Loss and Life

Madonna and Child

Original Art work by Sharri69
Original Art work by Sharri69

Life, as a friend of mine put it, "is a funny old thing". It twists and turns and meanders and leads you to places that you sometimes don't wish to go to but realize, when you come out the other side, that you needed to visit.

A year and a half ago I had a missed miscarriage. I was only 9 weeks along when I realised I had lost my precious baby. We had nicknamed him 'Wilbur Bean'.

Wilbur Bean at 6 Weeks
Wilbur Bean at 6 Weeks

Of course we really weren't going to name him "Wilbur" - it was just an inside joke to make the whole thing a lot more lighthearted, because when I found out I was pregnant, at first I wasn't all that happy. In fact I cried for about 3 days. Here I was in my late thirties with two almost grown kids of 14 and 10, while my partner's daughter was 23. Were we really going to do this baby thing all over again?

On the emotional front I was a wreck. I was in a job that I loathed that was making me physically sick and a baby was the last thing I need to add to my tired, stressed out life. I was devastated. Just the thought of going back into diapers and late night feedings and starting all over again had me doubled over in tears several times a day. I also thought that my partner would feel the same. He is 10 years older than I am - this kid could practically be his grandchild! Just when you think you have life figured out huh!

But surprisingly, he was overjoyed. He hugged me tight and told me everything would be OK and that he was happy that we were going to have a baby. My mouth hung open with shock. Then he fussed and fretted over me and made me feel so totally loved that I started to think..hey maybe this won't be so bad after all. He was so enthusiastic that I finally relaxed enough to begin to enjoy and be thankful for the little miracle we had been given. An unexpected miracle, but a miracle none the less.

I would never forget the first ultrasound at 6 weeks when we saw our little bean for the first time. Chris and I cried and cried. I have never felt so close to him or more in love. It was like a beam of sunshine had been turned on in our lives. There was a little heartbeat and we held hands tightly, marvelling in the wonder of life so many years down the road from our first times around. ..doing this TOGETHER for the first time. I think we floated out of the exam room in a cloud of disbelief sporting bright red noses and teary eyes.

There is a reason for this.

The next three weeks went on happily..announcing to family and friends our good news.

But then at 9 weeks it all went wrong..I felt awful, then the bleeding started. I rushed to my doctor only to be sent for another ultrasound..Chris rushed down to join me. To our shock and crushing sadness we were told that the baby had stopped developing after 6 weeks. There was no heartbeat and it was much smaller than it should have been. I had had a missed miscarriage. My body was not doing its job to expell the dead tissue. I would have to see my doctor and have a D & C done. Sometimes these things happen I was told.

Our worlds fell apart. Now I was crying for the baby I had lost - the baby I had only just come to accept and love.

It COULD NOT be happening to me....this only happened to other people. After all I had had two fine healthy babies and had never given my pregnancies a second thought. Was it something I had done? Was it all my fault for not wanting this little angel at the beginning? Maybe I had wished it away. The guilt and the sadness engulfed me and I was adrift in the sea of my grief.

A miscarriage is a horrible, traumatic thing..especially when 'labour' has to be brought on. I can not even begin to describe the blood, the pain and the horror I endured over the next few hours while my poor Chris sat helplessly outside the bathroom door hearing me in agony and being unable to do a thing to help. It is a night I would never forget. I had no idea that my body could react so violently, and all the while I was thinking of my poor lost baby.

I went in for my D & C the next day..just to make sure that everything had been removed, and as I lay on the operating table my last sight before the anesthetic kicked in was the beautiful puffy clouds outside the picture window. How can the sun be out and smiling when I am dying inside? I sailed away on those puffy clouds and woke up in recovery a little while later feeling lighter...empty. I think at that point I just switched off all my thoughts. It had all been a dream. Chris took me home and I rested. It seemed like every ounce of spirit I had had been drained out of me. How could a tiny little thing..only 9 weeks of my life, have come to mean so much in such a short time? And how could I move forward?

Our society doesn't offer much support to women who have just lost a baby...worse yet if it was very early in the pregnancy. No one wants to know, no one wants to talk. After you tell your friends and family the bad news life is supposed to go on as normal. You hear "well thank God it was early on before you got too attached" or "it was all for the best..maybe something was wrong". All very well meaning, but no comfort to a grieving mom.

You try to rationalize. You try to make sense of it. It does not work.

