Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Last Flicker

That was my belly on March 1, 2010. I was six weeks pregnant with River. I was just beginning to get hit by the all day nausea that blesses me in all of my pregnancies. Before this, I had been eating 3lb shank steaks as a snack. Obviously, my body was preparing to not eat for a few weeks.

I wanted to share this photo with everyone. I don't have many from that pregnancy. I just have a couple of belly shots, showing wonderful growth, a picture of my positive pregnancy test and the picture the ultrasound tech gave me of my dead baby. I need to share some sort of photo with you. I need the world to see that she existed. She was real. In this picture, she was snug in my womb, safe and alive. Her growth was causing things in my body to move...making my little belly stick out like that. She caused my breasts to swell and my skin to clear up and glow. She was real. You can see that she was a part of my body then. Everything was hopeful and alive.

I have many anniversaries from that pregnancy. She was conceived in the first week of February - probably the 3rd or the 4th. The test turned positive on February 18th. There is this picture, taken on March 1st. Then there is today. March 13th. Two years ago today was the last day that I saw her alive. I was working and decided to pop the ultrasound probe on my belly. Not a good idea, don't do it. It was a bad pregnancy habit of mine. It wasn't the 1st time I checked for her. I had seen her a couple of times. Alive. Heart beating. March 13th...there she was. She was perfect for a nearly 8 week fetus. She was so much bigger than the last time I had seen her on ultrasound. Growing strong. Her little heart flickered the way it was supposed to. Fast. Regular. Perfect. I counted the beats. She was in the 150's. I felt a sense of relief. I put the probe away, wiped the goo off my belly and shut the machine off. I told myself I wouldn't do another ultrasound until about 20 weeks and I would get it done at the hospital. All was well.

March 15th. I was filled with so much anxiety. I felt a horrid little black rain cloud following me around. I tried to shake it away. I told myself everything was alright, but I couldn't focus on work. I did everything to get my mind off it. I went out for water ice to soothe my nausea. My car broke down. Ah, perhaps that was the anxiety - I sensed car trouble. Miraculously, my car started up again within minutes of calling the tow truck. I went about the rest of my day - dinner, belly dance class, bed.

March 16. I had my first prenatal appointment with my midwife. We discussed my plans. I was feeling super nauseous and even wore sea bands. My midwife was happy that I was so nauseous. I declined the 8 week ultrasound, explaining that I had done my own and that baby was perfection. I went to work that night and things proceeded as normal. I had a sudden wave of feeling very dizzy and very unwell. I told myself it was all normal ... I was even happy as it meant things were working. But, I got this nag. Something was telling me that I needed to check myself with the ultrasound. I tried to push it all down, but it didn't work. The nagging in my brain continued. I gave in and took a peek. We all know the story from here. I stared at that screen for so long, willing that flicker to start up again. I jumped up and down. I jiggled the probe on my belly. I prayed, begged and pleaded in my mind to get the flicker to start up again. But it never did.

March 30th - the follow up ultrasound to confirm what I already knew. A day where I was treated like some subhuman piece of trash without feelings. I'll never get over the way I was treated. Never.

April 1 - the day my midwife called after 8am and said, "it's just as you expected." I finalized my decision then to allow my body to miscarry naturally, knowing that it could take weeks of carrying my dead baby until my body and my heart were ready to let go.

April 18th - the day I finally birthed her into Heaven. My first homebirth, technically.

October 27th - her due date.

It's been two years of frequent spirals downward. This time of year is always hard for me because of the memories. It's hard to escape. I have a bunch of sad anniversaries coming up. I'll deal with them as they come along. Today, I'll remember that moment two years ago when my world was right. When I was standing on the edge of the cliff before starting my depressive free fall. Today I will focus on the memory of her being alive. I will keep that flickering heartbeat forever carved onto my own heart. She was alive.

24 comments:

The Stay at Home Wifey said...

I'm so glad you got to see that wonderful little heart beat. What a beautiful memory of the child you will one day meet in Heaven. I know that there are no words that bring comfort, I just wish I could stand beside you for a few minutes and let you feel my arms around you in understanding and comfort.

Big Families Rock said...

