Friday, October 24, 2008

The Ugly

Now that I've announced a rebirth I guess I actually have to follow through . . . so here's the ugly. This week is really hard for me. I have a few, for lack of a better word "anniversaries" during the year that are difficult, emotional moments and one is coming up next Friday. If things had gone as "planned" I would be giving birth next Friday. A Halloween baby. A little pumpkin. But I lost this baby in May and so instead, I will just take my boys trick-or-treating and let them eat too much sugar, and try to find time to be alone with my grief that day.
I have had 4 miscarriages in the last few years. Each one is painful and terrible for J and I and this last one was especially so. We weren't trying to get pregnant this time because we had been through so much--losing the other three--and we didn't think we could face it again. But many times, things happen that we don't plan for, and I found out I was pregnant last winter. We were absolutely terrified, of course, but thrilled all the same and so sure that it must "be meant to be" since we hadn't planned it. Maybe it was finally time for us to welcome another baby to our family after all our heartache. But alas, we went for the CVS test at the 13 week mark and a week later my doctor called to tell us something was terribly wrong. He told us the baby had massive chromosomal abnormalities, and while he may make it to 40 weeks and be born to this world, he would not live more than a few hours or days. So there we were, faced with the most heart-wrenching choice we could imagine. The first three times I had lost the babies between 7 and 11 weeks and we had been told that chromosomal abnormalities were present when they tested for them after the fact, but I had always miscarried. The choice had been made for me.

So we were stunned and sick and broken, but we knew, just knew that we couldn't bear the next 6 months knowing this baby could die any time, knowing he wouldn't live to see more than a sunrise or two. I know this choice is controversial and no one else can make the decision for you. No politician or doctor or friend or parent can do it. We were alone in this. Alone, but thankfully together. So we made the awful choice and went to see our doctor to prepare ourselves for surgery. He did a final ultrasound and if there is any bright spot at all, I mean any minute hopeful moment, it was this one: the baby's heart had stopped beating on its' own. I knew I'd question our choice for the rest of my life, even though it was my choice to make, but the choice was taken from us and I was so relieved. We could mourn and grieve, but not feel the pain and guilt that would have inevitably been a part of that process.
And we have mourned. Not only that baby, but all 4 of them. I've tried to explain this to friends who have asked, but a miscarriage is so strange. You are sad and grief-stricken as you would be for any death, but there is no body to bury, no grave to plant flowers, no ritual, no casseroles baked and family and friends coming by to talk and remember. There is no one to remember, no face and name or life lived. No one knows what to say to you. No one knows how to treat you. It is a lonely road. And so this time, I had to mark it in some way. It took a while to come up with something, and it's not a typical thing, but it helped me to find a way to memorialize this child and the other three before him. I found this site called Art House, which creates massive, nationwide art projects that anyone can sign up to join. So I joined their latest project called "Stuff Your Sorries in a Sack" and I got my burlap bag in the mail and painted four flowers on it--one for each baby, and made copies of the sonogram photo of our beautiful baby boy, and on the back of each copy I wrote messages to these 4 souls:
And I sent my sack of sorries to a gallery in Georgia. So I was able to grieve in my own way, and also to memorialize these babes. I created the ritual that I needed to live more peacefully with their deaths. It isn't easy to think about what we lost. It is hard to explain my feelings about it all to people, and most people don't ask. I know I never got to know these babies, but they were still my children and I feel their loss deeply. But I have found a way to mourn and move forward, and that is something everyone can relate to.
So that's the ugly. And my rebirth continues . . .


kristen said...

this is really beautiful, even if it feels like you're showing the underbelly.

i'm sorry for your losses, i'm glad you've had a way to grieve.

Steph said...

Oh Amy, I am sorry. I am also inspired by your strength in dealing with your grief. You are a strong woman.

Sending you love and peaceful vibes,

emily said...

this story makes my heart ache...i'm so sorry! but what a beautiful way to honor their precious souls.

jenica said...

tears are streaming amy. i'm so sorry that you've had to walk this path. (((hugs)))

Amy said...

I'm so very sorry you had to endure this kind of pain. So incredibly sorry, but also so glad you are brave enough to put it out there. It helps. Both you and others. It helps.