Sense of Loss

I think I had the very common anxiety that strikes a new mom when she is transitioning from the hospital or birthing center back home.  For nearly 48 hours I had been awakened or bothered around the clock by nurses checking my vitals, checking the baby’s vitals, or both.  The baby was nearby but if I needed anything I had that handy-dandy call button and a nurse would appear to assist me.

I cried on the way down to the car carrying my new bundle of joy.  My husband was waiting by our chariot with a huge smile on his face and a brand-spanking-new car seat to carry our daughter home.  He was so excited.

I was relieved.  And anxious.

That night we placed her in her bassinet beside the bed, and I climbed into bed next to Irish.  I lay there in the dark, one hand on my distended belly, and I began to sob uncontrollably at the loss of my pregnancy.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy (Photo credit: jess.g.)

I’m sure this seemed incongruous to my husband.  The object of my affection was an arm’s length away, bundled in a muslin blanket, her pale red lashes fanned down against her cheeks.  And yet I cried.

My only other pregnancy had resulted in an early second trimester loss.  I went to the hospital and when I came out I was no longer pregnant.  For days after I felt phantom flutterings of the baby I didn’t get to raise.  This moment, two days after the birth of my healthy daughter, brought back intense memories for me.

I felt phantom kicks, felt the strange way my uterus continued to fill up my torso and push it out.  My belly was no longer hard, it was a mushy shell that had once been my sole focus.

I missed being pregnant.  I missed feeling my daughter inside me.

My throat was tight and dry as tears poured down my cheeks, and I tried to explain to my husband that the feeling of loss was an entirely separate issue from the new baby sleeping peacefully nearby.  I had “lost” a second pregnancy, and the emptiness after so many months of fullness was nearly unbearable.

Being pregnant had made me feel special, sexy and powerful.  I loved having this unique bond with my daughter, feeling her move inside me.  I had wondered many times if I would miss that when it was gone, and I did.  The longing to have her back safe in my womb nearly took my breath away.

It took a couple of days before this feeling completely went away, but I’m left with the lingering feeling of a part of me now living outside my body.  I’m just able to gather her up in my arms now and hold her until it goes away.

 

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