First off, I've read through a few posts from other mamas who experienced loss and I'm feeling a lot more "normal" for it but I figure this process will take a while so I may as well get this out there. My son, Maxwell, was born still at 29 weeks, two weeks ago.
This loss wasn't a complete surprise. At 11 weeks they noted nuchal lucency, but we didn't do any further testing. At 20 weeks, the fluid was still there and they noted a heart defect so they pushed for us to have amniocentesis and karyotyping. Those results were normal, and we were referred to a children's hospital for follow up on the heart defect. At 24 weeks we saw the cardiologist and perinatologist, who confirmed the heart defect and diagnosed fetal hydrops. From what I found online, I knew the hydrops was bad news but the doctors seemed optimistic and so I didn't worry TOO much. By 26 weeks, however, they wanted to admit me to the hospital to begin steroids and c-section baby out in 48 hours time. DH and I weren't comfortable with the idea of trying to "save" a baby that doctors had already told us had no chance if he was born premature, by subjecting me to a classical c-section and future babies requiring c-sections and my being stuck in bed across the street from baby during what could possibly be the short hours or days of his life. I believed the doctors at that children's hospital to be among the best in the nation, but I couldn't convince myself to do it that way. Doctors told me they thought that baby had no more than a week to live in utero. It was horrendously difficult to walk away from the hospital/specialists that day because I had the feeling in the back of my mind like I could be making the wrong choice. But in my heart I didn't want to rush to such an action until baby made it to 30-32 weeks. I arbitrarily picked March 1 as "the date" at which I would go back to the specialists and let them advise again.
In any event, in the days leading up to baby's death, I was a wreck. As baby slowed down with movement (and finally there was no movement) I cried more and more. DH tried to keep me positive, but there was no denying what I felt baby doing (or not doing, as it were). I was afraid of what was to come, with being stuck in a hospital bed being induced and birthing a baby knowing I would never hear him cry, feeling like I let him down, wanting to avoid the drugs and whatnot but knowing they are going to pump me full of them just to get labor started. That was 29+0 weeks, though I believe he passed at 28+3.
They began to induce me at 8am, and at 5:10pm, my beautiful son was born at 3lb 15.8oz, 14.5" with a head full of dark hair. I never got to see his eyes. I tried to open one eye but it didn't come easily and I didn't want to "hurt" him. It was so hard to look at the sickness that had come to his body. He was so overwhelmingly swollen from the hydrops, but also because he most likely had passed a few days earlier and because of the heart problem and poor blood flow, his skin had mostly peeled away and he was very red and his tissues weeped blood. In only an hour or two after birth, his facial tissue swelled so much that his right eye was consumed. I didn't want to let go, but I couldn't stand to see his body declining like that and I wanted relief for his body. We took lots of pictures (which don't look how I remember him so I'm hoping the professional photos are better) and I'm very anxious to get the NILMDTS photos. I've never been a "fan" of cremation, but I wanted him cremated because it was the only way I would get to take him home. So now he's here, and I feel a little silly knowing that the first time DH has to overnight somewhere else, I will almost certainly tuck my baby in bed by me.
After his birth, I was amazed at my body and what it did. I actually felt kindof good a couple hours after the delivery when I was in the shower by myself. DH even admitted that he thought what my body did was pretty cool too (originally he didn't want to look/watch, but he did). I was proud of myself for avoiding the epidural despite nearly every doctor/nurse greeting me that day with "you're going to have an epidural, right? You'll need one." That positive thought was crushed when I left the hospital without a baby in tow, though.
My DH spent the last couple months trying to distance himself from the pregnancy thinking it would make it easier if we lost the baby. I tried not to pressure him to think any different, mostly because he was the more positive of us two about the situation. He was convinced the doctors were wrong and that everything would be alright, and reminded me that everything would be OK nearly every day. When we found out the baby had died, it rocked his world. Navigating all the hospital stuff, he tried to be there for me, but I could feel his pain and uncertainty. Since we've left the hospital, he's been my rock. It's weird how we each took the lead, so to speak, through the whole process. He is the only person I actively want to talk to now. He feels like the only safe person. We two can find a laugh in the sad (making fun of my foopa or the 15# of sympathy weight that DH has left to lose, or talking about how we felt like the process at the hospital was as the Business of Being Born described, for example).
