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The Dreaded Question

Last night I went to go get my hair done, and as the lady was washing my hair and making small talk she asked the dreaded question…

“So do you and your husband have any kids?”

I hesitated a moment.  I wasn’t really sure how to answer.  Part of me wanted to say no, just to make the rest of the appointment as painless as possible, but that always feels like I’m betraying Josh is some way.  Finally, I took a deep breath and said, “Do you want the easy answer or do you want the truth?”

She said, “The truth.”

I took another deep breath and slowly and carefully selected my words as I replied, “Yes, we had a son in February, but we lost him 36 hours after he was born.”

After the initial, “I’m so sorry.” and “That’s just terrible.”  She asked what happened.

I slowly began to tell our story.  I told her about pre-eclampsia and our terrifying c-section.  I told her about Josh, and how perfect and beautiful he was.  I told her how the doctors offered little explanation as to what really happened.

I feel like I should wear a warning sign – “Always listen to your gut instincts. Ask for a second opinion.”  That’s become my mantra over these past 12 weeks.

I realize that our story and situation was unique.  I know that there are lots of women who develop pre-eclampsia and are able to take their precious little ones home at some point.  But I also know that there are plenty of women who are just like me, sitting here with empty arms, and wondering why we had to be part of such horrible statistics.

Sometimes that’s all I feel like.  It often seems like the doctors all look at me like I’m just a number, another statistic that they have to figure out what to do with.  Pre-eclampsia develops in 5-8% of all pregnancies.  My chance of recurrence is between 5-80% depending on who you ask.  1 in 4 women suffer some kind of a pregnancy or neonatal loss.  Babies born at 29 weeks have a 4% mortality rate.  I get lost in all of these numbers.  All I know is that it happened to me…and I’m pretty sure that it shouldn’t have.

………………………………………………………………………..

I stopped by my husband’s work today before heading into my own .  He works as an assistant manager for a local retail store, and while I was in there one of his “regulars” came in.  I was introduced as Patrick’s wife, and she went on to tell me how my husband is a pretty good guy.  I smiled and agreed.

She continued on to ask how long we’ve been married, “It will be two years in August,” I replied with a smile.

She then asked the awful question.  “So do you guys have any kids?”

This time I was out of energy and didn’t want to ruin this sweet lady’s day so I just said, “not yet,” feeling those familiar pangs of  guilt and pain at that little white lie.

“Well that’s good,” she said.  “You guys have plenty of time. It’s good not to rush into children.”

I just looked at Patrick and saw the same look of defeat that I’m sure was in my own eyes.  I know for many simply asking if we have children seems like an innocent enough of a question, but boy does that question sting.

For the rest of my life there are going to be questions that hurt.  The question “how many kids do you have?”  How do I answer that?  The truth will always be a painful to hear and painful to speak. I think that’s one of the questions I’m most dreading the next time we are pregnant.  I remember how many times I was asked if this was our first.  Next time around it’s going to hurt to say “no” and then hear the inevitable follow-up question of “how old is your first?”  It’s not a conversation I want to have with everyone, but at the same time I want to tell the whole world.  It’s a very strange catch-22.

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5 thoughts on “The Dreaded Question”

  1. I know that awkward feeling. My loss was much earlier (14 weeks), but to this day, I still choose which situations I will share that I have 3 children – one of whom is waiting in Heaven. Hang in there, my friend.this healing process takes time, prayer and love.So glad you have Patrick!

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  2. I’m with you on this one. It’s awkward to answer truthfully sometimes, but I also feel like I’m doing wrong by Lauren if I say ”no”. Such a natural question and I’m sorry it’s so hard for all of us to answer now. :-(

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  3. I hate the question “Is she your only child?” I hate how it makes me feel, but since our son was born sleeping on March 25th, she is not our only child. I dreaded the question before it was asked, but when the lady asked, I figured I would give her the truth. I wanted to tell the world that Mason existed…so I said, “She is our angel here on earth and our son is our angel in Heaven.” She said she was sorry, which is not what I wanted, but I figured if she asked the question that she could handle the truth.

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    1. I’m so sorry for your loss. We have a nephew named Mason. Such a sweet name. I know no one ever means any harm when they ask these types of questions, but boy do they sting. It makes me think twice about what I ask people. I wonder how many times I asked something similar and didn’t recognize the pain in their eyes when they answered with a small lie to spare me of their own pain.

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  4. You know, I feel the exact same way. How many times did I ask that same question without realizing how much it could hurt someone?

    I am also so sorry for your loss of your angel Josh. I also love the name Josh. I had a close childhood friend named Josh and i miss him all the time. When Mason was born I was sure that was suppose to be his name…..Mason Riley. It was a beautiful name when I picked it, but when he was born it seemed fitting of an angel. The time that we took choosing his name and making sure it was perfect…making sure it was a name that would work for a boy or girl (Mayson for a girl)…I searched and searched for a perfect name…and it was.

    I send hugs to you…I just read Love Wasted. I pray that you find some comfort and don’t let them put you on anymore medications if you are trying to get off the one you are on. My therapist and I have decided to go this without medications. She however suggested that I go get some progesterone because it somehow helps with moods.

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