(Warning: Morbid humour and dark imagery ahead)
So, you may want to ask me, Carol, what’s it like having a dead baby inside you?
It’s a little weird, folks, it’s a little weird.
I’ve never had a standard miscarriage, which I am sure is much more traumatic in many ways.
Our baby loss has come gradually.
On the one hand, I hate having it be drawn out. Our dreams and plans for Christmas have already been dashed, but I can’t put it behind me and move on, because that actual loss of the baby hasn’t happened yet.
On the other hand, it’s helping me draw out the denial stage of grief, which is my favourite stage.
Nor have I been following the stages in a classical manner. This seems to be my progression thus far:
The moment the radiologist left the room, I starting sobbing.
That night, I clutched the little Christmas footie pyjamas I had bought for 0-3 month size and wept into them. PH ended up slipping it from my hands when he came to bed and found me clutching it, and discreetly put it away.
2. That River in Egypt
We left Owl with our neighbours for the first hour and a half after we got the news, while we digested it, and cried, and called people. Then, when we went to go get him, I almost talked to them about “when I am on mat leave” before remembering that I won’t be going on mat leave this year.
I went out and bought myself icewine, because if I was going to be sad, I might as well be sad with wine. If I liked raw fish or blue cheese I probably would have picked those up, too.
But it took some mental strength to actually DRINK it. I still felt pregnant (because I WAS still pregnant. With a dead baby) and it took some fortitude to actually take a sip because a part of me was still screaming “No, it could hurt the baby!”
Then, when I went back to work, we had a patient with fleas. I went to grab the siphotrol to spray the hell out of that exam room afterwards, and for a moment I was like “I’ll have to ask someone to do this for me,” before I remembered and grimly surrounded myself with toxic fumes.
It’s just hard for part of me not to hope that twenty minutes of minute examination by trained professionals may have missed the fact that my baby really IS alive after all.
I don’t think this denial is all that unusual, because the woman at the Early Pregnancy Assessment Centre said that we can request to repeat the ultrasound before going through with the D&C. I guess a lot of women ask “can you please double-check?” in the hopes that their baby might have risen from the dead.
I would take a zombie baby. I’d lovingly spoon-feed it brains and keep it out of the sun and name it Igor if it would just grow and be born.
3. Morbid Curiosity
There are two reasons why PH and I are going for a D&C tomorrow, rather than wait for me to miscarry naturally or take a suppository to try and help it along.
First, a D&C seems like a faster step towards getting it all over with. This lost pregnancy has derailed our plans significantly, and now the earliest we could humanly produce a sibling for Owl is like, March of next year.
Second, we had no idea what to do if I miscarried at home and actually found the embryo. We were both agreed on the fact that we didn’t want to flush it down the toilet like a dead goldfish (even though we know that after the D&C it’ll just get chucked in a bag of biowaste and incinerated).
But, since the D&C isn’t until Tuesday at the earliest, there is the chance that I could miscarry before then (although unlikely, since as we already know, my body takes a lot of coaxing to go into labour).
So then we had to talk about what to do.
PH rejected my suggestion of getting a jar of formalin from work and preserving it (perhaps to donate to a high school or something – we wouldn’t keep it. Uck).
Neither of us wanted to bury it in our backyard because our backyard is on a crumbling retaining wall and will probably have to be ripped up some time in the near future.
Nor did we like the idea (which we found on Google) of putting it in a nice pot and planting a pretty tree or shrub over it. Because we can’t keep plants alive, and then what do you do with a dead plant in your dead baby pot? I wouldn’t want to dig that up to replant something new, would you?
(Then again, maybe all our plants have been lacking in the past has been a couple ounces of human flesh…)
We eventually agreed on burying it under the kitchen window. IF it came out at home, IF we saw it, and IF it was in a remotely entire state.
But the whole thing freaks me out because I AM AFRAID OF DEAD BODIES and now I have one inside me.
Now, mind you, dead babies aren’t really scary, but the radiologist did say that it “looked a little unusual” and was “a little cystic” so I take that to mean that it’s a warped and monstrous thing with, like, two heads or something.
Oh, and according to the lady at the Early Pregnancy Assessment Centre, my baby died at 8 wks 4 days, so probably about a week or so ago (it’s hard to know since the whole reason I went in was because we weren’t sure if I was 9, 10, or 11 weeks pregnant at the time, so it may have died three days before the ultrasound, a week and a half before the ultrasound, or two and a half weeks before the ultrasound…).
So is it, just, like decomposing in there? Because as bonded as I was to the idea of my sweet little Christmas newborn, having a tiny little rotting mutant inside me doesn’t make me feel good at all.
