Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Pregnancy after loss

This is just my experience.*

This has been quite a journey.  I have learned so much about myself, about what grief does to your body, about what losing a child does to your heart and soul.

I've struggled to connect, not just with buttercup but with my body. It's been in the last few weeks that I've begun to really connect. The fear, the anxiety, the stress, it kicks you in the butt. Even when you think you have it under control, it seems to sit in hiding and finds that weak spot and digs into it. I find myself so much more susceptible to stress, less tolerant of challenging situations. Constantly thinking the worst, absolutely unable to accept or imagine goodness. The detachment coupled with the fear/anxiety/stress combo causes a lot of psychosomatic symptoms, elevated heart rate, swelling, exhaustion. Self care isn't something that can fall my the wayside, it is imperative!

I've found myself obsessively nesting, things need to be just so, and birth supplies need to be just so, and the house must be just so. Poor hubs has worked so hard this pregnancy with me ordering him around to get the things done that I can't; like cleaning up puke. I've run out in the middle of the night because if I didn't get a mattress cover RIGHTNOW well, bad things could happen.

I've been so scared, because I am so acutely aware of how fragile life is. And even if birth is as safe as life gets, it's only as safe as life gets. This healthy, beautiful, glowing pregnancy doesn't mean I'll have a baby to watch grow up. It doesn't mean I'll be here to raise her. The harshness of that truth takes my breath away. So I savor, in joy and in pain, I savor every second I have left with this person. I don't know when it'll be our last one. And it's shaken me to see how aware of life's fragility the boys are, how they seem to be waiting, holding their breath, leaning in for reassurance and hurting fearfully that they'd lose this person too. Fearful that they'll lose mom again.

I've been so touched by my community reaching out, women loving me, loving us, supporting us, building a protective bubble around our hearts as we get ready for this birth and baby. I have trinkets, and supplies, and clothes, and pieces of love that are all ready for use. So many souls who know our grief, who have walked this path too, and they're all here in spirit.

Bram. Oh Bram. This boy has been here the whole way, he has been a part of this always. From conception to due date, I see the ways he's put his mark on this. Having conceived on the 14th month marker, being due just a month before his bramiversary, his little brother becoming a big brother at 2 years and 8 months which is the age Bram died, being due 10/10 when Bram was born in 2010. There's more, there's so much more!

The journey isn't over, I'm not sure I will ever be brave enough to do this again. But I'm grateful, and I'm still scared. I don't know what the next weeks will hold, or how this birth will unfold, but I'm here, I'm present for whatever process lays ahead. Moment by moment.

1 comment:

  1. "Do not worry about tomorrow for each day has a enough trouble of it's own..." I know you've heard/read these words before... somehow they are the first ones which come to my mind as I read this post. You don't have to worry about if you'll be brave enough to do "this" again... you.just.don't... *hugs* It literally is NOT what you're being asked to face... and the fears about being brave through a birth those I am intimately familiar with... my first birth (now that I've had two), I'm fairly convinced left me with PTSD... a CRAZY hospital birth that could have resulted in my death... not because of interventions but for a lack of follow up/follow through. It's not something that I think the focus needs to be here but suffice it to say I really didn't think I could be brave enough either but on a wholly different basis (though I'm sure some of our rationale would be similar).

    I love your conclusion, "Moment by moment." That's exactly RIGHT! Please hold on to that. If I could see into the future I think I'd see you balling your eyes out not only as you labor but as you deliver and begin connecting with your new babe so many times in the future as they bring back bittersweet memories of your Bram and how you wish you could do it all again and soak it up more than you did the first time. It won't be easy but hold on for the ride and let those moments be more SWEET than bitter because even though you can't go back you can go on and cherish that both with buttercup and your sweet Bram... you can entwine your heart with hers just as you did with Bram but in new sweet "her" ways... and don't get me wrong, it's not like I don't think you "know" these things but sometimes it's good to hear them, read them, bathe in them, bask in them... sink into the knowledge as if to allow it engulf you. You do honor Bram and you can continue to honor him by serving the purposes that are set before you... they don't all have to be at once, they don't all have to perfect and it's okay to feel grieved/sad/broken. [And I don't care what anybody says... Yes, there may always be a part of you that always feels grieved/sad/broken/missing a part of your heart... but be prepared to know that it's okay if one day, now or ten years from now that you don't feel that way anymore... Wholeness may come like a gift... sometimes that whole is the type where like a previous poster (on a previous post) said it's like if you lost a limb things just won't ever be the same but eventually even those without something they once had (arm or leg or whatever) feel a new type of normal/wholeness. And you don't have to "prepare" for that either but accept if/when it comes.]

    "Present for... [the] process that lays ahead." That's so telling sweet, Samantha. Yes, BE THAT! You could almost make it your mantra and it would/will serve you well. Bram still loves you just as you still love him. Don't hold back that love... allow it flow into the life you've been given no matter how hard it is to do it because you want to hold on to the old life (which included Bram's physical presence, daily)... and as I have written before I don't know what that's like or how hard a thing it is I ask of you (I'm sure it's counterintuitive) because you loved deeply, you felt the loss deeply, I know that. What I do know is that by sharing that love (even as you do and have and I'm sure will continue to do) you're multiplying the effects of that love which can only serve to honor Bram's memory, strengthen you and your love for not only him but your dear family, and it will have repercussions that neither of us could ever hope to plumb the depths of, at least not in the life.

    Seems as though we ought to have a cup of tea (or coffee) one day... Lord willing, we will, if not in this life then in eternity. Be well, friend.


Thanks for reading and loving Bram!