Monday, December 7, 2009

Losing Jonathan

Today I was all set to heave a skeleton out of the closet up on the stage for you. It wasn't easy talking myself into it but I thought jeez, this one is really not a big deal! For goodness sake, it's almost the "in" thing to be these days in some ways!! And now that you've hemmed and hawed so much about revealing further secrets because they're SOoooOOOooo awful you're gonna tell them and they're all gonna be like, "That's IT???!!!" But this morning I was working with the birds, had the tv on for a little background noise, and just as I was finishing up with the birds a show came on about a couple who lost their baby. It set the stage for me to tell a completely different kind of story than the one I was going to post.

Before I tell it though I feel the need to say a few things in no particular order. This post is likely to get a little long but it's the type of story that must be told from one end to the other leaving out nothing in between so that's how I'm going to write it. This isn't one of my secrets but it is a post that I knew I'd make one day and I've been dreading just as much as those secrets because it just hurts that bad. As a matter of fact I've never been able to think about, much less try to tell, this story without a lot of tears. Heck, I'm misting up right now even getting this close to telling it! So you may want a tissue. Anyone with a penis that cringes when someone so much as says words like "menstruation", "uterus", or even "PMS" brace yourselves with a stiff drink cause this is one of those "women's junk" stories. And if you are someone who is in a place -- in your life, where you're at emotionally, whatever -- where reading a no-punches-pulled story about the death of a child will harm you please skip this post!!

To begin I have to explain to you that unlike some unlucky women I have an exceptionally robust, healthy reproductive system!! My periods are a breeze with no PMS, very rarely I may have some very light cramps but usually nothing, they're regular enough you could practically set your calendar by them, they last exactly how long they should on average and I bleed exactly how much I should on average. I get pregnant with no problems during which I'm hyper careful to eat right, exercise regularly, rest up if I feel at all tired, go to every doctor's visit, and rabidly avoid medication (even though the doctors said it was ok), cigarettes, or alcohol. In both the pregnancies that gave me my I-love-them-beyond-all-reason boys I never had morning sickness, carried them with ease, gave birth in routine ways (one c-section after 25 hours of no drugs labor, the lil stinker, then one just about by-the-book-perfect VBAC)...heck I didn't even have weird cravings!! Then I went on to have perfectly healthy children that I breastfed with ease. To tell you the truth, in both pregnancies I felt BETTER than normal!! During the end of the second trimester of my first pregnancy we moved and I was lifting boxes, rearranging furniture, and joyfully nesting away while everyone around me had complete heart attacks every time they caught me doing it! I swear to you, my uterus has a big, bold, red S stamped right on it!!

During my Year of Hell I got pregnant for the third time. When your whole life is swiftly spiralling the toilet and your entire future is in question is maybe not the smartest time to get pregnant, I admit can I explain without giving excuses? I made mistakes, maybe some not so smart choices, and I own those but I also want to give the weight to where I was at in life and in myself that it deserves because it was an awful time. I was truly in the fight of my life, a fight to even have a life! If I won the battles I was in I felt that things would be ok but if I didn't I honestly couldn't see, couldn't even conceive of a future. In all the chaos, anger, and pain I wasn't as careful as I normally would've been about where I was at in my cycle or in taking my birth control without fail. Because of that I probably had no business having sex at all but I can't tell you how unbelieveably precious it was to me just then to feel warm, loved, safe, and wanted even if for a short time!! For a few moments in time he was my rock in the middle of the storm that I could cling to and recover my breath that I desperately needed! And I also have to admit that there were times, especially all alone late at night when the ugly voices were at their very worst, that I drew a great deal of comfort curling up around my still flat belly knowing that this was one person that I selfishly had all to myself to love, who needed and would one day love me completely, and no one could take him away from me for even a second during those nine months.

