It’s been over a week since the D+E operation and I’m happy to report that the physical recovery has been pretty simple and painless. Physically speaking, I bled for a day and have just had some spotting and minor discharge since then. I did notice that my breasts were leaking a few days after the procedure, which is both good and bad news as I wasn’t able to breastfeed Isaac and hoped to be able to nurse Baby #2. My boobs now randomly become painful, but I’m so thankful that they didn’t fully become engorged and that my milk hasn’t fully come in. I think the discomfort is more “drying up” than “coming in”, if that makes any sense.
My medical team advised me not to do anything that could cause infection for a couple of weeks after the procedure. Baths, swimming, and sex are all off-limits until I meet with my OB in a week or so, at which point he’ll let us know when we can officially start ‘trying’ again.
Part of me wants to immediately work on Baby #3 while the other is so incredibly scared that this could all happen again.
Which brings me to the emotional aspect of my healing process.
Emotionally, I feel like I’m doing better than I expected for myself. I honestly thought that having the procedure would unearth the postpartum depression I had with Isaac, and that the added grief would multiply that depression by seven thousand. So the fact that I’ve been able to even quasi-‘function’ has been promising.
I also know that my postpartum depression with Isaac didn’t show up for a few weeks, so I’m doing my best keep an eye on myself and take necessary precautions. It’s not glamorous, but I’ve had to sit down with Ben and discuss the warning signs of severe depression, especially for me personally. I have him and my Mom on high alert for red flags. I’ve got an appointment scheduled to see a Psychologist. I’ve started taking extra B vitamins and getting regular chiropractic adjustments and acupuncture. I’ve been keeping a regular schedule and have started lifting weights and practicing yoga again. I’m doing my best to eat nutritious food and be gentle on myself. I feel like I’m doing everything I know how to do to support myself through this. And I think I’m doing a pretty good job…
And yet, there are these damned hormones. They make even the most simple tasks seem unbearable and take me into spaces that are unreachable by my brain. I swear, some days I feel so incredibly out of control that all I can do is cry in my own misery. Cerebrally I know exactly what’s happening. I know that postpartum hormones have kicked in and are forcing my body to re-calibrate, and yet I can’t control my feelings or emotions AT ALL. I cry at the most inopportune times; I feel utterly hopeless at work, and as a Mama, and as a human being; I can’t think straight; I become irate with people for the dumbest reasons; I lose my shit in the middle of Target at the sight of newborn clothes. I am trying my best to be gentle and kind to myself, but the hormones make it so much tougher than I can describe.
And then there’s this whole dealing-with-others thing that I don’t know how to navigate. My story has always been public, and I think it’s so important that I am able to share my experience, but some people really don’t know how to interact with me right now. I’ve gotten everything from (literally) making-eye-contact-and-walking-the-other-way avoidance to immediate tears and a hug that lasted way longer than needed. Some people want to avoid the topic altogether and others will talk with me for hours about their experience with still-birth.
I don’t know how to interact with friends who are hapai, especially when they want to tell me how tough it is to be pregnant. I want to remind them of how lucky they are and also talk to the Universe about how unfair all of this is. I’m trying to be as ‘normal’ as I can be, but so many of these interactions make me feel even more introverted than I already am. I remind myself that everyone truly does just want to give love, and that they’re doing it the best way they know how to.All that said, not every day is difficult. Some days I wake up and feel normal. I look in the mirror and see a body that is capable and nurturing, and I envision my womb swelling with life again soon. I spend a crazy amount of time loving on Isaac and Ben. I surround myself with people who love me, and I am so grateful. I make it through the day one moment at a time.
There’s never a day – or even a waking hour – that I don’t think of her, but I really feel like I’m beginning to have some peace surrounding her passing. I know that my healing process will take a while and that it’ll continue to be a journey I navigate on a daily basis, but I feel like I’ve had a solid start so far. And I truly am looking forward to what the future has in store for me.