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What does it feel like to lose a baby? Ever wondered that? It may have crossed your mind at one point but it was probably only a fleeting thought and that's absolutely fine. Who would want to dwell on that?
Physically, I've been pretty honest about the experience. There isn't much more to add to the description I gave in my first post. Although miscarriage doesn't always feel like that. Some women don't have any symptoms at all, I don't know what's worse, the physical pain signifying it's over or being oblivious until the next scan. Either of them I wouldn't wish upon anyone.
No, I'm not writing about the physical feeling this time, I want to talk more in depth about the emotional/mental part of baby loss. I want to make it clear to anyone struggling right now that it's okay not to be okay. These are the thoughts I'm going through on a regular basis so please don't think you are alone.
I've been reading about grief and the different stages in order to develop my understanding of what is happening to me emotionally and maybe even to anticipate what might come next. Also because I want to help other couples in this situation. Additionally, I'm writing this to help me work out where I am right now. My writing will become my thoughts as they come to me so bear with me.
I'm not embarrassed to admit that my sleeping has been so disturbed the past week that Saturday night I succumbed to a couple of Nytol sleeping tablets because I just wanted to sleep the whole night through. I have been waking up multiple times in the night recalling everything that has happened. All of the hospital visits, the scans, the conversations with the consultants, the physical process. It hasn't been pleasant at all. I went back to work today so getting at least one decent night sleep was important. (Going back to work already? I hear you say. I will blog about the first week back and I hope it will help you to decide when you are ready.)
Firstly, I want to make it clear that everyone grieves in different ways and everyone takes their own amount of time. Equally important to understand is that the stages of grief are very general. Some you may not experience and some feelings you'll experience that don't even fit into the generic five stages and that's because you can't put people into a box, we don't fit into basic categories. Hence why I have chosen the image below to represent grief and especially the right hand side as that is just how I feel... and that is also normal so if you're feeling this way; welcome to the club.
I also want to make it clear that I'm not writing this specific to women. Men will grieve about this too and that's completely okay and must be remembered. I've been very conscious of how my husband has been feeling throughout this. I desperately wanted him to know that his feelings matter too. He processes things very differently to me, he never dwells on what has been and is always looking forward to what is coming. Very different to me. I spoke to his best friend because it was important to me that he went out without me, talked about it and got it out of his system even though he had told me that he had accepted it. Throughout all this heartache the last thing I want is to come across as selfish with my grieving.
I think my grief started as soon as the cramping began and even though we had seen the heartbeat on that Tuesday I was remaining cautiously optimistic. The hormone levels hadn't increased and there had been too much uncertainty for too long. On Thursday it started with shock and panic, I've had a panic attack before (getting lost on your own in a foreign country does that!) and the way I felt was very much the same. It felt even worse because I was on my own, away from home, I wanted to protect our little Bean and I just wanted my husband with me. When he picked me up I was still in pain and I was crying and I just wanted to be hugged but we needed to get to A and E. As we got on our way I felt overwhelmingly nauseous and emptied a carrier bag with cans of coke to have on my lap. I dropped the cans and they hit the metal part of the chair and it pierced one of them, coke then starts spraying everywhere and the stress and upset amplifies. Whilst I cleaned up I just kept saying I was sorry and all I was trying to do was hold myself together. My husband was as understanding as he could be but I definitely hadn't helped the situation for either of us. I don't know how many times I cried on that Thursday, I had such a headache by the time we got home and I woke up to extremely puffy eyes on the Friday.
Numbness and fear made an appearance too on the Thursday and Friday and it was shortly followed by guilt. Guilt seems to be coming and going continuously. Did I lift something too heavy and that caused it? Did the strain and stress of my bodybuilding competition two years ago affect my ability to keep this child? Did I eat the wrong thing? Should have started the vitamins earlier? I kept saying sorry to my husband, sorry that I failed. Sorry I couldn't look after the baby. He didn't and doesn't hold me responsible at all, it's my own thoughts that were doing it. Please remember if you feel this way that you are not guilty. At all. Which is why I read the book in my previous post—to try to absolve myself of the event.
I have even gone through a couple of episodes of new strengths whereby I've tried looking for a new job/career! Which really would be the most impractical thing right now but it's just a normal part of grieving. So if you've had a moment where you've contemplated training to be a zookeeper then that's okay!
As I am sure you've realised, I have done a lot of searching for answers and scientific research and all I want to do right now is help others. I still got upset today, more than once because I'm still hurting and I am having to contain my emotional outbursts because work is not the place for it. But honestly, my driving force right now is raising awareness of baby loss. I just feel so drawn to making it heard at the moment.
I'm nervously anticipating the stage of hope. I'm still longing to extend our furbaby family with a non furry baby but there is incredible anxiety there. Was my miscarriage a sporadic event or is it the sign of a greater fertility problem? I guess time will tell but if hope is on my side then so is the possibility of life.