100 days. I have survived a nightmare for 100 days. 100 days ago I learned my baby’s heart stopped while mine did not. I have cried for 100 consecutive days. 100 days ago I thought I would cease to exist. But I didn’t. I haven’t. Yet.
And 365 days ago (or thereabouts) my baby was conceived (at home, not in a fertility clinic). TMI? I’d apologize for making you feel uncomfortable but I’m going to be uncomfortable every single day for the rest of my life. For, like, 264 days or something like that (math isn’t my strength) my baby grew, safely housed within me. Then 100 days ago she died (well, probably 102 days ago).
The other day I mentioned to someone (while sobbing into their shoulder) that I fear this experience will make me a bitter person. She misunderstood and thought I said better person. No. I can’t imagine I’m a better person. I’m most certainly bitter.
I’ve started back to work–easing in with 4 hours per day. So far I’ve clocked 36 hours. I haven’t walked out. Yet. Though I’ve wanted to. This morning I had a meeting with my supervisor and the human resources manager. My supervisor likes to pretend she cares about people. But she doesn’t. She cares about herself and her reputation. I could see an obvious relief on her face when I reassured her that I will be “ready” to resume my regular hours next week. I don’t know if that is actually true. Will I ever be ready?
On my way out of the building at noon, I ran into my intern from last summer, coming for an interview. We stopped to chat. I studied her face. I couldn’t tell if she knew.
“I’m not sure if you heard, I lost my baby.” (Geeze, there it is…lost…where did she go? Off with my red Marmot jacket?)
“Yes, I didn’t want to say anything unless you did. I’m really sorry about that.”
Better to lay it out there. Otherwise it’s just the obviously uncomfortable elephant in the room.
Back in July, my husband and I met with a perinatologist. I won’t go into all the boring medical details, only to say that I FINALLY connected with her last week by phone. (She’s a big-shot CEO at the hospital, I think she just consults with Maternal-Fetal Medicine to keep her license current). Final verdict: massive fetomaternal hemorrhage (FMH). Which is what was initially suspected but now it’s official. As to what caused it? They have no idea. As this doctor said “I’d expect this type of outcome had you been abusing large amounts of cocaine….” (In case you’re wondering, I’m not a coke addict). I’ll direct you over to fellow “Loss Mama” Vanessa for the details on this very rare medical condition. I can’t say it better than her: FMH truly can go to hell.
I fired my first therapist and am now on my second. Anyway, this new one has been treating me for trauma using a technique called EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). We’ve had four sessions so far. Last week I mentioned that I wasn’t sure if it was working. She pulled out her handwritten notes and studied my scale ratings. “Well, at your first session, your distress level was a 10 and last time you were at a 6 so that proves it’s helping.” How does she know it’s the EMDR helping and not the passage of time?
This Thursday is DBC (Dead Baby Club). That isn’t really what it’s called. Obviously. I still have a handful of people who I haven’t scared away. People I knew before my loss who aren’t in the DBC. But now that I’m in the DBC I feel most comfortable around other people who are surviving. I’m only 100 days in. Some of them have been DBC members for years. I can’t even fathom how I will feel next week let alone in months or years. Or decades.
So I’ve survived 100 days. In the next 100 days I will resume my full-time working hours. My daughter will start pre-kindergarten. Leaves will begin to change color and fall from the trees. I will be participating in a fundraising walk in October for National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. We’ll go to my favorite fall fair (no rides, just agriculture and hippies). We’ll head to Nashville for a wedding. My daughter will finalize her Halloween costume (Rapunzel? Pony? Will keep you posted). We’ll begin to think about winter because here, where we are in New England, we could potentially get snow in early November. And we’ll pack for our trip to Florida because 100 days from now takes us right to Thanksgiving.