A Word on Loss

Home / A Word on Loss - April 23, 2015 , by yvettelamb

I have never wanted to stand out.

There is a certain amount of fanfare and fuss that comes with infertility and loss but of course, it isn’t the good kind. When the most important thing in your life is something you have no control over, and being let down by your body has such far-reaching consequences, all you want is to fade into the background: to be average, to be a normal family.

It’s been six months since I lost our baby: our miracle conception, our beating of the odds, our pat on the back from the universe. Right now I should be sat here with a huge eight-month bump obscuring the screen, writing about something other than this absence.

Right now I should be pregnant.

Stop it, stop it, stop it.

Over the months I have moved on considerably, of course – I have had to. Things no longer feel raw, or so painful.  The sight of a glowing pregnant person or a tiny newborn makes my heart ache a little, but my eyes never water and I know I can handle it, even if I don’t always want to.

But how long must my mind play this game with me – the subconscious arithmetic that works out how far along I should now be, the pull at my stomach when my young toddler gently cuddles his teddy – telling me what a great brother he would be… I want so much to let it go but cannot control the wasteful, wistful thoughts that intrude on my life.

I carry our loss around with me, like I should have carried our baby. Most of the time, I don’t feel sad, but it is almost always there. I am grateful for our son – oh how I am grateful – and I treasure my time with him completely. I know that no matter what the future holds, we have a child and for him, I am so thankful.  We go about our days, our weeks, our months, and things are good. We make plans, we see our family and friends and we have time for just us three too – though sometimes I can’t help thinking it should be nearly four.

Stop it, stop it, stop it.

I floated through the various emotions attached with grief: shock, sadness, disbelief, guilt, anger.  But I can now see that it isn’t just about the baby we lost, the life that could have been. More than that actually – honestly – it was the loss of our dream, the tearing up of a picture we had painted in our mind and the re-writing of our happy ending. It was hard, and some days, it still is.

I understand that it is over, that we could not have won this, that it is cruel and unfair but that it happens. I couldn’t have known my pregnancy was ectopic, and if I had I couldn’t have done anything to change it anyway.

The outcome cannot be altered. It has happened. It is what it is.

And yet.

We have been unlucky I tell myself, but there are many unluckier ones, so many losses. But you see that doesn’t negate what happened to me, to us, to our family. It doesn’t diminish the very natural and valid desire to have a second child and it doesn’t stop me thinking that if this hadn’t happened, our lives would be so different right now; and that to have a miracle snatched away is so much harder for me than not being offered one at all.

Stop it, stop it, stop it.

Last week we had a short break by the sea and having some proper time together – along with fresh doughnuts – was every kind of perfect. On the second day; excited by a morning at the beach and buoyed on by the novelty of a different environment, our exhausted toddler wouldn’t take his nap, so I lay down with him. Together in a darkened room his excited giggles soon calmed to slow, deep breaths as he rolled into me and lay his head on the palm of my hand. Soon, he was asleep and I enjoyed his soft snores and jumpy dream legs alongside the rare opportunity to appreciate him at peace.

I lay wrapped around my almost two-year-old and my mind began to wander. There was no work to think of, no appointments to make, no dinner to consider – we were away from it all and my busy head could rest.  In spite or perhaps because of this, I was triggered to think of that day, and this time I didn’t try to stop it.

I let myself think back to the bleeding and the uncertainty, to the frustrating wait and the fear which mingled with a small ray of desperate hope. I recall the silence in the scan room and my husband holding his breath and my hand. I think of the agonising quiet, which stretched out far longer than it ever could have done for a positive outcome. And of course, there was no good news.

I lay still beside my son as my memories skip and pause randomly. I remember the different doctors, the hurried explanations, the forms and the urgency. There was sadness, questions, time alone together: holding, trying to let go.

I remember missing my son, the childcare logistics, the time spent alone wanting for it to be over yet not being ready, how could I be ready? I remember the hospital corridor, the lights on the ceiling and the kind Anaesthetist.

