I started watching the first episode of the new season of Grey’s Anatomy tonight. Everything was fine until Jackson appeared and someone mentioned April, then it hit me like a truck – I remembered. I suddenly remembered watching the storyline where April and Jackson find out at a routine scan that their baby has a condition incompatible with life and decide to induce birth knowing the little one won’t survive (recap here).
I was pregnant at the time of watching it. I remember Simon and I debating about whether to watch it but we’d already had our 20 week scan and our baby was perfect and I still lived in the world where bad things didn’t happen to me. So we watched, hearts aching for the characters but smug in our certainty that our baby would live. We watched as they said goodbye to their baby and we watched as their relationship fell apart in the aftermath. I remember judging how they were coping with it, criticising April for not letting Jackson support her emotionally, and being annoyed with Jackson for letting April push him away. What the fuck did I know? Judging these characters for their imperfect coping with the loss of their precious baby from my sanctimonious sofa with my healthy baby kicking inside me.
In that split second tonight when remembering all of this, I fell apart. It was too much to bear that I’d watched that storyline for entertainment value, never imagining that I would live the nightmare of saying goodbye to my baby. It was too overwhelming that there had once been a me with pity but no understanding for those who had lost their child. I was unable to process the irrational thought that watching such horror while pregnant myself was surely just asking for trouble. I cried. Although I’ve cried at Grey’s Anatomy before, the crying tonight was nothing like those enjoyably gentle and connected tears of empathy when watching something sad. This was selfish, pitiful, heart broken crying for myself alone. These tears were about missing Isobel and all the parts of me that went with her. They were about facing a life where part of your heart and soul is irrevocably absent. They were about the fact that life is so hard now and nothing is simple. They were about having a problem that nothing and no one can ever ever fix. They were also about the fear that this worst loss imaginable could actually happen to us again.
When I break like this I feel so angry with everyone too. I start to rage that my friends aren’t supportive enough or my family haven’t been in touch. It’s like Isobel left this void and I both expect others to fill it and get annoyed with them that they can’t fill it. They can’t even touch it. How could they even attempt to? I compose angry messages in my head telling people how bad things are and asking for more support but the truth is I don’t even know what I want them to do differently. No one can really help because all I want is Isobel. I *may* have thrown my phone against the wall! I want to throw myself against a wall. I want to hurt myself. I want to hurt someone else. I want to kill someone. How is it possible to feel so sad and so angry and not actually explode with the force of it all?
I have since calmed down, or been calmed down. Simon may feel helpless when I’m like this but his arms and his chest, his hold, his smell, his warmth will always eventually settle me. I feel so bad for the little bubs growing within. What a toxic cortisol filled body they are being nourished by. Isobel swam in perfectly contented bliss for much of her 39 weeks. This little one has barely known a moment of peace. Time to stop writing and do some abdominal breathing!