Leah
Mom to Baby Cameron (May 22nd, 2009),
Baby Oliver (July 10th, 2010) and Baby Olivia (July 14th, 2010)
Chester, Virginia

(First Miscarriage)
Last year, I went through pain alone. No one around me could help me. No one knew what to say, or how to say it. All of my friends had pregnancies that I was envious of. Everyone watched me fall deeper and deeper into isolation and depression, but no one knew how to help pull me out. This is my story. It has some joy, but it has sorrow that I never knew I would or could hold. I hope that by reading through mine, you will see the hurt and pain of my family, but you also see our strength, our growth, our love, and our determination to endure, regardless of what life throws.

On Saturday, 4th of April 2009, I got a surprise I really wasn’t looking for. Our world was getting ready to turn upside down quickly. I had just gotten married, moved away from my family (who I had never been away from), started a new job, started a new school, and was in my last semester of my BBA degree…trying to decide on grad school. My new love was also in school and graduating that semester. Life was good: we had a nice townhouse, two cars, good immediate and church families, good jobs. We could spend a little and save a lot, or splurge some months and save not so much. It was ok though. We had life insurance, full benefits with our jobs, and the opportunity to advance.
I wanted a March baby, so a June/early July pregnancy was in order. I wouldn’t be too big during the hot summer (my family is in SC, his in LA-hot, Hot, HOT!) I wanted to save so that I could enjoy being home with the baby for a little while. I had that “Mother’s intuition” so I tested. I never felt sick, never nauseous. I felt good. I called a physician I had been referred to by a church member to schedule a new patient/new OB appointment. They asked how far along I was. Because my cycles have always been weird and heavy, I told them the exact date of the last one. They thought I was about 6 weeks and scheduled an ultrasound 4 weeks out.

The following week, I started bleeding and cramping. I kept telling my husband something wasn’t right. We thought maybe it was because we weren’t happy enough when we read the test, only because of the state of shock. No….something was terribly wrong. The doctor spoke with us again, deciding my symptoms weren’t matching up and I was closer to 10 weeks. I went in for an emergency ultrasound/Doppler and I could tell immediately something was not right. The ultrasound technician was taking way too long and being waaaaaaaaaay too quiet to have new parents in front of her. When she finally spoke, she said the grimmest, coldest words I had ever heard. “You’re going to miscarry, so don’t get your hopes up.” Don’t get our hopes up???!!! All I had ever prayed for as a little girl/young woman was my family. I didn’t care if I didn’t get that corporate job or if we lived on a farm or in a duplex. I wanted my husband and children. Now she was telling me that wasn’t about to happen.

My obstetrician wasn’t any more help than she was. He didn’t advice a cerclage or immediate bedrest. I had never been with a man prior to my husband, never expected. I wasn’t sure what to ask or how I should feel, but I knew this feeling was all wrong.
One morning, the soreness in my breast stopped. I knew it was too early, but the physician kept telling me to “wait until you pass golf ball size tissue/blood”. The golf balls never came. It was now Memorial Day weekend and we were heading to our first barbeques as husband and wife. We never made it anywhere. We stopped at Blockbuster to pick up two movies before heading to our in-laws. I felt something “drop”. (I know now the baby had moved into the birth canal and there was no turning back). I went to the bathroom, scared to sit, scared to touch anything, and really upset at how bad I was hurting/feeling. I covered the toilet with a paper, and then with tissue. I sat down and my body pushed immediately. I screamed, because I felt myself delivering a baby I knew was too tiny. The baby was against me and when I saw the sac, something primitive escaped my throat. I held the baby, touched the sac and screamed because I could feel the little bean sized baby inside.
I didn’t have the courage then to clean it off to look at him. I finally got up after sitting there crying and washed up as much as I could. I left that public bathroom sweat drenched and a little bloody…crying for what I had just sent down the toilet. I couldn’t tell anyone, I couldn’t stay there and mourn my baby. I had to leave him.
