Sunday, March 1, 2015

Peanut

Trigger warning: miscarriage.

Seven years ago in January, I took a pregnancy test, and it was finally positive. Not that we had to try for long, but I'd already done a few tests, early, and then again on the day my period was due. All negative. When it was four days overdue I tried again, and there were finally two lines!

I didn't want to be a pessimist, and didn't think anything would go wrong, so we told Magoo he was going to be a big brother. We told everybody. We were so happy. I loved seeing then two-year-old Magoo's excitement. We called the baby "Peanut."

A few weeks later, we found out that we had lost him.  I miscarried on March 1st.  Though I was nine weeks pregnant, on the ultrasound at the emergency room, Peanut was the size of an embryo at seven weeks and five days, and did not have a heartbeat.

He had a due date of September 30, but for me, that day in January was, in a way, his birthday. The day he came into our awareness. In the years that followed, I wanted the 26th to be a nice day, to be a day to think of Peanut, whom I named Oliver Peter after we lost him.  I wanted to think of him on that day with more celebration than grief, to remember what it was like to tell Magoo that he had a brother the size of the sesame seed that I showed him.  He made us very happy for the short time that he was with us.

But each year, January 26th is just sad.  March 1st is sadder.  And though time has softened the pain on those anniversaries more than I thought it could, 
I still think of him everyday. I miss him.  I wonder who he might have been. 

One of the hardest parts about missing him is feeling like I can't really wish things were different.  I got pregnant with Sweet Pea a few months after my miscarriage.  Who would Sweet Pea be if Ollie had been born?  
We always kind of thought we'd maybe have three children.  Would we have Bellybean now?  These are not thoughts worth thinking. They twist my heart and brain and stomach.

My greatest comfort since we lost Ollie is to think that since my mother is already gone, she met my baby in heaven and is raising him. He will always know that she loves him, and that we do, as well.

This has been mostly been a breastfeeding advocacy blog.  Someday maybe I'll write about my fear that nursing Magoo was causing my uterus to contract, was maybe causing the bleeding that I hoped was not a miscarriage.  Losing our baby had nothing to do with breastfeeding, though. 

I became a blogger by chance, to connect with people about needing support to change policy at AISD, and then to encourage involvement in breastfeeding legislation.  But I've come to like blogging, and in my mind, at least, this blog is evolving.  I don't know if there's an audience for my weight problem or my homeschooling or anything non-boob that I've considered sharing. 

But I know there are moms reading this - which means there are surely (too many) women reading who can relate.  Because pregnancy loss is so much more common than you can imagine before you experience it.  I wouldn't say there's a taboo against talking about it.  But we definitely stay pretty quiet on the subject.  We even keep the first trimester a secret, just in case.  


While it is awful to tell people you've miscarried, I'm so thankful I had already told the world we were pregnant, because I would have withdrawn if I'd kept it a secret.  That would have been worse for me, because I really needed support.

I was shocked at how many women I knew who reached out to me to say that they, too, had lost a pregnancy.  Women I'd hung out with, but I had no idea they'd had such a devastating experience.  It helped me, to know I wasn't alone.  To know that like them, I would one day function again, without the terrible weight of my grief always pulling at me.


I think about Peanut everyday, but I don't much dwell on being sad anymore.  And I'm sharing this now not because I will dwell in sadness now - though I am sad as I write - but because I guess I think that maybe we should talk about it a little more.  To help others who have a loss to know that
 they can reach out for support, and we'll understand.  To help them know that they are not alone.  


The memory box I keep with a few things from while I carried Peanut.

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