Our family is filled with gratitude for all the love and light that’s being sent our way. We never could have imagined the support we continue to receive – from offers to be by our side, to text messages, to healing meals for our family, to countless stories that make us feel less alone in all of this.
Our family has been riding the roller coaster that is grief for a week now, and it’s effected us all in different ways. My Mom – who is incredibly close to us and lives with us – has become Grandmother Hen. She’s making soup, picking up meals and dropping meetings to make sure we are all cared for. She’s also taken to cuddling with Isaac whenever he beckons – which is quite often right now.
Isaac is healing in his own way. I often forget just how much he understands as a three-year-old and he surprises me often. He’s stopped kissing my belly (thank goodness), but he’s been extra clingy and acting up a lot lately, throwing tantrums more than he ever has. The other night, he threw a huge tantrum (including hitting Ben) at bath time. When he asked “Where did Daddy go?” I told him, “He needed to take a break because it hurt his feelings that you hit him.” Isaac immediately said, “What happens if someone hurts my feelings?” I replied, “Then you can tell them that it hurt your feelings; that’s okay to say.” Isaac looked into the tub for a second, then looked back at me and asked, “Hokuao died yeah?” My heart sank, and tears came to my eyes. I said, “Yes, my love. Hokuao died. I’m so sorry.” And when he asked, “Why did Hokuao die?” I repeated what I’ve told him dozens of times in the last week: “We don’t know, honey. Sometimes babies aren’t strong or healthy enough for this world.” I asked if it hurt his feelings that she died and he said “Yeah”, then went on playing with his scuba diver.
Those devastating and surprising moments of familial grief pop up randomly throughout our everyday lives. Isaac ran his first cross-country race with Coach Daddy this past weekend, and between cheering for the boys and handing out snacks post-race, I got a phone call confirming the prenatal lomi lomi massage clinic I had waited months to join. Even with all the busy-ness of life with a preschooler, there are constant reminders of our loss.
Ben has always been an internal griever, and I am doing my best to support him while also allowing him the space to process this loss the way he needs to. He continues to be my rock through all of this; providing me with the strength and perspective I need to feel my way through.
As for me, I think I’m pretty much right on par with my grieving process. I do my best to feel all of it – even what I call ‘the stupid emotions’ like shame, stupidity, and unnecessary anger.
Every day I run through so many emotions. The most prevalent is sadness. Intense, heart-wrenching sadness, on a deeper level than I thought possible. But then there’s anger and frustration, which surface quite often, especially when speaking to other birth workers. How is it okay to force a woman to wait with her dead fetus in her body for over a week? Why aren’t there better options for people on Maui? Why will this procedure cost $1000?
Then comes surrender. I don’t want any negativity surrounding those who will be helping me through the healing process. I am grateful for Western medicine. For the wonderful doctors who will have to perform this unpleasant procedure. For medical. Having this week has given me the chance to say goodbye in my own way.
I often feel lonely – even after telling the world. No one can go on this journey with me, and I feel as though no one gets what I’m going through, even though women are having the same experience all throughout the world at this very moment. And then I feel like I’m completely over-reacting about the whole thing and who-the-hell-am-I-to-think-my-experience-deserves-to-be-shared.
And of course, I feel the love. All the love from so many people, near and far, who are holding our family in their thoughts right now. I feel their strength and their support, and I know that this is all going to be okay in the end.
Yesterday I began processing a few new emotions, as well. I went to see both an acupuncturist and my beloved chiropractor, and I got to reconnect with my body’s innate wisdom. I was able to peel back the layers of fear and guilt, and have a few moments of clarity. I received. I was able to breathe deeply and feel whole for the first time in over a week. I was reminded that the place where I am connected to everything – my na’au – still shines brightly and continues to be the force that guides me.
This afternoon I go in to have laminaria placed into my cervix to begin the dilation process, and tomorrow Ben and I will get on a plane, then a bus, to our D&E procedure. I’m aware that this is my second baby and therefore my body may open up quicker than expected. I’m aware that I may still go into spontaneous labor and deliver her. And I am glad to say that I honestly feel prepared and at ease about the whole thing at this point. I trust the process, exactly as it’s meant to unfold. I feel ready, both physically and emotionally, to let go of this baby’s body and to say goodbye.
A week ago, I was saying, There’s something dead in my body. Get it out of me, now. Today I feel like I can honor my baby and my body – this body that has experienced the entire life cycle within it. I feel like I’ve started the emotional healing, and I feel prepared to start the physical healing, too.