat tummy. My baby bump. I stroked it from when it was just a wee pot belly until it was an enormous, gallumphing globe of a stomach, lined with purple stretch marks and shiny skin stretched tightly. I just have a saggy, loose ,flabby tummy now. I feel weird being able to sleep on my stomach again.

I think I have now entered the hormonal stage of post natal fun. I am so damn cranky at the minute, I have been having fits of rage at everything. Well, mainly about the in-laws and about my parents. I am sick and tired of being told how strong I am, I am tired of people asking when John and I are going back to work, I am irritated how people seem to think they can stake some claim in our grief.
Like my Mum telling me (yet again) how Dad keeps seeing buggies and prams and saying "We should be doing that, pushing a pram around with our Grandaughter in". I have heard it so many times and yes, I know they are allowed to grieve as well but MY GOD it has just really started to piss me right off. So I told her yesterday that I'd rather she didn't say these things.


"Beacause it hurts me when you say that. Do you think I need to be reminded of that fact? Do you not think that I have the same exact thoughts everytime I see parents or Grandparents out with babies or toddlers? I don't need to be told this, I feel it like a knife everytime I see it around me"

I just feel very selfish with my grief at the moment. Please allow me for a moment to induldge in a little self pity. My grief is the worst, the most painful, the deepest, the most raw. No one elses can come close, not the way I see it in my head right now. Not even Johns. I grew and nurtured my daughter for nine long months, I made sacrifices, I gave up my body to be her protector and incubator. I felt her grow. I shared her first movements. I shared her last movements. I had to birth her lifeless body into the world, I went through the pain of labour knowing my greatest reward had been taken. I nearly lost my own life as a result of the birth.  I often think about how I wish I had lost my life after the birth. So please, don't fucking tell me you know how I feel. Don't tell me you understand, don't tell me stories of losing your ancient Nan or some Uncle you never saw much. Don't try and tell me how sad you are, or how much you are grieving because let me tell you it does not even COME CLOSE to this heavy heart in my chest, the sadness that drowns me every morning when I wake up, and the dark thoughts that keep me from settling off to a restful sleep every night. The very fact you think you can even pretend to know, or that you are grieving as much makes me want to slap you in the face and scream at you until I'm hoarse. How dare you presume to know this unbearable pain unless you have lived through it. How dare you.

Of course, the logical and rational part of my brain tells me I shouldn't feel like this. That sadness and loss is not some exclusive members only club, or some competitive sport. That I shouldn't sneer at other peoples feelings or experiences beacuse I consider them to be a lesser pain than my own. Whatever trials or tribulations people have to face are very important to them, as they would be to me if I had to face them, and I should not snidely dismiss them as 'lesser' worries. It's just at the minute I can't help it. I do dismiss them, all of the time. I look at what problem they are facing, and then at what I have been through and have yet to go through. And I want to laugh in their face an tell them that if they think they have issues, they should try giving birth to a dead baby. I have these nasty, spiteful thoughts. I want to shock these people into seeing their life for what it is, instead of looking at what it isn't.
John's friend came round yesterday as he was sad. His marriage of 3 years has just broken up, leaving him alone whilst she is still in the house with their 2 young children. It was partly his fault, he made no real effort in the latter months of marriage. Still, he is broken. And I would feel sad for him normally. I would hug him, make him a cup of tea, cluck and coo and say the right things, even if I thought in my head that it was his fault, I would tell him it wasn't his fault. But I am not normal anymore, at least not at the moment. So as he sat crying on the sofa about his marriage, I can feel the irritation rising in me. I think he must have known as he looks up and says "I'm sorry, I know this is nothing compared to what you two are going through". I want to say, "Yes, you are absolutely right. How dare you sit there and cry over the fact you allowed your marriage to disintegrate around you. It is your fault, you allowed it to happen. How can you cry when you have two beautiful children from the marriage? Do you know what I would give to be in your situation right now?". Except I don't say this, as I know this is not the real me speaking but this new, hormone charged stranger that has taken over. I just tell him it's OK for him to be here, and sit and angrily type into my computer.
I wanted to at least be more compassionate as a result of suffering this, but it seems I still have a long way to go before I get there yet. I am still too eaten up with jealousy and bitterness. I am less tolerant of people than I was before, and there is still the venom I have spoken about previously that is just itching to be released. I hope that time improves this situation as I feel very out of control at the minute, like some emotional drunkard.

