It’s been a month. 31 days. Just over 4 weeks since my pregnancy was over. Somehow I thought I’d feel both better and worse than what I do now. I knew I wouldn’t have moved on though. I can’t move on.
I know I’m fairly slow to process grief. It took me months to fully process my friend and her son’s death in a car accident 8 years ago. I’m probably still processing my own early miscarriages, because every pregnancy brings up the emotions of them.
Every pregnancy doesn’t only bring up the emotions of the previous miscarriages, I literally have to talk about it repeatedly. Especially when having to see new doctors, which has happened quite a bit to me. I choose to talk about it a lot as well, but those situations are often in a safe space. And I choose who I talk about it with, and how much detail I give.
Early miscarriages & Dr P.
With my first 2 miscarriages I had a GP who was ok. He was probably only my GP because his office was in the same building I worked in. By the third miscarriage, I had found a gynaecologist (Dr P) who was highly recommended. I saw him through that miscarriage, Kyle’s pregnancy and birth, and the miscarriage after Kyle. He was absolutely everything I hoped for in a gynaecologist. Shortly after that I received the message to let me know that he would no longer be delivering babies. So I knew that I would need someone new for the next pregnancy.
Up to now Dr P knew my whole story. Whenever I saw him, I didn’t have to recount my story again and again.
No more Dr P. – Recounting my story
When I fell pregnant a year later, I went to my new GP (who I’d had to recount my story to), who I actually really like. He recommended a gynaecologist who was fairly easy to get into. I saw Dr Z (who I had to recount my story to) three times, but was never really thrilled with him. He was very patriarchal and a lot of his advise was not current. He also didn’t seem to hear me when I tried to question or discuss some of his thoughts. I was referred to Julie (who I had to recount my story to), to do the detailed 12 week scan. Around this time I heard that a very well respected midwife was moving to our area. I made the decision to switch my care to her as soon as I could. Marianne and her assistants were just amazing.
So I’m now on recounting my multiple losses and pregnancy stories to five people in the first 4 months of my pregnancy. Oh wait – that’s not counting the pathology lab staff who needed my basic history while doing blood tests, or asked more detailed questions to make conversation when I was stuck there for 3 hours on a fasting test.
7 people and counting.
In South Africa we’re required to see a gynaecologist at least once as a back up to the midwife, as we need to be on the books to be admitted to a hospital if necessary. Since not all gynaecologists will back up a midwife, I now had to see another one. Dr S got to hear my whole story again, and sent me for more blood and fasting tests, which meant more staff members at the pathology lab to give my story to.
Oh wait – I’ve forgotten about the 3 different therapist that I had told parts of my story to until I’d found the amazing Tracy who is now my therapist.
So counting the 2 pathology labs as single people, in my healthy, normal pregnancy with my daughter (that happened to be my 7th pregnancy), I had already been required to tell over 12 people about all the pregnancy baggage and history. In 9 months! There’s no letting your losses go!
So back to the beginning of this year. My amazing midwife had emigrated, and wouldn’t be available for this pregnancy. So now I had to try and find a care provider again. I went back to Dr Z (what was I thinking?), and was bullied so badly I was livid after the appointment. At least the pregnancy was confirmed and there was a heartbeat. I was booked to go back to Julie, but didn’t want to have to go back to Dr Z for the results; so I phoned and got an appointment with Dr S. Probably not my first choice (but I didn’t know where or who I wanted to go to either).
Well the 12 week scan went south. Which sent me to Dr S on a more urgent appointment (recount my history again, although thankfully not in all the details). Which sent me to Dr B for the a more detailed assessment of what was happening – tell my full story again. More pathology tests, at a new lab, so tell my story again.
Admitted to hospital – tell my story again.
Meet with hospital psychologist – tell my story again.
See the anaesthetist before the termination – tell my story again.
Start this foundation – choose to tell my story, to give the other women going through anything like this the chance to know that they are not alone. That people do talk about this in public forums. That it’s not only for behind closed doors in doctors rooms. Or in secret facebook groups, where everyone else has been through what you have, but many don’t have the ability to talk about it anywhere but in that room.
I’m not moving on. I can’t!
I will never “move on” from my losses. Whether the miscarriages that chose their own time to go, or the terminations where I made the decision. They are mine. They are part of what makes me who I am. They are part of what makes my children who they are. Without the babies who had gone before or come after them, Kyle and Ayla would probably be very different. I certainly would be a very different mother. Probably a lot calmer and even tempered (but who knows).
There is such a stigma around grief, and loss, and sadness. Friends, family and acquaintances often want you to move on, or cheer up, or get over things. To make it easier to be around you. But the truth of the matter is that grief, and loss, and sadness are the things that make you who you are. Even in the happy moments. Even in the times completely filled with the joy! It’s the way those moments are tempered, that makes them that much more special.
Reflecting on the past month.
Today I’m one month post termination. I’ve really struggled this week emotionally. I honestly don’t even know why in particular. I’ve had a tension headache most of the week. I’ve struggled to get work done. I’ve been exceptionally short tempered with my kids. I’ve done a lot of apologising this week.
Writing this out tonight, I’m aware that I need to give myself some slack. I’m still grieving. Not just the loss of Baby Bryce, but all my losses. Talking about them over and over, makes them raw all over again. I know I’ve still got a long way to go to work this through with my therapist.
One thing I’m sure of – The Baby Bryce Foundation is exactly the right thing for me to be doing. If me telling my story, helps one other woman feel less alone, then that is all I need! If me facilitating others to tell their stories means that they in turn touch one other woman, then we are starting a movement of support and love.
And what could be better than a movement of support and love?
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