Six weeks ago I was at the hospital.
I was dreading going to the labor and delivery floor to give birth to my dead baby. I was so scared of walking in and seeing some hugely pregnant woman getting admitted and getting ready to meet her baby while I was there with my undersized bump and fighting back tears.
When I went to the hospital to be induced with Theo, I was a little wistful I wasn’t being admitted while in active labor – it felt somehow wrong to be comfortable and functional while getting ready to have my baby. Like I wasn’t experiencing labor in its fullest or something? I don’t know.
Regardless, I was reminded of this feeling when I was being admitted to labor and delivery this time and wanted to kick Ashley of 2014 for being even the slightest bit sad about being induced to have my living, healthy baby.
Such privilege. I would have taken an induction, a c-section, NICU time, anything to get to have my Clare still with me.
But of course, how was I to know then that my two miscarriages were not going to be the worst thing I’d ever experienced? No, much much harder time lie ahead for me.
Six weeks is the usual postpartum period after a full-term pregnancy. It’s often the amount of maternity leave women take. Six weeks. Seems somewhat consequential a period of time.
I am getting back to functioning. Doing a Couch to 5K program and easing back into work and cooking dinner and doing things that felt SO overwhelming a few weeks ago.
But I’m still gobsmacked by sadness now and then.
I was running while listening to a podcast and they were talking about what Hillary Clinton will mean for our daughters and I started crying as I ran. The people driving past probably thought I REALLY hated running.
That sentiment is EVERYWHERE, though. Everyone is talking about raising daughters and Hillary Clinton and isn’t it amazing?
All I can think is that it WOULD be amazing if I had been pregnant with my first daughter during all of this. To be able to share that with her some day. And I can’t help but think that I’m excluded from it all by not having a daughter. Except I did and she died and she’ll never listen to me tell her about any of this. I will never see what kind of woman she becomes.
The other losses felt so significant and devastating when I experienced them in 2013. But they sort of felt like the *idea* of a baby, not a real baby that had a chance of living outside the womb. More of an abstract than a solid reality.
Maybe part of that is that I was pregnant with Theo before the first miscarriage due date came about, so I felt like I wouldn’t have had Theo if that pregnancy hadn’t been lost? So their existences felt inexplicably bound up in Theo. This is weird to say…er, type aloud. I know this.
Clare felt real. Clare WAS real. She feels more like a sibling to my other kids than my miscarriages ever did. I saw her on ultrasounds, listened to her heartbeat every single day for 3 months, and I was making space for her in our life.
I should be entering my third trimester now. I should be complaining about discomfort and not being able to sleep well and heartburn and bruised ribs from my active little baby. My biggest worries should be how Theo is going to adapt to a new baby, if I’ll need to be induced again, and if we need a bigger car.
Instead, my biggest worries are why my body betrayed me so deeply. We got all the results back and Clare was an utterly normal, healthy little baby. But my body killed her.
It’s not my fault, I know this. I didn’t do anything to cause this. But still something in body prevented her from staying alive. And no one can tell me what it was.
That has been my obsession as of late – finding answers. My OB in Ohio told me it was bad luck to have two miscarriages in a row. My midwife and MFM here told me my miscarriages were unlikely to be related to this stillbirth. That it was just more ‘bad luck’ and we will never know what caused the placental insufficiency.
I want to believe that it’s just bad luck, because then I could take another gamble and hope for good luck, but I can’t. So my quest now is to find a doctor who takes my case seriously and wants to find out what the link is and if we can fix whatever is wrong with me.
I’ve been looking to studies, poring over online forums, emailing women who’ve experienced similar losses, emailing doctors across the country, and exploring fringe science and medicine ideas with a mixture of skepticism and hope.
It’s exhausting and confusing. I wish it were simpler.
Most of all, I wish I could just talk to 60-year-old Ashley and ask her, “What happens? Will I get over this experience? Will it always make me sad to hear about daughters when mine died inside me? Will I have another baby? Should I move on? TELL ME ALL THE ANSWERS.”
And I’ll end there. That’s enough stream of consciousness for one Friday afternoon. Thank you for all the love, support, emails, packages, cards, and prayers. I appreciate you all more than I can express. xo