The first day is over. Thank God.
~~WARNING: Long whiny post ahead~~
All last week I worked from home and tried to get my mind to start focusing again on work tasks. It was tough. Then yesterday I went into the office for the first time in 6 weeks. It was REALLY tough. I spent half the day there and then couldn't take it any longer and went home, crawled under the covers and cried myself to sleep.
I had bad anxiety leading up to yesterday since I really couldn't tell if I was ready to go back or not. It's a hard juggling act determining what I'm ready for and what I'm not. I'm trying to be strong and gently push myself out of my comfort zone since I know I need to face the world again and can't hide forever. But sometimes I really just don't feel okay. Sometimes I feel completely broken and weak and scared. I have some okay days now, and even some good hours but yesterday was not a good day. Yesterday was one of those days I probably should have stayed home, in my PJs, protecting myself from the world. Instead, I forced myself to go into the office because I said I would. Everyone was expecting me to be there. Everyone kept telling me they missed me and couldn't wait until I was back. Well, I'm back. Sort of.
The day did not start out well. I didn't sleep well the previous night because of the anxiety. Then I had to find work clothes in my closet that actually fit. In general, getting dressed in anything but PJs has been upsetting to me every single time since I lost Petey. It's one of those things that hits me hard but most people who haven't experienced this probably wouldn't realize it. I used to dress to accentuate my belly bump; now my main goal is to try to hide the leftover bulge. None of my bras fit properly, I can't even look at certain articles of clothing since they are so tied in my mind to being pregnant with Petey, my regular clothes are still too small but it's so difficult stepping into maternity pants now that there is no baby growing inside of me... Getting dressed just sucks in general right now.
After many outfit changes that morning I ended up in maternity pants afterall because nothing else was comfortable enough. That caused the first tears of the day. More tears came during the 1 hour drive to work because the last time I took that route I wasn't alone. I had my sweet baby in my belly and a happy future on my mind. That was then. Now, the vivid memories from my previous drives; singing to Petey in the car, feeling the seatbelt stretch under my bump, the extra caution I used to take while driving with a 'baby on board', are just painful and made me so aware of the hollow feeling that now lives in me. I had to keep swallowing my grief and anxiety, blinking through the tears as I drove. Once I got off the exit into town I started crying all over again as I saw how pretty and green everything was. Daffodils everywhere and all the trees in bloom... the last time I was there there were snowbanks. Winter was the season of Petey. Now it's over. Time has elapsed, the world has moved on.
While pulling into the parking lot at work I had to force myself not to turn right around and just drive home. Maybe I should have. Somehow though, I managed to park, get out of the car, and put one foot in front of the other. Once inside the building, I climbed the stairs and just as I was coming to the landing I looked up and saw a big pregnant belly greeting me right at eye level. OF COURSE. One of my coworkers is due any day now. I was hoping she would already be out on maternity leave by the time I got back but no such luck. And OF COURSE she had to be the first person I ran into. She gave me an awkward hug, a look of pity, asked how I was doing, and said how glad she was to see me. I asked her how she was doing and she took the opportunity to complain about how much her back hurt and how she "didn't know how she let her husband do this to her". Awesome. Just the conversation I wanted to have right then.
I went to my desk and found that a handful of my coworkers had pooled money to get me flowers to welcome me back. Now, that was very sweet and thoughtful but unfortunately, it had the opposite of the intended effect. The issue was that they were lilies. There's NO way my coworkers could have known that they'd be a trigger for me (since I didn't even know it myself until yesterday) but Hubs and I received a lot of flowers in the weeks after losing Petey and lilies were in almost every single bouquet. Now the look and especially the smell just make me think of our loss. I SO appreciate the sentiment but they just made me sad. I still sent an email thanking everyone for the thoughtful gift of course, but it seems that that email was the invitation all 5 of them were waiting for to come over to welcome me back, give me hugs and ask how I was doing. I have not been good in the small talk department since our loss and having 5 women gathered around me with pitying eyes wanting me to say something when there is just nothing to be said was unpleasant and frankly, kind of stressful. I know they care but I just have no words and always seem to get choked up now. I can't talk about how well I'm doing since I'm not really, and if I talk about anything bad, it'll just get me more upset and be awkward for them. Conversations are hard. I much prefer to just avoid people now.
Here's another good reason for avoidance: I had a visit from another coworker later in the day. (This is the woman who offered me her old baby stuff from 9 years ago and was the one who asked me if I was sure I wasn't having twins.) I KNEW I wasn't going to be able to escape a convo with her yesterday and I KNEW it wasn't going to go well for me since she is just sort of clueless and insensitive. She didn't disappoint and just spewed an endless series of dumb shit:
"So when are you going to start trying again?"WHAT THE FUCK. You don't need an explanation from me to see that they are all extremely insensitive comments but seriously? I will NEVER forget. Ouch. And thank you for calling me fat. And we are not even CLOSE to being able to think about TTC again. When I told her that she said something so fucking stupid I think I blocked it out. Something about how we'll probably get pregnant "naturally" before I know it because "that's how the world works". Ummm, NO. You are obviously unfamiliar with the infertility world. I told her that once we're finally ready to try again we'll have to go through IF treatments again and she responded with: "You never knoooow...!". Fuck you. The nursery question REALLY pissed me off though. Unfortunately, it pissed me off after the fact. When I was in the moment that question felt like a punch in the gut. I told her we ended up returning all the nursery furniture and couldn't even get the sentence out without my voice cracking and the tears starting. That is a gut-wrenching thing for me to think about. For what possible purpose did she need to ask me that? What good could have come from that topic? Once I started to cry I told her I couldn't talk about any of this any more and had to try to get back to work. She finally left and I tried to pull myself together.
"Don't worry, every day it will get easier and you'll forget soon enough."
"You should start walking to work off the baby weight."
"Did you already set up the nursery? Do you just shut the door now or what?"
I felt like crap. Like a big boneless defeated pile of crap. I felt weak and tired from trying to hide from people throughout the day; from trying to avoid conversations and when I couldn't, from trying to be strong and "okay" when talking to them. I was exhausted from trying not to cry. All I could think about was curling up under my desk. Then I overheard two women talking to one another about their babies. Did I mention that I sit just outside the "Mothers Room" (aka: where all the new breastfeeding mommies go multiple times a day to pump and where I thought I would be spending time pumping too once I was back from maternity leave this fall)? Every time I heard that door open and close yesterday I got another sharp little stab in my heart. This was the straw that broke the camels back though. I couldn't take any more. I packed up my shit and flew out of there. It wasn't even 2pm. That's how I ended up at home, under the covers, crying myself to sleep.
I don't know when I'll go back. Probably not until next Monday. I'm already dreading it. I just hope that this was the worst day and each day will get easier.
Even the work itself was hard. It's like something in my brain broke when I lost Petey. Sitting in a meeting yesterday, I just couldn't keep up. People were talking but my brain was NOT computing what was said. I kept drifting off into la-la land and then coming to and realizing I had no idea what was being discussed. Everything was just so FAST. Everyone was talking too fast, when driving to and from work all the cars were moving so fast... My brain just isn't all there right now. I am just not myself. My body may have been in the office but my mind was not. I am like an empty shell. A walking, talking (crying) shell of my former self.
I just hope it will get easier.