After a couple weeks of withdrawing into my shell and being silent I finally had to get it out. I wrote a letter to my school friends. I had been organizing a reunion and when I fell silent they were beginning to wonder what happened. Many of them had not even known I was pregnant. This is what I wrote:

Dear Friends,

I know I have probably forgotten to mention a lot of important stuff and I am relying on you all to bombard me with emails and questions to get the juices flowing again. And now some explaining...

The end of last year was very tough for me in that around October I got the suprising news that I was expecting a baby - due date right smack in the middle of our reunion weekend. Of course this threw me for quite a loop emotionally for many reasons - then ..as soon as I got adjusted to the idea that I was going to be a mommy again, I had a miscarriage in December, just days before I was scheduled to go on my trip. Chris and I and the kids were heartbroken, and I have to say it was one of the hardest things I have had to deal with. I needed some time to heal emotionally. I'm still not healed..but I am trying to get there. I went on my trip and tried to forget everything and enjoy the time with the kids and with Chris -and I just blanked everything and everyone else out, but now that I am back I think the grief is only now really hitting.

I never thought it would happen to me. And even though my baby was only a few weeks old..it was still my precious baby. I have had friends who have lost babies but until you experience it you never really know how truly awful it is. My emotions are all mixed up.. a very small part of me is 'relieved' to get my life back as it was..but a huge part of me is mourning what could have been. I can't even begin to explain what I feel. You tell yourself the old cliches.."it was for the best" "maybe something was seriously wrong and it is better this way" "At least it wasn't so far along" " You have two other healthy kids" "Really do you want to start all that again at 36??" but honest to God, the logic does not take the pain away. One or two of you knew about the baby, but most people didn't as I was still trying to come to terms with everything. I only now feel like I am ready to talk. An email Victoria sent has helped me a lot - it said "when God takes something away it is only to open your hands for something better." I truly believe that. This unexpected child brought more to my family and my relationships in his/her 9 short weeks than many do in a lifetime. It showed me a different and wonderful side of the man I love, it showed me a different side of myself. Once again it has put the important things in life in sharp focus for me.

I know a lot of you have had a rough year, some of us lost family memembers, some of us lost relationships, some of us have had to start over..but we all have to believe that there is a grand pattern to all of this and ultimately it is what we do with what we have that makes the difference. We can take the bad things and find the beauty in them. We can take our losses and defeats and give them up to God and learn and come out of it better and stronger and more compassionate. We write our own stories..the trick is to reach out to others and include them in the tale and make our life a well lived one in the hundred little tiny things we do. Always reach out...sometimes it may save you.

So..here is to a good 2008...a year for coming full circle, for facing our past and finding the beauty in who we have become because of or inspite of it. 2008 is a year of new beginnings, hope and new connections that will help us get through the rough times and enjoy the good times even more. Lets go out there and create our own good karma.

Love you all..and looking forward to the months ahead and beyond.

take care"

After I hit the send button I had a moment of panic. "WHAT AM I DOING??" People don't talk about this stuff. I'm supposed to just suck it in and get on with it..no one needs to hear this. I began to feel like an idiot.

But then something surprising happened.

The emails started to come in.

One by one my friends wrote to sympathise and to share with me their own stories of loss. I was shocked to find out how many of them had gone through similar ordeals..some more than once. I wasn't the only one. Their words lifted me up and soothed my wounds. They thanked me for being brave enough to share with them and that it had helped them come to terms with their own losses. I recieved many stories of the sadness they had fought alone, thinking like me that somehow we should just hold it all in and move on. Like these little ones never existed. I was amazed at the compassion and advice that poured in.

It was the first step to filling that empty hole. To this day I don't think they have any idea how their words saved my life.

Loss - Original Art by Sharrie69
Loss - Original Art by Sharrie69

Not long after I lost "Wilbur" I took a long hard look at my life. At all the things I was not happy with. I think when you go through something so traumatic it brings everything into sharp focus and you realize what is truly important. Things at work had deteriorated and things finally ended. It was time for a new start. Life was pushing me in a different direction.  I decided that I really wanted to get back to the thing that I had been missing the most in my life - my art. My first painting on embarking on this new phase of my life was the one above. Loss. It came from my heart. I painted it with all my sadness and grief and my tears smeared the paint. When it was finished I felt empty again..but empty of all the grief. It was the first step in my healing. Eventually I donated it to a women's group that was raising funds to send sick children away for surgery. It made me glad to think that something I had done in tribute to my lost little one would help to save another mother from losing her own precious child.

