There is this weird stigma around pregnancy loss. It’s sad, and heartbreaking, but many suffer without a word. I cannot tell you how many people have opened up to me regarding their loss since we lost Teddy. I don’t take comfort in the pain these other mothers have shared, but I take comfort in knowing I’m not alone. But I give so much love, and kudos, to the mothers who never shared their babies with the world. The community of loss was never as broad as it is today, the support outreach with technology is so incredible compared to what it used to be. To those who suffer in silence, you are not alone.
The word silence–after loss–brings up so many flashbacks for me.
I remember sitting in the bathroom stall at my old job, panicking in complete silence, not knowing what was happening to my body when my water broke. Being 21.5 weeks and feeling a gush, unsure of what it could’ve been at the time with it being my first pregnancy. My phone still at my desk, and not knowing what to do, I just let the hot tears roll down my face until I got up the courage to move and leave the restroom. Not wanting to call out to a stranger because I just had no idea what was happening and my anxiety was just through the roof.
I remember sitting in the ultrasound room at my OB’s office, the technician and my doctor both quietly staring at the screen for what felt like forever, studying and measuring the amount of fluid left around my sweet boy. My heart racing as we sat in the quiet, waiting for answers. Only to be followed by a referral to go to the best hospital downtown to handle these situations and being told I was going to need a lot of luck.
I remember the quiet as Teddy was brought into this world. When a mother should be smiling from ear to ear hearing their baby’s first cry, I only heard silence. The nurses cleaned him off the best they could before handing us our beautiful son, already an angel and far too beautiful for Earth.
I remember when nurses asked if they could take Teddy for memorial photos for a little while. At that point my family and I had taken turns holding Teddy, telling him how much we loved him, admiring every little feature about him. His perfect toes on his delicate feet, his beautiful hands and nose. They left the room, and we sat, in silence. There were nine of us in that hospital room, and no one spoke a word. I couldn’t tell you how long we sat there, it felt like an hour, maybe longer–I don’t believe it was that long. But it was pure silence. No one knew what to say.
There was nothing to say. The worst possible imaginable thing had just happened and it was real, it wasn’t a dream.
I remember Alex wheeling me out of the hospital, just after 4 AM, after all of our family had left. The air was so bitter, crisp and took my breath away. The world was quiet. As it was so early, Cleveland hadn’t woken up yet. We weren’t out there long, but I needed to be outside of the hospital for a second, and feel something besides numb. if only for a moment.
Pregnancy after loss in itself can be full of flashbacks.
These moments, no matter how small, you won’t ever forget. I’m thankful to have made it this far, of course. But there are just days when you cannot get the dark, the scary, the painful reminders out of your head. As much as anyone can say, “stay positive, think good thoughts,” the bad thoughts sometimes creep in. I can’t help but get stuck in my own head, wondering if we had just made it one more week with Teddy–made it to week 23–if he would be in my arms right now.
And as I sit here, I’m breaking the silence a little more. These moments make up my story. These moments of silence, are told and are written. PALS gave me a place to write, to share my journey, and my journey in pregnancy after loss is nothing without my loss.
Today, I’m thankful for the noise. I miss you, Teddy.