I got through that Friday night, but by Saturday evening, the pain was unbearable. I went to the ER and once again, my body fooled even medical science. My cervix was closed and un-irritated. My hCG levels were high. I asked them to check the numbers against the previous week. The ultrasound told all. The tech turned the monitor away from me but I sat up and looked. I seen exactly what I thought I would…nothing. No sac, no little one swimming, no tiny heart beating. I was devastated. We couldn’t cry…we had already done that. Our hearts were broken but we were both dehydrated. There weren’t any tears left.
My heart didn’t want to keep beating, I hid from the world. My new marriage was falling apart. I didn’t want my husband to see me-I couldn’t look him in the eyes. All I had to do was taking care of a being that couldn’t care for himself and I failed. I didn’t understand what I did wrong. I didn’t smoke, party, or drink…no recreational drugs. My hormones were all over the place and I quit my job abruptly, as I was missing a lot of time because I couldn’t pull myself out of the bed to face the world. The young woman who was on top of the world was now at the bottom of the totem pole….and it was just beginning.
(Second Miscarriage-Twins)
Father’s Day weekend 2010 was hubby’s first Father’s Day and so important. I somehow felt like I “screwed” it up by going with my “hunch” and testing on Friday, June 16. I was tired, but had originally chalked it up to now being a Working Mother, as I had started a temp job that week. As soon as the urine hit the stick, the two lines showed up. I put it down and said “It’s the evaporation line, it will go away.” Four minutes later I looked on the counter…two dark lines. I cried. I screamed. I asked the Lord what did he want me to do? I was out of work and home with Justin and I totally loved being with my baby but I needed to be working, helping hubby take care of our household.
I had a million and one medical bills from a high risk pregnancy that weren’t disappearing-and I wanted them to. I no longer had insurance, and since Baby J was a rider with me, he didn’t have any either. I whimpered and fixed my face, deciding NOT to hold this until Father’s Day (two days away) because it wasn’t a present we expected and prepared for right now. I circled our room, went downstairs and sat down. I looked at DH, but my eyes filled up with water, so I ran back upstairs without saying anything. I called down to him and he came up the stairs, talking junk about guess what? “WHAT babe?! I hope that your period comes on, I hope that we aren’t preg..”
He drifted off because he made contact with the top of the dresser, and laid there on tissue was the Dollar Tree pregnancy test. I had no doubt that it wasn’t false because it was so cheap. Our way of confirming previous pregnancies was to go out and buy an expensive (First Response, Clear Blue) and cheap (Dollar Tree, Family Dollar) and compare the lines. First Response and Walgreens store brands had proven to be more sensitive, being able to test even before the missed cycle. The Dollar Tree one would darken over time, and if it was really dark, we knew we were farther along. He looked down at the test and covered his eyes. “God, are you serious?! I knew it, I’ve been asking you”. He had, I guess I was shocked and heartbroken, not wanting to admit Justin wouldn’t be our only child for as long as our game plan had laid out. “When did you take this?” “Just now”, I said “and it’s a Dollar Tree one, so I know it is right”. I cried some more and he held me and promised me we would be fine. I wanted to believe his promise. I quickly looked at the calendar. I was already two months and counting-this baby would be here FAST! I started to cry again.
We got through FD Weekend and I cried a lot. I finally came to terms and decided, “Lord, you know what you’re doing. I don’t understand, but I believe you know”. I started to feel excited about being a Mommy to two little ones, then scared that I would be depressed again. I prayed really hard that God would keep those dark clouds away. I prayed so diligently for the clouds of depression that I now wonder did I not pray hard enough for my children, because two weeks later, familiar nightmares begin.
I start to spot off and on, and cramp. I tell my husband and he decides that it is my cycle and the test was false. I knew that wasn’t so, as I am very intuned with my body. The baby was there; my stomach was changing, not having enough time between the pregnancies to gain all the strength and tone back. I sucked in and held it, but it didn’t change the roundness that was forming. Fatigue was my worst symptom/worst enemy. I felt like I was sinking into a hole similar to depression, but it was called TIREDNESS. The spotting and cramping became heavier. I started coming home and putting my feet up. I quit cooking and doing housework. I didn’t sing at church because Praise Team stood during that time. Instead, I sat worshiping quietly, praying for the baby. 
