Still: On Pregnancy After LossDiana Stone
(This may trigger some of you that have experienced a loss.)
It’s mostly at night. The nightmares that come with a pregnancy after loss haunt me unexpectedly, at random times. I’ll wake, gasping for air, still partially caught in the unconsciousness of sleep.
Perhaps the dream is of my water breaking. So I’ll lay very still, convinced if I don’t move, it won’t happen. Had I not gone back to the bathroom when I lost my twins, maybe I wouldn’t have lost them. I could have just held it in. As irrational as that is (and I do know that it is irrational) in the dark of the night it seems completely sane. So I don’t dare move. No matter how bad I have to pee, the terror of going through a loss all over again paralyzes me.
Until I finally am able to wake fully and firmly tell myself that, water breaking or not, I’m going to have to get up at some point. I make myself throw my weight off the bed in an effort to shake the fear. Push it away. If it happens, I tell myself, it happens. Get over it.
Nothing happens. I am fine.
There’s the other side, the one where in the nightmare I actually have this baby. I can feel it suddenly being born. And I’ll wake and quickly reach down, my mind screaming at me that I need to help this baby so it will live. It will have a chance. Hurry Diana, make sure that this time he makes it.
There is nothing there.
Sam usually wakes on these nights, holding me close as I struggle to put myself back together. Relief mixes with shame because I still have these moments over a year later. My therapist tells me that it’s because my brain is trying to put a rational spin on an event that is very much irrational. It’s trying to process what took place when I lost my sons at 20 weeks, but it simply can’t do that yet. Not fully.
These are brief episodes. Nothing like a few months ago. My thoughts are shifting as I get closer to the birth of this baby, they’re more about labor and delivery than loss. It’s normal, but I can tell you – it doesn’t feel that way at 3 AM. Nor is it easy to write this on here. While many are supportive, I know some will read and wonder why I haven’t been committed yet. As much as it hurts, I get it, because I had those feelings about loss before it happened to me.
My days are steady. Most of my nights are too. As I am further along in this pregnancy, the anxiety of another loss lessens bit by bit. Each week that passes increases the chance that I will bring my little boy home.
I love being pregnant, but on those nights I can hardly wait for it to be over. To wake and find a baby in my arms instead of terror that I’ve got to go through this all again. Seeing my babies die in my arms as everyone watches, unable to do anything. I did it once, in pure shock and not fully comprehending what was taking place along the way. This time I’d know. I can’t imagine going through it again knowing.
I’ve worked so hard at dealing with all that has happened. I know how far I’ve come in so many areas since last May.
Yet still. Those moments I’ll never forget and they haunt me. I watch the calendar willing it to move faster so that at some point, maybe the nightmares will cease completely. 30 weeks. Or 35. I don’t know. Maybe they won’t.
I bring myself back to the present and the miracle of this new life again and again. We’re here. Nearly 26 weeks. We made it this far. I can make it through this, no matter what comes my way now. It’s okay to grieve and it’s okay to move past some of it too.
I’m working on it. Still, part of this will always be there. Because it’s now and forever a part of my life and memories. I’m slowly becoming okay with that.
Photo Credit: my own