Two of my SILs are currently pregnant. One is due with her first about a week before my original due date. I am somewhat glad she lives 2000 miles away so I don't have to deal with the day-to-day of her joy or have the daily reminder of where I should be in my own pregnancy. I want to be happy for her, but I'm just glad I don't have to dive into it yet. I know it will be hard, but I want to be there for her when the time comes. My other SIL is due with twins about 2 months after my original due date. I've been avoiding her like the plague (they live about 20 minutes away). They already have 3 children and openly admit the 3rd was an accident and that they contemplated termination. They openly discussed termination for these two babies on the way. They openly admit that even now being past 20 weeks, they still don't want these babies. I know they don't say it or feel that way to hurt me, but I cannot bring myself to see them and it bugs DH. He's frustrated that I'm alienating people (the maid of honor in my wedding is also pregnant right now, due a few weeks after I was; nearly every female person with whom I'm "friends" on Facebook is pregnant, so I've more-or-less stopped going to it for fear of the joyful-but-devastating news I'll find).
Overall I feel like I'm doing really well with this, all things considered. I'm sad but not incapable of taking care of myself or wanting for the future. I can work (though so far I've only gone for half days) though I admittedly don't care about other people enough yet to go above and beyond like I normally would. The past few days I've gotten baby crazy, though. All I can think about is when will I be able to get pregnant again. I don't cry at all when I contemplate it and so I've "allowed" myself to think that way, but logically it doesn't seem wise to jump right back into it at the first opportunity (whenever it is that my body decides it's ready).
I obviously have some anger about the SIL who doesn't want her two babies (well, she does, but her DH doesn't). I feel bad for everyone here who's experienced the same kind of loss that I have, and yet part of me is angry at moms who have children to go home to--I lost my first so I don't have a child to go home to cuddle and love. And then I feel guilty that I feel angry about that, because a loss is a loss and is tragic regardless. And then I think about how much I didn't want to take care of my cat at first and how annoying he was to me and I wonder if having to go home to another child is its own kind of pain?
I don't know what else, my mind is all over the place. Am I completely bananas for counting down the days until I complete my first cycle hoping to try again (other than the fact it could still be several weeks or even several months away still)? I'm having anxiety about the inevitable conversation with my midwife this week about birth control (I really don't want to try to prevent, but maybe we should?). I'm scared that something bad could happen again but then I also think that I just want to have a baby so if we wait a long while and then have another loss, I'll feel like we waited for nothing or wasted time or that we're running out of time (even though I'm not 30 yet). I don't have any reason to believe that we would have trouble, but there is still some fear there I suppose.
I'm sorry we have this common bond. I wish none of us had reason to be here, but glad it's a safe place us to tell our stories and grateful to know about it.
(DSD 10yo) - (29wks 2/2012) - (1/2013) - (7/2014) -
I'm so sorry.
Everything you are feeling is completely normal. I was the same as you, counting the days until I could try again. I also tried to convince myself with the argument that it would happen again (it didn't) so I NEEDED to try as soon as possible. I'm sorry you are going through this, it's such a horrible place to be in life.
I wanted to offer you a HUG mama, it's a tough place to be and lost of us have been there (or similar too, since no ones experience is the same).
I don't remember much about the days/weeks after Kamryn passed away in 2006 (38 weeks) and DH was my rock just as you described. He did every single thing we needed to do because I just couldn't function. He planned our daughters funeral and everything around it.
This time, because I was 18 weeks when he passed and I can't labor because of prior rupture, I had to have a D&E done. Everything happened so fast I couldn't wrap my mind around it. I wanted to see him and hold him but didn't get to do any of that. I have felt that I made the wrong decision for his delivery and should have had a c-section to I could see and hold and kiss his tiny little head.
And, now we have his ashes sitting on our mantle instead :(
Look, I'm sorry that you are posting this because it's a sucky place to be but I'm glad reading some of our stories has helped you a least a bit.
Tenk ~ happily married with lots of kids
Love and hugs to you. I just wanted to let you know that it is SO SO SO normal for you to both avoid pregnant women and to want to become pregnant again immediately. These were two of the most strong emotions I had after I lost James. Your husband has to understand that you simply cannot be around pregnancy right now. This might last quite a while, too. Anyone who cares about you, ie your SIL will understand.
I got pregnant two months after my loss. It helped in the sense that it gave me a new hope and another reason for joy, but doesn't take away your grief. So many people told me to wait to get pregnant, to heal, that I likely wasn't ready, but I knew I was. You'll know too.