At the end of the second week (5 days after July 4th) my heartache was full force. I got home from work and played with baby and talked with hubby. I went upstairs, showered, cleaned up, and sat down on the toilet. The labor pains both begin and intensified. I looked down, and the first set of tissue was passing. I started crying, and called down “Baby, I’m staying up here.” He flew up the stairs. It was only about 7pm on a Friday, and we should have been having fun. Instead, I told him “I’m going to pass the baby soon.” He just looked at me and told me to lie down. I did, but the pain wouldn’t let up-physically or emotionally. We just did this, why was it happening again?! I was in so much pain that I started to take meds, but remembered that I was a trooper with prior pregnancies and I could probably do it again. What if the baby made it, and I had given him Tylenol before 3 or 4 months gestation? No, I would wait.
I finally drifted off to sleep. When I woke up (around 9pm) the pain worsened. I felt a war going on in my body…like the baby fighting to live and something tearing it out of me. Between 11pm and 1am on Saturday, July 10 (Justin’s 4 month birthday), I passed his baby brother. I only glanced at it, as I didn’t want to touch the baby as I had with Cameron. I screamed. I rocked. I sat on the toilet waiting for the baby to finish passing. I finally cleaned myself up, after seeing the little sac expel and feeling the hard lump that I knew held my baby. My body now felt awesome, as the “foreign” object was gone. My face was swollen, my iron levels were terrible. I was literally lighter in color because of the sodium and blood I had just lost. Hubby pumped me with Gaterade and loving words, watching me go off into space in my mind. I walked around the house crying for my baby for three hours. I fought him as he tried to hold me, but my pain gave in and he wrapped me in his arms and told me to calm down, because I had to care for Justin alone (he had to work in about three hours). I looked at Justin’s sweet face and knew he was right. There are so many boys in our family on both sides. I named Cameron and Justin’s brother “Jeremiah”…the name I was saving.
A new week came in. I had to act like nothing happened, as the only ones who knew about the baby were the “Moms”…my biological Mother, hubby’s biological Mother, and adoptive Mother/First Lady. They were all sworn to secrecy. Now, I had to carry the load of knowing my womb was empty again. It felt funny. It still felt a little firmer, and I had began cramping again. I told my sweetheart “Either I didn’t pass everything properly or there is another baby in there.” I wanted twins. I wanted twins with Justin. I wouldn’t have planned for twins with a pregnancy so soon following J’s birth. My maternal grandmother is a twin. Two first cousins have twins. My father’s brother has three sets of twins (my first cousins). All of them are boy/girl except for one set. I still didn’t think this was set.
Wednesday night…I entered church for a meeting. The cramping intensified and at the end of the meeting, I felt as I begin to pass tissue. I quickly got up to go to the bathroom. I used it, cleaned…there on my tissue lay the smallest baby I had personally seen. I’ve seen plenty of other people’s pictures but here was my own. I cried. I didn’t scream, I didn’t yell. I was in awe of what had formed so beautifully inside of me. 13 weeks..on a 3D or 4D ultrasound, we would have known their genders for sure. Small……pale skin, eyes closed, little protruding fingers and toes. The tail was gone. Wait!-the tail was gone? I wasn’t holding a fetus, I was holding my baby! She never saw me cry for her. She didn’t see me as I looked at her, wiping off the sack that surrounded her, mad at the attached placenta. Where should I put her? I contemplated and cried, knowing I had to come out quickly as I was still in church. I placed her face up in the toilet with the other tissue. Now…maybe I should have gotten a box. Children were there, I didn’t want them to see. I couldn’t show my husband; I didn’t want him to see his baby like that. I’m angry I didn’t have my phone, I didn’t take a picture. Baby number three…gone. It wasn’t Jeremiah, but the twins my sister had named Oliver and Olivia.
I’m learning everyday how to deal with grief…how to let my husband in. Today, I’m scared to ever try again. Today, my heart is heavy and I wonder if I’m on punishment with God. Today, I cry quietly and hope to not get pregnant again. Today, I pray.
You can contact Leah at lsharrison@ymail.com
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