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The 2nd Candle in a Year and All Alone

by Rachel Hill

In a desperate search for information to help understand and come to terms with my recent miscarriage I found your website. It has given me explanations for the huge amount sadness and grief that have washed over me since my loss. I have spent the past 2 weeks reading all of your stories here and have cried along with you, and with so many of your experiences. I want to thank all of you for the courage to share them. They have provided an incredible amount of comfort and strength to know that I am not alone and that there are others out there who can understand what I am going through.
To repay the debt in kind, I will share my own in hopes that it too, will add to the collective healing power that these stories provide.

Date: Fri, 11 Aug 2000

The 2nd Candle in a Year and all Alone...

Last night marks 2 weeks since I lost my baby. Late last night, I went to a beautiful outdoor sanctuary to sit, pray, and cry. There I lit a candle to honor the brief life of my child. This is the 2nd time I have had to do this here in a little over a year. Both times alone. I tried to write this when I got home and just couldn't face the emotions, so I will try again tonight. I will start back in the beginning. These past 2 years I have known the greatest love of my life but along with that has also come the greatest heartache I have ever gone through. I was in a relationship that I was deeply committed to and with a man that I loved completely. At the end of April of 1999, his brother and sister-in-law learned that they were pregnant with their 1st child. It was very exciting news! I was so happy for them.
They are really great. Soon after, in May, his oldest brother and wife had a baby girl! I have always really liked his oldest brother, and felt close to him. He is a neat guy so this was a great time for the family! During this time frame, my boyfriend and I would talk and joke around about getting married, "lets just do it!". Then we would say, "No,no we'll wait when everything is right". Very shortly after , at the beginning of June 1999, we learned that I was pregnant. We were very surprised to say the least! It was big news, but then I thought, "Hey I love this man with all my heart, we have been talking about marriage, and I have always known that I would make a great mom! I was excited that the cousins would only be a few months apart for one and 1 year for the other ! They could grow up together and play together, etc. I wanted them all to be close. I wasn't quite ready to tell anyone yet, not even my family. Shortly after, a VERY odd coincidence occurred, which I interpreted to be a sign. I was sitting with my family on a Saturday afternoon and they all started asking me about my boyfriend. (note: he was living in another state at this time and I was flying to visit him for weeks at a time every chance I got). They were saying they had NEVER seen me so in love before and why don't I just GO and be with him now and why don't ya'll just get married? Is he the one, etc?
This completely shocked me! My family had NEVER talked about marriage, etc.
I had no idea where this had come from! They began then throwing around ideas for a small ceremony and what things would also make it important for my boyfriend, etc. I knew having his family there was a big one and so my mom said if we wanted to do it here, she would pay for his mother's ticket for her to come from Puerto Rico or my family could go there or wherever. Whatever we wanted. It was all only suggestions and in fun but they were actually excited and happy for me! As I was listening to them, I was thinking and smiling, "if they only knew right now I'm pregnant!" That afternoon I called my boyfriend and said "Lets do it!" It was from that moment forward that my world would slowly begin to change and heartache began to creep in. Instead of happiness, I got doubt and hesitancy. As I listened to him, I felt my heart fall. This was from the man who had for months been asking me to move there, to be with him?? After several discussions, he convinced me that we really want to do it right when we have our family and we don't want to struggle and that we WILL do it right one day. I believed in this man and I believed in our relationship. I wanted to do what would be best for our family. If we were going to end this pregnancy "for our future" then we were going to be more than ever committed to our relationship and to each other. We made that commitment. Without going into the details, we terminated the pregnancy at 6 weeks. It was the hardest thing I had been through. I was completely heartbroken and sad. I felt like I a part of my soul died. What's worse, I couldn't tell anyone. I had this huge incredible sadness and grief and I had no one I could talk to about it.
Its not something that you just tell people about. I had to brush off my family's inquires about moving, getting married, etc. They picked up on my cues after awhile and stopped asking. Then on top of it, I had to watch his sister-in-law go through her pregnancy. It was agony. I was happy for her, I really was, but inside I cried. That should of been me, should of been us.
What would I have been feeling at all the different stages? Watching all the support she got as I was all alone, we could of gone through this together, sharing experiences, etc. In my heart, I told myself that "May my baby's spirit be bestowed up on hers and may her child be filled with a life of love and be blessed." I will always have a special connection to her boy.
Its so hard, because they will never know. From the day I found out I was pregnant, my heart opened up even more to his family. These were going to be the baby's aunts and uncles, his/her grandmother. I wanted the families to be close and HUGE! I really wanted to see his mother, even though she didn't know why. I just needed to make the connection real. The one thing I have noticed through out these stories, is how many of you have said that "if it were not for my husband/boyfriend I could not of made it through this": "I am so fortunate to have the kind of husband that I do. He has been so strong for the both of us", " I couldn't of made it through without him", "My boyfriend has been my rock" "My boyfriend has been terrific, he has always been there," "My husband and I grew closer & bonded in a way I never knew we could." and on and on. In my case, instead of bringing us closer together, he emotionally went away. I needed him, I needed him desperately.
He just left me all alone with my grief .He was the only person who KNEW what the sadness behind my eyes was about, the only one to turn to, the one who should of most been there for me. He would never talk about it and I so needed to. I needed to acknowledge it. Whenever I tried to bring it up he would change the subject or just not answer. His way of avoiding.....
silence. So many of you have said several 'do's and don'ts" as suggestions for friends and families who are trying to be supportive during this period.
(I have some of them at the bottom here. I found them to be really helpful.) The one thing that so many have emphasized: "Whatever you do, DON'T be silent. It tells me you don't care." And that is all I got from him...
silence and that is exactly how I felt, like he didn't care. So instead of grieving together, he left me alone with the sorrow, as if it was only my loss. I have never felt so alone. We could of gone through it together and became closer but instead we moved apart. The day his sister-in-law had her baby, I lost it. We were out having breakfast and his brother called to give the good news. From deep inside, all the sadness that had, for all these months, been locked away came out. I couldn't even try to keep it in. It was overwhelming. After he got off the phone, I just started crying uncontrollably. I was really ,really upset. The sadness was just tremendous.
