Thursday, August 4, 2011

There's No Getting Over It

It's been a year already?  My best friend asked me yesterday.  He said it surprised as if the last year went by too quickly for him to realize.  And for him, I guess it may have. 

It's been a year since my miscarriage.  You'd think, after a year I'd be over it. 

I'd known women who had them.  And since my miscarriage, women have shared their stories, to comfort me in some way.  To let me know that I am not alone.  And it's like I've been inducted into this secret society of women.  

My mother had a miscarriage, before becoming pregnant with me.  I had known that growing up.  How I learned such an intimate detail about my mother, I can't remember.  But she would say to me, If I didn't have that miscarriage, you would not be here.  As if I were her consolation prize.  Maybe that's what the baby after miscarriage is?  

Miscarriage used to be just a word, whispered among women.  I had never known it's devastation, the emotional and physical toll it takes. The aftermath.  They are the things left unsaid.  Miscarriages are often kept secret, a mother's mourning done in silence. 

And while I was often asked - how are you feeling? I always answered, fine and smiled because I knew no one wanted to hear the truth.  And quite honestly, I cannot and do not want to speak the truth.  But it's the things I have the most difficulty saying out loud that come so easily in writing.

This is the truth:

The minutes after walking out of my doctors office, after being told of my loss, I still cradled the swell of my belly - protecting the baby that was no longer alive.

Hours later, I stared at the small shiny sonogram photo not know what to do with it.  Leaving it out was painful.  Throwing it away? Betrayal.  Instead I tucked it into a book I knew I would never read.

I stayed up all night, unable to sleep, haunted by my tomb of a womb.  And while I wanted the procedure to be done as quickly as possible, I wanted my baby just a little bit longer.

Seconds after surgery, I opened my eyes to the blur of bright whites was my doctor - smiling though her eyes were sad.  And in her hand, a plastic bag.  I knew what my doctor was holding. "Is it a boy or girl?  Can you tell?"  I asked the question, my mother told me not to ask.  My doctor shook her head; though I suspected if she knew, she would never tell me.    

Days after surgery, I was back in the hospital.  Examined, interrogated, poked, prodded and drugged by doctors, nurses and medical students.  My baby was no longer a "baby" but referred to as "the product of conception."  As if medical terminology could minimize my loss, lessen my grief, dull my pain.

Weeks later, I still could not fit into regular clothes.  Defeated, I'd slip back into my maternity jeans.

And while everyone else (understandably) forgot about my pregnancy and miscarriage.
For me it was not easily forgotten.  I spent the next five months keeping track. 
Today I would have found out the sex. 
Today I would have been 5 months.  
6 months. 

And in January, while we celebrated The Boy's 5th birthday.  I couldn't help but think of baby that would have been born had he/she survived.

And in those months that followed, I counted again. 
The baby would have been two months...

I've spent the last year, wondering...why?  What went wrong?  What's wrong with me? Blaming myself, because that's what I tend to do.  And how could I not - on the day my pregnancy was expelled two nurses questioned me? 
- What did you do?  Too much exercise? 
- Why weren't you taking your prenatal vitamins daily?  Did you not want this pregnancy? 

And upon seeing other pregnant women.  Every baby shower I sat through.  Every new mom I congratulated.  Envy came too easily.   
Why her?
Why me?

And then, the questions; the demands.
How many children do you have?
You better hurry up and give him a brother or sister!
You better hurry up...said as if it were that easy.
Sometimes to shut them up I say:  I tried.  I had a miscarriage.

And the shoes that I wore on that day last year, remain unworn this summer.  Even though I love them.  Even though I want to wear them.  Even though I look them at least twice a week, only to put on another pair.  As silly as it sounds, I'm afraid to walk in my own shoes.  

So this week, has been tough.  It's been hard to focus, to write, to think.  And I've cried (a lot).
I've spent this last year, last week - waiting and wondering: when I will be over it?

But in these last few hours, writing this, I've realized there is no getting over such a loss.  I've accepted it.  I've moved on; I've gone on.  I've woken up every morning, grateful for The Boy that I have.  And The Husband and I are trying, hoping that we'll be lucky enough to be given another chance.   

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AutismWonderland - written by Lisa Quinones-Fontanez - is a personal blog chronicling a NYC family's journey with autism, while also sharing local resources for children/families with special needs.