I think as a loss mom, I expect every day to be hard. Getting out of bed without a baby to take care of is hard. Coming home to a quiet house where your baby should be a happy, giggling 4.5-month-old is hard. Seeing your friends go through pregnancy and have healthy babies when your baby died is hard.
But what I don’t expect are days when things really should be only routinely difficult, yet they turn out to be extremely, surprisingly hard. Miserably, in fact.
On Friday I went to the ob-gyn for my annual check-up. I figured I should go, since the appointment would be fully covered by my insurance as preventive care and I would need the testing completed if we decide to re-visit the reproductive endocrinologist (where the exam would not be covered).
I knew it would be hard visiting the office, it always is. But of course on this particular day, there was a waiting room full of moms-to-be. All of those pregnant bellies, probably most unsuspecting of what could happen, happy to be there and getting to hear their babies’ heartbeats. Not only was the room full, but my doctor was running 20 minutes late. So there I was…sitting for a half hour wishing I were there to hear my baby’s heartbeat too.
When the nurse finally called me back, she recognized me from all of my prenatal appointments.
“Oh, hi! How are you? How’s the baby?” she asked me.
Ummm. The baby? Isn’t that the purpose of a chart? So that you can see before you meet with a patient what is going on with them? This was my third visit to the office since Joanna passed and certainly my file had that note in it.
I wanted to respond kindly to the nurse, but I was so immediately angered by her question that I said, “I guess you didn’t look at my chart – she was stillborn in December.”
She apologized and then I said, “To answer your question, I suppose she is doing much better than either of us.” I mean, Heaven is a better place to be, even if I wish she were here with me instead.
That was maybe a bit snarky, and I might have felt a little bad. But seriously. We shouldn’t have to go through things like this… Haven’t we been through enough?
To top off the harder-than-usual day, one of the lullabies I sang for J was playing as I waited for the doctor in the exam room. I don’t know how I had the strength to get through the experience and the rest of the day without crying, but I did.
When days are harder than I expect them to be, I usually want to close myself up in my room and cry or sleep or at least just be alone. When days are harder than usual, I often find myself wishing I could go back in time – that I could figure out the moment things started to go wrong and change them. When days are harder than I’ve planned for, I try to round up the strength to push through, to tell my story, to live for Joanna, to go on even when it feels impossible.
I’m thankful that those harder days come less often.
Courage isn’t having the strength to go on, it is going on when you don’t have strength. -Napoleon Bonaparte