Certified Crazy™ Wife to my Spiderman husband (Aug '01)
Super proud Momma to DD (Jan'00), DD (Apr '02) and DS (Jun '04)
Always loving and missing our Baby James born sleeping at 19 weeks (July '03).
I'm almost a little embarrassed about how much I want to dive back into trying again once I'm done healing and all systems are go, to the point I definitely don't want to tell family/friends. I can't imagine any responses other than telling me that it's too soon and that it won't take away my pain, because it's exactly what I would tell a friend. I don't expect getting pregnant again to relieve grief or make anything easier--frankly, I expect it to be its own kind of torture, with how worried I will be for 9 straight months--but it feels so wonderful to think that it's not "the end." For sure, I first want to think through what I might do/respond/cope if it doesn't work out, and what if it DOES!
DH is on board with trying again. He told me even before I delivered that we would try again. Also in one of my crying sprees afterward when I cried about how unfair this is and how I will never get to be a mom(*), he told me that I'll still get to be a mom a few times over. We just haven't talked about when yet. It's still very soon. I'm trying to get over my anxiousness first, since there is almost no chance for at least another month or two anyway. I think it will be easier to accept "just two more months" of waiting in two more months than it will be to accept four months of waiting right now (or whatever the duration turns out to be). I'm definitely more afraid of the midwife telling me not to try than I am of DH not being ready as fast as I (think I) am.
The midwife wanted to see me after 2 weeks instead of the usual 6 weeks. I'm not exactly sure why, but she made an issue about watching for depression so I wonder if it's to check in about that. I guess I'll find out for sure in just a couple of days. Did grief/sadness take a while to "sink in" for anyone else? I don't feel acutely bad, at least I don't feel sad/depressed like I thought I would. I can't decide if it's denial, or if the ball's about to drop, or if I've nearly made it to new normal. Don't get me wrong, I cry at the drop of a hat (be it a Pamper's commercial about the miracle of babies--yes, I'm acutely aware of it, Pampers--or upon receipt of a sympathy card in the mail, or spending too much time contemplating the little heart urn on the table) but I feel so ... OK. It makes me afraid that the hormones haven't dropped off yet and it's only a matter of time before it gets bad. The first days were super hard (yes! DH had to do everything, short of wiping my toosh and lifting the fork to my face!) but now it doesn't seem "so bad."
(*) a mom in the "raise a child" and "someone calls me mom" sense.
(DSD 10yo) - (29wks 2/2012) - (1/2013) - (7/2014) -
Autumn, I'm so, so sorry for the loss of your child. Do not feel apologetic about wanting to try again right away. I did too, both times. Don't feel like you have to tell people you're trying. It's none of their business anyway!! Also, don't try to make your grief fit inside a box. Everyone is different, everyone grieves differently. I understand the worry about the ball dropping, but I wouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth right now. Just live. Don't look for rulers. I hope you are able to try again soon and hope that you have a much more wonderful outcome next time. (((hugs)))
Wife to DH for 17 years, homeschooling mom to 3 girls (15, 13, 12), 2 boys (11, 7), and (13 wk mc 4/10/11), (13 week mc 12/12/11). baby girl 10/31/13. (11 wk mc 6/25/14). (6 wk mc 10/26/14)
Autumn, I agree with Anna too ... she seems to always have the right thing to say ;o)
And, the wanting to try again thing, that was the only thing that kept me going some days. Actually a week ago DH told me he was done, not trying again, not having another baby and I lost it. I seriously felt like all my grief had been bottled up and was pouring out right then and I was drowning in it. I called my Dr and asked for Xanex because the anxiety i was feeling was killing me even. This is a HUGE part of grieving the loss of a child. He eventually said he was only trying to protect me and that he DID in fact want to try again. And now, for some weird reason, I'm handling my grief a LOT better. I do still cry, but I talk about Oliver to lots of people. Today, as a matter of fact, I'm meeting someone who lives in the same area as me, that lost her son to still birth as well, and she reached out to me after reading my story on faces of loss, faces of hope.