And that is all I remember because that is all there is. I am being woken; sick, groggy and sore, and it is over – it is all over.

Back in our temporary seaside pad, there are a few quiet tears but no flood, no emotional collapse. After all, I have known of what happened for six months – I have lived this – I have, in many ways I realise, accepted it.

But I am now also going to tell myself that it’s all right that I feel sad sometimes. It is okay that I wish this hadn’t happened – it doesn’t change anything but I have permission to feel how I do. Whatever I think, however I grieve and however you grieve – is okay.

There is a hole in my family and an uncertain future. There are fertility issues, a previous IVF gig and a happy outcome. There has been a miracle conception and a heart breaking loss. And now, there is a woman with almost 35 year old eggs, one less tube and a deep desire to give her child a sibling.

But, there is also some hope, for now there has to be.  There are two people stuck together by love, history, experience and friendship and of course; there is this little boy.

loss

Having him doesn’t negate the natural and valid wish for another child, or remove the grief of losing one, and I mustn’t fool and pressurise myself into thinking that it should. But it does mean that no matter what lies ahead, we are already a complete family thanks to our extraordinary son who, for the moment, needs nothing more than what we can give.

I don’t want to miss his toddlerhood by losing myself in a world of what if… and what now… And as my due date looms, I hopefully will work towards some closure – after all – past that point, I should not still be pregnant; there will be nothing to stop. Because surely, I cannot imagine life with a baby I never knew.

And each time I am asked, ‘Is he your only one?’ or ‘Will you have another?’ I will answer, and it will sometimes be easy and sometimes hard – depending on what hand the future deals. Perhaps there will always be an internal aside of thinking things should be different, or perhaps it will fade, as acceptance draws over our lives and appreciation for all the things we do have calms the sadness that occasionally threatens to creep over my day.

Because what we have been given in this life is nothing short of amazing and for that – for him – I am sure I will always think myself most lucky indeed.

This is a difficult subject to both write and read about. My hope in sharing this is to bring some small comfort to anyone who has struggled or is struggling. Because we are not alone, and it is okay to not always be okay – that is my message.

Big Trouble in Little Nappies facebook

 

Sometimes We Lose Things – a poem about pregnancy loss.

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40 thoughts on “A Word on Loss”

  1. I was teary eyed reading this post. I conceived Dhruv through IUI in the second cycle. When I bled after the first cycle of IUI signifying loss of conception I was like devastated, could not see clearly where life would head to and then miracle happened when I repeated the cycle after a few months. I have made a pact with myself that I can never have a second child because going for it would mean surfing through the highs, lows and abysmal again and I do not have that much energy now. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It helped me in some intangible way.
    It is so true what you said in the last lines…..Life is nothing sort of amazing inspite of our losses and sadness. May God bless you and and your family Yvette.

    1. Yvette Lamb says:

      Anamika, thank you for this and I’m so sorry for your loss and all you have been through. Little miracles don’t always come easy do they? I can really empathise with your decision, and the day of my ectopic, I did say the same. It just all seemed too much and I wanted to just be a family and enjoy our time together rather than putting ourselves through more stress, strain and invasive procedures. I do feel differently now – maybe I will swing back around or maybe we will try again but I do know that it is altogether different from the first time when we didn’t have a child. Nothing compares to that and I am so grateful for our little boy, just as you describe so well xx

  2. Becca says:

    I can relate so much, for me it was my first pregnancy, I lost him or her at 12 weeks just as I thought it would be getting safer. To make it harder the father broke up with me when I told him I was pregnant (we had been together many years but had been having alot of problems) so I couldn’t even try again which I desperately wanted. I couldn’t help the countdown continuing and approached the due date with dread. In the end I decided I had to get away and flew to Norway to visit a close friend who I had started to develop feelings for and vice versa. We have now been together 2 years and have a gorgeous 9 month old son. I don’t know what would have happened if I hadn’t taken that trip but for me it did her easier once I knew I wouldn’t have been pregnant any more. Being childless at the time I couldn’t imagine the next stage though painful moments still happened (like when I got an automated email staying ‘ your baby is 3 months old” from Emma’s diary – I didn’t sign up for any of these when pregnant with my son as it was so painful to try to remove myself from the lists) but it does get better .

