It's been an interesting week. I use the word interesting when I'm not sure what other word to use. After the D&C last Wednesday, I was kind of in go mode. And slight shock. Momo had her play groups and I worked and life as usual resumed. There were moments of feeling sad or angry or whatever came up that happened in spurts-- five minute bursts of feelings when I was alone in the car driving to the market or the quiet before falling asleep where my heart felt like it was going to explode. By the weekend I felt like my feelings were getting trapped, and this is what I see often in my work as a therapist supporting people going through IF and pregnancy loss. The sad can get kind of trapped in the body because it doesn't know where to go. I help people work through this stuff all the time, and it is a pretty individual experience, but I wasn't quite sure what I needed for myself. I was up all night Saturday with chest pains. It was a tight feeling, like I was wearing a compression stocking over my heart and lungs. I couldn't take a deep breath no matter how hard I tried. I was convinced I just needed a good cry but hadn't found the time for it. Or the desire. I knew I was sad but cognitively I understand this stuff. Sometimes the heart needs a moment to catch up with the head.
So I struggled to breathe for the rest of the weekend and allowed myself to notice my process. Was it anxiety? Trapped sadness? Physical and emotional shock? Acid reflux? I knew it would pass and it did. Monday was a holiday and my parents came over to be with Momo, allowing Noah and I a little space to be with each other. I felt agitated and hormonal-- some might say angry. Then it dawned on me that duh, I'm going through the stages of grief-- again-- in a different way. I've grieved the death of loved ones and the death of embryos and what could have been in an IVF cycle, but this was my first pregnancy loss.
The shock/denial came and went. Did this really just happen? Yes. It did. Cue literal heartache and trouble breathing. Then I was agitated and angry. Just pissed off. Noah said my energy was intense when I entered a room. I kind of wished I could have gotten into a bar fight-- but probably should have gone for a run or something. We went for lunch together Monday and between being served something with cilantro on it when I specifically asked for none and a hair in my food I was livid. CAN'T ANYTHING GO MY WAY??!! It wasn't about the cilantro. Obviously. Then came Tuesday-- bargaining. I spent that day feeling really mad at myself that I didn't see my RE when I found out I was P. Why did I go to my nonchalant OB? My RE would have put me on baby aspirin and progesterone, even if I didn't need it. He would have monitored me closer. Then I would have felt like I did everything I could have. I know it likely wouldn't have mattered. I know that if I saw no heartbeat at my RE's office I would have felt like I jinxed our situation by going back to the office where I had so much bad news. Bargaining is a no win situation. It's our own attempts to renegotiate a situation thinking we could have controlled the outcome in some way. If only I.... I recognized I was doing this immediately and even though I felt so strongly that if only I had seen my RE my outcome would have been different, I knew deep down it wouldn't have been. So I let that thought come and I acknowledged how badly I wish I did have control over the situation, and then I let it go. Then I started throwing up. I started to feel sick Tuesday night. And just like I've done many times before, I barfed my feelings. I'm laughing about it right now. I'm an emotional bulimic. I tried to search past posts but don't have the time to find the other times I barfed after getting bad news (Thanksgiving 2012 or 2013?) or when I was so anxious about something...luckily it doesn't happen too often but when it does...
So I threw up all Tuesday night-- was it emotions? Noro virus? Bad food? All of the above? And yesterday I felt sad and run down. This is the stage of depression but I don't feel I need to linger here for too long, not because there is anything wrong with lingering if needed but because I feel like I don't need to. I am so lucky to have Momo and feel like being present with her can allow me to visit this lovely stage of grief for a brief moment and then move on. I'll revisit the sad every so often, whenever I need to really. That seems to make more sense to me this time, where other times of sad I felt like I need to really sink my teeth into it and stay a while. I have too much to be grateful for with her. When my parents were over she was running between all of us yelling, "Momo (but she said her actual name) Happy! Momo Happy!" How can I be sad?
So that leaves me with the last stage--acceptance. The feeling of understanding this sad experience happened and I wish it didn't but it's part of my emotional landscape and can allow me to connect and understand others and my clients in a more profound way and that's that. I don't need to make perfect sense or find silver linings. I just need to remember I'm ok, and I am. That's what I'm going to work on for the rest of the week.
I see the doctor today for my week follow up. That will be my closure. I went through these stages of grief fairly quickly but maybe past practice has increased my speed. Or maybe I'll need to touch base with some of this stuff at another time. The best thing I can do for myself, which I've already started to do, is get my team together. My group of women who have taken care of me through the years when things fall apart. My acupuncturist, my facial guru women-- I can't describe her, she rubs my face and tells me everything is going to be ok and I believe her deep in my pores, my massage lady, my chiropractor, my mom, my girlfriends-- everyone needs a team of people who huddle around you when your wounded to give you energy and love. I thank all of you here on this blog-- my cyber team of warriors-- for all your love and support.