Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Dealing with the physical and emotional loss

Obviously, I still needed to see a midwife to check on my post-natal recovery. I think this was as hard for them as it was for me. A midwife is trained to look after a pregnant mother, bring a life into the world, and then support the mother in the early days with their newborn. They weren't ready to deal with a mother who had given birth, needed physical check-ups but no baby to weigh or advise on feeding. I remember being in the clinic to be "signed off" by the midwife and sat in the waiting room with my husband, when a new mother came out of the weighing room with her tiny baby. She promptly sat down next to us, and started breastfeeding. The feeling I had was a feeling of anger (that I had to endure this), jealousy, deep sadness and a real, physical pain. Thank the Lord, that the midwife appeared at that moment and took us down to a consultation room. Those feelings were a shock. I didn't want to feel those feelings, but I suppose grief does funny things. I just wanted to be feeding my baby.

I had been given some medicine to stop my milk coming in, and I was given a whole host of medications to help me with the incision pain, from the c-section. It was hard to walk in the early days, but they encourage the movement. The medication was a hard one at night time though as I would wake up in the night in a really odd state of mind, and literally freak out and have a full on panic attack complete with shakes/convulsions. My body was wanting to wake in the night to feed my newborn but instead I would wake up to the feeling out complete dread and the sinking feeling of reality. I would even convince myself that Harry was still in my belly, and wait to feel his little kicks. Then I would feel the pain in the scar and remember what happened.

My body is craving my baby, as well as my mind and that is a hard thing to manage. Mentally I had been preparing for a new baby, but you forget that your body has too. And my hormones were that of a new mother, except my baby had gone. Thoughts turn to trying again, which some people find a shock, but my body is yearning for a baby. It is physically missing a baby. I spoke to the midwife about trying again, and thankfully they offered me their full support for when I was ready.

I have seen a bereavement counsellor and she has really helped me to realise that everything I am feeling emotionally is really normal. I am not one to visit a counsellor on a weekly basis but it is good to know that I have somewhere confidential and impartial that I can go to share these feelings. And also someone who knows a lot about what it feels like to have such a hideous loss. I find that I relive the day that he was born and the day that he died, over and over in my head. When I have nothing to think about, I find my thoughts return to Harry and the tragic circumstances. The hardest time for me recently was in a yoga class, during the relaxation time or meditation, at the end of the class. I found myself with warm tears pouring down my face after allowing my thoughts to wonder. Thankfully we were all lying on the floor so no one could see and I managed to collect myself before the class dispersed. Even little reminders can creep up on you when you least expect it. I found it hard watching films  or reading books with William that we watched together when I was heavily pregnant, as it reminded me that I wasn't pregnant anymore and I didn't have Harry either.

I recently visited the gynae ward of the hospital and they gave me a scan, blood tests and swab tests to check all is well, and they have given me the all clear to try again when I am ready. I don't want to replace Harry in any way. But I wanted a baby, and I still want a baby. A baby isn't just going to appear in a few days time, it does take nine months to make a baby. We will see what the future brings but I am praying for my "rainbow baby". I love this phrase. I found it on a "dealing with a loss" site.  Here is a beautiful way of describing the phrase:
"Rainbow Babies" is the understanding that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of the storm. When a rainbow appears, it doesn't mean the storm never happened or that the family is not still dealing with its aftermath. What it means is that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds. Storm clouds may still hover but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of color, energy and hope.

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