On being okay

It was a less than a week after Hazel had been born. I had begun processing all that had happened and I was struck with a deep sadness and an intense feeling of loss.

Hazel was still fighting and I was slowly healing, though still stuck in the hospital wondering why my kidneys were still failing and my blood was still weak, but in any case... I felt selfish for the feelings I was experiencing. I should be rejoicing that my baby has fought another day. I should be grateful that I am not in ICU and have managed to avoid a blood transfusion and a kidney biopsy for another day... and I was. It’s not to say that those emotions weren’t prevalent but there was still an element of loss.

Pregnancy. I was mourning over the loss of my pregnancy. I hadn’t had a chance to bond with that sweet baby that was downstairs fighting for her life. I had barely felt her move before we had to bring her into this big bright world. I didn’t get uncomfortable in pregnancy, or watch my body change a whole lot. My little belly had been growing, but I hadn’t experienced any of the changes I would have felt had I carried her longer. There were new maternity clothes hanging in my closet that I never got to wear, and I never even got a photo with Jeff as I grew our little babe let alone making it to our maternity photos. One moment I was pregnant, the next I was not. Yes, yes that’s how it goes, but when you’re only 23 weeks and your baby is taken from your womb it happens so much faster.

I felt like these were trivial things to feel loss over yet I couldn’t shake the sadness that came with them. One of the unfortunate things about HELLP syndrome is once you’ve had it, you’ll have it with each subsequent pregnancy. Though, the risk becomes less severe with each pregnancy we had briefly discussed it and though we agreed not to make any decisions until Hazel came home, we knew that Hazel would be our only baby. My only opportunity to experience pregnancy was gone, taken from me by a fatal complication after two years trying for this babe. And again, I know how fortunate we are and that many women never get to experience the joy of pregnancy at all but it didn’t discount the way I was feeling. No matter how positive I tried to look at it, I felt robbed.

 For weeks I mourned that loss, and I allowed myself to feel those emotions and with each day I felt less guilty for feeling them. I talked openly about how I felt and slowly my heart started to heal. Days turned to weeks, and weeks turned to months and this morning as I stood in the shower noticing the scar from my caesarean I thought to myself it’s okay. And I realized that I no longer mourned. I was okay with our story. I no longer feel robbed or saddened over the hand I was dealt. I am able to share my story and with any hope, it will help other women to be okay with their stories too.

It took me nearly 7 months to realize I didn’t hurt over it anymore... and I can’t tell you when that happened, but somewhere along the line it did. If you let your heart feel, and feel without guilt or reservation, your heart in time will heal. Our bodies are meant to heal from heartache but we have to let them mourn in the process.

**Images by Jennifer Foik Photography**