Mom to Baby A,
Lost April 10, 2009 at 5 weeks
Lost April 26, 2010 at 8 weeks
I’ve always wanted to be a mom, but circumstances in my life had always seemed to conspire against it. So when I had a positive pregnancy test just three weeks before my 40th birthday, I felt overjoyed and blessed. The doctors estimated that I only five weeks along and had only known about my pregnancy for a short time, but just knowing I was pregnant flooded my heart will a profound love. I never felt calmer and more peaceful in my life. The feeling of that first pregnancy was magical.
I began bleeding the evening after my first pre-natal visit, a Thursday night. I was told to come in on Friday morning for another examination and blood test to monitor my HCG levels. Since this was my first blood draw, I needed to wait until Monday for another one to be used for comparison (were the numbers going up or down?). In retrospect, I should have known that I was experiencing a miscarriage; but because the doctors would not conclusively say anything, Hubs and I held tightly to that tiny thread of hope. It was a long, emotional weekend. On top of it, we were hosting Easter dinner that Sunday, so we had to act as if nothing was happening during the whole event (a task at which I failed – as Hubs loves to point out I have worst poker face ever and I hate it when he’s right). The entire weekend I prayed non-stop that we’d be granted a miracle and this baby would be a fighter. But it was not to be.
A year later, I thought I’d been given a reprieve, when I was once again pregnant. We had moved further along in the pregnancy where we could see a very strong heartbeat. It was something that had given Hubs and I great comfort, but the memory of our first loss hovered over the new pregnancy. We were determined to be optimistic, but were forever cautious. We had just four more weeks to go until we reached the viable mark, but things were looking good. Then, on April 26th, just two days after my birthday, I began to bleed. A visit to the OB/GYN the next day confirmed Baby M’s heart had stopped beating and I was, again, miscarrying.
One of the hardest things about miscarriage is that people who have not experienced it view it very clinically. It’s very hard for someone to comprehend how traumatic it truly is, what it entails, and the pain you feel both physically and mentally. Both of our miscarriages occurred naturally (without a D&C). So every day for several days in a row, I faced painful reminders of what I’d lost. For my second, I had a D&C scheduled but I began having contractions the night before and passed what doctors call “the products of conception,” (but what I would much rather refer to my baby) at home. We had to handle to remains in an attempt to preserve them for testing. The memory of this is distressing and seldom shared because of its graphic nature. This and many other visceral memories come flooding back without warning even to this day. The memories are tied to pain, so when they flood back so does the heartbreak. It remains fresh.
What I also lost was the awe and innocence in which I viewed pregnancy. What moved in instead is a guarded and jaded perspective. Every commercial with a pregnant woman or couple makes me feel cold; because in idealized commercial world, every pregnancy ends in a baby, or three. I know that it doesn’t always work that way. I know that life can be cruel and the unexpected can happen, and happen more than once. To this day, I still feel chill when I see or hear of a pregnancy announcement. It doesn’t mean I think something bad will happen or expect it. In fact, I pray very hard that everything goes well. I would never wish that level of pain or heartache on anyone.
It is just that tiniest things send me back. The memories are vivid and visceral. The pain is still extremely real. Like a microburst, it leaves my heart completely flattened and longing for the children I never got to hold and an innocence I want back as badly as my babies.
I was never able to have a child with the man I love. The journey towards healing is long. The grief that comes with child loss and childlessness is not so easily overcome. It’s cyclical. Just when you think you’re past it, it greets you elsewhere down the line. I’ll be forever haunted by the memories surrounding both losses.