Monday, August 22, 2011

The progression/regression dance

This grief thing is a weird experience. The nurses sent us home with a folder full of information on grief and baby loss, including sheets on the stages of grief and a booklet called "When a Child Dies", both of which were helpful. Being able to read about what feelings and emotions - and physical symptoms, too - we might both experience gave us both some comfort.
During our first support group meeting, one week to the day my water broke, I mentioned how odd it was to read about the stages and then realize I'd been flipping back and forth, totally willy nilly, between them, going from acceptance to anger to shock to denial, out of order and in rapid fire succession. They assured me that's completely normal and that it may be this way for a while.

Last week, after the initial shock of Paul's return to work, I had a few days of feeling fairly good during the day. The grief would hit me in the evenings, sometime around or after 5:00 p.m., and come and go until I fell asleep. I commented on how the moments of peace were more frequent and getting longer. I felt a little guilty to be "progressing" through my grief so quickly.

Then this weekend, for reasons I can't understand (except that it's "normal"), I regressed. I went back to those feelings of "this can't be my life" and "I want my babies back", two things I have to just accept as the way things are now. I mentioned this in yesterday's post, but I really did feel lost, like I was looking for my babies and couldn't find them...not a desperation, but a longing and a soul-wrenching missing. I could swear the hole in my heart, the piece my children took with them, was throbbing, aching. Yesterday I felt truly lost. As anxious as I'd felt during the week to have my cycles resume so we can start again, I felt betrayed and angry as my ovaries awakened. I wasn't supposed to have felt those familiar pains, the stretching, until late February or sometime in March, at the eariest. I'm not supposed to feel that now. I was supposed to have been done with that until the twins were safely delivered. I wandered around the house, stared at the TV, couldn't decide what to eat or when, what to do or where to go. I washed the maternity clothes we'd purchased, the ones I had to wear those last few weeks of my pregnancy because absolutely nothing else fit, in preparation for storing them away until next time. In late afternoon we finally got some ice cream, went for a walk down on the docks at a local marina we enjoy, and then went to Costco (because we had to). It was nice to walk and see something else, a distraction, but still, when we returned home, I felt exactly the same. It occurred to me I hadn't cried all day. And then, as if on cue, right at bedtime, it hit me, brief but consuming, that deep, deep sense of loss. I had decided on Friday that I'd go back to work today...I felt bored at home by myself, not sure that being there was really helping me any, thinking being around my co-workers and with tasks in front of me might be a nice distraction. After feeling complete ick and depression all day yesterday and after last night's breakdown, I realized I can't go back today. I'm not ready.

So, this morning I sit, drinking my half-caff, in my bathrobe, tearing up some, still not entirely sure what to do with my day, thinking about going back to work tomorrow. I know, because I tried them on yesterday, that my work slacks - the ones I thought sure I'd probably never fit into again - will fit me fine with the help of my faux Spanx, the ones that kept me sucked in despite the bloat of fertility drugs. My body will be ready to go back tomorrow and try to resume normal life...but will I?


  1. I thought of you this morning during my commute, and wondered if you were going back to work today... I hate feeling so helpless to help you. But you're doing everything right, sweetie. You're writing and crying, and embracing the grief. And you're listening to yourself day to day and figuring out what you need. I love you.

  2. Grief is like that - waves and confusion. Please take your time - dont try to rush through it.

    Sending you love

  3. Oh, my so sorry. Hugs for the hard, sending comfort your way. THank you for writing about this vulnerable subject. You are helping others heal. Much love.

  4. I wish I had some big fancy words to help, but nothing I can say will help. All I can do is tell you, I've been there. It has been two years and two months since my angel was born and died two weeks later. Those waves, even after all this time, still come. They're not as constant now, there's more calm between them, but when they do rear up, they're pretty big. Late at night,when the rest of my family is asleep,and it's quiet, I sometimes fall back into the "this isn't really my life. But, the biggest wave, for me, is the anger. I don't know who to direct the anger at.

    All I will say is, that time surely does help. It doesn't make you stop hurting or missing your babies, but you learn to live with it. Those babies are, and will always be, a part of you, of who you are. It becomes a very bittersweet part of your make-up. I am so sorry that you have to know this pain.


What are your thoughts?