It is, and in some ways may always be, one of those things that we never talk about. There is always a sense of stigma attached to it. We are often left with an overwhelming sense of loneliness that cannot be filled; we don’t realize that we can and should talk about it.
Many of us, and more of us than we often realize, have suffered the traumatic loss of a baby. It is very sad that, as women, we not only have to go through the tremendous loss itself physically and emotionally, but we get left alone to deal with the emotions afterwards and we can be horrifically labeled for something we had absolutely no control over. In an effort to protect ourselves, we then have a tendency to shut down, disconnect from the loss and become numb to it. We don’t talk about it.
I lost 4 precious angels through Ectopic/Tubal Pregnancy. The first one completely blindsided me; I had no idea that I was pregnant. I was, again, having serious abdominal pain that led me to the doctor after work one night. A test confirmed I was pregnant, but, with no explanation at hand for the rest of my symptoms I was sent home for the evening to return for further testing. The next day became a whirlwind; gynecologists, rushing to the hospital, pain medications and of course the news; I would lose this baby. I was utterly devastated and felt truly alone. No one around me had experienced or could even imagine what I was going through. I was very young, in a new relationship and the only words of “comfort” I received were, “Well at least they got rid of it” from the mother of my boyfriend. With the next 2 Ectopic’s, I was ready. When the pain started, I KNEW what was happening. I would spend a few days in denial, not wanting to go through the experience again. I talked to the babies, I pleaded with them and I apologized for not being able to keep them. Other than that, I was almost numb. I had more people around me when I went through the 2nd and 3rd losses, but I was keeping myself guarded. None of the people that I was surrounded by KNEW what I was feeling inside. The last Ectopic that I had was in some ways the worst to go through. My husband and I had talked about wanting to have a child together. It was something I had wanted so BADLY to happen in my life, though I had resigned myself in many ways to believing I wouldn’t be able to. This time the tornado that swept me away was much more violent. I was in my state of denial again; the feelings were all too familiar. I was at work when I began to shake, feel dizzy, turn white and of course was in severe abdominal pain. The girls finally convinced me to at least call the Health Link to speak with a nurse who insisted I be taken to the hospital immediately. By the time my husband arrived and the news was given, I was higher than a kite on morphine for the pain. This was when they decided to also insist on removing both of my tubes to prevent this from happening again. I wanted to refuse so badly, and at first I did. The pressure and the relaxing/sleepy effects of the drugs allowed me to concede. When I woke up from surgery, I no longer had a baby or the parts required for my body to conceive another. I felt more empty than I ever had before. This time, even though I had many supportive and loving people around me, I was an emotional mess. I was finally grieving for my first three angels as well as the fourth. I was grieving the loss of pieces of my body. This time I was also bothered by the fact that NOT ONCE when I went through this process was I offered any type of guidance or support while in the hospital. Aside from nurses comments, “Wow, this is your 4th, you’re so young…”, no one even came close to saying “This is an extremely difficult thing to go through, I am so sorry. Here are some groups/numbers etc. that can help you deal with what you must be feeling.” I felt that I NEEDED that, so I looked on-line and found a few chat places, message boards, nurses etc. that were specifically for dealing with the emotions and aftermath of an Ectopic Pregnancy. It was something I really had to do for myself, I couldn’t bury the feelings and devastation any more. I had to learn to cope, grieve and try to move forward.
The amazing sense of peace that I found in actually letting it out is something that is hard to find words to fully express. Talking to someone, in person, professionally, in an on-line chat/message board, a group etc. can give the comfort that we desperately search for. I know I thought that I would and could accept, mourn and move forward, but I realized that I couldn’t do it on my own. When I realized that there are so many other wonderful women that have gone through what I had, that have walked the same step, I felt a warm sense of comfort and belonging come over me. While I could never say that I have “gotten over it”, I have come to a better sense of terms with it. It is sometimes easy to become overcome with emotions about it still, but I can accept it a little more. And it always helps to remember that I am NOT ALONE.
I have shared these few details with only a small number of people in my life. Most people know the facts, it happened, it happened 4 times, but I haven’t shared the feelings with many. I think it may even be the first time that I wrote it out like this. It is soothing to write these words. I hope that at least one of you who reads this can identify even a little, and maybe feel just a little less alone in your pain and grief.