I thought it would just be the loss of Margot. And it was, for a while. Her death was all there was and everything else, the other losses that sat on the other side of the imbalanced teeter totter, seemed rather inconsequential compared to the reality that our second child died on the freeway as we rushed to the hospital.
And now, not so much. The other losses, some permanent and some temporary, have crept up, adding to what already seemed hard enough.
Like the fact that we recently made an appointment with an infertility specialist. Even though we luckily got pregnant on our first try with Stella and Margot, it seems that massive blood loss and placenta abruption can lead to other problems, some of which may affect our ability to get pregnant in the near future. Every new monthly blood spill feels like another chip off the block of hope.
K has now been denied health insurance from everyone on our list, due to her kidney failure, a pre-existing condition that now marks her health history, like the scar that runs across her belly. Sometimes when the tears dry up, the wonderful gift of black humor comes rolling in, and we joke with one another. We got a dead baby and a pre-existing condition! Can’t say that very often.
The loss of our day to day is starting to weigh heavily. No more meet ups or mom groups or play dates with close friends. Too many babies cooing and crying, too many innocent mothers gushing over their newborns (as they should), too many mothers complaining about how hard it is to have two kids (as they should). Too many conversations that could lead to painful places. Like when a well meaning friend recently said, “When you have your second child, at least Stella will be older and having two kids will be easier. I guess in that sense, you’re lucky.”
Instead of the normal day to day, our vast community of friends and moms and neighbors has been replaced with a cave where few are allowed to enter. And we stick mostly to our cave, where it’s safe, where we can have the freedom to express our sorrow and our joy, without pressure to get better or cry less. It can be lonely in this new dwelling, so we fill it with books and our family upstairs and work and Stella, who bounces around excitedly as if this new normal is actually normal.
There is the constant reminder of what could have been, a haunting reality that comes and goes as easily as the wind. They say that when you lose a parent, you lose part of your past. When you lose a spouse, you lose part of your present. And when you lose a child, you lose part of your future. I feel this particular loss so deeply, the loss of all the ways our lives would be different if Margot had lived.
A dear friendship sits in hiatus. We mourn with them, separately and sometimes together, hoping this too shall pass.
And then there is our precious little L who preceded Margot by a week, who lives a few houses down, whose parents happen to be our best friends. We dreamed of sharing our little tikes together, of daily hang outs and nightly card games and watching Stella care for them and most of all, watching them grow up together, little hand holding little hand.
Some days, like today, when the grief feels heavier than ever, when it feels like this will never end, I have to remember that it’s not just Margot we have lost.