    1. Yvette Lamb says:

      Hi Becca, thank you so much for sharing your story – it must have been horrendous going through this alone, and without the option to try again (I felt similar – like I could somehow heal if I was pregnant again and I think that hasn’t quite left me yet). It sounds as though life took you on an amazing journey to reach where you are – congratulations on your little boy! And thank you again for your words – I am so glad I shared this and feel better already about my impending due date.

      1. Becca says:

        I’m glad my story could help a little at least. I recognised so much in what you wrote that I had to share, the baby I lost would be 2 anytime now and that leaves a little hole in my heart, but I also know that without that baby I would not have the happy life I have now. I remembered something else I found comforting, I read somewhere that as foetal cells pass into the mothers blood stream you carry a few cells of every baby with you for the rest of your life. I can’t remember the fine details but I found that strangely comforting as somewhere in me there is a tiny part of both of my babies with me always.

        1. Yvette Lamb says:

          That is so lovely and has just given me goosebumps – thank you. How beautiful that there will always be a little of the ones we both lost and got to keep inside of us x
          I think it’s true that although you feel sad sometimes about your loss, it did bring you to who you have now. It’s different of course but I think that about our long TTC journey and IVF – if we hadn’t had problems, we wouldn’t have the son we have today so I can see that some things are meant to be – despite the difficult journey.

  3. Leann says:

    Life can hit you with such lows and such highs in so many short spaces of time, I myself have never experienced a loss but I have been through the agonising process of fertility treatment. The fear, the anguish the frustration of something you have no control of. All you can do is hold on to hope and stay positive that the future will be brighter. I always said that if I had just Thomas then I was extremely blessed as not only was he a clomid baby but we nearly lost him after birth due to strep b so he is a double miracle. I’m glad you can talk about your experience Yvette, this blog is fantastic xxxx

    1. Yvette Lamb says:

      Thanks so much Leann – I think it sort of wrote itself as though it’s been bubbling for a while – getting it out has been good for me and I hope for a few others too. I think wanting and having children is so important it is impossible not to be flung completely high then low depending on the hand we are dealt, and I’m just so pleased that you did get your little miracles who are safe, well and your family now – despite some sadness that is also how I feel about S, 100% Thanks again xx

  4. *hugs*
    No words to make it better, but I am listening.

    1. Yvette Lamb says:

      Thank you – hugs (and chips) always most welcome x

  5. Yvette this is so beautifully written and truly from the heart. I think you will help a lot of women with this post.
    It’s incredibly brave of you to put yourself out there.
    I have no words to say that could make things better for you, if I did I would use them. If we lived closer I’d be popping over for a cuppa and a chat. Sending hugs. x

    1. Yvette Lamb says:

      Thank you Claire, I really appreciate your kind words. I’m about to stick the kettle on so we can have a virtual cuppa – together with chocolate cake – of course x

  6. Tara says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I can imagine how hard it was to write this post (as I’ve written similar myself) but hopefully you can take some comfort in knowing that it will help people. Sending hugs.

    1. Yvette Lamb says:

      Hi Tara, thank you. I’m sorry for yours too – I think your blog name is so fitting and very true. It really did help – already today I feel emotional but like a bit of weight has been lifted – it is good to acknowledge that sometimes things aren’t okay, but that that is all right and ‘normal’
      Thanks again x

  7. This must have been a difficult post to write but you have done it with a aplomb. I am so sorry you went through all this – they say behind every woman is a baby story – I am beginning to suspect that is true. xxx

    1. Yvette Lamb says:

      Thanks Alison – I’ve never heard that but it really resonates. Since posting this, so many friends and acquaintances have shared their difficult stories which I had no idea about. In many different ways, everyone goes on a journey and it’s really opened my eyes to what other people might have experienced – regardless of what’s on the exterior. Thanks again xx

  8. TeeJay says:

    I’m sorry for your loss. I lost 2 miracle conceptions, one after detecting a strong hb, 4 months apart just after my ART baby girl turned 1. It gets easier in some respects, like you said. I had a hard time at Halloween and Christmas because I knew that there *should* have been a newborn present. And sitting here now I think of how I would be just finishing up maternity leave had the second baby not been lost. The what if’s have not completely gone away but they have gotten easier. I’m sorry you had to go through that. The uncertain future can make it even harder to find peace with grief. Wishing you all the best in your recovery and beyond.

