The Ties that Bind

We just returned from my DH’s grandma’s funeral.  She lived where his parents live, which is no where near our hometown.  It is either a 12 hour drive or you can fly halfway (that’s as close as you can get, no direct flights there) and then drive for 6 hours.  Given the limited bereavement time off work, we chose to fly and drive.  Between the flights, rental car and gas…it was not cheap.  It’s money we don’t really have, considering we just paid our IVF fees, but what can we do.  Family is family. Or so they say.

The trip was layered with emotions to begin with – after all it was for a funeral.  The last time we were up there visiting it was right after the 3rd miscarriage.  We left a day after the D&C.  We weren’t in the best of spirits and DH’s brother and wife had announced just before we left that they were expecting.  We spent a week together making fake conversation while everyone avoided the elephant in the room.  She was pregnant and I was not.

So here we are, traveling up there again with the memory of the miscarriage and the regret that the last time we saw his grandma we were “out of sorts”.  The SIL didn’t come, apparently at 32 weeks she didn’t want to brave the drive….

….

…so we had to take his brother with us.  We don’t get along with the brother most of the time. He’s an a**hole to my DH and an emotionally immature and self-centered person in general.  So, like I said, the trip was layered with emotions.

We almost made it without incident.  I don’t count the times I want to slap his brother as incident because it is too frequent.

The evening before we left, his aunt hosted a supper after the funeral.  My MIL and BIL left the room while we were looking at some of Grandma’s figurines.  They wanted each grandchild/family to take one.   My MIL and BIL come back into the room and my BIL is teary, which wasn’t abnormal as the funeral hit him hard.  Not to sound callous, but he hasn’t seen as much tragedy as we have.  Of course we were sad and hurting for the loss, but we didn’t hysterically weep.  We have had a bit more practice with pain like that.

Anyway, my MIL proceeds to turn to DH and I and proclaim that their Grandma’s mother’s (so their great grandma) ring was given to my BIL and SIL because they are having the first grandchild.  All the siblings agreed, the special ring should be given to the first grandchild, the first grandchild, the first grandchild.

That’s all we could f*cking hear her say.

This is where I tell you that we would have given birth before them, with the “first grandchild” only 6 days from the funeral itself.  Would have.  Should have.  We were the ones who shouldn’t have been able to attend the funeral because we should have been about to welcome our rainbow baby into the world.  But we weren’t.  Three times over we should have had the first damn grandchild.

After a valiant show of effort, I finally started to cry.  To which my MIL, annoyed her story about how great and generous they are was interrupted, said “are you ok?”

“No. I am not okay. It should have been our baby”. I had to excuse myself.

To which my MIL said “She is going to have to get over it. I just don’t know what I can and can’t say anymore, so I am just not going to say anything”.

That’s when my husband told her she should “fucking know better”. She left after I returned from pulling myself together.  She “had a headache”.

It was an awkward goodbye in the morning.

 

 

 

 

Not Okay

I am not okay. Are you not okay too?

Maybe you are in the same spot where the miscarriage is still raw, or you had yet another negative test or your period came this morning at work. Maybe you just can’t handle one more Facebook baby announcement (there is seriously something in the water) or maybe another co-worker is expecting.

Either way you are not okay because your face has been shoved in your miserable shit just one too many times lately and you are getting a little too close to the ledge.

When I get too close to the ledge I have what I call “episodes”. I had one over the weekend.  A bit of wine and I was off doing something else and all of sudden it came flooding back to me.  I have been to Toronto twice in the last two years and both times I was supposed to do something baby-related with one of my closest friends. And both times it didn’t happen. The next thing I know I am crying and I can’t stop.  It is horrible, embarassing, lonely and alienating.

Once I went to a friend’s birthday party and all the women who showed up were pregnant.  Another time it was a brunch.  Both times I am in the bathroom sobbing and wishing the floor would open up and swallow me whole. I wanted to run out the door and not look back.  I just couldn’t face a room/table full of people and their pity.

When I tell you I don’t have control over these episodes, I mean it.  Trust me. I don’t want to come out to that party with a red nose and my eye make-up rubbed off.  But I can’t stop.  It is a visceral reaction.

Everything hurts. Everything.

Those of you on this journey know what I mean and for those of you not on the journey, sometimes we need space. I can’t make your baby shower/birthday party/kid-centered event. It doesn’t have anything to do with you, it is me. I am not okay.

I know you want to shout it out loud. I do too.

The Fear.

I want to start this first blog post with a link to my fabulous friend Christina Zini’s blog and her post “Mother’s Day Unspoken” (posted May 8, 2015).   She talks about miscarrying on Mother’s Day (seriously) and how it changed her.  In case the link doesn’t work:  http://shedreamsbig.com/blog/

Her line “In losing my first child, I also lost my innocence as a mother” resonated with me.  If you have experienced a miscarriage you will recognize “The Fear”.   Once you have had a miscarriage, pregnancy will never be easy.   I can’t relate with my girlfriends who walk into an ultrasound happy and excited to see their baby.  I only know The Fear…of no heartbeat, of something wrong, of the baby’s life gone.

I am that person who will be fearful for my friends until that fateful 12 week ultrasound, during their 10 km hikes in 25C + degree weather uphill, during their step class and everything else.  And if you are one of those people who are pregnant and don’t know why I am fearful for you…google it or click the link. And God help you.

It isn’t that these future mothers don’t care, they do – but they just don’t know The Fear.  They haven’t had that hellish moment of silence when the ultrasound tech leaves the room to “get the doctor”.  When you know exactly what has happened but you can’t quite believe it.  When someone tells you in a soft voice, “I am sorry…”

The Fear.