I threw myself back into my art and found peace I had not known for years. It lead me to my new job as an Art teacher at a primary school and it has introduced me to many wonderful new people. Chris and I grew closer as a couple and for the most part my life is filled with happiness. Sometimes God takes something away from you to open your hands for something better.

I still grieve for my baby. I will never forget him. He is especially on my mind these last few weeks as it is coming up to the day that would have been his 1st birthday had he come into this world as planned - July 7th - the day before my own birthday. I like to think that I have a little angel looking over me. Maybe his little soul just needed to be loved awhile..to be held where there was no pain, or hurt until he had the strength to make another journey. His life had a purpose, and it has changed mine. I still miss him and I will never forget him. His photo is in my wallet along with those of my other two kids.

I hope that if there is another mom out there who has suffered a similar loss that you will eventually see the whole reason in the pattern in your life. Love your baby and remember him. You hold him in your heart even if you could not hold him in your hands. Your pain is real and valid, and you are not alone. Seek out others who will help you get through this..don't feel silly for grieving for a little person who never was. I wish you comfort in your sadness.

"Life is a funny old thing"

And for those of you dear Hubbers who have made it this far...another example of life's many twist and turns:

"The bad news is my diet plans have gone completely out the window.....

The good news is it is because we are expecting a baby in January 2010"

Have a great day everyone and know that whatever we experience today is just a small piece in the wonderful puzzle of life!

 

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Comments 37 comments

Teresa McGurk profile image

Teresa McGurk 7 years ago from The Other Bangor

Bless your heart, and bless little Wilbur Bean for reminding you how precious, but also how appallingly fragile life can be. I am so sorry you had to go through that miscarriage alone, scared and in such pain, and even though you knew what was happening to your body I'm sure it was horrifying for you. Hugs and love and here's a wish for healing and comfort. Teresa.


Teresa McGurk profile image

Teresa McGurk 7 years ago from The Other Bangor

PS - I was so caught up in what happened last year that I forgot to congratulate you on the new pregnancy! Live large!


sharrie69 profile image

sharrie69 7 years ago from Trinidad (an island in the Caribbean) Author

Thanks Teresa! So far so good..keeping the fingers and toes crossed


mayhmong profile image

mayhmong 7 years ago from North Carolina

Awww, I had to cried sad and happy with this one. You got some great support from your friends and family whenever you are feeling down. I hope that you stay strong and thanks for sharing this with us.


sharrie69 profile image

sharrie69 7 years ago from Trinidad (an island in the Caribbean) Author

Thank you May! It is a good thing you have that roll of toliet paper on your head! heheh :-)


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 7 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

Your story reduced me to tears but the future looks so bright for you now. The artwork is beautiful and so is your hub. Good luck! I had a baby at 42 and it changed my life.


sharrie69 profile image

sharrie69 7 years ago from Trinidad (an island in the Caribbean) Author

Hi Willow, thanks for your comment. I am very nervous about starting all over again, but in a much better place emotionally this time around. There is a reason and I am praying all goes well. They say kids keep you young eh..and if your profile pic is any indication it certainly is true! :-)


Nan 7 years ago

I am SO glad you've written about this my friend!

Looking forward to "Tea For Twoesday" this afternoon.


sharrie69 profile image

sharrie69 7 years ago from Trinidad (an island in the Caribbean) Author

Me too! Seeing that I haven't done ANY of the things on my 'to do' list today I need a cup of tea to console me! See ya later alligator! (Note link to your blog..haven't put up my bling yet though!)


ralwus 7 years ago

sharrie, I really feel this pain and sadness for your and your husbands loss. Made me cry it did. I'm speechless now except that you are going to have another, and may God bless it with fullness and wellbeing. Now you know what causes it, so..well (hugs)


sharrie69 profile image

sharrie69 7 years ago from Trinidad (an island in the Caribbean) Author

Hey CC..nice to see you. All these alter egos running around since my vacation I am trying to catch up wtih who is who. Thanks for the good wishes. WIll rub the tummy and pass the blessing along to the little one. This one has been nicknamed "Asparagus" by one of my friend's sons..who just happens to share my birthday. I think its a lucky name :-)


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis

What a lovely letter, Sharrie, and a touching story. Like your finger poked into my heart. Sorry you went through that, but you did, you know, and you seem to have gained strength from it.

