It's hard to take in, but today it is a month since we found out our baby Beans had died. I'm not sure where the time has gone, although in some ways it feels like it all happened longer than a month ago. At other times it feels like it was only yesterday.
It's been quite a month, with lows that I never could have imagined I would feel, a sadness I didn't believe was bearable, and a depth of pain I didn't realise existed. There have been moments when I've wondered how the Boy and I would survive, days sat in front of my computer at work using all my energy to keep the tears inside, and nights riddled with nightmares and unrest.
At first I felt the wound so keenly - there was a real physical pain inside of me that throbbed and burned, and I couldn't escape it as much as I wanted to. It needed to be felt. My arms ached to hold a baby, my whole being wanted to smell, sense, and feel a baby, our baby. I felt so angry and frustrated at what we had lost, wanting someone to blame when there was no one. Wanting to make sense of a situation that lacked any logic. Envious of those who had children or were pregnant, not through any malice but so desperately wishing things were different for me and the Boy. It was very difficult to begin to let go - to stop torturing myself with 'what ifs' and 'if onlys'. A month on I still feel myself at times wanting to go down that path, but I can generally pull myself back. The detours are unhelpful and cause me undue grief - the journey ahead is already difficult with hurdles and obstacles enough without being sidetracked.
But we have also had some good times, and yesterday brought a sense of closure to the process for me. As painful as it has all been, I feel able to start to move on. I am haunted by the image of the Boy carrying our baby's coffin - a sight I never imagined I would see, and an experience I wish the Boy had never been through. But at last we are all at peace. Our baby is buried with other lost babies for company, and won't be moved any more. We can all rest now. And the boy and I can be brave and strong for our baby, and begin to live our lives again.
The baby has left us quite a legacy - only with us for 13 weeks, but from its death we have learned many things. We know how loved we are by family and friends, and what sympathetic and kind colleagues and employers we both have. We know we can make a baby, and we know I can deliver one. We know how much we want a family, and how any sacrifices we make for this will be so worth it and so much better than the alternative. But most of all, as I've said so many times in these entries, I have a renewed, heightened and more intense love for my husband. In the short time it was with us, the baby awakened a new side of me, and I have a greater capacity for love than before. And that love has gone to the Boy. He has shown himself to be every bit the man I knew he was, but also a whole lot more. I've been there with him in a dank, dark place when we've been tested and tortured, and we've walked out of that dark place together, stronger, braver... somehow just 'more' than we were before.
Going forwards will take time, I know from my work as a bereavement counsellor that there will be many difficult days ahead. We will be reminded of our loss when we least expect it; a word, conversation, experience, picture, date or song can transport us back to that dark place with the click of a finger. And that will be hard to deal with. More tests lie ahead, as friends announce their pregnancies and extend their families, and we must find the courage within ourselves to separate their happy news from our loss, and to be joyful and proud for them. And the greatest challenge of all I suspect will be if we find ourselves pregnant again - how will we cope with the nerves and anxiety, and manage our fears? Will it bring back all the memories of our first dear baby? What will we do if we find ourselves here again? Can we live through another loss as well as we have this time? Is our relationship strong enough to be tested again? I think I know the answers to these questions, but we won't know for sure until we are in that position.
I know I have so much more work to do. I'm not yet able to read back through the posts on my blog to when I was pregnant. It's still too upsetting for me to recall how happy and excited I was. That will come with a bit more time I think. But I am sure it will come. I have hope and faith in the future, and I have sublime love. And I am reminded of the Corinthians reading we had at our wedding and I take heart and strength from the words: "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love".