In Loving Memory of a Blueberry

blueberry

Fair warning: this is not going to be a happy post.

I’m really not even sure how to start this. Even as I’m writing I’m not even sure I’m going to publish it. I’m just awake in my bed, desperately trying to make any sense of this weekend, and so often the only way I know how to do that is to write about it.

Part of me wonders if this is something I should be writing about at all. Maybe this is too intimate. Maybe this is the line where I need to step back and say, “You know what, some shit is just too personal and painful for others to be let in.” But then again, I’ve followed that rule for years, and in all honesty, the longer I’ve kept something a secret, the more it hurts. So maybe the “keep it private” idea is bullshit. Frankly, I have no idea what the best thing is to do right now. This entire situation is uncharted territory for me.

What I do know is I’m sad. Heartbreakingly, incomprehensibly, devastatingly sad. So I’m just going to type for a while. See where that goes.

See a couple months ago I found out I was pregnant again. We were so excited. Beyond excited, really. Our family was growing again! We told barely a few close family and friends, plus the Bali workshop attendees, because unfortunately as of February 1st of this year Bali is on the “Don’t Even Fucking Think of Traveling There” list for anyone pregnant or looking to become pregnant within the next 60 days. So I created the Catalina workshop as an alternative, Chris and I started planning for baby #2 and life was pretty damn good.

Then last Friday night…I lost the baby.

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Those dotted lines are me crying. Right now, in my bed, at 1:44 in the morning.

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Fuck.

I’ve lost family members. I’ve lost friends. I’ve lost pets. I’ve been through a lot of really sad fucking shit but this is just…

I’ve never experienced a sadness like this. I’ve never experienced an emptiness like this. I’ve never had to cope with something…like this.

Maybe I should’ve known. This entire pregnancy was going swimmingly. I didn’t feel sick. Not even the slightest bit of morning sickness or food aversions. I could eat whatever I wanted. I had energy. My last pregnancy I was incredibly depressed, but not with this one. I didn’t even feel hormonal. I felt amazing. I felt so good that when my mom asked how it was going that very morning I told her that I really didn’t even feel pregnant at all.

Then that night as I was standing in the kitchen making dinner, it was like a faucet turned on. No pain, no warning, just what the fuck oh my fucking god there is so much blood.

My mother-in-law packed Leila in the car-seat and as she rushed us to the hospital I Googled “bleeding at 8 weeks pregnant” and found plenty of cases where everything turned out fine. Plenty of people on plenty of forums have had almost the exact same thing. They were fine. The baby was fine. It would be fine. It would all be fine.

But it wasn’t, and about 4 hours, a urine sample, a blood test and 3 different ultrasounds later my doctor told me with no matter of uncertainty that I was no longer pregnant.

I bawled. I sat in that room and I cried and cried and cried and cried. I told myself maybe this was a dream. Maybe if I tried really hard I could just wake up and Chris would be next to me and there would be a dog at my feet and a cat in my hair and I’d feel my belly and there would still be our little blueberry and we’d get up and make breakfast and everything would be totally fine.

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But I was still in that hospital room.

After a minute I got dressed and left. I went to the front to checkout, where the checkout clerk happily greeted me with a, “So, what brings you in tonight?” When I answered him with, “I had a miscarriage,” He seemed a bit taken aback. Really? I’m crying at midnight in the fucking emergency room. My eyes are bloodshot and swollen shut; you ask what brought me in like I’m stopping by the fucking yacht club? How the fuck did you think this conversation would go? He then told me that I needed my checkout papers. I had to go all the way back down the hall to receive my follow-up paperwork and, as the nurse so excitedly put it, get one more set of vitals! She asked if I could just wait in that room a little longer while she got everything ready. You know, the same room with my bloody hospital gown, an ultrasound machine with photos of my silent baby and like a million tissues. I asked if I could wait in the hall instead, she said no, and I went back to that horrible room, sat down and cried some more.

She came in, took my vitals, told me I had to follow up with a phone call and a possible appointment, where she exclaimed, “Oh look! It looks like you already have one on April 18th!” When I started sobbing again she quickly realized that was supposed to be my first ultrasound appointment and replied, “Oh, right.”

In all honesty, every person I met in the ER was fucking horrible. Happy and joking and completely oblivious to what was going on. During the final ultrasound, my last possible hope that this nightmare was not happening, the same nurse sat behind the ultrasound tech, stared at the screen and commented, “This is so cool!” as he moved around that giant, transvaginal ultrasound wand inside of me and searched for the tiny heartbeat he would never find.

