Monday, October 5, 2015

Small Tragedies

Here's something I don't often admit.

Not all of the grief is about Liam.

I miss him to pieces. His absence is my deepest scar. Everything I am now is influenced by who he is. For months I thought the quotes about carrying your baby in your heart were just a cliché, until I realized how much Liam had become a part of who I am, and that means I am carrying him with me.

And for that reason, most of the time I'm okay. I still break down every once in a while, but mostly, I'm okay. I miss him, but he's safe, and he exists, and he's mine, and those are all good things, so I can be okay as long as I know that. That doesn't mean I'll forget about him and move on. I never could and I never will forget him, and I would never move anywhere without taking him with me. But I move on, as I carry him with me, and I'm okay.

The freshest grief comes from a series of smaller tragedies. Questions with even more unknowns than what happened to Liam when he died. How do you process the loss of a pregnancy that you only knew about for four days when you're still grieving the baby you held two months before? What is the purpose of a pregnancy in which there may never have been a baby? How do I balance the relief of finding answers with the fear of knowing those answers mean I'm ill?

I updated this blog when I lost my second pregnancy at only 4 weeks gestation, not knowing whether that pregnancy was a baby or not. A month ago we were faced with the same questions when we lost our third pregnancy. This pregnancy never showed evidence of a baby--just an empty sack. I chose not to make an update after that loss because I was tired of sharing bad news, because I was afraid saying that I didn't think there was a baby this time would invalidate Liam's life, and because that loss was drawn out over several weeks and by the time the loss was finally confirmed, I had dealt with most of the shock already. But my feelings of shock resurfaced this weekend when I received the results of a lab test for a genetic disorder related to repeated pregnancy loss.

It took a while to decode the results. I only had the data. No doctor had called to explain. After checking and re-checking, I discovered I was positive. At first I was relieved. This gave us an answer for all our heartache. And if we knew what was wrong we could fix it. But after hours of googling about treatments I found that not all of the information agreed, and although there was the possibility of a relatively simple treatment, an alternative possibility suddenly became very clear: that this wasn't a complete answer. That we may still not know. That there was no way of knowing that everything would be alright unless I was tested for every condition known to man, and even still we wouldn't know that all would be alright.

I just couldn't know whether the next pregnancy would make it, or if we'd just be walking into loss yet again. I would never know until it was over, and even then, I still wouldn't know that newborn baby wouldn't be taken away from me. I just can't know whether I'll ever raise children in this life.

I struggle with planning my future. I am constantly trying to plan for multiple versions of the future. The future where we surprisingly get pregnant right away with no complications. The future where our more lax approach to trying to conceive results in months before conceiving again. The future where I have three more subsequent first trimester losses. The future where we discover we will need expensive fertility treatments to carry a baby to term. The future where we decide to pursue adoption. The future where we exhaust all our options and decide to live out the rest of our lives, childless.

I am seeing a therapist now, and we often discuss what I would like to focus on until I have living children, or if I don't have living children. I'm good at coming up with half-hearted hobbies, but I can't imagine anything ever replacing that desire. We discuss advancing my career, but I'm apathetic. We discuss changing career paths, but I'm indecisive. We discuss going back to school, but I am unmotivated. What do you do with your time when what was meant to be the culminating moment of your life is taken away?

I love Liam. I always will. I will continue to grieve him for the rest of my life and to mother him forever. Those feelings are still deep and raw and real. But they are healing.

But that's not my only grief.