This started as a pregnancy blog when I fell pregnant in May 2009 after four years of finding a donor, doing all the counselling / paperwork / tests and trying.
And now, thanks to a 4WD which skidded onto our side of the road, killing our baby daughter at 34w and injuring me, my partner and two of my stepdaughters on 27 December 2009, it has turned into something else. We didn't want this something else, but apparently it is all we've got to go on with.
(detail from Frida Kahlo, Henry Ford Hospital, image from here)
Thank you so much darling ones. For the hugs and the donkeys balls and the love and light and thoughts, stories, your own tears - all of it. I'm so sad that so many of you know what this pain feels like (and that some are experiencing very similar losses at the moment too). It makes such a difference to know that others are cussing this loss for us too. I had no idea how many women have been through similar experiences - thank you for sharing your stories here - particularly what choices you made in similar circumstances.
Our doctor hadn't given us the medical (ie, non-surgical) option - the drug involved, RU486, was banned in Australia for nearly a decade thanks to a deal between a fundamentalist senator and the previous conservative government (well, it was listed as a legal drug, but the Health Minister - a conservative, anti-choice catholic - was given a power of veto to prevent it being used). Then, in 2005, a cross party group of women parliamentarians worked to lift the veto. But all of this was very far from my brain when we had our scan last tuesday morning and were sitting shell-shocked in our doctor's office.
I had thought, very pragmatically, that I could teach my seminars as planned on the Wednesday and Thursday, and then go in for the surgical procedure on Friday. But the anger wasn't going anywhere. I didn't feel safe to drive, so I walked and caught the tram to work, hoping that none of my students would see me sobbing. Finally, I spoke to my boss, let her know the diagnosis, and that I wasn't realistically going to be able to teach that day or the next. I haven't ever felt so violently angry as on that Wednesday morning - I'm just glad I got home again without seriously hurting anyone or myself.
Part of that white hot anger I think was with myself - for thinking that I could just timetable my grief around my work responsibilities. But the whitest white-hot anger focused on the planned procedure on Friday - I had handed my body over to the IVF people so many times already - I didn't want that again, not for something my body could most likely do on its own. I called our IVF clinic to ask about the medical option, and finally after a few hours, heard back from our IVF doctor - yes, it probably was possible, but you needed to be specially registered in order to prescribe it, and he wasn't. He gave me the name of a private provider, and I drove nearly an hour to get to an appointment on Thursday, but after discussion with the doctor there about wanting to be 100% sure this pregnancy was not viable, decided to wait and have a further scan before doing anything else.
All of which led to me and El Prima leaving the house in the morning dark of a tuesday morning - just like the week before when we'd been on the way to our scan, but this time with a tired sadness rather than the excitement of 'we might see a heart beat today'. The scan showed the same little empty sac - I was readier for it this time, and in a way it was relief - I wouldn't have to wonder if there might have been a chance. I opted to go to the public women's hospital, rather than with the costly private provider, and the Womens' protocol for "medical management" involved a day admission. While I could have done without some of the prodding (why put in an IV canula 'just in case'? Painful and unnecessary!) I very much appreciated the pethidine, and the nurses were universally kind and compassionate. This is the hospital adjoining the general hospital where I was taken after the accident, and where Z was born, with the assistance of obstetricians and midwifes from the womens, so I feel that at least this PLB has another connection with his/her sister.
I see now why Frida Kahlo included a snail in her painting, "Henry Ford Hospital" about her 1932 miscarriage to represent the slowness of the pain. For me, it took a while to allow myself the slowness - to realise that this loss can't just be skipped over so I can move onto the next thing. It meant so much for me to be pregnant - how could I expect it to mean nothing to lose this pregnancy, even if it were only very early in the piece? I knew all along that this was a very tentative, border-line pregnancy, but in a way that only made it more precious. Last night, El Prima took the girls and me out for an impromptu family dinner. For the first time since our bad news, we really laughed. I wish we had more family dinners to look forward to with the PLB, but I'm glad we had this one while we could.
I feel hopelessly sappy to be mourning for this tiny sac which never even grew the beginnings of a neural tube, but I'm learning not to expect these things to work logically. A little pink crepe-myrtle tree is waiting on our porch to be planted near Z's pomegranate tree.
El Prima - my *ex* partner & aaineh number one. Yep, she's a lady. And so am I. Scandalous. Even better, she's Lebanese - and not just in a euphemistic way.
"the girls" - El Prima's two teenage daughters, Snacky & Snazzy, who live with us, and put up with my poor attempts at stepmama-ing. Her eldest daughter is 20 and living in another city. Snacky moved up to Sydney to study in Feb 2012 after finishing high school. Snazzy still lives with us (or at the house, with El Prima) and visits me and Ali where we are staying with friends,
Z - (aka Haloumi or khallila) our baby daughter, who died from placental abruption at 34w in the car accident on 27 December 2009.
Ali - long awaited little brother to the girls and to Z, born in May 2012
*edited on 13 July to add*
[where did my ticker go? It broke - I guess pregnancy tickers don't magically transform into "x days since our baby would hypothetically have been born, had she not died 6 weeks before" tickers. And I'm not sure I need a little program to tell me anyway.]
*edited on 11 Jan 2010 to add*
I think the reason why I'm leaving this ticker up here is because it is important to my mourning right now. We've had a funeral for our beautiful little girl, but in accordance with El Prima's faith (and my wishes) we will have a further, more public, ceremony around 40 days after she died. In some kind of wierd coincidence, 40 days was almost exactly how many days were left until her due date at the time she died. (I think that counts as irony of the saddest kind)
So while the significance has changed so radically, we are still counting down to something, even if it is not what we expected.
The fine print
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