Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Everything Counts in Larger Amounts

An original post for Bridges:

"They" tell you a lot after your babies die. They are the ones with experience, albeit rarely firsthand, on the matter. They are the counselors, the doctors, the "neonatal loss coordinators" (seriously), the authors of entire books on the subject. These are the dead baby experts.
They tell you that there are stages of grief and that you will likely go through them all, not necessarily in order (which begs the question why they even created the order). They tell you that it is not recommended to get pregnant again too soon. They describe the chances of a subsequent loss. They forecast how you may expect to feel, how your grief will change, lessen, over time. How babies, pregnancies, other reminders, may be painful (as if you needed a book to know this).

What they don't tell, however, is how much the things completely unrelated to loss, pregnancy and babies will hurt. They don't tell you how the most minor day to day disappointments will become magnified exponentially. They don't tell you that you are going to become a freak. They don't tell you that you can spend an entire day being normal, engaging in banter, functioning undetected in society, when a closed drive-thru will send you hurtling into an abyss of grief.

I have cried over traffic, I have bawled because my cat wouldn't snuggle with me, and I have refused to speak to DH for hours because he drove recklessly. I didn't used to be a mercurial person. One would think that suffering a tragedy such as the loss of a child (or two) would put life into perspective, perhaps lessen the impact of the smaller slights. It doesn't.

The other night, after a 12 hour workday, the one thing I was looking forward to was Taco Bell (don't judge - sometimes a little toxic cheese product just sounds too good). We got there and the drive thru was closed, so we went elsewhere. Thanks to delays and traffic it was another 20 minutes before we were home. DH sensed my disproportionate disappointment over the lack of chalupas, and told me that it wasn't that big of a deal. The next thing I knew I was prone on the bed, heaving sobs which I literally couldn't stop, no matter how hard I tried. Everything was just too much.It wasn't just the Taco Bell, although I'm sure in years to come DH will derive great pleasure telling people about the time I had a nervous breakdown because the drive-thru was closed.

It was (is) just everything, every extra hour I worked and didn't want to, every minute spent in traffic, every call that hadn't been returned. It's as if rather than putting things in perspective, losing our Doodles has thrown my gauges all out of whack - anything bad is very bad. A part of me is just screaming that it isn't fair, that I have already gone through losing my babies, I shouldn't have to deal with all this other crap on top of that, and so each minor inconvenience, disappointment, annoyance becomes another straw on the already severely injured camel's back.
So here I am, trying to nurse the camel back to health, and hoping someday it will be able to carry the load to which it had grown accustomed. I don't know how I'll do this, but I'm willing to give it a shot.

Busted is the contributing editor for Loss. She writes daily at Busted Babymaker where she tells her infertility story as well as the story of the Doodles, her boy/girl twins (Noah and Talia) who were born at 23 weeks due to placental abruption.

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16 comments:

STE said...

A beautiful post. Exactly right. Thanks for sharing it.

Fishsticks and Fireflies said...

I think your blog was among one of the first that I found after Quinn was born and died - yielded I suspect by one of the multiple Google searches I did for 'placental abruption'. How thankful I am for the Internet. Knowing that there was, and still is, someone else out there who knows a similar pain and who shares similar feelings and sentiments has been, and continues to be an amazing source of solace. Thank you so much for putting your story into words and for putting all the emotions and feelings that goes with it out there as well - I am beyond grateful.

Martha said...

Beautiful, touching, and so true, thanks as always for your raw caring and love not only for your family and children, but also us, your humble readers and supporter.

Pamela Jeanne said...

Thank you for this post and for capturing in such real, raw terms. So few truly understand how much grief can hold us in a state of perpetual sadness and anger and confusion...

anymommy said...

I had not thought of grief this way, in that it takes up every single speck of reserves and leaves you with nothing for the normal ups and downs of life. Thank you for sharing, so that others can understand. I am so very sorry that you lost them.

Piccinigirl said...

this is a beautiful post, a poignant place you wrote from, thank you for sharing it.

I know that I don't share the kind of loss you had, but with the pain of IF I often feel like you do when I am having a day and things seem to be just wrong or unfair and I gaze upward and say "after the 4 yrs and the treatments and the sorrow and all that followed can we just have a break, a moment of peace and solitude?" So while I know that I can't imagine how you hurt, I can empathize and let you know that as long as you write I will read.

chicklet said...

You've got me in tears, a place I'm all too familiar with, but for different reasons. While I haven't experienced the horrible losses you have, I think you're onto something with this sadness NOT putting things in perspective, and instead making EVERYTHING seem worse, cuz for awhile there, after IVF#2 failed, I cried over everything. I yelled over everything. I freaked out over everything. And I couldn't control any of it.

Julia said...

Yup. Certainly in the beginning the little things were so hard to take. I thought it was weird, and yet I just had to learn to ride it.

hisaak said...

Thanks for sharing ... I read your blog daily, you make me feel normal :) Believe it or not, I too had the drive through melt down, it was just McDonald's cheeseburgers that were apparently entirely necessary to my day.

9 months after losing our twins, I seem to have less of these moments. On one hand, a huge relief. On the other, more than a twinge of sadness.

luna said...

what an excellent post -- a touching insight into everyday life after such a tragic and earth shattering loss. thanks for sharing this here.

Kristin said...

Wow...I have never seen a post that so closely described the way I felt after my losses. None of mine were as late in pregnancy as yours but I completely relate to what you have been feeling.

C'est Moi said...

I am so glad that I can now read TWO of your blogs daily. For 28 years I have found it impossible to know exactly what you are feeling, because I am the very last person to whom you have ever disclosed your inner feelings. Your annoyance and anger..........yes. That is disclosed - tossed at me- with regularity. Your embarrassment............yes (well, that's my job, isn't it-to be embarrassing by just being me?). But as you know I always let everyone know exactly, to the mini-micro degree, how I am feeling, and what I am thinking, and therefore always wanted to know the same about you, someone so very important to me. I now know that only in semi-anonymity can you do that............and so beautifully that even the funny sections squeeze liquid from my eyeballs. I'm so very proud and want the universe to know it. Luv. Me.

Mandy said...

A resounding YES.

Lori said...

You captured the rawness and unpredictability of the loss experience so well. This post should be handed out by "neonatal loss coordinators."

Duck said...

oh busted, it's a great post, so heart felt and truely powerful.
I have not lossed any children, but, i have cried at the silliest of thing (like a closed taco bell) you're not alone.

Kami said...

You speak the truth. I never thought I could be so fragile. I never thought I could appear normal on the outside while dying on the inside.