Typically I would’ve said something. I fucking live for confrontation but in the back of my mind I kept thinking if I was nice to them they would give me good news. If I put up with their unbelievably inappropriate jokes and their callous, happy demeanor they would tell me what I wanted to hear. I know it doesn’t make sense, but I was just that desperate.

My doctor on the other hand was amazing. His shift ended at 10:00 and he stayed until midnight to finish this ordeal with me. He was kind and honest and understanding and told me this was extremely common. He said the body is able to know if something isn’t developing right. Maybe the chromosomes weren’t matching up. Maybe it was developing with only half a heart or no lungs. Whatever the case, this baby was not going to have a happy, quality life and when the body recognizes that, it starts over. There’s nothing I could’ve done differently. He said he knows that doesn’t necessarily help what I’m feeling, but to please don’t read too much into this. This kind of thing happens, and it wasn’t my fault.

Still.

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I spent all day Saturday with Leila. Chris had to work, and usually Leila hangs out with one of her grandparents for the day but I just needed her to myself. She had naptime in the bedroom and for the first time since she was born, I slept right alongside her. I just…couldn’t be alone.

I won’t tell you the details of what happened Saturday, but let’s just say Friday was only the beginning. See here’s the thing about miscarriage: it’s a process. It takes a while. I thought the worst was on Friday…I wasn’t even close. Saturday was fucking brutal.

And it continued into Sunday, and it will continue into Monday, and probably Tuesday, and who knows how many more days or weeks.

That’s part of what makes this so hard. Once it starts there is nothing you can do, and even after you know the result, you still have to wait for your body to finish the process. I move and my stomach cramps. I go to the bathroom and there is still blood. I feel a little butterfly in my stomach that used to mean my uterus was expanding…now I know it means it’s shrinking.

It’s pretty tough to move on when you’re still right in the middle of it.

And I know it doesn’t end there. I know at every future OB-GYN appointment, at every pap smear, on every future insurance form, I have to check that fucking box that says I’ve had a miscarriage. I have to see it staring me in the face. I have to be reminded of it.

Earlier tonight I told my husband that while I am really, really good at faking a smile, between me and him (and possibly a few thousand other people, depending on whether or not I publish this), I am not doing well. This is far more difficult that I thought it would be, and I think it’s because I’m forcing my brain to think about it in a different way than my heart. My brain wants to think about it as a biological issue. As a group of cells that wasn’t developing properly; as a failed science experiment. My heart, on the other hand, is thinking of it as a death. It doesn’t matter if it wasn’t a child yet, it was a child to me. And an already very loved one at that.

We talked, and we decided to give him a name. We had no way of knowing if it would’ve been a boy or a girl so, we decided to name him “Jamie”, a name that would fit either way.

So now every time I have to check that box, it’s not that I’ll be reminded that I had a miscarriage, I’ll instead be reminded that our little Jamie existed. Maybe he only had half a heart and no lungs and was missing an arm…but hey, we’ve had a cross-eyed dog and a three-legged cat, and I’m sure as shit not normal, so I like to think he would’ve fit in perfectly with our little family.

I know this will eventually get better. I know I have my little Leila and an amazing husband that loves me very much. I know these things. But I am still sad. And that’s okay. Right now I think I just need to be sad.

Maybe I will publish this. Maybe there is someone else out there going through this same thing and just needs to be sad too. Maybe we can be sad together. And maybe it will help to know that Jamie will be remembered by more than just Chris and I.

And to you, little Jamie, you were already so, so loved, and you always will be loved. And you will count, not just as a box we have to check, but as a member of our family. You were perfect to us.

We’ll always love you, little blueberry.

Posted on: March 21, 2016, by : jennamartinphoto@gmail.com

25 thoughts on “In Loving Memory of a Blueberry

  1. I’m sorry you are going through this. It is always heartbreaking no matter how early the stage of pregnancy, I know. I had two miscarriages in the first trimester and while the pregnancy may not have seemed real to others yet, it was real to me. Mourn your loss. When I had my first MC I truly didn’t realise how common they are, and knowing that it wasn’t “me” somehow helped a bit. So I applaud you for writing this post, and helping other women know that it isn’t “them” either. It just happens through no fault of your own. Doesn’t take away the hurt and sadness, but it makes you realise you aren’t alone and it isn’t a stigma. Much love to you and your family.