Ive lost 2 babies, I understand the pain. The picture is gorgeous tho.

Funky Little Earthchild said...

I'm sorry for your losses, BFR.

Thank you so much for the love, SAHW.

:-)

Ambra said...

You brought tears to my eyes with this post. Thank you for sharing about the life of your perfect angel baby.

Funky Little Earthchild said...

Thank you, Ambra.

nicholsK said...

I am so sorry... I went through almost the same thing in November. I went in for my 15 week checkup, and they put the Doppler on my belly to hear the heartbeat, and they couldn't find it. After 3 different people tried, they decided to do an ultrasound. There was no heartbeat... my baby had died. I was so heart broken, and all I could do was cry. I had to have a d & c to have the baby removed. May 15th would be it's due date. I hoped I would be pregnant before then, but it's not going to happen. I do have 2 beautiful twin 4 year old girls who I love so very much, but I just feel incomplete.

Thank you for sharing your story. I am so sorry about your loss.

Funky Little Earthchild said...

nicholsK - I am so sorry for your loss. :-( I wish you a lot of peace as you move closer to your due date. I know that first time approaching your due date can be really hard. Sending you lots of healing energy and peace.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I am currently recovering from a missed miscarriage (for me it was almost 11 weeks, didn't find out til 14 weeks) It's hard to explain the feeling of being a mother to someone who you never met. Especially when the world does not consider you a mother because you have no baby to show for it. Your belly photo is a beautiful tribute. I wish you peace and grace.

Funky Little Earthchild said...

I am so sorry for your loss. It is indeed very hard to explain. People have a hard time understanding why it hurts your heart so much. Wishing you the same peace and grace.

Tessa Kelley said...

Thank you for sharing your story with everyone. I just lost a baby On April 2, 2012, I was 8 weeks, but baby didn't make it past 6 weeks. My sister was pregnant with me, our due dates were just 3 weeks apart, now here I am watching her baby move around in my sisters tummy and it hurts me to know I'm supposed to be that big. I'm supposed to be feeling my baby move like that... My due date is also approaching soon, Nov. 13... I don't know how I'm gonna take it. I'm dreading it. =( is there anything that may help ease the pain?

Funky Little Earthchild said...

Tessa - I am so sorry for your loss. After my loss, I went back to work to 4 people (well, one was a guy who had a pregnant wife - he told me on the day I came back) who were pregnant. I literally walk in the door and into a room full of people who were discussing one girl's pregnancy. It was so hard not to have any hard feelings and to not feel jealous. I felt envy all the time. All.the.time. I had to constantly remind myself that it's obviously not something personal towards me. Honestly, I don't have a great answer as to how to deal with the impending due date. I was incredibly sad when that due date rolled around the first time. I took the time to honor my baby in my heart and in my words and was lucky to have people sending me lots of love. The important thing was that I let myself feel the emotions that came - I didn't try to repress them when they came. I let them be and I let them pass. I did spend the day going out - we were on vacation and we visited a few museums and places like that, so I kept myself busy. I think that helped.

Tessa Kelley said...

Thank you. I will be sure to keep myself busy when that day comes. My nephew will be here by then, I'm thinking I may just spend the day with him. I'm also terrified about losing another precious angel. I have nightmares about it. I'm worried that when I do end up pregnant again, I'm going to be scared the entire pregnancy, ESPECIALLY the first 14 weeks. Me and my husband still haven't started trying again. I don't know what to do, I think I'm still stuck in the confused and heartbroken state, so I know I'm not ready at the moment, but I want to finally hold a living thriving baby of mine in my arms...

Anonymous said...

Tessa i am so sorry. It cannot be easy. Our first pregnancy was our first loss. He or she would be 5 on november 13th. I will not lie to you and say the pain goes away cause it doesnt. Anniversaries or births of other children will always be somewhat bittersweet but after 3 years i didnt want his or her memory to be a sad one. They were in our tummy and even if we didnt get to feel them move or in my case ever see their beautiful heartbeat he or she will always be my baby. My oldest is not old enough to understand completely but she somewhat understands that she has a big brother or sister watching over her and her baby brother and momma and dada. I had only one encounter where i broke down about a year ago at a store because there was this adorable little boy and his grandmother said they were shopping for his birthday. I asked her when was his birthday and she replied nov. 13th. My husband looked at me like he already knew what i was going to ask her next. She told me he was going to be 4. I honestly felt like i couldnt breathe and the woman asked me if i was ok and i just smiled and said yes told her grandson happy birthday and walked away. We barely made it to the car and i just broke down and my husband tried his best to comfort me. My heart was in so much pain but at the same time i felt a sense of calmness i cannot explain.

