I had bad morning sickness with all three of my pregnancies, but Elliott’s was by far the worse. It was hard and I really struggled. We made the decision despite the fact I wanted more babies that he would be the last as I couldn’t think I could go through pregnancy again. I struggled with that decision saying to my husband so many times, I can’t believe this is the last time I’ll be pregnant, I can’t believe we’re only having one more baby.
And despite that, we didn’t get to keep him. After what I thought was hard coming to terms that he would be our last I now have the much greater if not impossible task of having to come to terms with the fact he’s not here with us.
I have been through times of absolute rage about this questioning and thinking-
Why did I have to be so bloody sick and yet still… STILL we don’t have him with us. All of that and I had to put our baby in a box at the end of it. Being sick was supposed to mean everything will be ok, so what was it all for? Why the physical struggle for 5 months to be followed with a lifetime of a mental one.
I felt it was all so unfair and I felt so cheated. I felt I had been teased and taunted by nature who tested my strength through sickness and then ripped my loved baby right out from me.
And then there was the guilt where I asked myself-
Why did I complain about being sick while pregnant when it was such a massive blessing? Why did my waters have to break when everything was all ok? Should I have taken more medication so I didn’t vomit so much? The vomiting might have weakened the membranes. Maybe I shouldn’t have taken any at all? Maybe it weakened my membranes.
I’ve come to terms with these feelings now and I know it’s not my fault. But then sometimes the most unexpected things punch you right in the heart. Like catching a tummy bug… who would have thought it would bring back so much rawness and a painful connection to Elliott. Being sick like that reminded me of those thoughts I had. It saddened me so much as it made me realise that I’m not emotionally strong enough to go through the morning sickness that lasted months all over again and it’s possible I might never. Which means, alongside other reasons, that there’s a big possibility that we might never try for another baby. That alone is such a huge thing to grapple with.
When day two came around and the nausea didn’t subside, I was cruelly taken back to being pregnant with Elliott. The same physical feeling I had nearly everyday of his precious life. It started to play with my mind and I couldn’t shake that familiar feeling that I had become so accustomed to when he was here growing inside me. It made me feel like I was pregnant. I couldn’t shake the want to rub my belly, close my eyes and pretend he was still there. I so desperately wanted to pretend I was back to those happy and beautiful times where i’d feel his kicks and think “every single second is worth this”. And yes I still think every second WAS worth it, to have him, our beautiful son we are so proud of…to hold him, even if it was so brief and fleeting. If bargaining worked I’d plead to be sick like I was for the rest of my life if it meant having him with us. But I didn’t let myself go down those paths of pretending or bargaining with something that’s not possible because for me (it might not be for others) it’s such a slippery slope that’s hard to get back up from. I ironically ended up taking a morning sickness tablet to try stop the nauseous feeling but unfortunately it didn’t work.
I held myself together and waited until it was late and everyone was asleep and let myself finally just lose it completely. Sometimes i don’t want to tell anyone, not even my husband, how I truly feel until after that feeling lessens or goes and then I tell them after. Sometimes I just need to cry and curl up alone in the dark. This time it was just me and the nausea. This time my heart was being punched by the memory of my full womb and reality of my empty one. The ache of my arms wanting and craving so badly and desperately to be pregnant still feeling his kicks or be holding our baby.
It probably didn’t help it was my birthday, and Elliott’s absence was screaming out. Maybe I wouldn’t have made the connection if not for a specific day I so desperately wanted one. But it wasn’t this type I wanted. I wanted the type of connection that made me feel warm, not one that made me feel so very empty. It’s a shame like so many things it doesn’t work like that, that you don’t get to choose where your connections come from or how they make you feel.
I’d love to end this with some light to hold on to, some positive. But the (completely normal) reality of grief is that sometimes there are ugly times where the awful truth and finality of forever and that catastrophic emptiness, brings so much pain that there really is nothing else you can feel in that moment. All you can do in those times is ride that wave and hold on. Hold on and hope that a new day WILL bring a bit of light, better moments and more peaceful and warm connections.