A few things up front: This blog isn’t meant to be anything deeply insightful or fancy; this blog is about grief and my journey through it.
If you’re reading this because you’re a kind and lovely irl friend, thanks. If you’re reading this because at 2:30 in the morning you googled “how to survive grief”, oh, honey, I’m so sorry. I hope somehow to help myself, and maybe you, through writing all this down. If you find any comfort at all here, I hope you allow yourself to take it.
As I write this, I am nearly two years into my grief journey. In October of 2018, my husband and I were thrilled to be expecting our first baby, a girl named Faith Elisa. I was in school, my husband had a great job, and we had moved home to our little fixer-upper house after serving overseas in the Air Force for 6+ years. Life was so ON TRACK. Every cylinder seemed to firing. Life was so good, and we were so happy.
October 22, 2018, changed all that. I went into premature labor with Faith, at 17 weeks and 5 days, and she passed away shortly after birth.
It’s still so, so hard to write those words. How could she just be gone? How CAN she just be gone? Still? She’s still gone, and it still kills me. There are so many ways I can blame myself for losing her, and I have to choose not to. Some days I’m better at not blaming myself than others. It’s a battle, and if you’ve lost someone you might know how it feels. And boy, it’s an easy battle to lose.
If you’ve lost a baby, you don’t need me to tell you about the shock and disbelief, or how embarrassed you were to face people who knew you were pregnant, or how maybe you looked your beautiful, suffering husband in the face and apologized to him, or how the nurses in your delivery room hid their tears for you while the doctors gathered around, or how labor, even for a baby who won’t live, hurts like hell. If you’ve never lost a baby, you won’t understand no matter what I say, and I’m so incredibly happy for you, seriously. I wouldn’t wish this pain on anyone.
We named Faith for my grandma, who passed away shortly before I found out I was pregnant; it was only fitting, with the kind permission of my mom and aunts, that Faith’s urn would be buried in my grandma’s grave.
The doctors really didn’t know what had happened. My midwife said sometimes premature birth just DOES happen. There’s a lot that’s unknown about pregnancy, still, to this day. Still, there was no reason to think it would happen again, just a horrible, awful fluke.
If you’re thinking, at this point, wow, this is a lot–yep, it is. I’m working hard to get through this without breaking down and quitting [everything] for the day.
Like a hellish Billy Mays, wait, there’s more! [Sorry, but some humor is in self-defense.]
I really wanted to try again for a baby and leave all the sadness behind us, so I went to the doctor and successfully conceived again in January of 2019. I quit school after we lost Faith and got a new job, as a morning DJ at a local radio station. [If you’ve ever hankered to wake up VERY early in the morning, boy do I have a career for you!]
We were excited to have a boy, and we named him Elijah Miles. Elijah means “my God is Yahweh” and Miles means “merciful”, and we wanted to thank our merciful God for a new child.
May 20th, 2019, I went into premature labor with Elijah at 17 weeks, 3 days. It was the same horrible, horrible experience all over again. Elijah lived about an hour after birth, and since I had an epidural I was much more present for his little time on earth, instead of high on pain meds like with Faith. [Not being completely present for her is something else I could reproach myself for, and have to try not to.]
What is there to say with the second loss in 7 months? The hospital chaplain was very quiet when he realized that he’d just seen us the previous October.
I wanted to die so, so bad.
The doctor we went to after we lost Elijah kept saying “unfortunate outcome” instead of “your second crushing loss” because a) he’s a medical professional and b) I was one too-sympathetic look away from completely losing my composure in his office.
Have you ever heard a completely silent house? Like somehow everything has stopped, and even the fridge has never run so unobtrusively. It’s a hard, hard, empty feeling.
We buried Elijah with Faith and my grandma. To this day, not many people know about him; we kept quiet about my second pregnancy because of what happened with Faith. Sharing him posthumously with the world was far too much to bear, and sometimes still is.
I quit my job at the radio station. I tried to hang in there, but I wasn’t sleeping and trying to talk on the air when you’re basically delirious from sleep deprivation is a great way to get an FCC violation, or fired, or both.
My husband had to quit his construction job because of injuries he got in the Air Force.
In around 7 months, we went from really, seriously happy to completely destroyed.
Our babies were gone, our finances had taken a hit from two hospital stays, we were both unemployed, and our babies were gone. OUR BABIES WERE GONE. Our babies ARE gone. Faith and Elijah, the babies I’ve always dreamed of having, are still gone.
Okay, I think that’s enough for today. I know this intro is hard; if you’re still here, bless you. If you had to skim, or just stop, that’s completely fine. I know how hard it is to read about other people’s problems when your grief is screaming in your ears. I promise not every entry in this blog will be so awful, but I want to get the bare facts of my losses out first thing. Like I said in the beginning, this blog is going to have deeply un-fun parts, but that’s okay. Grief is the hardest thing in the world, and if you’re going through it, there are going to be deeply un-fun parts of your journey. There’s so much more to you than the un-fun parts. Give yourself permission to be not okay.
Take care of yourself, be kind to yourself. Take heart, dear one. You’re not alone.