In Limbo

Do you remember skating at the roller rink as a kid? 

Across the loud speaker the DJ would announce “Annnnnnnd now everyone it’s time to join in the center of the floor for limmmmmmmmmbooooooooo!” Half the floor would clear and the other half of us would circle around to get in line 20 feet back. They always held the bar high enough where most of us could easily skate under it. But it would eventually get to a point where there would actually be some limbo-ing involved. 

When it was my turn I started skating, just a bit too fast, toward the bar. As I approached the bar, my body leaned back to limbo; a combination of trying not to fall to the ground but not hit the bar above me. And then finally after feeling like I had held my breath for an eternity, I surpassed the bar and made it to the other side. 

The aftermath of my miscarriage was like that. 

Except no skates 


Or music

Or well any of it besides the limbo part

Just the combination of trying not to feel like I am dying in my grief but not go completely numb and disassociate from the world. The Miscarriage Limbo aka a missed miscarriage seemed to be the cruelest joke my body could play on me but yet the most endearing. 

I had E I G H T days with Porter after knowing he had died. Those eight days were a rainbow of emotions. Everything from complete devastation to numb to acceptance to crumbling again. I was still pregnant but not pregnant. I still carried my baby but he was my dead baby. I still looked pregnant but felt nothing like I was pregnant. For eight days, I was in limbo. Complete confusion of my realities. Did I even have an identity anymore? 

The first two days after Porter, I cried. I did not get out of bed. I wanted to die. I could not look at myself. I could not look at my children or my husband. I hated everything. 

I would walk into the kitchen and crumble.

I would look at our table and think where everyone’s new spot would be when Porter arrived. 

But now he wasn’t arriving anymore.

I would walk down our hallway past the playroom and crumble.

I would see the room that was destined to be his nursery.

But now it wasn’t his anymore.

I would see our car in our driveway and crumble.

I would think of how many car rides we spent talking about car seat arrangements. 

But now there wasn’t any new arrangement for him anymore.

After two days, the tears stopped. I could not cry anymore. I only felt an overwhelming emptiness and numbness that swallowed me entirely. I could get through the motions if I just didn’t feel anything. No sadness, no joy. Just numb to everything. But at least I could feed my children and get them to bed at the end of the day. Understandably, this was my survival strategy. 

Five days after, the emotions came flooding back. Devastation, anger, disbelief, complete sadness, confusion. When people told me grief came in waves, I didn’t truly understand that feeling until this point. The naïve me thought maybe those first two days were all I was going to cry and then I could just be rational again. W R O N G. It came back like a tidal wave. Every thought brought me to my knees, crumbling all over again. 

“What is wrong with me?”

That was my number one thought day 5-7. I had never experienced grief before. I had never lost a loved one. I was hoping I could just ‘cry it out’ and be ok again. But that’s not how grief works. There was nothing wrong with me though. There is nothing wrong with how, when, or where you are grieving. Just remember that. 

The last few days of carrying Porter were confusing. I was feeling ready for closure, to move on to “the next step.” I was hoping I would be able to escape the feelings I had if I could just move onto the next “task” in my grieving process. I logically thought that when Porter was truly gone from me, I would be able to check off which stage of grief I was in and then keep going.

W R O N G again.

The thought of Porter being taken away from me again, but not physically forever, was nauseating. The anticipation for Tuesday, July 2nd was paralyzing. I wanted to be numb and not think of it but I also wanted to feel everything because it was my last time I could feel these emotions with Porter still here within me. 

Being stuck in an emotional limbo is a lot like skating in that roller rink as a kid.

The anticipation builds the closer you get to the bar, the closer you get to the other side.

Now I just had to hold my breath until I got to the other side on day EIGHT.