Sunday, September 13, 2015

PALS - Pregnancy After Loss Support

I have been struggling with mixed emotions throughout this pregnancy.  I have been terrified that we were going to lose the baby, or even worse, that something was horribly wrong.  That has been mixed with sadness, since this pregnancy sometimes makes me think of the pregnancies that I have lost.  Every now and again, a little bit of anticipation and happiness pops up.  But that is quickly washed over with fear, sadness and sometimes even guilt.  Guilt that this baby may make it and there were ones who did not.

It has been hard to say the least.

What has also been very hard is that I feel very misunderstood.  For most of the population, a positive pregnancy test equals a baby.  And for most of the population, that positive pregnancy test came without months or even years of trying, without medications, procedures or even third parties.  For many it was even a complete surprise.  For most of the population, pregnancy is a time of joy, and they don't seem to understand how anyone would not also be joyful.

For most women who have suffered a pregnancy loss, their partner also suffered that loss.  So, while people (and often the sexes) process loss differently, the couple is at least processing together.

True, Mark and I suffered a failed transfer and a chemical pregnancy together.  But those happened half a world away and via a gestational carrier.  For Mark they were disappointments, for me they were losses.

The two pregnancies that I myself lost happened 14 and 15 years ago, with another partner and even in a different state.  Mark hasn't gotten the thrill of a positive pregnancy test, only to start bleeding a few weeks later.  To then start having horrific cramps and passing big clumps of things that you knew once were a baby.  To have to go to the doctor to make sure that everything actually did pass and that you don't need a procedure.  To have seen a baby moving on an ultrasound, that later never was.

We have had very different experiences.

Mark has tried to be supportive despite not completely understanding my feelings.  He has been doing a great job, but I really still needed more support.  Thankfully I found out about PALS - Pregnancy After Loss Support, and even more importantly, found a local support group through them.  They have been wonderful so far and I have learned some very important things:

1. My feelings are normal for someone who has experienced pregnancy loss.
2. I have not fully grieved my prior losses.
3. I need to work through my grief and my fear.
4. My grief and fear will never completely go away, but it will be less often and less hard if I work on it now.

I have rationalized my losses for so long, telling myself that "It was for the best".  It has been hard, very hard, but I have been working past the rationalization.  I had never named my angel babies.  I think that I probably didn't see the point - why name a baby that never was?  But, Daniel, Marilyn, Gavin and Grace deserve to have names.  They were are real, even if it was only for a few months, weeks or days.  When our little one is born, they will not be alone, they will have four siblings that  they will meet someday in Heaven. 

This is hard for me to write, or even think about.  I don't know if I ever had a great relationship with God, but it definitely changed after my first miscarriage.  I have been so angry that he would give me a miracle pregnancy....only to take it away.  To give me hope, after hope, after hope, only to take it away.  I know that I shouldn't be.  I have to remember that even through sometimes God may seem careless, that there is a plan.  Maybe our little one needed to have these angel babies to watch over him/her.  That my angel babies are so that Baby S someday will be.  I have to believe that is the plan.

I have to keep working through my pain, so that I can be fully here once Baby S is here.  I will continue to go to my support group and work with our fantastic counselor.  I am very lucky to have found their support.  I will also work on a way to memorialize my angel babies - something very special for my little ones that were too beautiful for here.

Daniel, Marilyn, Gavin and Grace, I will hold you in my heart until I hold you in Heaven.

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