My Life-Threatening Journey of Loss

“Had we waited another hour, I likely would have bled to death internally.”

How can a person miss something she never wanted in the first place?

In my case, the something was a baby who died. I was 19 years old and an upcoming junior in college. My baby would be 18 years old this month.

I grew up in what most would consider a “good” home–unlike many of my friends, my parents were still married. We were upper middle class, and I had always made good grades. Poor self-esteem and a distant father caused me to seek attention in all the wrong places. I found it in a boy.

You know the story–boy meets girl; girl loves boy; boy leaves girl. We’ve all heard it, right?

While working through the breakup, I was at work one evening and began to have excruciating pain in my lower back and legs. I had been having lesser pain for about a month but chalked it up to the extra ab classes I was teaching at the gym. This pain was undeniable though-something was wrong. I made a doctor’s appointment, and my mother drove me.

Telling my mom I was pregnant was the second hardest thing I have ever had to do. Listening to the doctor telling my mom that the baby had no chance of survival was the hardest.

The baby had implanted in a place other than where it was supposed to, causing an ectopic pregnancy. I was rushed into surgery and was later told that, had we waited another hour, I likely would have bled to death internally, as my fallopian tube had exploded. In a surgical procedure, the baby was removed from my tube.

In a two hour time span, I had both learned of and lost a baby.

At the time, I was very relieved to not have to cope with going through an unplanned pregnancy. I felt I had dodged a bullet. I’d had a medical procedure and just had to focus on healing physically.

I told myself that for the next 16 years.

Then I met the man who is now my husband, and, for the first time in my life, the prospect of having children is more of a hope than a fear. Discussing the topic of children with him has changed my feelings toward losing my baby so many years ago.

I feel the loss now. It is fresh, as if it happened last month, rather than half of a lifetime ago.

When I was in the hospital, the day after the surgery, a social worker came to speak to me about grief. I sent her away–I didn’t need her. I wasn’t grieving; I needed pain pills, not counseling. I wish I had accepted the help then.

I am currently in counseling. Coping with the loss alone was not an option. I am beginning to understand how I could feel both relief AND loss at the same time. I am learning that it is normal to love a being the size of a raisin, whom I never saw, never held, never named. I recognize that it is ok to change my mind at 37 and to say that I DO want a child. I don’t have to protect myself anymore.

-Pam, Guest Blogger

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