  2. This is not too personal. About 25% of women will experience this. Keeping it a secret is not the answer. You are extremely strong and amazing. My miscarriage was about 14 years ago and I still cry for that little baby. My mom lost one before me and a late term miscarriage after having three healthy babies. One sister-in-law had bleeding at 6 weeks (everything was OK) but the staff was terrible. Several of my friends have experienced this. You are so not alone. This is a process. You deserve to grieve and mourn how ever you want. You should share your feelings with people you trust and who love you. I’m so sorry this happened to you, Jenna.

  3. I am so sorry to hear this, Jenna. You are so brave for sharing your life, including the really hard parts, as a journey. Losing a little life is so incredibly hard, I can’t imagine. I’m so sorry…..

  4. I welled up more than once. Takes balls to share something like this. It’s very open. Very vulnerable. Sending you huge hugs, friend.

  5. I’m very sorry Jenna to hear of your loss. I’ve had 3 miscarriages now (just pregnant with number 3 now, at last) and they were all very painful experiences. Nothing anyone says will really help, except maybe that it really WASN’T your fault. But the pain will ease with time, and further successful pregnancies, so you just have to ride it out and cry your heart out. I don’t know if you’re religious, but I comfort myself that I just have to wait until later to meet my other children. Regardless, you will find a way to reconcile with your loss, but it will take time so go easy on yourself. I wish you all the very best.

  6. I’m sorry to hear your pain and while the grief will pass the memory will not. Celebrate Jamie it’s healing to talk about your lost ones. I remember back to June 3rd, 1998 when we lost Tony who was MC’d at 10 weeks. The following year Gabi was born on June 3rd. Such a sorrow filled day replaced by such joy. Every year on her birthday I remember him and celebrate them both as they both expanded my heart that day. Blessings upon you for peace of heart. Breath deep and experience all those feelings it will be ok just in a little different way.

  7. I saw your sad posts on IG and thought I’d check your blog and see if you wrote about it — I’m glad you did. My wife miscarried at around the same time. I remember our trip to the ER and how hard the whole experience was. I think it’s perfect that you are being so real, open and honest here on your blog. I admire you for it. I also understand how “enveloped” you are in this loss and it makes complete sense that you are. I want to urge you to stay in the present with those feeling and try to let go of worries about how it will feel in the future and just be with how it feels right now — which I’m positive is more than enough.

    I don’t know you well enough to know if you might try to push yourself to go on to teach at shutterfest. Either way, please don’t hesitate to ask me if there is anything at all I can do to help, whether it’s helping communicate something to folks, deal with logistics or pitch in in any way.

    Most importantly I wish you time to heal physically and emotionally, the space to grieve this precious loss and the faith to know that the darkness will pass. Send you lots of love and compassion from rainy California.

    -Rudi

  8. Your courage astounds me, that you can talk so frankly and so soon about such a heartbreaking process. I hope those people at the emergency department learn to be a little more empathetic. Talk to Chris, that will help, not that I have been where you are right now. Best of luck in this hard time.

  9. If you do not mind, I would like to share your post on my blog. Today I was going to write about my miscarriages I had in 2012/2013. I know some will say that they have been through it and you are not alone, but I know from personal it doesn’t seem like anything helps with the process.The only thing that has helped me is not being silent. Being able to talk about it has healing effects, just like you said. I wish you the best. If you would like to read about my story, you can go to http://www.homespunhousewife.com.

  10. I know it is echoed over and over and does not bring Jaimie back, but I am sorry for your loss. I am in the medical field. I think most of us especially in emergency medicine shut down emotionally and become very calloused. If we make every case real and take on that emotion we burn out fast and often times have ptsd. It is a defense mechanism for us. You have taught me to be more aware of others around and of my actions. I truly try to be sensitive to each and every one of my patients. I am sorry they treated you like that but know that your story has made others more aware. God bless you all.

  11. Oh sweetheart, I am sooooo incredibly sorry you went through this. And I cannot even begin to imagine what does feels like, but your story did such a great job of connecting that sense of loss. Thank you so much for sharing. I will be praying for you guys to feel God wrap his arms around both of you.

  12. I don’t know if this would help, but I’ve had 2 miscarriages and have wind chimes in their memory. I find so much comfort when I hear those chimes, I say hello to my babies and let them know I have not forgotten them despite having two more babies since them. Just a thought, and I’m so so sorry, I know how absolutely awful it truly is ❤️

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