Being strong, starting with the death of my baby, hurried decisions of birth, undergoing surgery for the first time in my life, the emotional letdown of postpartum hormones combined with raw grief, the discomfort of my engorged breasts when milk leaked out my nipples. Deciding which doctor to see a month later, doing my research on the standard of care for second-trimester losses, identifying which tests to ask for. Feeling strong when demanding these tests, even when being told by the doctor “it’s just one miscarriage, we don’t typically do any testing”, reciting all the statistics and research I had so diligently prepared in advance to prove her wrong, me becoming angry and flustered because I deserve to know what happened and so does my baby.

baby duck - Libby's Bump Day Blog, Week 13: Tired of Being Strong

Being strong…

Spending hours on the phone with the health insurance customer service representatives who are just trying to do their jobs, explaining to them that this IS maternity care–it’s just that my baby died, explaining why these costs should be covered, why these providers are not “out of network,” breaking down and crying to the patient woman on the other side of the line, “My baby died, my baby died, please”.

Staying strong…

Staying strong while waiting months for insurance and doctor orders to line up so I could get a diagnostic 3D ultrasound to see inside my uterus, meanwhile constantly going back and forth with Andrew on whether we should just try again anyway or just keep waiting, my due date (Mother’s Day) quickly approaching and all the pregnant women around me giving birth to healthy beautiful living babies while I was walking through an extended version of hell. Receiving the results–FINALLY–four months after the fact, then hopping on PubMed and spending hours poring over every research paper I could get my hands on involving the septate uterus.

Being strong still…

Being strong still while again, more decisions, more risk analyses, more choices on what to do now, as I made the call, got a referral to a top septum surgeon in the area, had a telehealth appointment as coronavirus started raging, and hoped beyond all hope I could get this surgery soon. Waiting, waiting, waiting until elective surgeries were allowed again, even though my surgery is clearly not elective because it’s the only thing stopping future babies from dying and more medical interventions, bills, and heartaches, but the government doesn’t know all this, so I must continue to be patient until finally my surgery is scheduled for two months later.

Being strong still, because Andrew had to leave for work up north and I was all on my own for surgery and recovery, getting by with calls and flowers and meals from friends, and asking for so much help around the farm because I wasn’t supposed to lift even half the weight of a bag of feed which I usually carry one on each shoulder up and down the hill every morning. Being strong, waiting and hoping for no signs of infection, or uterine perforation, or any of the other 0.1% risk factors associated with a hysteroscopic metroplasty, and then driving four hours down to the city alone to get another ultrasound to see how it all went: staring at the ceiling, counting my breath, then the doc broke the silence and reported good results–great results, actually, and I am free to go, try again, godspeed, best of luck, stay in touch.

Continuing being strong…

I am strong all summer long as all the other dozen or so new moms around me come out of the woodworks with their darling babies, while mine is still dead and my womb is still empty, and I don’t hate them but I’m so jealous even though I love them, and I try my darndest to be compassionate and big-hearted even through the pain. I wait two more months, patiently yet again, until Andrew is home and we can try again, even though I know it won’t happen now because it seems I’m meant to keep waiting and waiting and waiting, but then my period never comes and surprise–though I feel normal I’m definitely pregnant.

I am strong…

And I am strong, even though it hurts my heart that this is when our first one was conceived, just a year ago, and why am I going through a second autumn in a row pregnant again? Holding hope, remembering my own resilience and beauty and humility and the resilience of all of humankind, really, as I venture through this journey of pregnancy again, and all the other bajillion decisions one must make in even a normal pregnancy, and trying to be strong and confident and trusting yet again.

But, I am tired…

It’s no wonder, then, why last night I collapsed into my husband’s arms crying, “I’m just so tired of being strong.”  Meanwhile, our sweet baby’s heart beats strong and fast in my growing belly, and the three of us hold each other in tears, hope, and dreams.

Share this story!