He put his arm around me in the restaurant. We walked outside but he didn't say ANYTHING to me. We were in separate cars and I went home. He never even called later to see if I was alright, nor did he ever bring it up. And he KNEW what it was that I was crying about. On top of this, our 1 year anniversary was to be the following week. I was becoming very disillusioned.
I was learning that this was his pattern. He could be so sincere and supportive, but it only lasted a couple of hours or a day max. After that, its like it never happened. You couldn't count on him to really be there. That day, I only got a few minutes worth. As we went forward, our relationship begin to deteriorate. He started talking to other women, etc. He had moved back but it was a complete disaster. He came back physically, but emotionally he was gone. Because we had made that sacrifice for our relationship, I had an obligation, a promise to that baby, to not give up, to give it everything we could, to make it the best relationship ever, to honor that child with our love for each other. The guilt I felt as the relationship was neglected was immense. I was letting that baby down. As he told me later, he" gave up".
I felt so hurt by him and betrayed, but not only me, he betrayed our relationship, he betrayed our commitment and he betrayed the baby. He told me I was just not the same anymore. Well jeez! Look what I had been through, like I should have been able to deal with this better? I wasn't all fun and games lately? Well maybe if I would of had more of your support when I needed you, things would of turned out completely different. The day after his nephew was born, I asked him if he would come with me to the outdoor sanctuary by my house. I just wanted us to sit together for awhile and find some peace. I wanted to light a candle for our baby and wish his spirit well. I wanted the baby to know that he/she had been conceived in love and BOTH of us were there for him, both parents. He told me "No", flat out. He said he wouldn't go with me. So I went by myself, and sat and cried and lit a candle for our baby and for the little cousin that was just born. I will always light a candle on Nov.20, on his birthday. Time moved into the spring of 2000 and the relationship ended. At the end of this past May, we were together and the condom broke. Not wanting to go through what happened last year, we decided to go to Planned Parenthood to get the Emergency Contraception. (its 2 pills, taken 12 hours apart, that are basically super birth control pills. The extra hormones prevent the egg from implanting, but must be taken within 72hours). Due to work constraints, we had to wait, 2 days. I was going to take them on a Thursday night and the next on Friday morning. Thursday morning we went to P.P. and I had a very difficult time walking in. I never thought, & almost exactly a year later, I would be back here. I just almost couldn't go in. My boyfriend was telling me not to worry, that it was not the same thing at all, and only a preventive measure. He was very kind while we were there, just like the man I used to know and love so deeply. In those moments, my heart just opens up to him. He stayed with me that night, when I was going to take the pills, after work. The next day, he went right back to being the stranger he had become. Again, supportive for a VERY short time and then, it was like it never happened. By weird coincidence I ran into him that night while out for a friend's birthday and he practically ignored me except for a "courtesy" hello. I was shocked. I was thinking "You were in my house 12 hours ago, knowing what we were dealing with and you are acting like this?? "Needless to say, I was very disappointed in him. I spent the next 2 months working on moving on with life and getting over the relationship. I had been deeply in love with this man, but I had to let him go. I had come to peace and terms with a lot of the things that had happened and was feeling pretty good. So much so that at the end of July I had responded to an email in which he had asked how I was doing and how he really wanted to be my friend. I was trying really hard to let go of the anger and the sadness, because so often with people, that just turns into hate. I don't want to hate him nor have my heart filled with it.
In that email, among other things, I told him I had just gotten back from the book store that afternoon and had found a really great series of children's books on ancient cultures, etc. I had bought them for my nephew (on my brother's side). In that I had commented " It will be fun to do some of those projects with him. One day I can do them with my own children. What a great way to have fun and learn at the same time. I think I am going to make good Mom" Little did I know, that was about to be shattered again in just 48 little hours. On late Sunday night, I had noticed a spot or two. I thought it was really odd since it was nowhere near time for my period and it looked kinda funny, not right. I didn't think much of it and went to bed.
The next morning I woke up to UNBELIEVABLE cramps. I was in some very, very serious pain. I also noticed that I was bleeding and again it was very odd in color and consistency. I kept thinking how odd, its not time for my period! I called one of my friends to ask what she takes for cramps since I usually don't get them. She suggested some Aleve. I had to go to work because I had some very important meetings that I absolutely could not miss.
The Aleve knocked off the cramps for awhile. At work, they began to get progressively worse along with the bleeding. By the afternoon I knew something was terribly wrong. I called my gynecologist and after describing what was going on, he insisted that I get into his office IMMEDIATELY. By this time, I was getting scared because the pain was really intense. I went and told my boss that I had to go to my doctor and I was going to have to leave right away. I don't know how I drove there. I got to the doctor's office and they saw me right away. In his office, he asked me if I was pregnant and I said No. He then did a vaginal sonogram and said I was and that it appeared about 2 months but I was having a miscarriage. I was in absolute shock and disbelief. I had looked at the monitor with him and still was in shock. I was speechless. He ordered blood tests to run the HCG levels and I was to come back at the end of the week for another to compare the levels and confirm the miscarriage that was going on. I was like a zombie walking out of there. I couldn't absorb or process it at all. I think it was still the disbelief. I didn't want to believe this was happening. It couldn't be happening! NO! Mid-week I called my ex to let him know. This was his baby too. I was still in shock and didn't know what to say. When I told him he got very emotional and apologized for all the pain he has caused. I told him this wasn't his fault. He said he really wanted to go with me on Friday for the next blood test and that he was going to take the rest of that afternoon off. He really wanted to be there. I believed him and I really needed him. I could not deal with this again. The next day it began to hit me. I was starting to really get upset. He called on Thursday afternoon to confirm the time and in the course of the conversation things were already changing. Suddenly taking the afternoon off became only an hour or two. He wanted to meet me somewhere rather than coming by my house to pick me up, etc.. I knew what was coming. I thought I can't deal with this AND you. So I asked him flat out, what was going to happened AFTER this hour on Friday that you are planning to "be there" for me? Is it going to be like what happened last time? What, are you going to shake hands, like nothing and away you go? He said yes, that was all he could do. He said he was sorry, but he has to take care of himself right now and "I am just selfish I guess". I told him not to come. Thanks but no thanks. I just couldn't deal with him and this.

