This hearkens back to the spirit of one of the reasons I decided to write so frankly and openly here – to document the dual horrors of miscarriage and infertility and the ways they impact, in the faint hopes that someone, somewhere, will read it and feel less alone; less the way I did while these things were happening to me.
A sneaker-wave of grief came out of nowhere this morning, hidden behind a piece of anticipated news. It tumbled me straight down into the depths of broiling agony, with no idea where the surface was. It hit me about ten minutes before I was meant to be at my boxing class, and by the time I cycled across the park in the middle of town, the shock had given way to pain, and I knew that there was no way I could face a room full of people.
I just wanted to keep cycling and never stop. So I kept cycling.
I barely noticed the aches in my legs. I got warm and took off a couple of layers, stripping down to my vest, glad of the freezing nip in the air which began to chill me, because it felt good to punish my body and make it ache on the outside in a faint reflection of the way it blazed hurt on the inside.
Every few hundred yards, my face would curl into a mask of grief and loss for the babies who died and the ones I will likely never have (never say never, but it all seems so hopeless, still). I cried for my body which couldn’t nurture. I cried for my life which turned out so differently than I’d hoped. I cried for Niece and Neff and the fact that all the love I have for them can’t save them from the difficulties in their lives. I cried for Husby never getting to experience the joy of being a father, when I know he’d be so, SO good at it. I cried for the children we can’t adopt because we wouldn’t be able to provide them a stable home. I cried for the people who DO get babies, and whose husbands aren’t sick.
I cried for the intense, beautiful, eyes-locked, star-gazing moments of perfection with your child and the overwhelming love for them, that I will probably never experience.
I cried because today ‘being me’ hurt almost too much to continue with. I cried because the only thing which kept me going over the motorway bridge instead of listening to the voices which said “It would only hurt for a minute, and then the pain would be over…” was the unimaginable pain my loss would cause to those people who love me.
I cried because even the thought of doing something nice for someone I love, or praying, or remembering that there will be a time in future when I don’t feel this awful, or the idea of going to America, or the rest of my life married to a man I love, were not enough to stem the tide of self-pity.
I tried to find Ten Things of Thankful – emergency ones, in the spirit of the original notion of the activity – because if there are ten things which I can identify as having made today worthwhile, then tomorrow is worth living to. I kept getting stuck at three. Or four. I can’t remember. My thoughts kept dissolving and flowing away as tears, and it was all I could do to concentrate enough to stem the trickles and bubbles of snot which insisted on blocking me from breathing. I didn’t even care if anyone saw as I ruined my cycle gloves on the mess.
Husby gets upset when I’m sad about this. I hate telling him how bad I feel because I know he feels as though he’s taken away my chance of motherhood, by being ill. It’s not his fault he’s ill, and he’d never choose it, and I hate that I make him feel so responsible. His illness is just part of life sometimes being completely shit. I wouldn’t change him. I want to be married to him and keep being married to him until we’re little old uglies. I just wish he was better. So does he.
So I went to my Sister’s to ask for a hug and a drink and a cry. I stumbled in, frozen and unable to feel my limbs, but somehow I could still feel that core of pain ripping at my insides. She wasn’t there, so I stood and cried in the hallway on her doorstep before stumbling out again before anyone found me there.
I cried on the way home, because I had wanted that hug and I had wanted to protect Husby from my hurt, but I knew I needed a person. I crawled into bed with him once I’d put my cycling jacket and snot-soaked gloves into the wash. And once I’d had a shot of whiskey to try to take the edge off (it didn’t work – just tasted vile). He turned over, told me he hoped I wouldn’t catch his cold, and held me – draped himself and his warmth around me as I shook and shivered and cried.
My mum arrived, as had been planned, and I dragged myself up and made her some lunch. She hugged me and I cried more. We decided it was too cold to go to the allotment and readily agreed that Scrabble would be better. So we played, talking about the nightmare family situations we’re both dealing with, and all the hurt and frustration and pain. I felt flat. Exhausted. Wrung-out. Headachey. I still didn’t really want to be able to feel.
Once she’d gone, I went to bed, because being awake still hurt too much. I came to, later, with dusty, salt-crusted cheeks and discovered that the headache hadn’t gone. I messaged with a few friends and still felt as though I was crushed under a massive, steely-cold slab of hurt, but was grateful, because I knew they cared and would fix it all for me if they could.
Grief sucks. Infertility sucks. But I’m still here. I know it will be better. I just have to get there. And in the meantime, thank goodness for the people who made me stronger because they love me.
Today love wins.
And that’s all the ‘Ten’ I need.