Most of all, congratulations on the new baby! The best of luck and my fondest wishes!


ralwus 7 years ago

I love asparaus. And I have no alter egos now. just me. I couldn't return as CC now could I? good luck now and take care dear.


goldentoad profile image

goldentoad 7 years ago from Free and running....

sharrie,

I guess you had your own ferris wheel to write about and it punched me in the gut. I am sitting here at home, just got here, no one's around, so its peacefully quiet but as I was reading this I know how sometimes I play like I don't appreciate the excitement that is going to be coming through the front door in just a little bit as the the family returns from the park, but as any parent knows, its the meaning of life to see them smile at you. I know you'll always think of your little wilbur bean but its fantazzztic to hear your days of peace and quiet and somber reflections are still way off in the distance and you got another bundle of terror headed your way.

As far as alter egos go, I can barely keep up with them myself ;)

And you owe us some more hubs. I can excuse myself after six months but you only started and have no eligibility to "take a break".


mayhmong profile image

mayhmong 7 years ago from North Carolina

OOps, I've been hubbing with that thing still on my head?! Better change it!


Pachuca213 7 years ago

this was very sad but I want to thank you for sharing it...I too have had the horrible experience of a miscarriage...I understand what you went through. I wish you all the best in the years ahead...=) ((HUGS))


Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 7 years ago from India

There is always laughter after pain...wish you happy times ahead with the family. (Where have you been by the way...haven't seen you here in a while)


sharrie69 profile image

sharrie69 7 years ago from Trinidad (an island in the Caribbean) Author

Pachuca hugs back. I am sorry for your loss. We will never forget our little ones - they are parts of our heart.

Prophet I took a little break to let the news of the new baby on the way filter in. I needed a little time to process all those feelings and it is only now that I am past the point where I lost the last baby and all seems to be well that I am returning to 'normal'. On top of that I've been tossing my cookies and feeling generally bleah so focusing my train of thought was the LAST thing I wanted to do. Hope it won't be so long till I'm moved to write again. Trying to play catch up reading everyone's blogs now! Thanks for stopping by!


Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 7 years ago from India

Glad to have you back here...stay well! :)


lolo 7 years ago

your painting 'loss' is beautiful.... im very impressed by it... good luck..


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 7 years ago from South Africa

Thanks for sharing such a painful event in such graphic ways! It must have been heart-breaking to say the least.

Good to know that things are looking better now.

Love and peace,

Tony


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

Thank you for sharing your personal story of this terribly sad tragedy that was devastating for you.  I very much appreciate that you called the baby a baby.  That is taboo is some circles.  I especially found it poignant that you had named him.  Wilbur Bean. 

Your painting, "Loss", is extraordinary. 


simone 7 years ago

This is brilliant, beautiful, and brave. You are an extraordinary person and a wonderful artist. Thanks!


holu 7 years ago

women,do go through a lot especially ain bthe case of having to deal with the symptoms and at the nick of trying to adjust to those horrible times,and having grown a bond bbetween you and the growing baby in you...something happens and then its no longer there.its terrible.but i think true healing comes from God,time and an understanding partner.


DANISE 7 years ago

I WAS EMOTIONALLY MOVED BY YOUR STORY BECAUSE IT SOUND SO MUCH LIKE MY VERY OWN. I DECIDED TO LOOK FOR SOME SUPPORT ON THE NET BECAUSE I LOSS MY Baby into my seven weeks 3 days ago. my husband and i had put it on the shelf (the baby thing) concidering i would be 40 this november and our two kids are 20 and 13. when i found out that we would be expecting a baby i was scared to tell him but when i did he was extreamly happy. we grow closser and the baby made us both fell in love all over again we were like two teens in love it felt too good to be true because i was not sick. i was to happy when you said that these things are not our falt and not to blame ourself because this is what i started to do, only if i had rested or do things differently. Also you said that it is to prepare us for something bigger, yes i am emotional right now but you inspire me to look forword to that day. thank you verymuch.

P.S> my husband is so supportive and careing he wants to start as soon as he could on the next one and he tries hard to keep me from going into a depression state.


sharrie69 profile image

sharrie69 7 years ago from Trinidad (an island in the Caribbean) Author

Dear Danise,

I am so sorry for your loss. Give yourself time..lots of time. It will get better, but you have to let your grief run its course and you have to allow yourself to feel all the different emotions you will feel. Also your body needs some time to recover. Talk to your doctor and he/she will help advise you. You yourself will know when you are ready again. Your heart needs sometime to heal. And remember it is hard for your husband too..men grieve and cope in different ways. There is a really good website where you can leave a memorial to your baby if you wish, please pay it a visit: http://www.missingsolace.com/

Will keep you and your little one in my prayers and remember have trust and faith, nothing happens before its time and every experience we have in life has the power to lead us to something more. Thank you so much for writing..

bless you

sharon


qwark profile image

qwark 7 years ago

Hi Sharrie: My sincere condolences.

