40 weeks I carried him.
40 weeks. Of dreams.
Of taking it for granted.
Of naive belief that we were guaranteed a happy ending.
The first 12 or so weeks of pregnancy, we’re all told that we should wait to share our news because of the risk of miscarriage (although few of us wait that long), but despite that, we start making plans, buying tiny new clothes, and get excited about the pregnancy and the possibility of new life.
Once we’ve passed through that first trimester, we think we’re in the clear so we start making bigger plans: picking names, planning a nursery, and telling your employer you’ll be off on maternity leave. It’s not just a new pregnancy you’re excited about now. It’s the unique little boy or girl that is growing inside of you that reminds you of their presence with kicks and rolls and the occasional hiccup.
And at the end? A beautiful baby that will keep you up at night,
But not always.
I didn’t have a miscarriage. I lost a full term, perfectly developed little boy who’s heart just stopped beating and we don’t (yet) know why. We made it past the first trimester and the 28 week ‘viability’ point, a point where anyone would feel safe enough to start to practically prepare for the baby: painting a nursery, stocking up on diapers, folding sweet little sleepers. We came home that night and had to look at an empty bassinet by our bed, a silent swing in our living room, and a lovingly prepared nursery at the end of the hall that was empty of joy.
We also didn’t lose a child after they had worked their way into every moment of our every day lives – we lost him without ever really getting to know him (although I feel like I know him very well just by his ‘personality’ while inside me). We’ve settled back into the day to day life that we’ve lived from the moment Emily came home and it was just the 3 of us, and that leaves me feeling unsettled much of the time - looking for ways to keep Griffin included in our lives, even though our time with him was short and our memories too few.
Does that all make sense? I mentioned in my intro post that one of the things that losing Griffin has brought into my life is a feeling of isolation that I can’t shake some days. In many ways, the isolation is self-induced because I have the bad habit of comparing myself to others, and wondering if I’m grieving in the right way or if my daily activities should look different than they do. It’s not that experiencing a full term stillbirth is easier or harder than either of those other experiences, it just leaves me walking the gap between those more ‘normal’ experiences, and in a place where there aren’t many answers as to how you should feel and when things will be ‘normal’.
No one really can tell you how YOU should be feeling, or when you’ll be ready to try again. And no one should.
But maybe if I write about my experience and how I am navigating everything it will validate someone else’s experience and help them feel normal.