One of the memories etched into my brain since the birth of my daughters is how tiny they were, and how big and yet helpless I felt. So much stronger, so robust – and unable to save them. They were tiny but perfect, the only thing they would have needed was more time in my womb. Perhaps the worst was when A was trying to breathe – she was struggling to stay alive, and there was nothing I could do.

I think others feel similarly helpless when facing our loss. They would like to comfort us, but don’t know what to say. For me, not saying anything leads to a strange limbo – I keep waiting for them to at least acknowledge our loss, even though, realistically, that may never happen, if it hasn’t in the first few meetings or email exchanges since. Nevertheless I feel myself getting tense before each new meeting – for most comments, caring and loving as I’m sure they are intended, also stir up raw emotions.

Yesterday I had another helpless moment – H sneezed rather violently (not atypical for him) and then complained about chest pain. As it didn’t improve, we went to the ER, although we had hoped not having to enter another hospital for a while. Due to “data protection” issues, I wasn’t even allowed to be with him most of the time. After clear ECG and chest X-ray they declared the pain of “musculoskeletal origin, probably” and sent us home with blood pressure medications – that was the part they were much more concerned about. 200 isn’t a healthy value. He seems to be getting better, if slowly, but I woke up in the middle of the night with a pounding heart that wouldn’t calm down for a while. I’ve had such moments lately, though not this bad. I’m assuming they are good old-fashioned panic attacks. My babies died. Now my husband is sick. I’m trying to breathe and take it one day at a time, but every now and then perhaps my subconscious feels inclined to point out that something is terribly wrong here.

21 thoughts on “helpless

  1. Oh, that does not sound like fun at all. The part about having to go back to a hospital. I’m sorry that you now have to add this to your list of worries. I would rather you have a nonexistent list of worries.

    And I think that with such senseless, tragic losses, it ends up being those who have lost who are placed in a position to educate those around them (which is so unfair). People don’t want to think about death, talk about death or hear about it. They just want to move on. Unless they have had losses themselves, and have traveled that dark road. I hope you can find others near you who are schooled in grief and loss. You need strong supports right now. You need your pain to be reflected in the faces and voices of others so that you can see it and digest it and live through it. Not push it aside as if it didn’t happen. I hope that those people who can walk with you in your grief are emerging.

    1. Augusta – there are some. I guess I’m just sad or disappointed that some I expected to be there for me don’t seem to be able to.
      I also have all of you. It really helps me to write this story out and read your comments, your support.

      1. I’m glad that there are some people around you that can support you. And I am sorry that some of your people don’t know how/ aren’t able to support you. And I’m glad that you have the online community. These women here are gold.

  2. Hugs to you, not only, again, for not being able to take C and A home with you, but also the need to go to the hospital again with your husband and being concerned about his health.

  3. I hope your husband continues to feel better. I am so sorry you have to deal with all of this. It is no easy task. Thinking of you and sending you a big hug! xoxoxo!

  4. Oh man. I’ve had panic attacks, and for some reason like you I would get them at night when lying in bed or just drifting off to sleep. It’s totally normal that you’d be going through that with all that’s been happening, but it’s hard to deal with them when they’re happening. I really hope that 2014 brings you a lot more peace and a lot less pain and worry than 2013.

  5. Something is terribly wrong with this situation. Your hubby should be healthy and your babies should be with you. And I’m so sorry for your helplessness and for the pain that you’re enduring, Life is certainly not fair. I’m sure like to many others…I wish I could take your hurt away, dear friend. I’ll pray for you tonight.

  6. Panic attacks are terrifying! I’m so sorry you have to experience that on top of everything else… but it makes complete sense that your body and mind would react this way to everything you’re going through! Hopeful that the husband will feel better soon and that with time your body will find better ways to cope with the fear and stress than by adding more fear and stress! Thinking of you!

  7. How scary. I can’t imagine. I’m constantly terrified of something happening to my husband or living child WITHOUT and actual issues. Something like that would throw me over the edge for sure. I also would get really stressed about what other people would or would not say when I would see them for a while after. I took an anti anxiety pill anytime I left the house for about 2 months.

  8. OH MAN! I think some panic attacks are totally appropriate in this situation. I wonder if your husband’s body is freaking out, too. It’s like all the energy you guys must be putting into holding it together, being there for each other, it’s taking a physical toll… I hope he improves rapidly…

    I’m sorry people are failing you. Chances are if we were friends in real life I’d fail you too. It’s so hard to know what to say in the moment. Which doesn’t mean you should have to feel sorry for the people who can’t be what you need them to be or waste any of your energy understanding them. It’s interesting–I’ve read many times that not saying anything is hurtful, and that it’s not as if a person who has lost children is not thinking about it (you know, that whole “I don’t want to say anything to REMIND you of your loss” as if that’s possible), but you’re the first person in my limited experience to talk about the fact that people’s comments do stir up pain. But maybe that’s a good thing? Stirred up is better than ignored?

    1. Bunny – I think it is a bit of both, but we have had concerns about his blood pressure even before things went south, so I think this one needs some attention.
      I was thinking of writing a long answer to the second part of your comment, but decided that needs a post to itself. It is such a complicated topic, and so individual (as in, sometimes I think a response was good, and H disagrees, or vice versa).

  9. I’m so sorry about your panic attacks and feeling helpless. I hope that your husband is feeling better. Hugs.

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