So I may have started Googling aborted embryos at approximately 8 weeks gestation, just so I could get an idea of what I had going on in there.
Some of them were cute. Others were not so cute, usually the ones who had “already probably been dead for a couple of days”. Hell, mine has been dead for a week or more.
I really hope it stays in, because if it comes out I know I’ll examine it in minute detail and that might scar me for life but I wouldn’t be able to help myself.
5. False Acceptance
I think this is just another kind of denial, just a little deeper-down. You see, there are times when I think that I have accepted it. I haven’t cried about it in a couple of days, and I can drink wine or take Tylenol 3 (which I have been taking to help me sleep because f*** health, that’s why) without mentally wincing. Instead of forgetting that I am not having a baby, I am starting to forget that I was having a baby (if that makes sense).
But I don’t think the acceptance real.
For one thing, the whole thing has been very cerebral. I haven’t actually miscarried. I have changed from thinking of the contents of my uterus as an alive and twitching future child into thinking of it as dead mutant tissue, but nothing has physically changed.
I think that having it physically ripped out of me on Tuesday is going to be a shock.
I love the way you can write humorously about such a difficult topic. I’m sending you and PH a hug and will be praying that Tuesday won’t be as horrible as you fear! Love and best wishes from a sunny South Africa.
Nicki Hunt said:
I sincerely hope it all goes well for you tomorrow, I cannot even begin to imagine how I would cope in this situation. I will be thinking of you and PH tomorrow & sending love xx
Nanabanana Here said:
Good FREAKING God! They couldn’t find you a D&C before this??? You must be a lot more passive than I am. I’d be screaming, stomping and demanding immediate attention. (Or calling every hospital in a 50 mile radius.) Nobody should be left waiting for this. I used to work in OB/GYN and never heard of such a thing! I don’t care how ‘nice’ your doctor is. A swift kick to the head is in order!
It’s a LONG wait, but my doctor has nothing to do with it. My midwife referred me to the Early Pregnancy Assessment Centre at the Women’s on the day of my doomed ultrasound (Wed). They called me back Thurs and told me that they were already booked solid for Friday. Then they offered me a D&C Monday without sedation, or a D&C with sedation on Tuesday. I picked sedation, because there are some memories I just don’t want, and my baby being scooped out of me like ice cream is one of them! But it is very frustrating. I wanted his over with the next day, and instead had to wait almost a week. Effing clinic not being open on the weekend.
I’ll be thinking about you tomorrow, Carol. I had a friend lose twins at around 8 weeks, and she needed a D&C. Her husband couldn’t leave work to go with her, so she spent the day texting me with updates. I was glad that I could be there, just so she had someone to reach out to when her brain couldn’t stop thinking about dead plants and zombie babies.
What I’m saying is – laugh if you need to, cry when you want to, wash the Tylenol 3’s down with the icewine if it helps, and don’t be afraid to lean on anyone you need to to help you through this difficult time.
Thanks – I am immensely fortunate in all the support I’m receiving. From helpful neighbours to a pile of friends on standby for any and all requests. I am very lucky.
Little Igor breaks my heart, even while making me laugh.
Everything about this sucks and I am sorry.
I also cannot resist the urge to poke the things I know will scar me. It is wise of you to have the foresight to remove the opportunity.
Take care of each other, as I know you always will.
🙂 I’m glad I made you smile. If I have to talk about depressing stuff, I don’t want to be a total buzz kill.
I’ll be thinking about you, too. It’s a shame you’ve had to wait so long. I hope this helps move the grieving process along, but don’t get too caught up in the order of the stages or the speed at which you go through them; just go with the flow.
Wishing you the least painful and drawn-out procedure possible tomorrow, and healing, peaceful thoughts.
I second Kerry’s words. Good luck with the procedure. We’re all thinking about you! x
Thinking about you, Carol, and wishing you and your family well.
AJ Lauer (@ayjaylauer) said:
I will be thinking of you today! I hope everything goes smoothly and that they don’t actually use an icecream scoop! I admire your ability to cope with such grace and humor. Much love and positivity to you both!
Just wanted to let you know that I’m thinking of you today and that I hope everything goes smoothly.
For what it’s worth, I actually had a very similar reaction to miscarrying complete with grief followed by denial (and wine and beef carpaccio and poached eggs and anything else I could get my hands on that isn’t allowed during pregnancy), and false acceptance. Eventually I did come around to actual acceptance (more or less), but I spent a lot of time in the interim escaping into tv marathons…
But anyway, sending lots of love to you and PH. I’m so very sorry about the loss of your baby.
Grace Goldragon said:
I hope everything went as well as can be expected yesterday. You’ve been in my thoughts. I’m wishing for you a speedy recovery.
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