I have only seen my husband Greg cry twice in the 9 years that we have been together. Several times he has come close, like when I have come home from shopping, or when I have been driving, but seriously only "for real" twice, both times when we found out that the baby we were expecting no longer had a heartbeat. I think that Greg deals with grief in a way that most people do, mood changes, tears, and taking each day one day at a time until the shock and pain of the event eventually fades away.
I am not sure why I deal with grief the way I do. Maybe it was because my childhood was so volatile and erratic? All of us kids had to deal with my parents' issues, and so far we are all functioning somewhat well. In 31 yrs, I am not sure that I have had to deal with any more serious issues then most people, the death of a grandparent, a failed marriage, the loss of two babies, "losing" foster babies that I very much wanted to stay forever to other homes, and so on. I guess when you spell it all out, it seems lengthy, but really I consider myself quite blessed. I have a great husband, two beautiful daughters, a decent career considering my lack of education, great friends, and a happy home. At the end of the day I cannot wait to come home to my family and I think that for the most part they all feel the same.
When I am grieving, I am usually not a cryer. Typically the only time I cry is out of frustration, not because I am sad, but mainly because if I don't cry, someone will end up dead. I am very impatient with women who cry in public, or at work, to me it makes women look weak and incapable of controlling their emotions. It makes whatever awkward situation you are already in even more awkward.
I usually end up dealing with grief by focusing on the next thing/project, even if it is heart wrenching. No time to dwell on the bad event, there are things that need to be done, and no one else is going to do them.
With my first pregnancy, I remember coming back from house hunting in Vancouver and Battle Ground to Las Vegas and excitedly getting ready for my obgyn appointment. I was about 19 weeks along and there was a good chance that the doctor would be able to tell me the sex of the baby. Greg wasn't able to be there because he had to work. I was laying on the exam table, and the doctor wasn't able to find the baby's heart beat with the doppler, so he decided to do a vaginal ultrasound. I was even more excited, with a vaginal ultrasound, there was an even better chance that we would be able to see the sex. The picture of the baby came up on the screen almost immediately. But the first sight that struck me was not whether it was a boy or a girl, but that the area where the heart beat should be was blank and empty. I starred at the screen until the doctor turned it off. The doctor put his hand on my shoulder and said "I will call your husband and have him come get you." The most eerie thing was sitting in the waiting room waiting for Greg while the office was closed. Even though I knew that my husband was coming, I felt like the loneliest person in the world.
I had a D & C surgery the next day. The doctor was kind, but told me that he would not be able to see me for my next pregnancy because I was now considered "high risk". Honestly, that was the farthest thing from my mind.
My sister was pregnant at the time, her baby girl was due in September, and my baby wasn't supposed to be due until December. The weekend following my D & C, I threw a baby shower for her.
With my 2nd pregnancy, Greg and I were living in Battle Ground. We had begun participating in the foster care system, and had been placed with our first placement, a little boy named Schuyler. We were very excited, and had no reason to think anything would go wrong. It was a fun but busy time for us, we had our hands full with a toddler, Nautilus was keeping Greg quite busy, and I was working evenings and nights in La Center. A little after the end of my first trimester, I had a strange feeling that something was wrong, I went to the doctor, and again no heart beat. The doctor was convinced that I was just nervous, and scheduled an appt for me at radiology the next morning so I could have and ultrasound that all was well. I had never had an ultrasound at the radiology clinic, and it was high tech. Flat screen tvs on each corner of the room so that you could see everything. Pretty cool. Except that again, there was no heart beat. The icing of going to radiology for an ultrasound, is that even though it is obvious that your baby has died, the tech has to complete the exam that the doctor ordered, measuring the baby, I remember sitting there, numb, thinking how ridiculous and cruel it was. The other thing I remember was that while I was sitting in the parking lot waiting for Greg, I couldn't believe how sunny it was in Vancouver while I felt so grey.
The week after I had my 2nd D & C surgery, I called the placement coordinator at the DSHS, and increased our placement capacity to 2 kids. Greg thought I was insane, but I was moving on and I knew that they were going to call me about a baby. My scheduled due date had been early March, and Bella came home in January.
Greg and I have been fostering for 5 years this July, and we have had a variety of children placed with us. Some we have been very anxious to find other families for, and a few we have wanted to stay with us very, very much. Every time we have had a placement move to another home, my reaction has been to call the placement coordinator, often on a daily basis, to receive another placement. There are always more kids out there who need a home, right?
After being placed with Bella, I was content with my position in motherhood. I had come to terms with my two failed pregnancies. Having Tessa come home filled in any remaining blanks in that area. Two beautiful daughters, sisters at that. Both came home when they were three days old. We had essentially hit the foster care jackpot, and weren't foolish enough to not realize it.
Maybe because I never really allowed myself to completely deal with the losses that I have experienced, maybe because I am just neurotic, but I am having a really hard time believing that this baby is for real. We have completed all the necessary testing. We know the sex, we know that her chromosomes are the exact same as mine (besides being slightly ocd and bitchy, she will function just fine) I am almost 16 weeks pregnant, still feel like crap, and every doctor's appointment is going fine. I am even down to only the occasional blood draw. So why on earth can I not relax and enjoy this pregnancy? I have even been able to hear the heartbeat on the doppler, something that I have never experienced before. I am not excited to argue about names, decorate the nursery, and so on. I guess part of me just believes that the next time I go to the doctor, her little heart beat will be gone, and it will be back to life as usual. How crappy of a mother am I? When will I stop worrying about protecting my own emotional state and start being happy about my baby?