Because my cycle is so regular I found out quickly about this pregnancy and as usual started doing all I could right away to give this baby the very best start in life that I possibly could. This time I asked the doctor if I should continue taking the Paxil for my depression because I didn't know if the risk of harm would be greater from the medication or the increased strain and stress on me, and therefore the baby, during a time of already incredible turmoil. He assured me that not only was it perfectly safe but that I was very correct that the added stress of stopping the medication could well do the baby and I real harm. Even so I was a little worried about whether I was doing the right thing or not but I chalked it up to an unreasonable distrust of doctors. The first time I heard my baby's heartbeat and heard that everything was just fine I relaxed a little. When I started my fourth month of pregnancy without a hint of trouble I pushed the worries aside. Women who are going to miscarry usually do in the first three months then more and more rarely as time goes on. I had a shining medical record in this area, loads of doctors, studies, and statistics telling me everything was fine, and that strong, steady heartbeat as proof that I could look forward to having another wonderful little person in my life. It gave me something in my future that I could be happy about.

Early one morning in my fifth month of pregnancy I woke up as usual and stayed cuddled under the covers for a bit still drowsy when suddenly, right out of nowhere, I felt a strange, distinct "POP" deep within that startled me into complete alertness. It didn't hurt but felt almost exactly as if someone had thumped me very sharply or had somehow snapped me with a rubber band. I lay tense for a few moments with a sense of great unease but when nothing else seemed to happen I sat up. Right away I felt a very warm rush of wetness. A little more alarmed but telling myself that I was just being silly I went to the bathroom as normal. When the paper came out with a little blood I told myself that even though I hadn't had spotting in my other pregnancies each one was different and a little spotting certainly wasn't unheard of in a perfectly normal, healthy pregnancy. But leaning forward to stand up there was another small wet rush with a little more blood, a small ache began deep inside, and the reassuring voice in my head started to sound frantic. I hesitated to wake my friends but thought better safe than sorry as I wadded up a towel to hold between my legs. Bless them they weren't the least concerned at being awakened and bundled me straight into the car.

I huddled in my seat, arms wrapped around my belly as if I could somehow protect the the little life there, with an ever growing pain inside, a towel inside my pants that felt increasingly wet and tears coursing down my face. The reassuring-voice-turned-frantic had changed to screaming desperately over and over in my head "they do such miracles in medicine now days, this is nothing at all to them, the doctors can fix this, the doctors can make this all right again, everything's going to be fine." It tried with sheer volume to drown out the note of pure fear in my mind but couldn't quite blot it out. I was as scared as I ever had been in my life.

He helped me inside and even threw a fit when the nurses told me to wait in the waiting room until they brought me back. A nurse calmly asked a few questions and had me take down my pants to see the towel within. I had to grab the chair, my legs gone weak, when I saw just how bloody that towel was but that voice in my head just kept right on screaming. Despite the voice's efforts I feel like I somehow started to drift away from reality about then, only a little bit, just enough to soften the edges of everything but leaving me in control of myself. The nurse sent me to the bathroom for a urine sample.

I remember standing in front of the toilet staring dumbly at the little cup and sterile wipes for just a second before taking my pants back down again and sitting. When I reached under with the cup to catch the stream something was odd but I couldn't understand what. It was like something was just out of place somehow. So I carefully set the cup aside and felt to see what was going on and found a strange weight dangling on a cord that lead inside me. Bewildered I pulled and with an easy little "snap" I pulled the weight up to see what it was and the voice in my head quit screaming. I remember best thin, fragile arms ending in such perfect little hands and fingers only so tiny, a head too large for such a small thing with two little dark circles for eyes, and the whole, warm little weight fit easily in just one of my own small hands. It took a second-forever to register that this was my baby. After a few more seconds-forevers a voice, startlingly clear and bold with the finality of a door slamming loudly in the silence of my head, said, "It's over. There's no way the doctors can fix this now."

I cuddled him to my chest to keep him warm, covering him protectively under my chin for who knows how long while I thought. What should I do? I very distinctly asked myself, "Should I start screaming? Is that the appropriate thing to do now?" and imagined nurses rushing in telling me exactly what to do and ending this strange detatched, calmness. It seemed like that would be a relief of sorts, not having to figure out the right thing to do next. I was so very, very tired of trying to puzzle out what the right thing to do next was in my life just then. But I reasoned that if I could consider calmly whether to scream or not I probably shouldn't. After all, you can't PLAN to scream! That kind of calm thought process precluded screaming. When people scream it's because the scream just comes out without thought. I didn't want to leave him but I told myself I had to because the people outside might be starting to worry about me. I took a few paper towels at the sink, folded them carefully, put him down on it, then gently covered him up with another like tucking him into bed before reluctantly leaving. There was a wheelchair waiting there for me and I told them "someone should check the bathroom" before sitting down.

