Monday, October 02, 2006

A Surreal Life

First I should apologize for not blogging in over two weeks (that's based on the somewhat far-fetched and egomaniacal assumption that anyone had noticed or cared, but I thought I should begin that way just in case.) The reasons for my absence from bloggerville are ones of joy and sadness both- so, life, basically. Another case of real life getting in the way of my obsessive reporting on it.
Now, I know that some people who read this blog are not intimately familiar with the details of my life, but most of you are, so I am going to go ahead and sum up my last few weeks as simply as possible: I was pregnant, and now I am not. And if you don't know the details of the story, then read on.
I have been on a bit of an emotional rollercoaster lately, plummeting from the wild peaks of joy and disbelief to the depth of... well, resignation, I guess, and gratitude for what I have already. And in between those two points was a lot of sadness and fear that I just wasn't ready to talk about until now.
I was thrilled to be pregnant, but was very aware from the beginning of the fragility of my condition, and wasn't ready to announce it to just everybody yet. First there had been the words of caution from the doctor about my low hormone levels, and then had come the bad news that there was no heartbeat. A few days after that, I lost the baby and was then sent into surgery. Basically, my doctor was afraid I had had an ectopic pregnancy rather than a simple miscarriage, so for a while there things were pretty scary. But fortunately it was all over in a day, and by Saturday afternoon we knew that I was going to be fine and that there was no tubal pregnancy. It was all a little overwhelming, although in truth I had had the sense that there was something wrong from the beginning.
So that's where I've been lately. And even as I write this, I'm a little doped up on Percaset, which I probably don't need anymore, medically speaking, but it does take the edge off. There are some unpleasant side effects such as nausea, but it is well worth enduring them to get to take that blissed out trip to la-la land every four hours. When they first gave me the drugs, about an hour out of surgery when I was beginning to get really uncomfortable, I couldn't believe how suddenly euphoric I felt- euphoric and chatty! I couldn't stop telling everyone how much I loved them, how much their support meant to me, and how they shouldn't worry about me because I was just so grateful for my health and for the beautiful baby I already had. I repeated these thoughts about a dozen times to anyone who would listen.
So now, two days later, I really should wean off the prescription-strength painkillers and get back to life as usual, since I'm not really experiencing much pain anymore- now it's more of a depressed, back-to-the-ole'-grind kind of feeling, which I'm pretty sure Percaset is not FDA approved to treat. Now the fuss and the sympathy is over, the blur of condolences and flowers, and it's back to the drawing board, where we must wait for three months before we can even think about pregnancy again.
And it all feels like such a waste, and such a tragedy, even though I know it happens to almost every woman at some point. I can't help wondering why I was even allowed to get pregnant- why, if it wasn't God's will (as people keep reminding me) did it even happened at all? And why to me, when I am so young and in such good health? If there was anyone who should have had a problem-free pregnancy it was me, right? Am I being punished for something- was I too cavalier, too presumptious in thinking nothing could go wrong for us? Or was it a mistake to get pregnant again- did God know I wasn't ready to handle being the mother of two yet? These are horrible things to think, and beyond being horrible, are completely useless and unhelpful. And yet there they are, surprising me at random moments just when I think I'm actually getting over it.
I don't like admitting to this struggle, but I don't want to pretend that I'm totally fine about everything either, that I'm just gracefully accepting and submitting. I'm dealing with it, but it feels insane at the same time- we're in a big rush trying to get all our projects around the house finished in time for Addy's birthday party this weekend, and sometimes I'll stop in the middle of painting or whatever and think, "This is crazy. I just lost a baby. I should be sitting on the edge of the bathtub crying." It's so surreal that it can be over, just like that, and then life is back to normal. I was pregnant, and now I'm not. This is the fact, but it is much harder to comprehend emotionally than it is to explain medically.
I did take some time to grieve, I really did- I did the whole sitting on the edge of the tub crying thing. In fact I frightened my daughter by randomly bursting into tears while I was feeding her lunch, which in turn made her cry and made me totally lose it and flee to the bathroom to sob in private. But I have to confess that throwing myself into my projects and party planning has in some ways been just as cathartic as all the crying in the world. Or maybe that's just what my good friend denial is telling me...
But I guess you just do what you have to do to get through the day, right? I don't know if there's any normal way to feel or to deal with a miscarriage, because everyone's initial feelings about pregnancy are so different. To some women it's not real until they feel the baby move, or even until they hold it in their arms. To others, it's real the minute they see that positive sign on the home test. I'm pretty much in the latter category, but this time I had found out that I had very low progesterone levels (a sign of an increased chance for miscarriage) just a day after I found out I was pregnant. So even though we went ahead and told our families the news, there was a part of my heart that was holding back, afraid to get too excited for fear of the pain if something went wrong. Turns out that was a good instinct, but of course it didn't entirely protect me from the sinking in my heart when I learned that my baby was gone. No matter how much you try to prepare yourself, there's no softening that initial blow, I guess.
And maybe it never really goes away. I suppose you always remember the loss of a child, even very early; you always mentally remember that the number of children you have should be one more. I find myself wishing that I had known the gender, that I could have given it a name to remember it by. And simultaneously I am grateful that I lost it too early to know the sex- maybe it is better that way. Though of course, there is no good way.
The only good things I can say I have come away from this with are, one, a more profound gratitude for my beautiful, healthy baby girl, and two, a more humble and realistic perspective on any future pregnancies. I now know that I am not guaranteed perfect health just because I am young, and and I realize more than ever that each healthy baby born is a miraculous gift! Oh yeah, and the third thing I have come away with is a stronger marriage. My husband and I have really had to be there for each other, especially during that difficult day when the doctor was worried that my fallopian tube had ruptured and that I might have complications with further pregnancies. Both of us want a big family, so to hear this news on top of the loss of our baby was really hard to take in, but we had to be strong for each other, and I think we came out of the experience closer.
So.... that's what's been going on on with me lately. Sorry if that was too much information at all, but it felt good to write about it. If anyone has their own stories to share, please do. And to those of you who have been so supportive this past week, and who were praying for us, thank you!


IrishBlue said...

Sarah, I'm so sorry. I just heard yesterday at work what had happened. I think if it feels good to write about it, then that's what you do. Everyone heals in their own time and in their own way.

My mother and sister both suffered miscarriages. Although it doesn't lesson the pain to know other people have been through it, maybe it does give some hope. They both went on to be blessed with healthy pregnancies and healthy children.

You're in my thoughts and prayers.


IrishBlue said...
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desperate housewife said...

Thanks, Melisa. It does make me feel a little better, actually.

Kristy said...

I had a miscarriage two months ago, and it does feel so surreal, like could this really have happened to me? You said it all very well. Thank you.