Things are going... well, I wont qualify with an adverb just yet (good, horrible, fair, well, great, etc.) since I am still kinda in shock over this pregnancy and its subsequent loss. I have been in a daze at work. The other day, I was walking down this long empty hall to the restroom and I thought I was just going to collapse right there on the floor and sob. My baby, our baby died. I don't know if I can go through another day of fake smiles and fighting back tears. I just keep thinking .. my baby was with me for 2 months!!! It really hasn't sunk in. I am unsure how to vocalize it yet.
When I try to talk about it, I just come up against a wall. I feel like my heart is breaking all over again. I went to the doctor for the 1st follow up. I have to come back for another. He told me that I was appx 2 months pregnant (10 weeks gestation). The thing that gets me, and he doesn't realize/see it, is that it wasn't just my loss, it was his loss too. He lost a child just as I did. But as he told me about being there and why he cant: "I guess I am just being selfish right now". You cant be there for the death of your child? Even if the baby died at 2 months, it was still your child. I cant understand that kind of heart. I have now had 2 babies with that man and have lost both within about a year (06/99 and 07/24/00). The whole thing just kinda freaks me out. So again, I have gone to light another candle, and again, I was all alone. Both of our babies would of been born between the 15-20 of February. I will light a candle that week always and the other on the day each died. My ex's birthday, oddly is the 18th of February. I hope he will also think about his children that are not here and on his birthday light a candle for them as well and in doing so, ask their forgiveness for not honoring them earlier.

*******************
Here are some excerpts from the Don'ts from things not to say/do: The complete list can be seen at:

http://www.sunflowergal.com/loss/mc_do's.htm 

** It was God's will
** You can try again.
** You're young, you can have more children ** You're lucky it was so soon in the pregnancy. At least you didn't get attached to the baby.

* Don't avoid me. This tells me that you just don't care.
* Don't expect me to "get on with my life" a week after miscarriage. Grieving is a very individual process.
* Don't say "You weren't that far along so it must not have seemed that real to you."
* Don't say: You'll have another one someday and forget all about this...
* Don't say: It wasn't a baby yet anyway.
--need I explain?

* Don't tell me I will feel better soon, I will get stronger with time I suppose but I miss my baby and angel and my life has changed and I have to find a new normal, this is not easy and not better, it is hard, please be patient with me, I have a hard time with life and my future right now...

* Don't ignore the fact that I lost a baby if you pretend it did not happen it will not make me feel better, it will just make me think you don't care about me or the baby * Don't expect me to be the same person I was before loss, I am not and can not be, I have a heart and I loved and I am grieving my baby for life, it is not easy and sometimes I can not concentrate or think about certain things the way I once did. Please be patient with me, grief is not easy...

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