Nothing Gold

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay. -Robert Frost

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Location: Arlington, Virginia, United States

I am a white American middle class suburban housewife trying desperately to tell herself that that is not who she is. One time I was a glowing young ruffian. Oh my God it was a million years ago.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Don't Cry, Sweetie

Levi has been saying that to me a lot. It's really cute and it usually works. I have a lot of questions and other crap in my head right now and maybe if I write some of them here, they will leave me alone.
I want to know exactly what the baby (should I call it a baby? An embryo?) was like when it died. But I don't know exactly how old it was. Somewhere between 6 and 9 weeks gestation. Here's what WebMD says about those ages:

Week 6: The embryo is starting to look like a tadpole. It's about 0.08 inches to 0.16 inches -- the size of a BB pellet -- from the top of the head to buttocks. (This crown-to-rump length is used more often than crown-to-heel length because the baby's legs are most often bent and hard to measure). The eyes and limb buds also are forming. A heartbeat can sometimes be detected by an ultrasound around now. This is also an extremely important time in the development of your baby, since between 17 and 56 days the embryo is most susceptible to factors that can interfere with its normal growth.

Week 7: Your embryo makes great strides in size this week, growing to between 0.44 inches and 0.52 inches from crown to rump by the end of the week, or about the size of a small raspberry. Leg buds are starting to look like short fins, and hands and feet have a digital plate where fingers and toes will develop. The heart and lungs are becoming more developed, as are the eyes and nostrils, intestines and appendix. By now the brain and spinal cord are growing from the neural tube.

Week 8: Your embryo, now about in its sixth week of development, is about the size of a grape -- 0.56 to 0.8 inches from crown to rump. Eyelid folds and ears are forming and even the tip of the nose is visible. The arms have grown longer and bend at the elbows. Places where fingers and toes eventually will grow are becoming notched.

Week 9: The embryo measures about 0.9 inches to 1.2 inches from crown to rump, or the size of a strawberry. The arms and legs are longer, and the fingers might be a little swollen where the touch pads are forming. The head is more erect and neck is more developed. Your baby now moves its body and limbs, and this movement can be visible during an ultrasound, but you won't be able to feel it yet.

The age I use according to my cycle was not the same as the age according to the size, but that's probably because it was not growing properly. Also there is a week wherein it could have died at any time.

Was it a boy or a girl?

Does an around 7 week gestation embryo have a soul?
If no, when does it get one?
If yes, well what about sperm and eggs that don't connect properly and grow a little but never really live, do they have one?

Sometimes I think about the heartbeat I saw on a sonogram and about the blob of tissue I flushed down the toilet and kind of miss it. Sometimes I think about the full grown baby we were expecting to have and won't and feel disappointed. I just came to the realization yesterday that they are the same person. I don't know why that's so hard.

Sometimes I think about how common this is and how much worse things people go through and I wonder, am I overreacting?

Sometimes I read online about ceremonies people have for miscarried babies (even first trimester!) and 18 month grieving processes and I wonder, am I underreacting? Am I not honoring this baby (?) enough?

Should I have tried to catch the blob? Is it bad that the baby (?) went down the toilet?

Sometimes I look at my belly and think, "poor little baby, I'm sorry I couldn't take better care of you" and then I realize that my uterus is empty and the baby (?) is in the sewers.

What if the baby (?) came out alive and died in the toilet?

The doctor and everybody and the articles all say, "it's not your fault and it's nothing you did" but if they know that for sure than how come women who threaten miscarriage are put on bed rest and no sex etc. And why are there so many studies about things that increase the risk of miscarriage? (ie tooth decay or smoking)?

What if the thing that was wrong with it was something small and my body is overly picky?

I've been nursing for so long and now I'm not nursing or pregnant and I feel strangely useless. People keep asking how I'm feeling physically, which is sweet, but I feel better, physically, then I have in years, which is weird. I want to feel crappy and useful.

My friends and family have been great. I have a lot of support. A lot of people have asked me if there's anything they can do, and there really isn't. But, I feel really lonely for some reason. So if you'd like to do something, feel free to email, or call (although I'm terrible on the phone, so it might seem like I don't want to talk, but I just don't know what to say on the phone) or even visit if you don't mind the drive and the mess.


Blogger Rebecca said...

Maggie, I am so sorry for your loss. I'm sure it's hard to know how you're 'supposed' to feel about it all, but in the end, how you feel about it is what matters, and not everyone else's ideas. Thinking of you. Will get together after my family is gone from the holidays. We miss seeing you guys a lot.

11:21 PM  
Blogger Ken said...

Maggie, I can't image your pain at this terrible loss. My heart goes out to you. May you have the freedom to grieve and also may you eventually find peace.


6:13 AM  
Anonymous The Satirist said...

hey maggie, i know we haven't talked in years, but if you need a place to vent some thoughts feel free to email me( i'll be praying for you and skyler...

6:17 PM  

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