Thursday, January 26, 2012

Having faith in an early loss.

This week I've been struggling with grieving my early pregnancy loss. I am going through the motions of grief -- the overwhelming sadness, difficulty concentrating, inability to feel happy over just about anything. I feel completely powerless to get OUT of grief. (And trust me, sometimes I want to!)

But even as my body and mind insist on this sad, melancholy state -- my heart questions whether or not I have the RIGHT to be this sad.

I don't think I'm alone. I believe many women with an early pregnancy loss feel this way at some point.

Is it normal to hurt this much? This long after the baby is gone? I never held my baby. As far as the world is concerned, this baby didn't really exist. So why do I hurt so much?

I wrote to the leader of our support group, Susan. Here's what I wrote, and how she responded:


ME:  So -- I am struggling a bit with feeling like my loss isn't as significant -- and maybe it really isn't -- as all the women who actually had a baby at the end of their story . . . whether through later miscarriage or stillbirth, or neonatal loss.

 I feel a bit like an imposter. I was less than 8 weeks pregnant when I lost Baby O. Some days I feel like it's OK to grieve -- but I feel weird that it's been over a month and I still feel really sad and overwhelmed. I haven't gotten back to functioning normally yet.

I felt foolish crying at the support group for my baby, when I didn't have to plan a memorial service, or hold her, or give birth.

Does that make any sense? 


 Thanks for the listening ear,

Rachel


Susan:

know exactly how you feel. The twins I lost were also "only" around 8 weeks along. I feel that these earlier losses have their own significant components. As you said above there wasn't a "baby at the end," makes it an even harder loss in some ways.

We never got to hear a heartbeat, feel those first precious flutters that make you say "was that the baby moving?" We have no footprints, no handprints, no pictures, no locks of hair. It's almost as if we have to have "faith" that there ever really was a baby.

But let me remind you of how much our babies had already developed . . .


At 8 weeks pregnant (6 weeks from conception):


 The embryo measures about 18 mm (3/4 inch) in length.
Their arms and legs are growing and the location of the elbows and toes are visible.
The feet and hand buds have appeared.
Starts to practice moving (not felt by mom till week 20).
The stomach is being made from part of the gut.
The face is beginning to take shape.
Your baby's mouth and nostrils are starting to develop.
Teeth begin to develop under the gums.
The eyes can now be seen as small hollows on each side of the head.


The arms and legs continue to develop -- these limbs are stretching out more and more.
Later on you will be feeling those feet and elbows up close and personal right in your bladder.
The embryonic tail has almost disappeared.
The pituitary gland is also forming and the embryo is beginning to grow muscle fibers.
 The heart has divided into the right and left chambers and is beating about 150 beats a minute which is about twice the rate of an adult.
The baby's facial features are visible, including a mouth and tongue.
 The eyes have a retina and lens.
The major muscle system is developed, and the baby starts to practice moving.
The baby has its own blood type and the blood cells are produced by the liver now instead of the yolk sac.

We may not have any tangible evidence that there was a baby but indeed there was. We have "faith" that our babies did exist and have every right in the world to grieve for them.

My dear, you are NOT an imposter. You are a mommy who is mourning the loss of your baby. Please don't put a time table on your grief. Allow yourself as much time as you need.

I am here for you.

Susan


Hearing about my baby's development was JUST what I needed to hear. There WAS a baby in me, with it's own heart and bloodtype and eyes and everything. The fact that I never saw or held my baby does not negate that fact that she was there.

If your pregnancy loss was earlier than 8 weeks, your baby was growing and developing. Maybe it would help to read about their development?

No matter what age of gestation we are at, our babies are ours. They are our children. And we have a RIGHT to grieve their loss.

Keep the faith, ladies. Keep the faith.

5 comments:

  1. What a wonderful thing Susan said. It's so true Rachel. Plus, Rachel grief has no time limit. I still grieve for both of my babies. It's been years since I lost mine. A baby is baby no matter the gestation age, Please don't feel like an imposter. When I lost my first baby at 6wks. I saw him or her. I saw their eyes and little arms forming. That was only at six weeks. Can you imagine what your baby looked like at 8 weeks? Just think of her arms, her eyes, her body forming, and her heart. All was there.

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    1. Thanks melissa. You always have the right words.

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  2. wow this made me cry, i was 7 wks and everyone around me made out it was nothing, that my baby never existed. the comment that hurt the most was u already have 2 kids like i wasnt aloud to be upset because i already have children. i lost my baby and right tube 2 yrs ago 24th dec, i'm so sorry for ur loss, i remember finding my first support group on facebook after it happened an remember posting that i didnt feel so stupid anymore for crying over a baby that was only 7 wks gestation, hearing others stories really helped me understand that i had the right to be feeling the way i was, i even read an article that said everyone is different, we all grieve differently just because it was an early loss doesn't mean the grief is any different some people with early losses grieve the baby as much as a later term loss. its a very personal thing and i agree u need to take ur own time to grieve with no limits put on it. i got pregnant with my son 5 wks after surgery, i never had time to grieve my baby i lost and spent my whole pregnancy feeling guilty i couldnt name him or buy anything for him with out feeling guilty, i didnt let my self be happy over him i never bonded with my son during his pregnancy because of the effect my ectopic had on me. grieving is our way of coping other wise we can't move on and except what happened ill never forget my baby but ive accepted what has happened even tho it still hurts so much

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    1. Lele ... Thank you so much for sharing ... And i am so sorry to hear that you too had to suffer an ectopic pregnancy and lose your baby. It's so hard to lose not only a child, but a tube as well. I am sorry, too, that people did not validate your loss and that the subsequent pregnancy was difficult. Do you have any advice for people who have had a subsequent birth after a loss? Thanks again ... And i'm so glad to hear that this post helped. Rachel

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  3. Rachel,

    Thank you so much for posting about this time in your life. I am currently going through a miscarriage. My pregnancy was in an unknown location. Too little people write about this experience. I came on here to release my emotions and I have found your blog. This has helped me so much. Thank you again for everything. I know that I have long journey but it is one that has been walked many times by many women. I too will make it through this.

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