Thursday was Lucy's funeral. I coped a lot better than I expected. I was positively jovial in the morning, joking and fussing and making sure evrything was sorted. The basket we had chosen for her was beautiful, less harsh than the normal caskets and tiny coffins. The florist had decorated it with lush green foliage and pink voile netting around the middle. It looked beautiful. It made me glad. It made me glad we could do thisone small thing for Lucy. I cried a little on the way to the crematorium. I cried during the service, which again was beautful, and gentle. Just the way we wanted it. The Reverend that blessed Lucy at the hospital held the service, a very kind and gentle man. We sang 'All things bright and beautiful' and the sun shone gloriusly through the whole thing. A poem written especially for Lucy was read out. We played Coldplays 'The Scientist' at the end. Not because it has any special link to Lucy, just that I love the song. It is my favourite Coldplay song, it has always made me feel very sad when I listen to it and I find it gives me goosbumps. I like the lyrics and when I listened to it again after we lost Lucy I felt they were poigniant in a small way. They said a little about how I was feeling. We went back to the local pub that K and J own. We had a toast drink of pink Champagne for Lucy, and then we went and released pink and white balloons for her in the garden. They went so high, and we could see them even when they were miles away.
I sent all my love to her with those balloons. I still don't feel it was enough. It hurt so much letting them go. Watching them float away felt like I was letting her soul and spirit fly away from me. It represented her death to me in a very stark manner and so rather than comforting, I actually found it quite distressing. I still do, I cannot think about that image of those ten balloons without the emotions overcoming me. I feel like I let her float out of my grasp and did nothing to stop it.

I think I am in denial about Lucy's death. The only way I seem to be able to get through every day is pretending all is normal. I find I am blanking out things to do with Lucy and the pregnancy completely. At one point I know I will stop glossing over it and have to deal with it, have to wade through this thick sludge of grief and reality. But not at the mintute.
I am trying so hard to be normal and yet I never quite enjoy things or feel normal because I know I am not, and that I am just trying. Then I get frustrated at feeling like this so I stop trying, and the sadness overwhelms me.
I read a fantastic post on another blog about the animal like wails you make whilst you are grieving an experience like this, about curling up in a ball on the floor and making these gutteral cries. When I stop pretending I feel these primal cries rising in my throat. I have never been reminded more that I am a merely a mammal than now, when I despair in this way I wail and howl like any other mother from the animal world that has suffered a loss. It is purely instinctual, and it scares anyone who happens to be with me. I think it must be the most terrifying sound ever.

Our consultant appointment is through. All test results and PM report will be ready for discussion on 14th December. We have a meeting with Mr. L (who we thought we had already been seeing throughout this pregnancy for the growth scans, except it was just one of his lackeys. We only realised this when Mr. L - possibly through guilt when he heard of the outcome and the realisation he actually hadn't consulted with us the entire time - came to see us after Lucy was born). I expect to be told it was a concealed placental abruption as this is what they suspected after the birth. When they broke my waters they were full of blood, and the placenta had an enormous retroplacental clot (about 700mls worth). Oh, and my stupid uterus wouldn't contract afterwards and I nearly bled to death. Is it wrong to say I wish I had? I wish I had just slipped away during those drug hazed hours after Lucy's birth? Probably.
I know I thought about it at the time, after they placed my dead baby on my chest and I gazed at her purple lips and lifeless hands. They were telling me that they were trying to get my uterus to contract, that I was bleeding heavily. And I started to shout at them to leave me alone. What they didn't understand was I wanted them to leave me alone to die. Let me bleed to death and be with my angel. Dark thoughts indeed, but maybe we all share them.

To be honest I don't think having those results will help at all. Even if it turns out that the cause was placental abruption, there is no magical method to guarantee me a live, squirming baby next time. I was well all through the pregnancy. I had no warning that I was bleeding, no sharp pains, I don't fit into the medically susceptible categories of people that placental abruption may happen to (Smokers, over 40s/under 20s etc) and it is not preventable. My eyes have suddenly been opened to the many opportunities to die that a baby has whilst in the womb, and indeed once they have been born.
I want the impossible. I have miscarried twice and birthed a stillborn baby and so I feel I am owed by the medical community some sort of miracle. If they find a cause of why my perfect baby died, I want them to be able to tell me that there is something they can do to stop it happening again. Like, "Mrs C. your baby died from xxx. But we can give you xxx and do procedure xxx to ensure you have a safe and happy pregnancy next time". But there is no guarantee. I am now too painfully aware, as all of us in this situation are aware.

