[While I’m on creative sabbatical through the end of the year, I’m pulling some of the most popular posts from the archives and sharing them again. With October being a month to honor and bring awareness to pregnancy and infant loss, I’ve chosen some of the writing from the first year after Benjamin’s stillbirth. These posts bring tears to my eyes, because of course, three years later, I’ve forgotten what those early days were like. This is why I blogged through my grief – I wanted to capture the moments that vanish into the fog of memory. I wanted to always remember how devastating it was to lose my son. (Note: These posts are very raw)]
Benjamin died a month ago today. I am not ready to be bleeding again, but I am.
Last night as I was getting ready for bed, I found myself staring at another toilet bowl full of blood. My post-partum bleeding stopped just over a week ago. I didn’t know if it was too early for me to get my period. I didn’t know what was happening. My body trembling, images of those other nights flashing through my mind, I once again called my doctor’s exchange.
I explained my situation, asking her to excuse my tears. The operator put me through to Labor and Delivery at the hospital. I wondered if I’d get Sally, the Irish nurse who was there my second and third visits. The one who told me the IV was the size they would need for a blood transfusion and had me sign the papers for the emergency surgery, just in case. Another nurse answered, I explained my situation again. I’m sorry, let me get the doctor. I waited, trying to hold back the sobs.
The doctor came to the phone. It was the same one who saw me the night before I lost Benjamin. I really liked her. She was calm, reassuring. She gave me hope. I don’t know if you’ll remember me, I was in a month ago with heavy bleeding at 23 weeks. She remembered. Yes, you were Dr. C’s patient and he did the surgery. I’m so sorry. She must have asked about me. She was gone by the time I was wheeled into the operating room. Maybe she saw the flowers I sent.
I explained what was happening, asking if I needed to be concerned. She said no, they don’t call it a period until after 6 weeks because the hormones aren’t regulated until then but the bleeding wasn’t abnormal and could last four or five days. She shared the danger signs and reassured me that if I’d reopened my incision, I’d be in too much pain to move. I thanked her, hung up the phone and lost it.
I cried until I gagged, stopped, cried again and again and again. Images of my bleeding, the fear, the trips to the hospital, the letting go, the nurses, the doctors, the operating room, the news that he was gone, stillborn, no signs of life – all of it a disjointed movie in my mind’s eye. Steve held me as I sobbed that I missed him, missed Benjamin. I would have given anything to feel his little weight on my chest again, to see my son and trace the lines of his tiny limbs lightly with my finger, careful not to pull his paper thin skin. I cried until I couldn’t cry anymore. Then I went to bed and lay awake, waiting to see what the bleeding would do. Finally at 3am I took some ibuprofen to dull the cramps and fell asleep.
I am not ready to be bleeding again. I wanted some time for my body and my soul to stitch themselves back together before another toll was exacted. I am exhausted from grief and the sight of bright red, the feel of it. I keep having to remind myself there is no baby to be lost and that I will be fine.
Living life after Benjamin is by far the hardest thing I have ever done.
I miss you my son. I love you, always.