It seems a lifetime since I've written on this blog, since I could bring myself to say much of anything at all. But here I am, trying to figure out how to work through it all so I don't let the wound heal over the infection. So it doesn't fester and poison me from the inside out. Though, in truth, there's a part of me that would accept that fate. A part of me who thinks that maybe I deserve it. A part of me, small but true, who thinks that pain might be preferable to working through any of what I'm feeling.
What I'm feeling right now is a lot of nothing. The nothing wasn't the first thing, though. The first thing I felt was sadness and then, like a hot pan flashing over with fire, rage. Rage is one of the hardest emotions to cope with; I know this, I'm a therapist. It's easy to cry or scream but true, deep seeded rage? What can we do with that to make is constructive? I could't figure it out, so I dissociated. I turned it into the nothing.
It began like this:
It was the weekend of The Mister's birthday. We were dropping The Nugget off with friends for two nights. After we dropped her off, we headed for one of The Mister's birthday surprises: to find out the sex of the baby. All of our parents and friends were anxiously awaiting our calls or texts. I tried not to let my anxiety get the best of me, to let things unfold and feel the joy and not be nervous. I'm not sure it worked as I was a bit snappy in the parking garage on the way. My problem was just that everything about pregnancy makes me anxious. It's not a state I'm comfortable with though I love, love, love the outcome.
All gelled up and on the table with our friendly ultrasound tech, I considered asking her about the training for her job. It seemed delightful, helping people see inside of their bodies to the waiting little baby within. Soon enough, though, I was distracted by the picture of our little baby on the screen.
"Do you want to know the sex?" she asked.
"Yes, we do!" I could hardly wait.
Her wand went straight to the sex organs then, but baby wasn't yet cooperating. She moved to the head, measured the skull, looked at the spine.
I smiled at The Mister. "This baby must be asleep. The other kids were moving around like crazy during these things."
As soon as I said it, I knew I was wrong. Not asleep. Not awake, either. My eyes searched for the little flutter in the center of the screen. I noticed immediately that the technician was searching for the same thing. She listened. She measured. It was quiet.
I reached for The Mister's hand, tears welling in my eyes.
"I'm not hearing a heartbeat." Just like that. No asking us to wait so she could go to get a doctor. No reports of being just a technician and not being able to interpret test results. Just...the end. As quickly and quietly as it began, the end.
After a time, what seemed like forever, another person confirmed her findings and we were sent to see the doctor. By then the rage had taken hold of me. Through my tears I confessed to The Mister, "I want to tear this room apart." But, of course, I wasn't going to do that. That was not an acceptable, reasonable way to behave, so I sat, crying and shaking, while we waited for the doctor to tell us what came next.
As it turns out, what came next was complicated. Decisions to be made, timing to be considered. Just two weeks before Christmas and just two days before my last week of work.
I remember thinking about how I'd heard of women miscarrying when I was younger, how horrified I was that they had to keep the baby inside of them for days until the situation could be resolved. I know now how stupid and young I was then. How I didn't know anything about what it was to be a mother, to know that the only and safest place your baby belongs is right with you, always with you. How it's not the holding on but the letting go that is the hard part.
And that is the beginning of how we said goodbye to our son. Our second son. I still don't know how this story ends, I only know that one day I was pregnant and the next I was...not. No more counting weeks and days, no more rules to live by like how to sleep or what to eat or how much of what vitamins to take. It was just...over.
I'm still here, but my son is not. And neither is the son before him. So I don't know what to feel or what part of me will win out, but I'm going to try really hard to put one foot in front of the other and make myself walk through it and not around it. And I thank you all, in advance, for taking my hand.