Jen's Blog

Lightning strikes a symbol cloud. Suddenly everything we've ever known as truth falls to the ground. It seeps in and slowly begins to regenerate fresh ideas. Such things has only the immortal Redwood seen time after time after time after time after time after time -Jen Meharg '06

Monday, October 28, 2013

Re-Discovering Normal

I still cry a lot, but I'm feeling, which is important. When my mind starts to ping and endlessly run images of my daughter, alive but dying in my arms, I do my best to focus on my breath. I want to give grief it's opportunity to do... whatever it's supposed to do... and to respect this process, that we will all most certainly know. I'm functioning.

I'm functioning...that's what I tell myself now that I'm back to my normal schedule and driving the same routes I drove before, during, and now, after I was pregnant. I've always scheduled in time to grab something for lunch at a particular Martin's or Jason's Deli in between class and clients, so it was a bit of a shock to have such a visceral and emotional reaction to the physical act of going from my studio to the home of a client. I started to get nervous thinking of how I'd explain how got from being healthy and 5 months pregnant to...well... now, doing my best not to feel empty. When my clients, who are all incredibly warm and supportive, express their sympathy I cry. Today I cried less than I had been.

I'm trying to accept that my normal is now just a little altered. Like a spoon in a glass of water, I am refracted. I'm back to work, but I'm struggling to focus just a little bit more. I'm back to working out, but after 2 months of limited exercise and 8 days of bed rest, I'm just trying trying to get my strength back. Still me...just a little different.

We don't live in a world where grief is talked about openly. It's hard for someone who has never experienced such an intimate loss to understand just how much work goes into trying to get your life back. Your refracted life. Your new normal.

From a young age I felt that the bereaved, my family included, sort of disappeared. The world went on as we did our best to pick up the pieces. My father died suddenly when I was 8. The pain never seemed to go away. Kids my age would so carelessly play as I choked back tears and tried not to seem too different, but I was refracted. People can sense that. I wanted to hide.

I feel that way again, but now I'm talking about it, letting myself cry, taking care of myself and, sharing my experience, maybe not all the time, but when I feel like I can. This makes the process of grieving much easier to bear.

Losing a pregnancy is not something I'd wish for anyone, but I am thankful for the time I had with Isabella. She made me a mom, and she gave me this gift of my new normal.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

My experience with Cervical Insufficiency

On Friday, October 11th, 2013 we lost our daughter at 21w2d.

Exactly a week before I was experiencing some mucosy discarge and an overwhelming feeling of unease. I canceled my appointments for the day and my husband drove me to my OBGYN. 

We had just had our 20 week fetal scan 2 days before, so when my doctor walked in the room, she was easy going and confident that I was just experiencing a UTI...until she did a pelvic exam...

I'll never forget what she said; 'I don't like what I'm seeing. You're cervix is open and you membranes are coming out.'

An ultrasound confirmed this to be true. I was dialated 1.7 centimeters. There was an 8 centemeter bulging sack of fluid in the vaginal canal and only 3 centemeters of fluid for the baby. I was immedeately admitted to the hospital and put into trendellenberg position in hopes that the bulging sack would go back from which it came and a rescue cerclage could be preformed.

Another ultrasound was scheduled for Monday. It showed no change. They checked again on Wednesday, this time there was cord in the bulging sack. An amnio test confirmed the presence of amniotic fluid... I was no longer a candidate for cerclage.

I cried a lot that day.

My doctor assured me that some women can maintain bed rest and t-berg position until viability, so long as there's no presence of infection. My mind was set. I'd wait it out. Her heartbeat was always strong, she could make it.

Friday morning my doctor checked in. She asked how I was. I responded 'Still pregnant.'
It was about 7:30pm. My husband, who never left my side, had just finished preparing our dinner. I asked him to move the food tray away and get the bed pan because I felt like I had to have a bowel movement. I had a productive one and the pressure in my abdomen stopped. We ate dinner.

Shortly after we finished eating I felt like I had to go again. I asked for the bed pan. After a few unproductive minutes I called the nurse because something just didnt feel right. When the nuse came in she was relaxed and said that she thought that the pressure I was feeling was bowel related...and that's when I felt something in my vaginal canal. 

I asked the nurse to check to see what it was. She looked and then rushed out of the room saying that she needed to get another nurse to check. That's when I knew that we were going to lose our little girl.
I was taken to L&D. The nurse said that I was delivering everything, placenta, baby, water bag. I pushed twice and it was over.

The nurse had to open the water sack to get the baby out. She wasn't going to live, her lungs weren't developed.
My husband cut the cord and the nurse put our daughter on my chest. We marvelled at her perfection and cried that her strong heart would soon stop beating. We held her for about an hour. We told her how much we loved her. Soon she was gone.

The two days after we lost her I was holding it together pretty well, I even commented in my journal that 'today I almost feel normal.' I didn't feel that way for long. The realization that I wouldn't feel her moving in my belly anymore set in and I was immediately lost and angry, my mind racing with anxiety.

I wasn't pregnant anymore. Our daughter had died. I lost her. She was so strong but my body failed her. I'm 41, will I ever be able to carry a healthy baby to term? I'm so f'ing pissed! I don't want to wait to get pregnant again but I'm terrified to get pregnant again. My doctor said that I'd have to have a cerclage next time, I'm terrified, but I want to have a baby so bad.

It's Sunday, a week and 2 days since we lost her. I didn't cry this morning when I woke up. Today and yesterday I was able to get through half the day before I broke down, I think I'm doing better. I still can't talk about it though. 

We're having her cremated. We have a meeting with the funeral director tomorrow...I cancelled the rest of my day.

Holding other people's babies is comforting. Their baby smell is soothing. I worry though that my friends who have babies don't want me to see them for fear that their presence will make me sad. I appreciate their concern, the opposite, however, is true.

Thank you for taking your time to read my scattered thoughts. I'd appreciate it if anyone who reads this, who's had a loss from CI, could respond. 


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

365, Day 20.
The Creation of Adam...or The Recycling of Adam.
Michaelangelo meant to do it this way.
Then Recycled Adam had dominion over the glue bottles, empty coffee bags and heath bars, and it was good.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

365, day 19; Perspective.
While I was walking home today I heard a couple screaming at each other from within their house. It reminded me how bad it feels to be so angry that all you can do is scream and say things to hurt the person you love.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

365, Day 18.

This one speaks for itself.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

365, Day 17
Hand Painted

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

365, Day 16.
Bird Blue.