The Rainbow

What a year.  

Last year I lost what would have been my second child.  And now, I hold my third child in my arms at just a week old. 

She’s here. My rainbow.  Already brightening every single second of every day. Her big sister the sunshine and her lost sibling the storm that allowed the rainbow to shine.  She is here. She is safe.  Her existence helping to bring colour to the grey world.  Her birth healing my perceived feelings of failure at her sister’s labor.  Her willingness and ease at breastfeeding undoing the pain of her sister’s tongue tie.  

Her big sister, so proud of her new sister, so loving and gentle, that every day I fall in love with her all over again. I watch the two of then hold hands as I tandem feed and my heart melts. 

I am 8 days post partum and my hormones cause a river to run,to wash away the hurt, wash away the pain amd wash away the guilt.  We are a family. Our lost child will never be forgotten. Our Peter Pan.  The lost boy, the boy who never grew up. But he has allowed our rainbow, and for that we thank him.  He has allowed life to be perfect again.  

The light.

The chink of light that breaks through the curtains…

The torch that is turned on in the dark…

The pregnancy following the loss.

I am pregnant.

I am pregnant with a baby that has made it to the womb. I am pregnant with a baby, who, at 13 weeks looks to be doing well on the scan.

The light is shining again and my heart has hope.

This does not mean I no longer mourn my lost baby. The sibling we never met will always be with me.

But for the first time since the pain of loss there is hope.

I was lost.

I have found a map and I am on my way home.

Pregnancy loss cost me more than “just” my baby.

Taboo is being challenged and people are starting to talk about miscarriage and other infant loss. (in my case an ectopic pregnancy)

But, the life of a child isn’t all you lose. (And I mean no flippancy with the use of the word all)

Here are just some of the things my pregnancy loss has taken from me.

Hope
I have none. Well, not for long. Every small moment of hope is dashed, each time it happens taking me just a little further down the path of hopelessness.

Confidence
The me I was before. The me who knew I could do it. Now I doubt myself. About everything. Am I doing my job OK? Is my daughter OK? Is she happy? Do my friends like me? Do my colleagues respect me? Do my family love me? Is everyone laughing at me when I leave the room?

Patience
I’ve never had much. I now have none. With anything. My temper is short and I am irritated beyond measure by things that would have had no impact on me before.
Cycle after cycle my second child fails to come. I fail to make them.

Empathy
I pride myself on how much I care. On how much I will do to make others happy and be there for them in their time of need.
Not anymore.
Now I want to shake them. To tell them to get a grip. To tell them “at least your baby didn’t die.”

Time
Time I could be enjoying. Time I could be celebrating. Time I could be living.

Instead this time is pent counting days. Marking calendars and measuring signs.

And the worst thing I’ve lost? The thing that I had relied on staying with me? The thing I was not ready to let go of….?

Friends
Some friends just weren’t meant to be.

The ones that haven’t been there. Their lack of presence speaking louder than any action.

The ones that are pregnant. The ones whose baby would have been younger than mine.

The ones who, knowing what I am going through, do not think to speak to me sensitivly about their own pregnancy, but instead to drop it casually into conversation. “By the way, I think I’m pregnant”.

The ones who are sensitive. The ones who warn me first. Who say they “know it will be hard” for me. (although these friends I know will be there when I am ready again. These friends rock!!)

The ones trying to conceive. The ones who, at any moment, could drop the B-bomb on me and stop my heart.

I can face none of them.

I am a conker

image

I am a conker

A discarded shell on the ground.

My spiky exterior once housed new life. The rough edges of my shell have a soft white centre, ready to grow and protect that within it.

I grew as it grew and I opened myself, tearing apart to let life out. The life continued to grow without me. A seed growing into a tree. Bringing joy.

Now I lie barren. So empty. Ready, in my heart, to grow another life. So ready to share more love. Ready to protect, to shelter and to give. To give myself. To grow more and, to once again, open myself, break my shell and allow life out.

But instead I lie. With the leaves of Autumn. Brown and red. Like blood.

I was a conker. I gave life.

I have more life to give.

Please let me grow life again.

Can everyone stop procreating please?

It’s everywhere.

As I scroll through my Facebook feed, as I drive down the road, as I walk through the supermarket.  There I am, surrounded by ultrasound pictures and bumps.

Each one reminding me how empty I am.

Each black white and grey ultrasound picture, taking me back to that room, to that moment, when the sonographer confirmed what we already knew. 

Each perfectly rounded bump making me feel small and flat.

Even at home. In the safety of my family, each time my darling daughter picks up her doll, and feeds it, lifting her top and proudly telling me, “baby wants boobie mummy”. Each time she baths it, pats it’s back as it rests on her shoulder and shushes for it to sleep.

I am reminded.

Reminded of that baby, the one that was lost, the one that should now be a 6 month sized bump.

And it hurts.

Everytime.

“at least you know you can get pregnant”

“at least you have one already”

“aren’t you going to have another one soon?”

“do you only want one child?”

I want, I need, to be pregnant again. To show that I can support and grow another life.

My lost baby will never be forgotten. 

And the reminders are everywhere.

And nowhere are they more powerful than in my heart.

The lost baby.

imageI never met you, you never really existed. Getting lost on your journey as you were formed and not making it to the womb you were not able to grow as you should.

No pictures of you were ever seen. The only evidence of your attempt to join us was in the form of lines on sticks, and of the words “Pregnant. 2-3 weeks” as they stared at me from that tiny screen. I think, deep down, I knew that we would not meet, but that does not remove my love for you.

Unable to understand what has happened to our family I turn to the dictionary for help. (The Cambridge Online English Dictionary to be precise.)

Lost: adjective (PLACE UNKNOWN)

…not knowing where you are and how to get to a place:

Place unknown, that very phrase so accurately describes you.  Pregnancy in unknown location, suspected ectopic. You did not know where you were, your journey was cut short and you never made it to your destination.

I wish I could have helped you.

Lost: adjective (PLACE UNKNOWN)

…if something is lost then no one knows where it is.

No one. Not the doctors, not the sonographers, not the nurses and not me.  Your mother.  The one person who should always know where you are.   They offered me surgery, to “bring the hormone level down “, but they, the professionals whose job it is to hunt you out, were not confident that they would find you. So lost were you, that you were only visible to us as levels on a blood test, levels that continued to increase, “but not as much as they should.

Lost: adjective (CONFUSED)

…not confident and not knowing what to do in a particular situation.

I have never felt so lost.  Perhaps in sympathy for you. No amount of talking, or reading, or listening, could help me to understand what I needed to do. Without your daddy and your sister I would not have searched for the way out of the dark maze I found myself in. I did not know what to do.

Lost: adjective (ATTENTION)

…be lost in something.

I was lost in you.  In the idea of you.  In the dream of you.  The complete family you would have created. The hole that you have left instead.

And then you left.  As quietly and as discreetly as you arrived. Apologetic in your departure as you were in your arrival. Saving mummy medical intervention you remained selfless to the end.

Lost.

I lost a baby.

My baby got lost.

A lost opportunity- a lost life, a lost sibling, a lost grandchild, a lost niece or nephew.  Who knows what you may have achieved had you have arrived to your destination.

Lost.

It’s time to find myself again.