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The following is a list of all entries from the Grief category.

Birth and Loss

Trigger warning. This post discusses preterm labor, miscarriage, pregnancy loss, death, and grief. Please be aware that this is my story. If you know B or me personally or are members of our family, this might be very hard to read. 

 

In August of 2010, my life was awesome. My old man and I lived on our dream homestead on top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere. I didn’t have a traditional job. My time was filled with gardening and goats and chickens and cooking and canning. I was happy. B was happy. Things were good.

We had been married for 10 years. Ten years of being voluntarily childless (child-free). We were firmly entrenched in the couples only side of life and we were content with our decision. Then one day, out of left field, I wanted a baby.

Oh my Pete, did I want a baby.

B was agreeable, so we set to work. Within 2 months, I was knocked up. In the family way. Had a bun in my oven. Great with child. October 2010. I was pregnant. And it was THE.BEST.THING.EVER. I LOVED being pregnant. I felt radiant and womanly. I felt feminine and beautiful. I wasn’t sick. I didn’t gain much weight.  I reveled in my new hormonal glow. I was mama and it was what I was supposed to be. What the hell had I been thinking all these years?

Now, B and I decided while we still trying to get pregnant that I should get a job for a while so we could save up some cash. A nest egg for our egg. So I did. I was called in for an interview the day I found out I was pregnant. I was hired pretty much on the spot and started working graveyard (my preferred shift) on November 1st, 2010.

I’ll not go into detail too much, but I had some surgery years and years ago that I was told could affect my ability to carry a pregnancy to term. I told my OB and we monitored everything very carefully. I went to the doctor once every two weeks and had everything measured and checked and poked and prodded. My pregnancy was going swimmingly and during the 19th week we found out I was having a boy.

Everyone was elated. B’s parents didn’t yet have a grandson and my parents had no grandchildren at all. Everyone had given up hope over the years that B and I would ever procreate so the families were understandably stoked.

Everything was rocking along and I moved past 20 weeks and figured we were in the clear. I was at work one night, almost into my third trimester, at 22 weeks, when I started to feel a little uncomfortable. I was crampy and had a little bloody discharge, so I immediately grabbed an ultrasound probe (perk of working in my field) and checked the baby. He was fine. Kicking around, calmly oblivious. I called my OB’s office and spoke to one of his associates. I was assured that cramping during pregnancy was nothing unusual and to come in the next day. I was to go to the ER if the bleeding continued, which it did not.

I left work at 2 am and drove home. I thought about going to the ER on my way just to get checked out, but decided against it. When I got home, I took some Tylenol PM and tried to sleep.

B left for work at his usual time, 7am and I got up as he was leaving to go to the bathroom. I ran screaming from the bathroom, trying to catch him when I saw the gush of blood in the toilet. I was too late, he was pulling out of the driveway and didn’t see me.

I ran into the house and began frantically calling him. We lived in the middle of nowhere so our service was spotty at best and it took me 15 minutes to reach him. He turned around, sped home, and I met him at the driveway. We were off to the ER at the local hospital.

After what seemed like an interminable wait, filled with questions and tests and ultrasounds, the doctor (who, when asked if I was going to lose the baby, replied, “That’s in God’s hands”. WTF. Seriously? If I wanted it left in God’s hands I wouldn’t have come to the hospital. I want this in a doctor’s hands. Digress.) decided I would be better served at the larger hospital in Chattanooga and I was whisked away by ambulance, lights and sirens blaring.

I haven’t ever talked about all the things that happened next. All the decisions B and I had to make; the horrible realization that I was in labor and having contractions; the sterile and medical conversations with the multitude of doctors assigned to my case; the heart-wrenching decision to induce to progress my labor; the decision to break my water; the decision not to put my baby on a ventilator should he take a breath. I haven’t told anyone and I don’t talk about it because I’m ashamed of making those decisions. I ask myself every day if we made the right choices. If we made the right decisions. What if we had done one thing differently and he had lived? Was it selfish of to not hold him or would it have made him linger longer? We knew he was going to die. Would my holding him have prolonged his suffering or eased his passage?

At 7:18pm on February 25th, 2010 my first son was born. His name was Elijah Benjamin and he lived for three minutes. He has a birth certificate and a death certificate. I have his ashes and his footprints. I never held him and didn’t see him until we went to the funeral home to make arrangements for his cremation. I went to the hospital in labor, like so many others, and I left a grieving mother with a box of remembrances.

I’ve given birth twice. I’ve delivered two babies. I have two sons. If I hadn’t lost the first one, would the second one be here? It wouldn’t be Max, I know that. I conceived Max one month after Elijah’s due date. Max would not have been conceived. Another baby, then? Perhaps a girl? Everything would have been different.

I think about him every day. I miss him. I miss not having known my first born. I miss what our life together would have been. I miss it even though it’s imaginary.



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