It has been a particularly rough week. The past 8 days have filled me with a deep and persisting sadness and a sense of anxiety I cannot shake.
The downward spiral started with the news last Thursday morning that a close and beloved friend had died – suddenly, unexpectedly, far too young – and left behind the two – just as suddenly and unexpectedly lost and shattered -individuals she loved most in the world. Her husband (like mine, many years her senior). Her son (the sole surviving twin of her one successful pregnancy).
My friend’s funeral was yesterday. I don’t even know where to start with all of the thoughts and feelings I have experienced in the past 8 days let alone at the funeral. The hardest part for me was witnessing how utterly devastated and devastatingly lost my friend’s dear husband – her soul mate if ever there were soul mates – is. He barely made sense when he spoke. His body looked as broken as his spirit must be. My heart shattered all over again. Life can be so cruel.
On Monday a good friend and fellow patient of Dr. Braverman found out her 9-week pregnancy was at an end. Her baby had died sometime in the preceding week. We have much in common. We are the same age give or take a few months. Her protocol is almost identical to mine. She transferred two embryos – as I did – three days after I did in mid-October. Only one of her embryos survived – same as me – despite both being PGD tested and chromosomally normal. My friend has lost numerous babies (first and second trimester) and has never had a living child. My heart broke anew when she told me. A part of wanted to curl up and die.
A bigger part became deathly afraid that I would be next. That fear has not left me despite some astute observations about the differences between my friend and I, the key one being I have carried a child to term. We know that at least once my body was capable of doing that.
Since Monday morning when I first heard from my friend about her devastating loss, I have tried to reschedule my next ultrasound from next week Monday to sometime this week. I could not get in. I tried seeing my doctor sooner than today in case she could requisition a stat ultrasound. I could not get in.
I tried – desperately would be an understatement – to find baby’s heartbeat on the doppler I bought last September before we lost that baby between 10 and 11 weeks (it does not help that I am 10w1d or 10w2d today depending which date we use to calculate gestational age, transfer or LMP). At the time I bought it that was the best quality one available. It is recommended for use from 12 weeks onward but the vendor indicated and user reviews suggested that many women got lucky at 10-12 weeks. Of course now the same vendor has just started selling a better model that reliably picks up by 10 weeks and can detect FHR at 8-10 weeks in many women (and its on sale for the same amount I paid last year – how’s that for bitter irony?).
I could not find anything but my own heart rate and the whooshing sound of a forming placenta. Trigger back to September 2013, right before the fateful stat ultrasound that confirmed what in my heart I already knew – “Mandy” had died.
In my fear-induced mania I ordered a more sensitive rental doppler – the same kind I used in the Miracle Toddler’s pregnancy with success as early as 8-9 weeks – and paid for expedited shipping. It was supposed to be here yesterday. It still has not are arrived. There may be a curse operating here. Who would have cursed me? Have I offended one of you badly? Please let me make amends – anything if you just remove this damned curse.
On top of all of this a little dog – and when I say little I mean think under 4 lbs though that was not his starting weight – who has wormed (or rice-grained?) his way into my heart is very sick and may be dying. I feel helpless and floundering here too because his human companions (let’s face it, his live-in nurses and chefs) will suffer their own devastation eventually in all of this (death may be protracted here but clearly inevitable) and I am (a) very far away so of zero practical assistance and (b) quite literally immobilized by my own myriad feelings around companion animal suffering and loss.
If I have one wish it is the echo of my friend E’s wish, that this little canine soul escape this world while he sleeps but to that wish I would add that this not happen during the Christmas holidays or the few weeks left leading up to it. I say this not for me but for E and especially for M. There is no good time for death to strike. But the holidays are particularly bad timing. I know. We lost a family pet right before Christmas too. The year after my Mom died. It sucked. A lot.
I have felt angry – eye-poppingly furious even – at God and Spirit and the Universe lately. Why take the lives of these beings who in the case of my friend was the embodiment of living kindness and in the case of my friend’s baby was too new to be anything but innocent? Why you stinking thieving scoundrels? Why? You all deserve a good swift punch in the throat. Or three hundred and ninety seven of them. I may enlist help. Sleep with one eye open scoundrels.
As I type this I feel rage boiling up. I know that feeling well. It is my safe harbour from engaging with the utterly helpless feeling and crushing sadness that has filled my heart and weighed down my soul these past eight days. I feel broken and small and impotent. Above all, I feel impotent. I can do nothing to change the horrible sequence of events that led to these two deaths. I can do nothing to ease the suffering of those who have survived their loved ones.
Yes, I know that there are things I can do. I can offer help (done). I can bring over things to make sure they eat or have food in their homes (in process) I can listen (done). I can cry with and for them (done).
Yet I know from losing my Mom and all of our babies that there is nothing anyone can do to take away this pain or the deep chasm it forges in a survivor’s life. Only the survivors can heal those wounds if they can be healed at all.
And in this moment I feel ashamed wallowing in my own fears of death – not my own but of little Azulito – and yet this is the abyss into which I have fallen and from which despite trying to get grounded and set intentions and practice positive thinking I cannot climb out. I am stuck in a place of intense terror. And at a fundamental level there is nothing I can do but wait to see which way the wind will ultimately blow over all of this. Alas, I am impotent here too.
Life can be so cruel.