Grief Has No Timetable and Boundaries Are OK

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Last year my husband and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary. We also celebrated reaching the 1 year milestone since we both had weight loss surgery and had both lost in excess of 100 pounds. A month after my surgery was the first time in about 3 years that my period arrived with regularity without drugs to make it happen. Last year, we had a lot to celebrate. Much to our surprise, we also celebrated learning that we were pregnant for the first time. We were both elated and thrilled and just over the moon excited. You see, I was told it would be very difficult to get pregnant without surgical intervention because I was born with a septate uterus. Basically, I had tissue dividing my uterus in half to some extent. So after I reached my year mark after weight loss surgery when it would be safer to get pregnant, I was referred to a fertility specialist who could evaluate me and perform such surgeries.

2 weeks after we renewed our vows on the beach and had a wonderful anniversary celebration with our friends, I had my first appointment with the fertility doctor. He did an ultrasound to further evaluate me and he did a pregnancy test just to be sure that I wasn’t pregnant. I happened to be 3 days late at the time, but being pregnant was the furthest thing from my mind. A little later that afternoon, I get a call from a nurse congratulating me on being pregnant! I was stunned…I didn’t know what to say…in fact, I told her she must have the wrong person! After the shock wore off, I immediately called my husband and told him. He was just as stunned, but we were thrilled! We truly believed this was a miracle pregnancy that God had blessed us with. We knew it would be high risk with me having the septum, but we were hopeful. My husband prayed over my belly every day and asked for protection and gave thanks for this wonderful miracle.

The first 3 ultrasounds the fertility specialist did looked great! He did one at 6, 7, and 8 weeks. The heartbeat was there and it was growing appropriately. He then sent me back to my OB for prenatal care. Since this was around the Thanksgiving holiday, it took about 3 weeks before I was able to get into my OB for the first prenatal visit and ultrasound. So I would have been on my 11th week. It was that day when our world came crashing down. The ultrasound tech could not find a heartbeat – and the doctor confirmed that. The baby only measured 9 weeks, 1 day. So that was that — our miracle baby had passed on and my body hadn’t realized it yet. I was still having all of my pregnancy symptoms! A few days later, I was having my D&C and woke up without a baby. I felt so empty.

Fast forward a couple of months, I had my surgery for septum resection and exploratory laproscopy. Everything went well and looked great and I got the all-clear from the fertility specialist to try for another. On my 2nd cycle after that surgery, I was pregnant again. This time, I got pregnant the month of my birthday! What a wonderful gift! Again, I had a 6, 7, and 8 week ultrasound. At 6 weeks, there was a very faint heartbeat and the baby measured 5 weeks, 5 days. A little small, but the doctor was not concerned. The next week, the baby measured 6 weeks. The heartbeat was a little clearer, but there was only 2 days worth of growth. The doctor was now concerned and asked me to come back again the following week. That ultrasound wasn’t any better – the baby still measured 6 weeks. In 1 week it had not grown at all and the heartbeat was more faint. So I was told that I was going to miscarry again. I was scheduled for one more ultrasound the following week to check the heartbeat, and if there wasn’t one, I would have a D&C that afternoon. Except the day before my scheduled appointment, I began spotting at work. I immediately went home and could hardly keep my composure. The next day, the bleeding hadn’t gotten any heavier, so the fertility specialist called in the “miscarriage pill” to speed up the process. That weekend all I did was sleep and cry and be angry that God would take yet another baby from me, too! Wasn’t 1 bad enough? Hadn’t I suffered enough?

In the meantime, my 21 year old nephew and his girlfriend who had an “oops” pregnancy delivered a baby girl in July — about 3 weeks after my first one would have been due. I have yet to see a picture and I do not want to — I simply can not handle it. It is too painful of a reminder to me. I also found out my 23 year old niece who just got married in June is now pregnant too. The lady across the hall at work (whom I do not even know), she just had a baby girl, too. I feel like I am surrounded by it and I feel like it’s suffocating me.

To make matters worse, my sister (the mother of my nephew and niece) and I really do not talk anymore. We used to be so close! My nieces and nephews and I used to be so close too (even if not geographically). Now, none of them text or call anymore. It’s like they are scared of me. I set my boundaries – I want to talk to all of them, I want things to be “ok” again, I just can’t talk about everyone else’s pregnancy/baby stuff. I just can’t. It is too painful. But the message I’m getting is – if we can’t talk to you about that, then we can’t talk to you.

Here it is going on 5 months after my 2nd miscarriage and almost a year since my first. I still grieve everyday. I still feel the aching in my heart and the emptiness in my soul. My husband and a couple of friends are the only ones who really seem to “get it”. Thank God for them. If not for them, I would feel even more lonely and isolated than I do now. Every time I think that I should be over this by now, I am reminded that my babies were very real, and my love and connection to them was very real and that grief has no timetable. It is too bad that family relationships and friendships change as a result, but in the end, we have to take care of ourselves. Hopefully those that we care the most about will understand.

— Beth

Photo credit: adapted from photosteve101 | Flickr

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