Joy, and Grief

It has been a while since I last posted, partly due to the alarmingly amount of paperwork required for Psych Nursing (NUR 204), partly due to the fact that on October 5, 2010, I discovered that I was pregnant! However, I wanted to wait until I was farther along to announce my exciting news since some members of my family have a history of miscarriages. It was very difficult to post anything that was not pregnancy related. My excessive fatigue made my school and clinic hours very difficult.

Unfortunately, my pregnancy did not last long. The fetus died at 8 weeks, but my body did not respond until I was 11 1/2 weeks along. The miscarriage occurred on November 22. It has been very difficult to process. In my class, we just had a test on depression, which included situational depression related to grief and loss. With a miscarriage, you go through the normal grieving stages. Unfortunately, I don’t process grief very well. I use defense mechanisms a lot, especially with everything that goes on with William. If I don’t think about it, it doesn’t happen. If I push the emotional aspect of everything away, I can handle the loss much “better”. But, that doesn’t deal with the grief itself. It just chills around, waiting until the opportune moment to reappear.

When I found out I was pregnant, I freaked out. Excited? Not so much. After all, I was still in Nursing School. One of my final classes was full, which meant I was going to have to sit out for 8 weeks and take the class in the summer. At the time, that wasn’t an option since I was due June 7 (going to clinical right after giving birth didn’t sound very appealing). To add to my stress level, my sister and aunt have a history of miscarrying. Was that going to happen to me? What could I do to prevent that? I knew basic principles having just finished my Maternity Nursing rotation (take vitamins, don’t drink alcohol, eat a well balanced diet), but what if a hormone level was down like Chelsea? I was also uninsured, which means going on Medicaid. Unfortunately, Virginia Woman’s Center at St. Mary’s Hospital makes you pay a deposit of $750 if you are uninsured. So, I waited…

Just as I started getting excited about the prospect of finally having a baby of my own (and making the official announcements), I began bleeding and cramping. After 24 hours, I finally went to the ER to be diagnosed with a miscarriage. No reason why, since the fetus demised at 8 weeks, almost a month ago. It was very difficult to go from the joy of announcing in church that we were going to have a baby to the shock and grief of being told the baby was dead.

The five stages of grieving by Kubler-Ross are Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. While I did have a period of denial (“maybe I just misjudged the dates”, “maybe I really am 8 weeks along and the heart isn’t fully developed yet”) which was quickly brought back by reality (I’m bleeding and having severe cramps), I have yet to feel angry or bargaining. I recognize that there is nothing else I could have done. Sometimes the pregnancy never gets past 3 months. It could be due to a hormone imbalance (which I can’t control) or a fetal abnormality (which I can’t change). I can recognize the “benefits” of not being pregnant right now, such as graduating in the summer rather than early fall, having coffee again, having more energy. Does that take away the grief? Nope, its still there.

While the good days are getting better, it is still hard to see a friend or classmate that is pregnant and face my own loss. Have I reached Acceptance so soon? I tend to doubt it. Am I emotionally ready to try again? No. Do I want to? Absolutely! But even then, I have doubts to face. What if I miscarry the next time? What if I can never carry a baby to term? Is it even worth trying a second time? These are questions I will have to face sooner rather than later.

I know I’ve dumped a lot this posting, but I cannot say goodbye without mentioning the support I have received. I never knew so many women I’ve known for so long have had the same grief as me. Some are harder than others – I can’t imagine losing a baby at 7 months! That kind of grief goes above and beyond my own. I am encouraged by the number of ladies who are willing to express their own grief and loss with me.

So, to anyone who is reading this and has shared in this kind of grief with me, allow me to say thank you for the support! To everyone who has kept me and David in your prayers, thank you! Lord willing, we will one day share in the joy and blessing of welcoming a new life into this world. Until then, we will continue to pray for healing and peace.

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3 thoughts on “Joy, and Grief

  1. Bless you, Caty. *hugs* I know it helped me (weird as it sounds) when people actually wanted to talk to me about it and even asked me questions. It was sort of healing to me. My body took a long time to respond to my miscarriage too, I was 13 weeks along but it looked like the baby had passed quite a while before – by that point we had announced it to everyone, too. It was very hard but at the same time a blessing to have so many people we knew offering love, prayers and support. I'm glad you and David could love and enjoy your baby's life however brief it was here on earth! ❤

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