Tuesday, March 9, 2010

This Year is Different

So Sunday was March 7. Three years ago on that date, I terminated my pregnancy. My baby girl died on March 7. She had anencephaly, no chance at life outside my womb. The week that we found out our baby's diagnosis, made our choice and lost her was the worst week of my life. I had never known such a loss, such sadness or experienced such grief before. March 7, 2007 marked the beginning of a very difficult period in my life. That loss would be followed by difficulty getting pregnant again, a second loss, more difficulty getting pregnant and then trying to conceive through fertility treatments. Those experiences changed me. Who I was and how I looked at the world shifted.

And I pretty much felt like shit for about 3 years. I mean, I was able to function quite well - continue working, take a vacation here and there, see friends, even celebrate the births of many of my friends' babies. I went to baby showers and kid birthday parties, I enjoyed the holidays with my family, I loved to sit in the sun and read, my husband and I worked on our house and the backyard.....I feel like I kept on living. I mean, what was the alternative? Curl up into a ball and cry for three years? Become bitter and angry, withdraw from the people who loved me? No. I was determined not to do those things. But there was a hole in my heart and a sadness in my being that was always there. Even when I felt pretty okay. Something was missing from my life - the baby that I lost and the baby I still wanted so badly - and that was always present. It wasn't necessarily always at the forefront of my mind, but it was always lurking in the background. Always with me. Even when I got pregnant with my son. The fear of losing him too was always present. Every milestone was surreal. I was cautious and careful with my heart. And while I slowly but surely allowed myself to enjoy moments of my pregnancy, not until I heard him cry after they took him out of me could I breathe deeply and let go of that fear.

And I don't think I truly appreciated what I was feeling and how I made my way through life before until after my son was born. You know how you never know how bad you really felt until you feel better? And actually, I think its more that I wasn't really FEELING. Not completely anyway. I wasn't miserable all the time, I just wasn't ever truly happy. I felt grey. Sometimes just a little grey and sometimes very grey, but definitely grey. And now the color is back. Having my son fills me with joy and brings me peace.

That doesn't mean I have forgotten how we got here. Or what we lost along the way. I still cried on Sunday for my baby girl. I thought about her all day. But its different this year. I cried and then looked at my beautiful baby boy who has filled the hole in my heart. Who has put the color back in my life. And I could smile through the tears.

On the second morning we were in the hospital, the doctor who did rounds was the doctor who performed the D&E three years ago. I haven't seen her since then, but I recognized her name instantly. And she recognized me. She said she was so happy to see me under these circumstances. After she left, I broke down and sobbed. I mean I cried like I haven't cried for almost three years. Cried like I almost never do. Just sobbed and sobbed. I cried because I hadn't thought about my first baby once since my son had been born two days earlier. Not once until I saw the doctor. That made me feel guilty and free at the same time. Guilty because I always imagined that she would be on my mind right as he was born and the first times I looked at him - like I wanted her to be a part of it and not forgotten. But I also felt freed. Freed from the pain and sadness of the past three years. Free because I could cry and cry and cry for the baby I lost, but then I could go and pick up my son and feel such overwhelming love and joy. I could feel, really FEEL, both extremes. I feel like that doctor came to me that morning for a reason.

This year is different. Better. Better doesn't begin to describe it. I am so blessed and grateful.


  1. I'm so sorry for your loss. I know exactly what you mean when you say that you didn't realize how down you were until you were past it. Isn't that always the case?

    I'm wishing you a much better year full of joy. :-D

  2. Thank you so much for writing this post. I lost my daughter in June 2008 and I'm due with twins July of this year. I am still so very sad over her death, that I forget what it feels like to feel good. I'm trying to enjoy this pregnancy (as much as is possible) but I am missing her as much as ever. I hope when I have the twins, I can look into their faces and see them, and not constantly look for glimmers of Kara. I am terrified that I'll always miss her more than I can love them... but your post gives me hope that maybe they can bring my happiness back. I'll always miss her terribly, but maybe they'll bring the color back to my life.

  3. Ya "never know how you feel until you feel better..." This really resonates with me. I feel like for me, too, the past 3 years have been a constant journey of hindsight: moving forward, looking backward, learnin as I go along and re-evaluate the past. Funny how that works. I'm glad you're in a "better" place now. :-)

  4. This post meant a lot to me- thank you for writing it.

  5. It's always good to see the perspective of someone who's had a child after a loss...thanks for posting to the Creme de la Creme list.

  6. I totally understand about the grey.
    Its ok to not always look backward with each step forward.

    (from the creme)

  7. I don't think any of us get through it without some scars. They fade over time, but they become part of who we are. So good to hear you say you are feeling again.

  8. Here from Creme,

    I'm so sorry for your loss. Moving on from the gray is a good thing. Hard, but good.

  9. Also here from the Creme. This post really spoke to me as I'm cautiously expecting my rainbow baby on 5/10/11. I can only begin to imagine how it will feel to parent a living child, and what changes that will bring to my life. I'm looking forward to it with so much hope and excitement, while knowing I won't really believe it and be able to experience such a life until this baby gets her safe and sound, alive and well.

    Thanks for sharing!

  10. What a truly beautiful post. I'm so sorry for your loss but so happy for the healthy, happy arrival of your son. I can only imagine how flat life would become after you've lost your first child and have no one on Earth to "mother" even though you are, in fact, a mother. That would be horrible. I'm so glad you have someone on Earth to shower with affection and love with all your heart.

    I am also a teacher in California! It's funny how those similarities seem to mean something when I read a blog. Anyway, I just wanted to mention it.

    Congratulations on your son and the return of color in your life.

    Creme de la Creme #125
    Creme de la Creme 2010 Iron Clad Commenter Attempt