I didn't read the whole "hub."

If You are "whole,"

be sure to try again!

Qwark


sharrie69 profile image

sharrie69 7 years ago from Trinidad (an island in the Caribbean) Author

Hi Quark..this happened almost 2 years ago now. The good news is I AM pregnant again - 5 and a half months along and all is going well. This little one is kicking up a storm. I'm due in Jan 2010 and very happy. Life is a funny old thing and I really think all of this happened to prepare me for what is to come now. Emotionally and spiritually I am in a much better place than before and this baby will come into the world surrounded by so much love and happiness. I am appreciating every moment of the pregnacy because it seems even more the miracle. Thanks for stopping by.

Sharon


qwark profile image

qwark 7 years ago

Hi Sharrie:

Sincere congratulations from the heart! :-)

Qwark


sharrie69 profile image

sharrie69 7 years ago from Trinidad (an island in the Caribbean) Author

Thank you! :-D


Trudie 6 years ago

Sharon, I had no idea.

You are a very strong woman.

2010 will be a fantastic year for you. Trust me.

Luv always


sharrie69 profile image

sharrie69 6 years ago from Trinidad (an island in the Caribbean) Author

UPDATE TO THIS HUB. My son Ryan Christopher was born on Dec 31st 2009 - 7lbs 2 oz..happy,healthy and cute as a button! We are truly blessed! I will never forget my little angel 'Wilbur Bean' - he watches over us and especially his little brother now. Love you my sweetie!


Martha  5 years ago

Hi there Sharrie

Thanks for sharing your story. It came at the right time in my life, because I just went the same expirience, 3 weeks ago and I feel so empty and sad and what makes this worseis that I do not have anyone to talk to except my partner.


sharrie69 profile image

sharrie69 5 years ago from Trinidad (an island in the Caribbean) Author

Martha I am so very sorry for your loss. I urge you to confide in your friends, your family..you will be surprised just how many women have gone through the same thing and you just never know because they have never talked about it. Your baby was real, and you deserve to mourn your loss and get support in this very hard time. You are not alone. Perhaps on this site you may find some comfort in the words of others going through what you are and the ones who have managed to move past the pain to a place of rememberance and solace: http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.m...

Will keep you in my thoughts. HUG

Sharon


dmorris29 4 years ago

Hi your story is trluy amazing I went through a miscarriage alone at 19 weeks. It was a devastating, painful, traumatic thing to go through. But your incredibly brave and honest story reminds me that i'm not alone and I'm sure your angel baby is looking down on you very proud. I hope God's blessings are with you and I myself went onto a very similar path to healing and recover...nothing fills the void of a lost baby. But God gives us the strength to keep going. Thanks for sharing.


Elyse 4 years ago

I am so glad I found this. I had a miscarriage on 28 March 2012 and I cry everyday, several times, even in public. I too felt as if I wasn't ready for another child as I already had three and I was doing my BA in English. I was under a lot of stress with work, school and marital problems and although I tried to take it easy for fear of miscarrying, it still happened. I don't think I want to try again. this experience has brought new ideas to me. I am thinking of taking my writing aspirations seriously now and even thinking of finding ways to bring comfort to women while at the hospital. When I was at the hospital, although the doctors and nurses were friendly, there was no one or nothing to comfort you. I sometimes lay in the bed and cried, just thinking about all that had happened over and over again. I hope to really find myself and my calling and learn from this situation. Thank you

Elyse


Sharon 4 years ago

Dear Elyse,

It is truly heartbreaking, I am so sorry for your loss. Almost 5 years on I still think about my little one from time to time, but marvel at the place the experience brought me to and how my life has changed. Some souls are here just for a short time but leave lasting impressions. Use your grief to grow and to help others..but take a little time first for yourself..it is all still very new. You need those tears. You need some time. But by all means go for your dream and don't ever stop reaching out to others..our lives and the lives of the people we meet are richer for it. I wish you all the best with your writing. Life is a gift..use it wisely. Love and hugs

Sharon ps. you might like to visit www.missingsolace.com a place for parents who have lost their little ones to connect and find comfort.

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