We recently went to Disneyland for the first time with many of my in-laws.
Despite the $100+ tickets and impeccably themed rides and atmosphere, my 3 year old wanted to ride the bland carousel in the middle of Fantasy Land. Over and over.
“I think she went on it seven times,” my husband said when recalling our trip.
Someone else is back on the carousel, too.
“I want off the carousel,” I told my husband. He was silent; he hates my metaphors.
The carousel of loss. Grief.
I keep spinning around on that machine — thinking I’m getting close to happiness, closure, completeness. Being whipped away in the other direction every time I’m close. Over and over again.
I’m tired of seeing new nurses, new doctors. Each one exclaiming, “Eleven pregnancies?” Over and over again.
Looking back over each piece I’ve written on loss and seeing the number tick up with each blog post.
I hadn’t updated when, surprisingly, #10 resulted in a living child. My now 8-month-old.
But the healing still isn’t complete. I still don’t feel complete. This postpartum process has been rife with struggles I didn’t think would really happen: trouble bonding, detachment carrying over from pregnancy (the tool I used to survive the hills and valleys of pregnancy after loss). The surge of loving hormones I got after the birth of my first was absent with my “second” (living), and continues to be absent even many months after.
But there was still some closure — being around other babies and pregnancies was tolerable as I was pregnant with her and in those first early months after she was born. None of the seething resentment at people who navigated life without loss. Less of the jealousy of people confident enough to share pregnancy announcements from just a test with two pink lines.
Eventually all of the latter began again as the same crop of people whose previous pregnancies ignited my envy announced they were pregnant again. Soon every family event was filled with more talk of next babies, of “completing families.” Would my family ever feel complete after all of this grief?
But this armor got reset quicker than I expected. Soon I was looking at those lines again — with some surprise, though I shouldn’t have been as shocked as I was. I’m not sure why I thought the hyperfertility diagnosis wouldn’t still be a part of my genetic makeup even after a second live birth.
And then the armor cracked real big down the middle and I am left vulnerable and exposed and full of grief and regrets and darkness once again. Only it’s worse this time around. So much worse.
How do my arms still feel so empty when I have an actual, living infant to fill them from a previous pregnancy? Is there never to be a balm to the act of loss?
I think a part of me naively thought things would be different this time around. “Pots of gold,” they’re called in the loss community. In an internet world of cutesy names (“angel baby,” “stardust baby,” “babydust”) masking how ugly we feel inside, the “bonus rainbow” baby seems to be called the pot of gold. The baby that came after the rainbow, with no more storms in between! (“Sunshine” is the title I’ve seen given to the first baby, for those lucky enough to have had a living baby before loss).
I even knew pot-of-gold babies! Even within my very own family! Why not me, right? Why wouldn’t I get the golden goose of happiness after everything I went through?
That is the question, isn’t it?
I guess for another blog post.