I tried to write you a letter a day in March, so on the 22nd March you would have 22 letters before your due date.
I didn’t manage to do that and felt like a bit of a failure for not managing to meet my own goal for you, but my motherhood is messy, complicated, ad libbed and by the skin of my teeth.
There are days when I worry, do I even count? Are my losses so early as to be deemed insignificant, but the point is really, that it’s irrelevant.
It matters to me, you matter to me, along with your brother, so it doesn’t matter really, in the grand scheme of things, my experiences pale into insignificance, because to me your brief life and loss was all consuming.
With Emmet it was very easy to feel validated, I had done minute amounts of nesting, made booties, bonded, had time to have my brief freak out. The pain was the worst I’d ever felt in my life, and I was surprised at that, having lived at that point for 4 years with a chronic pain condition. The pain in a way was what felt more real than anything else, even emotionally, because there was no hiding from it, I held into hope till the last moment that it was just spotting, so I never took a painkiller till the end. I was too scared to harm ‘it’ .
With you however, being only early enough to be detected in a Dr’s test and not fully on a home pee on a stick thing, it felt less real. Partly because it hurt less and was nothing more than the somewhat more severe menstrual cramps I’d had in the past, like every article online seems to tell women that’s how a Miscarriage feels.
It’s different for everyone, but in my experience those few extra weeks made it hurt physically a heck of a lot more than just a period cramp! Emmet hurt a damn sight more than a bad period. Periods don’t make you scream in agony.
I hope that isn’t TMI, for anyone reading, but at this point any dignity once possessed in regards to my giving a toss about talking about stuff like this is minimal!
I know I slipped into an extended period of dissasosiation some time between peeing on a stick for the first time and knowing that the warning signs were already there, and stepping out of the Dr’s office knowing baby number two (that was you before I though of naming you with your daddy). At first I could reason it wasn’t the same, it was ‘chemical’, different, it hurt less, it was less real, because nothing felt real.
It’s hard to explain dissasosiation, except to say that anything and everything doesn’t feel real. Not just things related to the trauma that triggered the episode, but ordinary everyday things.
It feels like you’re dreaming, but the type of dream when you’re awake enough to know you’re dreaming, but not enough to be able to consciously control the direction of the dream. Or like watching someone else live your life.
I struggled a lot more coming out of that period of dissasosiation, than I did while in it.
Facing the fact I had A, lost so much time while in the dissasosiative state, and B, had to pick up the pieces and start again after another loss; when surviving another loss seemed impossible.
Now after therapy for a few months, and personal reflection I can identify when I feel ‘dissasosiative-y’ and try to ground myself by remembering where I am, and stuff like the date and saying ‘this is real I am here’ etc over and over.
It is horrible though because I don’t always know what has happened because I doubt everything around last summer. I rely heavily on photographs, and the diary I kept to be able to know what was going on.
Keeping a diary would be my top tip for anyone who reads this and experiences dissasosiative episodes.
I often feel really bad because I can recall every day with Emmet perfectly, I know every land mark date, every photograph taken when I was pregnant, every anniversary. I remember exactly in excruciating detail every day after knowing I was losing him. I remember picking out a name, deciding Emmet felt most like a ‘he’ all of those things.
But with you Réa, I can’t remember at all. I struggle to remember the dates. I only know what I did because I wrote it in a diary. I remember patchy bits, but I don’t know how much is real memory and how much of it is my brain compensating for what it doesn’t know with an imaginary scenario. Is that what I wanted/though should have happened or is that what did happen.
I feel in a way like I lost you twice, once when I was told I was already losing you, and the second time when I came back to reality and realised that while I was in la la land my life as I knew and as I had rebuilt was crumbling away and in need of a rehaul.
I came out of last summer with a second Miscarriage under my belt, and having argued with your daddy. It was a rough patch to say the least but once you hit rock bottom the only way is up I guess.
I thought rock bottom was in the bathtub on the 22nd of October 2016,but it wasn’t, because I knew what was going on at a basic level at least.
Rock bottom was suddenly crashing back to reality, realising everything was so real it was almost painful to look at, having spent months in a muted world that never felt fully there.
Rock bottom was middle of the night texts because I was too scared and ashamed to say anything in person to your daddy that there was nothing I could do for a second time. The second time when we thought there would never be a second time.
Don’t ever think for a moment I’m not so greatfull to have had you for the tiny snatched glimpse of time we had together, I am so grateful.
I am also heartbroken to have said goodbye to you before I ever managed to say hello.
I love you baby girl, and you’re my baby girl, and your daddy’s baby girl, even if it makes no sense to anyone else. You’re ours and we’re yours, always.
Fly high little Star,