So what do we do next? Answers on a postcard, please, to: .....


  1. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. This is all so horribly fresh for you. But from reading here, it sounds as if you're doing a great job so far. You are exisiting, and that's all anyone can expect from you right now. Don't rush a single thing and from my point of view, especially the work thing if you can help it. I know finances can get tricky though. It took me months to find my words the way you already have (and start the blog) after Hope died. I was that mammal you speak of. I'm so glad you're here sharing. I really do think it helps.

  2. I feel the same way. This loss affected me the most. How could it not? We shared the same body. Who else can say that? There are times when my mom does the same thing to me. Actually it happens a lot. She will call me at work and say something to make me ridiculously sad and then I'm pissed off at her because I'm at work and I've done a good job of maintaining my composure there. Could this depressing story/realization/comment have waited until after 5pm? Yeah, it could have. In fact, I could have lived without hearing it at all. My mom seems hopelessly depressed. I get angry because sometimes it feels like she's out to prove she's sadder than me, more affected, misses her more. It's something I didn't expect. It's annoying. I'm glad you spoke up about not saying obvious things that are hurtful. Maybe that will keep you from ending up where I am. Oh and the balloons, I'm comforted to know you found it sad too. I was looking around wondering why I seemed to be the only one crying as I watched the balloons slip away. I tried to think of it like she would get them in Heaven, but it was still sad to let go again.
    PS- email me if you ever need to talk. I'm addicted to my phone and I check my messages all the time ;)

  3. I am amazed at your posts knowing how recently this loss has been for you. Lane was born the end of May and I am just now starting the blog. We also have had two miscarriages and a still birth. It is so hard knowing that none of the three losses are related, none are detectable, none are preventable. I don't know that having answers is helpful. It isn't for Lane. But, I wish we knew that it wouldn't happen again... ever... to anyone.
    It took me 3 or 4 months before I was able to look at pregnant photos of myself... or open the door to Lane's nursery. I was lucky (am I really lucky though?!) that I had taken this year off on a maternity leave. I teach high school. I had it all set up so that I could teach online from home and stay home with a baby. I kept my leave and am teaching from home... just in a pretty quiet house. I'm glad that I'm not "going" to work and I am thankful that I have something to occupy myself with. Dustin took 2 weeks off of work-- what he had planned to take off when we had Lane. I was so glad he was home with me and I dreaded him going back. It was good for him to get back into his routine though. Normal will never happen again. But, a girl who I know in real life who has experienced this wrote to us in a card that you find a "new normal". It doesn't go away-- we don't want Lane to go away. But every day does get a little easier now. Some days still jerk me back to where I was 4 months ago. I didn't believe people when they said it would get easier. But it will. I thought that "easier" sounded like such an awful word. It doesn't mean I don't miss Lane. I still catch myself rubbing my tummy from time to time. I was hysterically bawling yesterday too. We heard of another couple's loss and, though we aren't trying, I thought I was pregnant and realized I wasn't. There are bad days, there are bad hours... but it gets a little bit easier every day.
    I'm addicted to the internet also :) and check my email and blog about 50 times a day. I can't imagine going through all of this in a time when we didn't have this type of communication!

  4. I think it is so good to get your feelings out and not keep them bottled up, whether we talk about them or write them. I think it helps in some small way. I haven't experienced the loss of an immediate family member besides my daughter so I have nothing to compare to, but I believe that the loss of your child is by far the worst. Along with your child, all your hopes and dreams for them have died too.

    I was talking to my MIL over the weekend and her dad is getting close to the end and she told me she never really understood until now. While I think she understands better, she still cannot fathom it. Her dad is in his 80s and had lived a long and good life. My little girl's life was cut short. She did acknowledge that I was grieving the most as I was the only one who really knew my daughter. She grew in my womb for 9 months and I felt all her little kicks and hiccups. We have a bond no one can (besides other loss mommies) can comprehend.