A couple of months ago, a picture of the “real side of postpartum” went viral. It was a picture taken by a dad, of the backside of his wife wearing postpartum mesh underwear. Yes, that is a very real side of postpartum fourth trimester life. But that is also a very real side of life after a loss. I’m certainly not the first person to go through this, and not the first to speak about it. And many would consider this to be a huge and inappropriate over share, but this is a side that’s never seen, rarely talked about, and is very raw and very difficult.
My throat is sore from the breathing tube. I lost a lot more blood than expected during the D&C and required medical intervention to stop it. Everything is still woozy, two days later, and Percocet is barely touching the physical pain. The doctor’s initials indicating the area of operation are still marked on my belly in permanent marker, a persistent reminder of everything that just happened. I can’t keep my eyes open because I’m so tired but can’t close my eyes because all I see is the ultrasound screen. Dark. Still. Quiet. Should we have looked again? Looked harder? Checked just one more time? No. Should I have tried…? No. Could we have done…? No. What if I hadn’t…? No. There’s nothing that could have, should have, or would have been done to keep this from happening. It’s no one and nothing’s fault. Just science and nature, preservation and survival. What our incredible bodies are designed to do.
The rational side of me knows this was never a healthy pregnancy, and this is for the best- better now than later. But the emotional side of me is trying to discern why? What was and is the point? Why did we have to read this chapter? Why go through all of this? 11 weeks pregnant, six weeks of pure hell, constant and relentless nausea, throwing up, blacking out, 14 pounds lost (10% of my body weight), multiple blown veins, four days in the hospital, who knows how many liters of fluids given, countless milligrams of meds consumed, long appointments every fourth day and so many hours of life and opportunities with my family, missed, because I couldn’t be there with or for them.
Now for seemingly no reason at all. No reward, no payoff, no sweet squishy baby on the other side. Instead just bruises, blood, an empty uterus and these damned mesh underwear. There’s no “right” way to process a loss. It’s complicated and messy. Selfishly, I feel a small sense of relief; there will be freedom from the sickness that has consumed and ravaged my body. And that’s okay. It’s okay to acknowledge me and my complete self. But that doesn’t minimize the reality of the emotional shock and the loss of what was supposed to be. I have no closure. I won’t have closure. It’s over without warning. 11 weeks in, almost in the “clear,” and it’s done.
Each new day will bring healing and clarity, I know this. I know that there is a reason for all of this that will become evident with time. But I also know it’s okay to feel and process, be real, grieve and not have those answers right now.
Submitted by Joanna B.