Doing something a little different today - I'm sharing a "dad story." My husband wanted to share what's been on his heart lately. He hopes it will help some other men out their who may be struggling with handling emotions after loss. Like I have emphasized before, sometimes all we need is to know we are not alone.
To this day, no one, not even my wife, knows how I truly felt the day our baby's heart stopped beating. If I recall correctly, it was a Thursday afternoon. We were cleaning our weapons at the armory. I had just finished up and put all my gear in the car when I got a phone call from my wife saying that the baby's heart had stopped beating. In denial, I said, "Are they sure?" My wife cried, "Yes." I remember the next things out of my mouth would instantly change the complex of our relationship. I said, "Well, you got your wish then."
For weeks before, she was nervous to be pregnant and didn't know if she was ready to be a mom. Was it the right thing for me to say? Absolutely not. I don't know if it was just my raw emotions talking or what, but I wish I could have gone back and said something else, or just not have said anything at all. Because sometimes it really is best to say nothing. What I was really feeling was my heart being torn out of my chest and shredded to pieces. I blamed God, questioned Him about why our baby died, why us?!
I remember like it was yesterday. The Third Day song "Cry Out to Jesus" was on in the car on my way home from work after that phone call. The song is so old, but at that moment it happened to be on the radio. I stopped being the tough guy and crumbled into tears and could barely see to drive home. All I could think was that we would never get to see our baby or see her grow up. I finally got home to find my wife in bed crying. I went into the bedroom and just held her and we melted in a pool of tears. We were both (understandably) an emotional wreck. We didn't have answers. We talked about how she would have to take medication to get our dead baby out, and/or get a D&C. We decided to do the medication (if you have read her other posts, you'd know she had to end up having the surgery anyway). We had so many people at our old home church praying that Ivory's heart was still beating. They were praying it was a misdiagnosis and that the baby was still alive, but with all the prayer nothing changed. We had still lost our first baby.
"...nothing changed. We had still lost our first baby."
My wife took the medication for the process to start, making her basically go into labor with our unborn child. I was emotionally checked out and wanted to be as far away from everything as possible. My wife was cramping really bad and taking baths to help the pain, and I just kept my distance because I had no clue how to be there emotionally for her during that time. Over the years I've learned to cut off my emotions and just embrace what I was going through, good or bad. We were both scared and had never experienced loss like this over the course of our six years together (eight years this fall). The way I handled the loss and the way she handled it were totally different.
She paced around crying, just wanting someone to be there for her and hold her through the process, and I was incapable of doing that. I didn't want to actually face the fact that our child had died. I wanted everything to be back to how it was a week prior - where we were the happiest we had been in years. But, it never would be, because my wife felt like I wasn't there for her through all the emotional pain. I was zoned out and gave off the impression that it didn't matter, she felt like she was going through all of it alone. In reality I was fighting all kinds of emotions and just kept pushing them all down inside and never talked about the pain, the hurt, the frustration that I was experiencing. I was supposed to be the tough guy who didn't get phased by anything. It did nothing but put up a huge wall between the two of us all because I wasn't there for her when she needed me most.
"...I would do it all differently."
If I could go back and change everything about that weekend, I would do it all differently. I would have been by her side even though I didn't want to see what she was going through. I didn't want that to be my only memory of our first baby. I wanted to remember only the good things like the first ultrasound where everything was fine. But, nothing was fine, and she had to go through a traumatic, emotional miscarriage alone. I'm so glad she had close friends that were actually there for her during that time.
Nothing I can say now can turn back time so I can respond differently to all this. I'm just writing this to let every man know, do not be the man that thinks he has to hide his emotions and cut off all communication during a tough time in your life. Be there for your spouse or significant other and support her fully. There will be times in your life where you need to be the tough guy, but trust me: this is not the time. She will want your to just give your love and let her know you are there for her, and that you are both going to get through it the best that you can.