If you don’t want to read something that creates feelings potentially good and/or bad, you should just hang on for my next post: The Parent Mealympics. This post may not be for you. I have a love/hate relationship with feelings, as in, I simultaneously love and hate that I have so many of them. And today, I’m getting all inside and outside my feelings for this post. Now, that no one can say I didn’t warn them…
A mom friend of mine asked a group of us if we’d be willing to share our stories (ah, buttz. I’m already crying…). See, this mom friend is working on a documentary that highlights pregnancy loss and infertility and the societal silence around them. Her goal is to rip off the veil of silence and shame so that mothers and fathers can feel comfortable sharing their experiences and know they’re not alone. Now, I’m pretty vocal about our losses because being vocal helps me deal with the pain it causes me but I know many women who just don’t feel like they can be open. So, in light of my friends’ efforts and with this being Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month, I share my story for myself but now I also share it for those that feel they cannot.
My husband and I had been married for three years, had just bought our first house and felt like we were ready to try for a baby. Within three or so months, we became pregnant with our first baby, a baby we later named Samuel. We told everyone (my middle name should have been “oversharer”). An older coworker of mine scolded me for sharing so early because “you never know what could happen”. When we went in for the eight week check up, her unsolicited advice seemed validated when we saw our first baby with no heartbeat.
I was devastated that there was this little baby inside of me and I could do nothing to help him and embarrassed that I now had to go back and tell everyone we’d lost him. I was afraid of having to feel sadness years down the road when little things would remind me of our lost little one. But, as far as I knew, I didn’t personally know anyone that had miscarried before and I didn’t feel like there was anyone I could talk to that would be able to empathize. However, like I’ve made abundantly clear over the course of this blog, I’m an oversharer and talked to many people, and through my opening up, I realized there were many others around me that suffered similar pains, too.
It took a long 16 months of trying and failing and crying and healing to become pregnant with our next baby, our sweet Monkey man. Miscarriage had some pretty negative affects on our lives individually, as a couple and inter-personally. It was a hard road and one I never hoped to have to travel again. But, through faith, friends and family, we emerged stronger than ever and with the greatest little gift in our son.
When Monkey was just a little over a year old, I just knew in my heart that we were pregnant again. A week or two later, a test confirmed it. Several weeks after that beautiful positive pregnancy test, I began to bleed and those feelings of fear and sadness of loss hit me like a wave all over again. We went to the hospital knowing there was nothing that could be done but hoping for some good news only to find that we were not only miscarrying again but, this time, we were losing twins.
I never dreamed I’d ever be pregnant with twins. I hoped and prayed and pleaded that I’d never lose another baby. Learning that I had had twins for a moment only to lose them was soul crushing. It’s such a helpless feeling knowing your very heart is being taken from you and there’s nothing you can do. Oftentimes, there was never anything you could have done to prevent it either. I began thinking of my personal statistics. I was 26 and the mother of four children with only one in my arms. Thankfully, my husband and I knew our triggers and that we’d only be able to stand if we held each other up and relied on our friends and family. In many ways, this loss was more devastating than the first but we stood strong together and remained open with the people we loved and that made it more bearable.
We decided to not put any kind of pressure on ourselves by thinking and talking about “the next baby”. We just wanted to take it slow and let our hearts and my body heal. But then, by some “mystery” as my doctor put it, we became pregnant almost immediately with our Bear baby. My doctor couldn’t wrap his head around the time table and neither could we. All we knew was that here he was, our little Bear.
When we were pregnant yet again when baby Bear was still very much a baby, I was nervous that we’d lose this one, too. Up to that point, we’d lost every other baby. I thought maybe that was just the pattern we were destined to live with but, thankfully, our Xena-warrior-princess Adair held on and is currently very busy being the cutest thing on this earth.
I still feel sad here and there. I definitely still cry when I think about the children we’ve lost. It doesn’t go away but it does get easier. Especially with a good husband and a few cutie babies to cuddle.
If you’ve lost a child or struggled to conceive, please check out Don’t Talk About the Baby and think about adding your voice. Your loss is not a secret! If a friend or loved one has experienced a loss, consider reaching out to them today and let them know you’re thinking of them.