    1. Yvette Lamb says:

      Hi Teejay, I’m so sorry for your losses and thank you for sharing this. In some ways it sounds like we are in a similar position. I’m glad things have become that bit easier for you, but agree the uncertainty is very tough – it is hard when the chances of having another child are lower than the chances of not, yet I can’t imagine being able to let go of that either. Wishing you all the best too for the future and your family life x

  9. Louise says:

    So sorry for your loss Yvette – baby loss is so utterly devastating and it isn’t just the baby you grieve for, it’s all those hopes and dreams of the family you thought you would have too. My first pregnancy ended in miscarriage and I hadn’t known I was pregnant until that point. There were very few people who knew about it at the time because I felt so stupid to be grieving something I had never known I had but it was still devastating. Sending you huge hugs lovely xxx

    1. Yvette Lamb says:

      Oh I’m sorry Louise, that must have been completely exhausting emotionally and so much to get your heart and mind around. It’s awful how we feel like we ‘should’ and ‘shouldn’t feel a certain way – I was like that to an extent thinking I didn’t have the right to grieve as I already had a child. I know now that is not the case at all but I think it is a confusing time anyway both physically and emotionally and it makes it very hard to see clearly. Thanks for sharing and for the hugs – much appreciated xx

  10. This is so heartbreaking. I’m so sorry to hear about what you have been through, I had a miscarriage (discovered at our 12 week scan) before I had my children so I can empathise with some of what you are feeling. It’s really tough. Like you, I kept thinking I should be however many months pregnant – and it was so hard seeing so many of my friends announcing their pregnancies within a couple of weeks of our miscarriage. I found the due date hard (although I was lucky I was pregnant by then… but petrified it would happen again). I still find it hard seven years and three children on. It is okay to be sad and it is okay to cry. Sometimes the only thing you can do is cry for your baby and those broken dreams. I actually have a bracelet, which I had made, to remember my baby. I know some people might think it is stupid, but I wanted that pregnancy to count for something. I’ve written a lot about miscarriage too through my freelance journalism work. Talking abut it is hard but it makes a massive difference to so many women (and men) who will read your words and know that they are not alone. It’s such an isolating tine, even though so many of us go through it. Big hugs to you xxx

    1. Yvette Lamb says:

      Hi Cathryn, Thank you for your lovely message. I’m really sorry for your loss too – I actually stumbled across some of your articles around miscarriage on Parentdish fairly recently which were fab. The bracelet is such a lovely idea and am so glad you did something that helped. I don’t think it would have occurred to me but my best friend thoughtfully gave me a beautiful little angel ornament which we have hung in our bedroom – like with you it is really nice to have acknowledged our baby, our loss and what might have been xxx

  11. I am so sorry for your loss. So very sad and unfair.
    I have passed this onto my best friend who I know will feel comforted by this as she has just had a miscarriage and is distraught.
    Lots of love and here’s hoping the future is bright for someone so special and deserving as you xx

    1. Yvette Lamb says:

      Thanks Katy – what a lovely message. I’m so sorry for your friend – the first weeks after loss are so horrible and raw – she is in my thoughts and it’s lovely that you are looking out for her xx

  12. Ruth says:

    Such a beautiful post, thank you!

    I found this article on mother’s having foetal cells in them:

    http://boingboing.net/2012/01/03/cells.html

    We carry them with us all the time.

