Loss and Grief

We’re now 10 weeks post D&C (3 days post the second D&C).  For the most part, I am doing fine.  Emotionally, I’ve put the pregnancy loss behind me and I’m able to function at work and at home without thinking too much about it.  I don’t have random bouts of tears like I did in the first week or two after my miscarriage.  I’m hopeful and optimistic that my second D&C on Monday worked and that we’ll start to see my HCG levels drop closer and closer to 0.  I’ll be so excited when I hear that I’ve gotten to 5 or below and we can start crossing off the days on our calendar while we wait 3 months before we’re cleared to try again.  Of course the bleeding right now is a constant reminder, and there are things that come up that remind me about everything and make me sad, but for the most part I’m fine.

Even though I am (and have always been) very pro-choice, and I don’t think that life begins at conception, I do not feel comfortable saying that what we lost was just a ball of cells.  (In Judaism, life begins at birth.  In some cultures, life begins at “quickening.”  I don’t have a strong opinion about when exactly life begins.  But I do not think that what we lost was truly a life.  It was the potential for life, but it was not itself a life.)  There’s a saying that a mother becomes a mother the day she gets pregnant, and I truly feel that the day I found out I was pregnant this time around, I became the mother to two.  Obviously not to two babies since one was never to become a baby, but to two somethings: two ideas? Two hopes? Two wishes? I don’t know…

When I was pregnant with Julia we marked each week that passed.  I was 16 weeks pregnant, then 17, then 18… we read up about what her little body was doing each week–developing eyebrows, sucking on her thumb, growing 2 inches in length, etc. and we celebrated as we got closer and closer to viability and then closer and closer to full term.  This time around we can’t do that, but every now and then I can’t help but count… if I had the D&C at 8 weeks, and I’m now 10 weeks post D&C, I would be 18 weeks pregnant this week.  We would be almost half way there.  I don’t have much attachment to the weekly progression that we don’t get to see but the one date that does stand out in my mind is July 28th, the day that would have been my due date.

I fully understand that due dates don’t mean much of anything.  Take Julia, for example: her due date was October 23rd but she was born on the 8th.  I was born a week past my mom’s due date.  But still… July 28th would have been an important date.  As we approach that date I can’t help but wonder what, if anything, I should do to somehow mark it, commemorate it, remember it in some way.  I have no doubt that as the years go on, that date will lose meaning but this year I think I want to do something to mark that date.  I just read a beautiful article this morning, available here:

http://www.kveller.com/this-is-how-im-breaking-my-silence-about-my-pregnancy-loss/

In it, the author talks about lighting a Yahrzeit candle, a traditional candle that’s lit in Jewish families on the anniversary of someone’s death.  She lit the candle on the anniversary of the day she miscarried but somehow I feel that it may feel more appropriate for me to light one on what would have been my due date.  This year we’ll be in Disneyworld on July 28th, but I may pack a candle in my suitcase to light on that day as my own way of acknowledging the day.

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