A miscarriage or stillborn or child loss in general will test you in ways you think you can never pick yourself up once you get knocked down. Please just remember you can. You could have days weeks or months where you feel like you are making progress and in one single second you fall right back to the day you lost your baby. That sadness and guilt and pain just comes flooding back. Do not let those emotions overcome you. Remember that even though it was a short period of time. You had this amazing little in your life and although they are not with us their memory will always be carried in our hearts. I hope this helps somehow.

Funky Little Earthchild said...

I'm sorry it took me so long to respond. I disconnected my computer for a few weeks while I was getting rid of my old desk and getting a new one.

Tessa - Anonymous spoke beautifully. The grief really knocks you down and makes you think you will never recover. But you can. As far as trying again - you will know when the time is right. At first, I wanted to get pregnant again right away, but then I was too scared. I waited a few more months before trying. And, yes, my pregnancy was full of emotional highs and lows and a lot of anxiety. No matter what milestone I passed, I found myself feeling anxious about something else. *hugs*

Anonymous - thank you so much for sharing and for giving support to Tessa. Much love!

Tasha said...

I'm sorry for your loss. I feel your pain. Friday I found out our little heart had stopped. Today I'm taking the pills to help with the miscarriage. I would have been 8 weeks today. I went looking for some comfort and found this post, thank you for sharing. Ive been trying to forget, pretend it never happened... But I think I'll instead treasure what little time we had and hope she will comeback to me someday soon.

Funky Little Earthchild said...

Tasha - I'm sorry for your loss. I wish you lots of healing. I hope my post helped just a little bit and I do hope she comes back to you someday. <3

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post and all of the comments. I was told 3 days ago at my ten week ultrasound that my baby had died. They had told me I would need a d&c because it would probably be too much to pass naturally. I recall the face the doctor made as she first looked at the picture on the screen and I immediately knew that something was not right. I was told about the statistics of miscarriage, that there was nothing I could have done to prevent it, that as soon as it was conceived it was destined to die. I don't know if any if that was supposed to be comforting. It was as if I was under water and trying to comprehend what the rest of the world above the surface was saying. I was led down a hallway to have a blood test performed, and told to come back 2 days later to have my blood taken again. I was told to call if I started to bleed. The next night, Thursday, I had the smallest spot of blood, so I called. I was told to call the emergency doctor if it became heavy. Two hours later it began. It was the most horrifying, terrifying, emotionally scarring process that i've ever experienced, and I was home alone as well. The emergency doctor returned my call, her children playing loudly in the background, while she nonchalantly explained to me what was happening and that they'd see me in the morning for my appointment. I felt so helpless as I was forced to flush what was physically left of my baby down the toilet. The amount of blood I lost has left me weak and pale 48 hours later. The next morning I had to tell what had happened a few times because the doctors I spoke with left no information in my chart. The nurse that spoke with me ended our conversation by saying, "one in four first pregnancies end in miscarriage, so at least you got it out of the way." There is really not a more lonely experience than walking through a bustling obgyn office crying, while pregnant women stare at the floor, thankful it's you and not them. I'm struggling to understand why this happened and how I can memorialize my baby so that I can proclaim to the world that she existed. This was my first pregnancy and I'll always think of her as my first baby, even if I never saw her and if no one recognizes that, although I have no baby, I became a mother in those short ten weeks.

Funky Little Earthchild said...

Anonymous - I am so sorry about your sweet little baby. Of course you she was your baby and of course you are a mother. I'm so sorry that this happened to you. I personally would like to slap that nurse who made that comment about, "at least you got it out of the way." What a cruel and heartless thing to say. Love to you and your baby.