    *hugs*

    1. Yvette Lamb says:

      Hi Ruth, thank you so much for this – have passed to a friend who has also had a loss and know it will be of comfort. I feel a real warmth knowing this… it somehow validates the knowledge that there was once a baby, even if they never made it all the way x

  13. So sorry for your loss, and sending you massive virtual hugs. it is so hard to not wonder “what if” . I hope time is gentle as it comes up to your due date #MBPW

    1. Yvette Lamb says:

      Thank you so much Laura, that is really kind x

  14. Really sorry to hear this – very sad and really raw for you. I hope you’re OK. Going through IVF x3 times and having one miscarriage was so tough for me, and I found it all incredibly hard. I don’t think I will ever forget those feelings of ‘what if’. Now that my twins are here I am delighted and treasure it all – but will never forget what it was like. Big hugs and love, Jess x

    1. Yvette Lamb says:

      Thank you so much Jess. I am sorry you are able to relate – I remember you telling me about the tough road you have travelled. It really isn’t fair sometimes. Having a loss on top of fertility issues and the emotional trauma of going through IVF is so completely rubbish and I really feel for you. I think you are right that you can treasure and love your (gorgeous) twins so much, but it does leave some scars and it’s normal to not have erased what is used to be like completely. Thanks again and big hugs back x

  15. Brilliant. I’ve discovered your blog through the BiBs and I’m not a gusher normally, but everything I’ve read this morning…you deserve your nomination, this post touched a proper nerve for me because of our similar situations.

    1. Yvette Lamb says:

      Thank you so much, really appreciated.
      I’m sorry you are in a similar position, it can be really hard sometimes when the future is uncertain and I think for me that is one of the main reasons I don’t feel able to properly move on.
      I am just off to re-discover your blog… I remember your name and loving / commenting on a post before, but somehow must have lost you amid the big bad blogging world!

  16. Lisa says:

    Such a beautifully written piece, so honest and from the heart. Thank you for sharing, I am sure it will bring strength and comfort to many others – I hope it brought a little to you too when writing it. There are so many people who experience loss or have a difficult time on their journey to become parents, but so often so little is said. We shouldn’t have to feel like we are alone on top of everything else. Big hugs to you lovely xxx

  17. Yvette Lamb says:

    Thanks so much Lisa, it really did. A weight has definitely been lifted and I’m glad it seemed to help in some way get the topic out there as you’re right, it’s not fair to feel alone in this when we’re definitely not. Big hugs back xxx

  18. ah yes, those two questions, ‘Is he your only one?’ or ‘Will you have another?’ asked so innocently by friends and strangers alike without realising there’s a lifetime’s back story of TTC that make the ”Yes” and ”Who knows, maybe if miracles happen twice” incomplete answers. Miscarriage is devastating whenever and however it occurs and adds new layers of fear and and pain to thoughts of the future. Writing is carthartic when you’re honest with yourself and tears necessary to be able to take a deep breath, be at peace with where you are (even on the sad days) and know that what the heart desires is a more powerful force than the fear and sadness that sometimes gets us in it’s grip. Go gently x
    (https://nipitinthebud.wordpress.com/2011/02/14/feeling-loved/)

  19. Natasha says:

    I am so so sorry for your loss. I can’t resonate with it because I’ve never faced the loss of a baby but my heart hurt for you reading this. I hope with time the pain lessens and one day you’ll be blessed with the child you hope to have for your son. xx

    1. Yvette Lamb says:

      Hi Natasha, thank you so much for your kind message, I really appreciate it – very much x

  20. I felt better after the ‘due dates’ of my two losses. I hope you do too. It’s a horrible thing. We had 1 already too and people said at least you have 1 but when you are in the blur of desperately wanting a baby, it doesn’t matter if you have 110, you want that baby. We were lucky enough to have another but I still think of those two
    Big hugs xxxx

    1. Yvette Lamb says:

      Thanks so much Emma. I do feel better actually now that the date has passed. It is now more not knowing what the future holds but even that is easier since the end of May. I don’t know if I will always wonder ‘what if…’ sometimes but I’ve made more peace with it than I was able to a couple of months ago. Thanks again x

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