I have loved and lost.
We had tried for awhile to get pregnant the first time. I know people joke about how they had sex one time–just once–and they were pregnant. It wasn’t like that for me, but I wouldn’t say it took forever. It only felt like forever because it seemed everyone around my was pregnant.
Little Man was only six months old when I realized that I was pregnant for the second time. I read that pee stick and my heart sank. I wished it wasn’t true. I cried.
I did not have the same joy, which probably broke my heart even more. My husband did. I told him and he was so excited and to see that, I started to cry again.
I was still nursing. We had a baby still in a crib who wasn’t sleeping through the night. They would only be 15 months apart if I carried this baby to term. Little Man was a month early, so it was probable that the new baby would come early too.
I was overwhelmed and scared. I didn’t feel like I could handle two kids potentially a year a part.
Then I started to bleed.
I was about 8 weeks along; I shouldn’t be spotting. I went to the doctor with my husband and had an ultrasound. We heard the heart beat; I saw that little peanut on the monitor; and I fell in love. My fear melted away and I began to plan and dream for this new life I held within me. My husband was right, we could do this. Everything would be OK.
And then it wasn’t.
I was put on best rest to see if the bleeding would stop. It would come and go and right about 10 weeks I lost the baby. I had the baby. I saw him. I held him; he was barely the size of the palm of my hand. It was quick and relatively painless, physically.
I ‘untold’ the few family members we had shared the good news with. It was exhausting. Several people said, ‘well, at least it was early’ or ‘I’m sure something was just wrong with the baby.’ It was as if they were discounting my loss–marginalizing it. Of course, they meant no harm but I needed to grieve. I turned inward, to a dark place. I truly felt it was my fault, that I hadn’t wanted the baby enough; I didn’t love it enough; I must have done something wrong.
I was devastated.
I need a D&C, which is a horrible experience and trust me, don’t Google it to read about it. I sobbed uncontrollably in the waiting room; cried the whole time the doctor spoke to me before the procedure; and I woke up groggy and cried some more. I cried myself to sleep for days. I hid my pain. I suffered alone because the few I talked to seemed to think I should move on that because it was ‘only’ the first trimester it wasn’t that bad.
I gained weight, which didn’t help my mood or outlook. I gained more weight. I was sad at home. I was sad at work. I couldn’t let it go; I couldn’t move on.
It was the darkest period in my life.
Losing my dad to cancer was easier than losing my baby. When my dad died, I was surrounded by friends and family who loved him. We shared stories, we laughed, we held each other up and we survived together.
This time, I was alone. At least I felt alone.
I now know many women who have lost babies. Apparently, it isn’t that uncommon. I now recognize that is wasn’t my fault. I deal with my grief; I don’t diminish it and I don’t allow others to diminish it either. I recognize that other women face different types of grief; grief that I can only try to empathize with because mine wasn’t the same. I didn’t carry my baby almost to term, months of love and planning only to have it ripped away. I didn’t have to bury a baby that I had held in my arms who had lived with me for days, weeks or months.
Grief is still grief…a loss is a loss.
I don’t believe miscarriage or losing babies is talked about enough. We hold these experiences close to our hearts. We don’t share our pain. But really, are we hiding it away because it didn’t matter? No. Is it because we are afraid someone will say, ‘well at least it happened so early’? Maybe, but no one should. It is your pain, your grief. It matters.
We wait the ‘appropriate’ 12 weeks to tell our extended family and friends when we are pregnant so we don’t have to ‘untell.’ But is that really the right answer? Should we remove our support system like that?
I was alone, but I didn’t have to be.
I didn’t share my story until years later, after Cricket was born. If I had shared more, I would have discovered so many women who could have helped me. They had been there and would have understood some of what I had been going through. They would have shared their stories and helped me. They would have held my hand and told me over and over that it is OK to be sad and it wasn’t my fault. They would have shared their grief me and I could have shared mine with them. We could have helped each other.
I have had five pregnancies. I have three beautiful children that I am lucky enough to share with the world. I have two babies that live in my heart.
I hope that by me sharing this story of my pain it encourages one person to share their story. It eases my burden and I hope sharing does the same for you.
hugs to all who have loved and lost,