I’m feeling a little more ‘knotty’ today than usual. By that I mean that that anxious sort of heavy feeling in the pit of your stomach that I get a lot won’t seem to go away at all. As soon as my alarm went off this morning (I set an alarm even though I’m off work because otherwise Sam sets his but doesn’t wake up nearly as fast as I do, leaving me wanting to reach over him to turn it off, but unable to without great difficulty – it’s a pretty tough job to reach over such an expanse of shoulder) I felt it; it’s the same feeling as when there’s something that you really don’t want to do – as if the bottom of your stomach is trying to wend its way to another part of your body.
So, I can’t seem to face the gym today so far, which is odd because I normally look forward to it, or at least I look forward to the feeling I get afterwards of real satisfaction, when you know that your body’s really done something and the adrenaline’s still rushing through your head. I have managed to do lots of other useful things though, such as walk the dog, wait for a very long time in the Post Office to send some parcels to my mum, drop off the donations to the funeral director (we asked for donations to the neo-natal or maternity unit where I delivered Freddie, instead of flowers and many people were very generous), buy some make-up, pick up a grow bag and a few gardening bits and plant some seeds (fingers crossed that soon I’ll have lots of home grown salad and herbs – both of our spare rooms are looking more like green houses at the moment…). You may have guessed that the above is my ‘list for the day’ without the bullet points, and yet, despite the relatively long list of positive things I’ve done before lunchtime, (which usually makes me feel a bit better), I still feel very uneasy.
One night whilst we were on holiday, I had a tough time sleeping (actually I had a few), and as I lay awake, I thought a lot about my situation. I have talked previously about the anger I felt after the loss of our first baby, which was much fuelled by peoples’ seeming lack of care or understanding. I have since put this down to the ignorance that accompanies lack of experience – most people who have not had a baby recently will not know exactly what stage of development a baby has reached by 19 weeks, and thus, what it would entail to suffer a late miscarriage.
I continue to be overwhelmed by the support I have received this time and I hope that this will help my recovery to take a different path to the one it took after I lost my baby girl. See, what happens when the path you’re on suddenly stops, is you find yourself thinking about where you would be, where you ought to be at certain times. For example, right now I would be 32 weeks pregnant. I would be pretty huge, waddling a bit and I’d find it pretty tough to put socks on. We would have finished the nursery and be preparing for the arrival of our son. Or, if Freddie had been born prematurely and survived, he would most likely still be in hospital and we would be visiting him every day, my mum would be furiously knitting and we would be taking pictures to show everyone, as no one but parent are allowed in the neonatal unit. This time after I lost our first baby (7 weeks) I was back at work. I cannot imagine being able to survive a normal work day right now.
Strangely, it’s easier to begin with, to remain positive – positive that we’ll get pregnant again soon, and that things will be ok next time. But, over the 5 months it took to get pregnant last time, it got more and more difficult to be positive. Every day after our baby girl should have been born, I would get up in the morning feeling angry that I was getting up to go to work, when what I should have been doing was staying at home with my baby. I would be angry that I was getting dressed in work clothes – trying to choose clothes to wear was a fury-inducing process at times – finding clothes to fit because I still hadn’t lost the weight I’d put on during pregnancy was very difficult, and I would frequently end up in tears after looking in the mirror (I expect that part of that was more psychological – it can be difficult to literally face yourself after an experience like I had). Every day I would drive to work and think, ‘I shouldn’t even be in the car, I should be at home with my baby’, then something would happen at work to make me cross and I would think, ‘I shouldn’t even BE here!’ I became a very angry person, so much so that I probably made myself a little unwell, and during the week before I found out that I was pregnant, I told my mum that I was thinking of stopping trying for a while to concentrate on something else, because I couldn’t cope with the disappointment any more (I had also spent a small fortune on pregnancy tests, which I became obsessed with doing). Fortunately, days later, I discovered that I was, finally, pregnant again. It was the best birthday present I could have received.
I think that part of what fuelled my anger, as I’ve said before, was that some people (some people who should at least have tried…) just didn’t seem to ‘get’ it. The way we show our concern, care and compassion to one another, is by saying something that shows it. If you don’t say something then the person will assume that you do not care, or feel concern or compassion. I’m sure that people find it difficult to know what to say in these situations, but if you don’t know what to say, it’s better to say that, than to say nothing at all.
There are, sadly, some people who still don’t seem to ‘get’ it. But, so many more people do, that I hope that it will help me not to become the fractious person that I did last time, should it be another long journey to get pregnant again. I guess my message would be, if you know someone who has been through something awful, even if you don’t ‘get’ it, say something to them, if you don’t know what to say, say that. But don’t say nothing at all.