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.
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.