Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The silence

Yesterday at the high risk office, there was a family of women (one of them obviously pregnant) already waiting for an appointment when we arrived. Being the anti-social person that I can sometimes be, I avoided eye contact with them and checked myself in at the front. While I was filling out the requisite paper work, Chris noticed a sign that advertised a DVD of the ultrasound for only $5. When I turned the forms back in, I asked the receptionist about the DVD and received a blank one to take back to the ultrasound tech. The other family overheard us and also decided that they wanted one as well.
And then the conversation that I dreaded began.

How far along are you? Do you know what you're having? Is this your first?...

I know it is purely a personal choice, but I decided a long time ago that when people ask me questions about my personal life (i.e. number of children) I would be candid about Owen; though how much I tell people is always dependent upon what kind of a day I'm having.
She (the pregnant one) was very kind to us and seemed extremely shocked. I wondered why they were here, at the high risk office, but didn't know if it was appropriate to ask. You find all kinds of patients at the peri, but she didn't seem the slightest bit worried about her appointment and was the kind of pregnant women that pregnant women like me avoid.
Naive, innocent, blissfully ignorant about all the horrible things that can and do happen during pregnancy. Well, she was ignorant until I burst her naive bubble. She chattered on about hiccups and getting fat and uncomfortable, all the while making me very uncomfortable. But I know...she didn't mean to and as kind as she was, she just couldn't understand.

I noticed her sister sitting quietly beside their mom during this interaction, but didn't know what to think about her silence. They were called back and we all wished each other well. About 15 minutes later, the sister came back out to the waiting room.

If you've ever met Chris, then you'd know right away that he's never met a stranger. He struck up a conversation with her right away. She asked what happened to Owen and said that her sister was really concerned about what had happened to him.
She then mentioned that she too had lost a baby. Early, she said. She said she was glad she didn't know what it was. The pain was so evident in her eyes, in her young face. I grimaced inside. Oh, that's why she was so silent before.
I couldn't imagine what it must be like for her to listen to her younger sister talk on and on about her pregnancy. She smiled slightly and said, 'that's why I had to leave the room. I just couldn't handle being in there any longer. They dragged me here. I didn't want to come.'
I asked if her loss was recent and she told us that no, her loss was not recent, but that she can no longer have children. My heart broke in two for her.

We spoke for a little while longer about our babies and Chris encouraged her to communicate to her sister and mom about how hard this is for her. You could tell she didn't seem like the confrontational type and she waved off Chris' words and said, 'no, no it's fine.'
'No, it's not fine,' I replied, 'Though they may not mean to hurt you, they just don't understand how much pain there is and how it never goes away.'

I'm still thinking about that young woman today, and the silence that comes with so much pain and loss.


Kelly said...

I feel for this woman for so many reasons. You and Chris probably gave her hope today in a world where she feels like no one understands her.

Erika said...

what an incredible interaction- i am so glad you were there for this woman. it's amazing when we open ourselves up how many people have been through the heartache of babyloss, but people just don't talk about it. thank you for putting yourself out there and reaching out to this woman in her time of need. (((hugs)))


The Blue Sparrow said...

Oh wow, I too really feel for her. My sister is pregnant right now and we were due about the same time with this most recent miscarriage of mine. Its going to be hard watching her progress in her pregnancy but I am really trying to be happy for her. It was really great to read about this interaction between you guys. Thanks for sharing! *HUGS*

Wendee said...

How is it that you always find ways to bring comfort to someone's darkest days by just sharing your feelings and your thoughts. I look up to you so much and I'm so glad that baby Hannah Mae is doing well!