Mom to Baby Larabee, left our lives at 10 weeks in the winter of 1982
I was a young married woman, only 20 at the time. I met and married my husband after only 5 months. We were so happy when we found out we were going to be parents. My husband’s two sisters were also expecting. It was going to be a special year for all of us. I told all of our family as soon as we knew we were expecting. It was a happy event to be shared! But it was not to continue that way…..
I was at my mom’s helping wallpaper when I started to spot, I was scared…this wasn’t suppose to be happening! My husband and I went to the hospital as it was after office hours. I was examined and told that the baby I loved so much “never started to develop”. But it was my baby! I loved them! I was admitted to the hospital.
My family was not called…I look back now and wonder why I made that decision. My husband had to work the next day and I told him to go home and get some sleep. There I laid in the hospital, in a cold, cinder-brick walled room, alone. A commode was placed next to my bed for convenience. Unable to sleep, I kept thinking about the baby that wasn’t….why me? What happened? Did I do something wrong?
I got up to use the commode and started to bleed heavily. I passed several large clots. After getting back into bed, I rang for the nurse. She came in and took the commode away. The doctor and nurse came back in to check the clots to determine, I imagine, that things were as expected. Then…they flushed everything down the toilet…in my room!!!
I know that they had dealt with this many times before and that there technically wasn’t any baby there…but it was my baby! And then I lay there alone. ..sobbing at the loss of my first child.
I told my husband when he came in that morning before he headed to work. I felt responsible for the loss. I let him down. I failed.
I remember my mom coming in the next day. During her visit, a photographer for the hospital came into my room. They were taking pictures of patients for the new patient handbook and wanted to know if they could take my picture….one of me receiving mail from a volunteer. I don’t know why but I said yes. When they asked what I was there for…forming the word “miscarriage” seemed unreal. They apologized but we went ahead with the picture. And as hard as that was, I’m glad…I have a picture of me, used in the new handbook, of the day my baby left me.
I love my family and they were very loving and supportive but none had any idea of what I was going through. There was no real understanding of the loss that I felt. People offered sympathy…but hearing things like “well most miscarriages are boys and you wanted a girl” or “you’re young. You’ll have more children” or “there was probably something wrong with the baby and it would be hard to have a handicapped child” cut my heart like a knife. People don’t know what to say…and I couldn’t blame them for that.
My two sisters-in-law had their babies, both girls, in November 1982 and April 1983. My baby would have been between them. People didn’t understand my grief. I made the cake for one of the baby showers but couldn’t attend the shower itself. I tried…but the tears wouldn’t stop.
I wrote my baby a letter telling them how much I loved them, how it didn’t matter if they were a girl or boy, and that if I ever had any other children, they would always be my first.
When I was told by the doctor that I should wait at least six months before trying to get pregnant again, it seemed like an eternity. I didn’t wait six months. I became pregnant again in March 1983 and had my beautiful daughter, Chantel, on December 20, 1983.
Years later, my sister-in-law had a miscarriage. After experiencing that, she apologized to me for the lack of compassion she had shown me during my loss. She didn’t understand at the time, she said. I know…you can’t understand unless you’ve gone through it. We cried together over the loss of our children, understanding the grief we shared.
My neice recently had a miscarriage. She is grieving deeply. Her experience is so different from mine, but I can understand the loss. In talking with my sister, her mom, I can see that as well meaning as people really try to be, there is no real understanding of our loss. I don’t blame them…and I would never wish this experience on anyone…but they just don’t understand the feelings we have. It is a death to us…one that we really grieve alone.
I still miss my baby, who would be 28 this year. My heart will never be whole. But we do go on…we live life knowing our baby would not have wanted us to live in sadness but to enjoy life for them.
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to share our story and maybe release some of the pain we feel.
You can contact Barbara at firstname.lastname@example.org