Emma said...

Thanks for sharing your story with us. In a week it will have been 3 years since we lost our baby. We lost our baby 14 weeks into my pregnancy. We were trying for many months and found out we were expecting very early on so when we lost the baby it felt like we not only lost him or her but also ourselves,(The future we had planned with our little angel was gone). Even tho we now have beautiful 2 year old twin girls that I'm so in love with, I sometimes (rarely but still) get lost in the overwhelming sadness... I grieve for the baby I lost but also for the person I was before my heart shattered. Even tho God blessed us with our two little miracles I find myself having a hard time understanding and letting myself heal from it. It’s hard to explain to someone that has not gone through this. The feeling I have. Many people think that when you get pregnant and have a baby the hurt from a previous miscarriage just leaves but it feels like because I had them so quickly after the miscarriage I never got to deal with it. I also have an anniversary coming up and will be thinking about you. Thank you for your story it made me feel a little less alone tonight.

april said...

I am so thankful for both of your responses to my post(Anonymous 11/10), Earthchild and Emma. Both of your stories fill me with a sense that I am not alone. I have few people to discuss my loss with, and the father and I are not speaking any longer. I don't think he identified himself as a father, as if I simply had some idea inside of me rather than a baby, and that I should "move on and feel better," as he put it. I really appreciate the comfort I have received from your blog and all of the comments people have posted. Love to all of you and your babies too.

Emma said...

April ,Thanks for responding to my story! I'm sorry to hear about what happened to you and your family. I also found it hard to talk about it with m hubby after a while.
I started a journal a few months ago and believe it or not it is actually working for me. When I start feeling really down I document it, all my sadness and all my fears on paper. It makes me feel better somehow... I find that pain and grief has a way of evolving with time and by writing about it and later going back and reading it I see a difference and I’m able to relate to the place I was and what I was feeling... It makes it matter more somehow, it makes it count.

Anonymous said...

We found out 2 days ago our baby's heart stopped and now I am just waiting for my body to do what it needs to do.It's 3 am and I'm surfing Pinterest. I run across your story... I'm crying as I read it. I feel like it was meant for you to share this just for me. We have a two year old named River. He was born March 13, 2010.... I can't stop thinking about how I am carrying a baby that is no longer living... a baby I had so many dreams for! A baby who is so loved who I will never hold in my earthly life. The pain is so raw... the guilt is overwhelming. The sadness is unbearable! Thank you for sharing your story... it helped me feel not so alone. I am sorry for your loss.... Kristi

april said...

Emma,
I've been writing thoughts/poems my whole life, and started writing about my baby when I found out I was pregnant. Now those poems have turned into writings to/about/for him, and it has helped immensely. Thank you for sharing with me.

Kristi,
I'm so sorry you are going through this. I miscarried two and a half weeks ago, and I am so sorry for your loss. It is truly the most lonely, sad, isolating experience I have ever been through, and I have found a lot of comfort in this blog too. I like to think that I held my baby for his entire life, even if I never got to hold him in my arms. I also found something else that I found very comforting. A geneticist who studies pregnant women found that in every pregnancy, even one that ends in miscarriage or stillbirth, the mother retains her babies DNA in her body from the babies white blood cells and stem cells for at least decades after the pregnancy, if not the rest of her life. I have struggled with the fact that I have very few physical mementos from my baby, but I love the idea that a piece of him will always physically be with me. I don't know if that makes sense to anyone else, but it has comforted me a lot.

Funky Little Earthchild said...

Emma and April - thank you for sharing your experiences and offering comfort to others who are reading. There are MANY lurking and reading everything and your words definitely help. I agree that writing about loss helps - whether it's in a journal, a blog, poems, on an online support group. Letting that energy flow from your heart and your mind onto something like paper or the computer can be extremely healing.

Kristi - I am so sorry about your sweet baby. I'm thinking of you and sending you lots of healing energy and prayers. I am glad my blog was able to offer you some comfort. Much love to you.

I have read several articles regarding the retention of DNA and other things after a pregnancy. It is indeed comforting knowing that we will always carry some part of our babies with us both in our hearts and in our bodies.

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