Anyway, after Kamryn passed, I was up and down. I cried like you, at the drop of a hat but I could still function on a normal basis. But those first few days/weeks are a blur though. But this this time, like you, DH begged me to try again before Kamryn was even delivered. After her my Dr suggested waiting 6 months to give myself time to grieve and feel ok, and she warned miscarrying was possible *** and I did, in fact, get pregnant 6 months later and miscarry *** but they also told me I wasn't rubella immune and wanted to give me the vax before I left the hospital (I agreed because I was in such a terrible place and would NEVER agree to anything like that now). Anyway, knowing that we were to try again helped me so much, and it was a scary 9 months but I survived it.
I guess what I'm trying to say is, if you're feeling something, tell us, if you need to ask something, ask us. Know you never have to feel alone (as much as the net will allow) or like your feelings are wrong because I assure you, someone here has felt what you feel at some point ... or can at least relate. BTW, my Oliver passed Jan 17th and I have my sad moments and moments where I forget I'm not pregnant but I do feel like I'm doing ok for the most part. NOW that is
Tenk ~ happily married with lots of kids
I'm so sorry for your loss of your dear, sweet Maxwell.
I know you have probably studied the stats and whatnot over and over, but wanted to chime in that a good friend of mine lost her 3rd pregnancy to hydrops 14 1/2 years ago. She has 5 living children, 3 of whom were born after him. I just wanted to tell you that. And send ((hugs)) your way.
homebirthing, homeschooling, natural parenting, attached mama to DS1(3/05) DS2(3/08) DD (12/12)
I am over in the March thread too.
I've posted about my Mira who was born and died 6 months ago.
I've been in the TTC thread since Nov/Dec, but not actually trying. The hormones were tough on me, and I wanted to bounce back from my full-term delivery.....some things are still not "normal". I didn't want to be pregnant for 2 years straight!
I delivered no pain-killers too!
You should be proud for standing up for yourself.
The Dr. said I could start trying back at 10 WEEKS post-partum! But she also knew that it took us 3.5 years to get pregnant. (Hubby had about a 5% chance of making a baby last time we tested.) Friends got pregnant 12 weeks after their full-term loss. She said it was tough having back-to-back pregnancies, and the second labor was harder as she had had no recovery time. I was concerned about miscarriage (my mom always had one if she was pregnant with less than a 2 year age difference between), and I just really felt I needed to grieve. I also did not want to be in the 3rd trimester during the summer, I didn't want the same due date.
As soon as we were alone after Mira was born my husband said he understood if I never wanted to be pregnant again, and that he was OK with adoption now. I had just birthed a baby that died after an excruciating but magical 9 months....how could I go through THAT again? But of course all I could think about was Mira, and getting pregnant again. It has made me take care of myself....I have to eat, sleep, and exercise for the sake of a (hopefully) future baby...even if I don't want to do it for myself. But I do want to do it for myself. I'm sick of WAITING to be happy (waiting to leave home, waiting to get married, waiting to try to get pregnant, waiting to get pregnant....). I want to be happy now.
Anyways. I could write a book.
I'm so sorry Maxwell is not in your arms.
Take care of yourself,
8.31.11. - 9.1.11 Mira Joy
My only child after 5 years of trying.
I'm so sorry for your loss mama. I lost my baby at 36 weeks in December, and it has been quite the crazy ride. Some days are better than others. And it sounds like you are really strong.
My MW told me to wait about 3 cycles before I try again. That is what feels right to me, but everyone is different. Give yourself a cycle or two to heal, and then see where you are at.
Take good care. Hope to see you in the TTCAL thread.
Dreamer, writer, wife, and mom to little guy & my spirit babe .
I am so sorry for your loss.
I'm not a mama yet, but a friend of mine experienced a loss a little over a year ago (born still at 35 weeks) and her facebook posts were excruciating just for me to read so I can't even imagine the grief that fueled them. I would have said the same thing - wait and heal before trying again. But just two weeks ago, she brought home a gorgeous, healthy baby girl. From the moment she announced her pregnancy, her posts on facebook changed and when I saw her recently, she was joyful. Getting pregnant again so soon allowed her to heal and recover from her loss.
Maybe that isn't the right thing for a lot of people to try again right away but after seeing my friend in a very, very dark place (understandably) and now beginning to recover (not that she'll ever forget her daughter), I think it was absolutely the right choice for her.
Just saying that maybe not everyone will understand your desire to try again but there are plenty of people who will.
Children's librarian, married to J since 5/12, with 3 and 1 crazy . TTC #1, planning on , , and .
|Grief And Loss|