As I sat there it's as if I started to thaw out somehow. First I felt tears running down my cheeks then it's as if I came awake all in a huge, overwhelming rush of agony! I half lunged up out of the wheelchair before hands held me down as I started screaming "My baby! My baby! I have to get my baby!!" Arms went around me and held me close as the screaming slowly dwindled down to wracking sobs of "I just want him back! I just want my baby back!" I can't explain the feelings. There just aren't words to say how hugely, crushingly, bereft I was. It's like a mountain sitting on me, physically, mentally, and emotionally to even try to remember it clearly enough to explain it. Bigger than huge. Blacker than black. Despair with no end.

Then my memory starts to come and go about precisely what happened for a little while after that. The prick of a needle almost passes without my notice. I only remember it because it struck me as odd that I just barely felt it at all. I was on my back on an exam table. There was a warm hand on my shoulder and a male voice saying, "I'm so sorry." I turned my face away from him and felt tears still streaming steadily from my eyes. People were moving around, talking, doing things between my legs. A small noise escaped me. A gentle male voice from between my legs said "I know, sweetheart, but we're almost done." I dully thought to myself, "I don't care. Do whatever you want. It doesn't change anything." I may have fallen asleep? Maybe more than once? I have no idea. I could've been there for minutes or days.

The next thing I remember is being wheeled to somewhere else. A nurse came in and asked me that question that every woman is asked, is there any way I could be pregnant or even suspect I could be pregnant? That's when I know I came completely awake and aware and stared at her for a minute. Did she really just ask me that??? Didn't they have paperwork or even mention about why I was there and what had happened up to that point??? A white hot fury shook me then completely burning away all the sadness in an instant! I didn't recognize my own voice as I visciously snarled at her, "NOT ANYMORE!!!" I sat there glaring at her, tensed as if I'd leap at her any minute. A shock of realization hit her eyes then and all the anger just flowed back out of me. There might've been a flash of sympathy in her face before she stood up and quickly left the room without another word. I don't know. I didn't care. I fell back wearily into my drowning pool of emotions and blessedly spotty memory. My regular doctor got between my legs and examined me. He said some words of it wasn't my fault and sometimes these things just happen. Then my memory of that time fades out.


As empty as my body.


  1. Don't know when this happened, but I'm so sorry for your loss... It's probably not any easier now than then...

  2. Judy, it was actually several years ago but no, it doesn't get easier. Thanks for being here :)

  3. Aw Clandestiny I'm so sorry...
    No one deserves this sort of thing, least of all a sweet soul like yourself.

  4. Thanks, Jon. I don't know if I'm sweet or not, probably depends on the moment! I do know that no one may deserve tragedy in their lives but tragedies occur so they have to happen to someone. I'm struggling to figure out how it all fits together! It can't be karma from this lifetime because there's just no way I've done so much so bad!! I somehow don't believe in karma carrying over from previous lifetimes. Hmmm. Well maybe figuring it out is all just part of the healing process.

  5. Oh, my heart goes out to you so much. Such a heartbreaking thing to have lived through. We love our babies in utero every bit as much as when they are born; we are their caretaker and it is just so devastatingly wrong when they can't make it for whatever reason. I'm so so sorry for your loss. This baby will always be yours forever though, and I hope sharing your story helps you both keep him in your heart and to heal the loss.

  6. Dreamfarm Girl, I'm sending yet more big hugs out to you right this very minute because I know it hurts you too! I've only shared this story a few times but it still hurts telling it this time as much as the other times. Maybe it's something that I have to tell once in a blue moon as a kind of test to see if the pain has dulled any yet? I don't have answers usually just attempts at understanding.