Why People Wait to Tell and Why Maybe They Shouldn’t

7 10 2010

This is grief:

It’s a hysterical laughing-sobbing-choking sort of grief.

Soon after receiving the devastating news, I asked my mom to pull out the camera I always carry with me.

“I’m going to have to put this on my blog,” I told her.

“I know,” she said, without any surprise at my request, even though we were in the ER – hardly a place for photographs.  “I didn’t even want to go there.”

In spite of our sadness, disappointment, and shock, we had a clear realization of how ludicrous this photo shoot was.  But my mom took the photos anyway, even the one above in which I snorted and sobbed and laughed and snotted the sheets.

Just as she has photographed my belly for the last four weeks.

Just as she would have photographed my belly for the fifth time on Saturday.

Just as she photographed me posing with a fake belly.

This morning, in an eerie sort of repetition of five weeks ago exactly, I had an intense meeting at work, followed by a short break and then another intense meeting.  And during my brief bathroom break, I started spotting.

There was a significant difference between the two incidences.  I pondered the difference as I drove to the ER, and realized it came down to this: in five weeks, I had become a mother.

I know that’s a big claim for a woman whose entire experience with motherhood has been 11 and a half week of pregnancy.  But in the five weeks between episodes of spotting, my entire way of thinking had shifted.

Five weeks ago, I simply could not justify taking time off for myself, no matter how upset I was over the thought of losing a pregnancy.  Today, with much less spotting, there was simply no way I was going to keep working when my baby – my child – was at risk.  I walked into my meeting, apologized for being late, and explained that I was leaving.

I didn’t even call the midwife.

I called my mom and told her I needed to go to the ER.  I left a message for Jason, who was out of cell phone range on a hunting trip.  I drove, hoping a cop would pull me over so I could ask for a ride to the hospital.

At the ER, the doctor had no real concerns, but asked if I would like an ultrasound.  I was sure this time I wanted some clear answers.  I was not in a wait-and-see mode.  It didn’t matter that the amount of blood seemed insignificant, at just one and a half weeks shy of “safe,” I wanted to see what was happening.

In the darkened ultrasound room, with my mom nearby and Jason still entirely unaware of what was happening at home, we learned that the pregnancy was at an end.  There was no room for questioning.

It’s National Pregnancy and Infant Loss month – everything has a month nowadays, I know.  In fact, I think every month must be spoken for a dozen times over, there are so many causes out there.  Pregnancy loss, I suppose, deserves at least a day or a week.  I mentioned when I began blogging about my pregnancy that it might not have a happy ending – it hasn’t – but that it was important that women stop bearing the grief and horror of miscarriage alone.

It has been a hard day of hard phone calls.

It has been the end of many happy dreams.

It has not been harder because I shared my happiness and dreams with so many people.  And if nobody can take our pain away, at least they understand why I am so sad.  Bearing that grief alone would be no comfort right now.

I’m sorry that I have this sad, sad news to share with you all.  But please know that sharing my joy with you has made the past five weeks all the more joyful.  And also know that by reading this, you carry just the smallest weight of my grief away with you, and help make the unendurable a little closer to bearable.

Thank you for coming this far on a journey that is truly just beginning.

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8 responses

7 10 2010
Jaimey

*sob* I’m soooo sorry! I wanted to call today but I wasn’t sure you’d be up for it. If you ever need to talk, I’m always available. The dream isn’t over, just taking a detour. Love ya!!

7 10 2010
kara

I know there are no words that will lesson your grief. Just as I was excited for you, I”m saddened by the news. Please know we are thinking of you and your family right now. Cuz and fam

7 10 2010
Connie

Love you!

7 10 2010
Karen

Oh Jill! I was lucky that I was driving between construction sites in the middle of nowhere when I got your text. I choked up, and I didn’t want those tough construction workers to see me wiping the tears from my eyes.

I can’t tell you how much I respect you for sharing this tough story with the world. More women need to share and not hide their loss.

Jaimey is right – this is just a detour. You are one of the strongest women (and best mothers) I know. When you are ready, you and Jason will go on to make beautiful babies together. Know that many people are thinking of you right now. I’m here, if you want to talk.

8 10 2010
Amy

so sorry 😦

9 10 2010
Sarah

Jill and Jason – our thoughts are with you and feel so bad for you and your loss. Your love of each other will carry you through this. Sometimes life just sucks.

12 10 2010
Torri

I want you to know I love you. And you are by far the strongest, most admirable woman I know. I am sending more hugs and happy thoughts your way, after I wipe away my tears I am crying for you, my friend.

29 01 2012
goatgirlbookworm

*Liking* a post like this seems so wrong. I don’t *like* it… I identify with it. Thank you for sharing, in a way, you are braver than me.

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