Losing Adela

Inside I am numb. I feel...fine, I guess.

But my body hurts. My head throbs like I've had too much caffeine. Every muscle in my body is exhausted. I wake up feeling beat. My hands are shaky. I get hit by random spells of nausea. I wake up everyday feeling like I'm hungover.

After feeling like this for over a week, I thought something had to be wrong with me. I must have some vitamin deficiency from the miscarriage and loss of blood. There had to be a medical explanation.

I went to my midwife, eager to find a quick fix for the bothersome symptoms.

Her diagnosis?

Grief.

I was stunned. After wading through two weeks of devastating emotional pain, I went a bit numb. I couldn't cry about the loss of my sweet angel baby anymore. I didn't even think about her that much. I felt guilty for feeling that way, but I couldn't help it. I assumed I had healed from the miscarriage faster than I expected.

I got on google as soon as I got home and was shocked by how the physical symptoms of grief lined up with exactly what I was experiencing. I didn't pick and choose the symptoms I have listed here. Everything I read lined up perfectly.

Physical symptoms – We often think of grief as a strictly emotional process, but grief often involves physical problems, including fatigue, nausea, lowered immunity, weight loss or weight gain, aches and pains, and insomnia.

When grief covers us with its dark wings, it is much like a serious illness. We will be emotionally and physically depleted and a variety of symptoms will follow. It is important to be aware of these symptoms; however, so we don't think we are going crazy. Here are some of the commonly reported symptoms:

Many people will experience a state of numbness while moving through grief.Some people spend a relatively short time in this numb state, as short as a few days, while others find it lingers. This is part of how our bodies help to protect us from the overwhelming emotions caused by our loved one's death. We become numb and filter through information as we are able, instead of all at once. The feelings will come back, but it will take time.

Exhaustion. Perhaps  the most commonly reported symptom of grief is utter exhaustion and confusion. In her book, Surviving Grief, Dr. Catherine M. Sanders explains "we become so weak that we actually feel like we have the flu. Because of our lack of experience with energy depletion, this weakness frightens and perplexes us. Before the loss, it happened only when we were sick."

I felt a little dramatic experiencing all these physical symptoms over the loss of a 9 week baby, a little embarrassed to admit that's what was wrong. But inside I couldn't help being a little glad. I was grieving for my angel, even if it didn't feel like it. My body was telling me how much I loved and missed her. It felt like I was paying tribute to my lost Adela Rose, proving to her how much I love and miss her.

Going through the physical process of miscarriage was hard, but I can't help but be happy that I am the one who experienced it. Despite the gruesome process, I got to spend every moment of my darling's life with her. I carried her and had that special connection with her. Her heart took its first and last beat in me. She knew only me and my body.

My husband has remarked on this several times. He grieves that he didn't get that connection with her. Some of his first words after learning the devastating news were, "I'll never get to hold our baby". Almost every time we talk about her, he brings it up - that he'll never get to hold Adela Rose in his arms. He loved her and wanted her but he wanted a stronger, more physical connection like the one I had. I may have an empty womb now, but for nine beautiful weeks I carried her. He will never have that privilege.

It’s been about two weeks since I started writing this, and the physical symptoms are gone. I don’t know when the state of numbness will wear off. I don’t know when the emotional grief will hit again - if indeed it does. But when or if it does, I will accept it as part of my journey - part of my tribute to my sweet Adela Rose. I am the mama to an angel in heaven now. She deserves all my love and remembrance, in whatever form it takes.

Losing a baby to miscarriage is heartbreaking, yet so other we keep our loss a secret, locked inside our hearts. Have you lost a baby to miscarriage? Need a safe place to tell your story? Feel free to share in the comments below. 


Attribution: Image courtesy of Henning Mühlinghaus via Flickr, under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.