Triggers. People have triggers all the time in reaction to all kinds of difficulty. It could be a physical thing, place, a feeling, a person, or something someone says. I have them, lots of them. A few examples of things that trigger me after losing my daughter, Adeline, are:
- Crying babies
- Baby sections in stores
- Pregnancy Announcements
- Birth Announcements
- Pregnant women
- Children who are the same age my daughter should be
- “You are so young”
- “Everything happens for a reason”
- The hospital I gave birth at
- 12 week pregnancy announcements declaring that they are in the “safe zone”
There has been one consistent trigger along my grief journey that stings extra bad everytime someone says it to me. When someone says to me in response to my loss of Adeline, “I miscarried one time, too” it just tears me apart.
I know when people are saying this they are trying to connect to me and my grief with their experience with pregnancy loss and that part I will always respect. Yet, I always want to yell in response that “Adeline was born, she was here. I gave birth to her, she was a baby that I held in my arms.” I never do, I bite my tongue and say that I’m sorry, or that it’s hard.
That’s not fair. That’s not fair to me, because to me it feels like it discounts what I went through when they compare the two. And it’s also not fair to the person saying it, because it probably feels like I am discounting what they went through.
Then, one year ago today, I had a miscarriage. After a year of trying for more children after our loss, we sought out medical help. I was put on the magic pill, Clomid, after discovering that my follicles were not maturing enough. I was monitored at an ultrasound and told to go home and make my own fireworks for the Fourth of July. So that’s what we did, and a few weeks later got our first positive pregnancy test since losing Adeline. Over the moon, but not quite convinced, excited but fearful, and almost expecting the other shoe to drop.
I woke up one year ago today with spotting. I was worried to see that, but I honestly didn’t automatically freak because I had a subchorionic hematoma in the beginning of my pregnancy with Adeline and bled for weeks. I didn’t go straight to panicking, because there was a chance that was what was happening again and I would just get a call into my doctor, we’d take a look and it would take care of itself and go away just like last time. I continued with my morning, got ready and headed out the door for work. That day I went to a kids concert at a local beach in the 85 degree heat with probably over 1000 other people.
My miscarriage started on a hot summer day, in public, at a kids concert, with children and parents and people all around me.
At that point, I knew what was happening and like so many other people have heard on the other end of the phone, I was told “There’s not much we can do. Come in for blood work this afternoon.” So I sat there, with my nanny kids, with a blank expression and muted emotion with just about every trigger under the sun surrounding me.
The blood tests confirmed that I was no longer pregnant and my progesterone was way too low to support a pregnancy. I was having a miscarriage.
I don’t know how to explain how I felt, because it seems it took me awhile to feel anything. It sucked. After a year of nothing, it was false hope and short lived. I almost expected it, and it happened. I think because I knew how different it was from my other experience, I unconsciously did not allow myself to process.
I had company in my home that weekend, while my body was still miscarrying days later. That was difficult to be happy go lucky and entertain our house guests. I remember talking a lot about Adeline and a lot about not being able to get pregnant again and the steps that we were taking and learning things about my body and women’s bodies and the continuous heartbreak that comes with loss and trying to conceive after loss.
Two weeks later, one of my house guests announced her pregnancy on Facebook. I felt like I was sideswiped and for the first time I felt the emotion come out. That was hard to see, that was hard to know she was pregnant in my home while I was miscarrying. Then that baby was born, and even more emotion came out. At that point, it meant it had been 7-8 months since I had miscarried and had kind of kept pushing through without allowing myself to feel. That meant it had been that long without any more signs of pregnancy.
Today is sensitive. I can feel the emotions bubbling. I started my morning by listening to a podcast on miscarriage thinking it would help heal my heart a little and instead the podcast had a baby crying in the background through the entire thing. (See list of possible triggers at the top of this post).
And here’s the thing, Adeline’s stillbirth is not the same thing as miscarriage. From my own personal experience they are not comparable and are very different, but they are both still excruciating. They both still suck. They both come with grief. They both come with a lifetime of wonder. They are both pregnancy loss.
Today, I feel sad that I miscarried. I feel sad that we haven’t gotten pregnant again since. I feel sad that I have no idea how to process it after what I went through with Adeline. I feel sad that I have difficulty finding the space for it’s grief. I feel sad that I’ve lost two babies in two very different ways. I feel sad that I have felt the need to defend my grief against other grief.
Grief is grief.
Loss is loss.
Wonder is wonder.
Hard is hard.
Learning is learning. And I’m still learning.