Today is my birthday. Upon receiving the many notifications from people in my life sending me happy wishes, I can’t help but be sad.
Sad for all of the birthday wishes that aren’t coming true today.
We are losing a baby tomorrow. Well, they’ve told us she’s already gone.
I am 8 weeks pregnant. Until tomorrow.
All along I secretly knew this wasn’t going to ever be. I just had a deep, uneasy feeling. At first I was apprehensive because we just experienced an early miscarriage last month. Seriously how can I miscarry twice in 2 months? This entire process was so unexpected from the very beginning. So my guard was up at the first sight of all 3 positive tests. But the weeks went on and I got sicker… all of the signs of early pregnancy were there, loud and clear. So we told some close friends, but refrained from telling our kids or doing those exciting early baby things like rubbing the belly. I think we were both scared. As it got closer to our obgyn appointment date, we became more excited and it started to feel more real.
The morning sickness was an its-gotta-be-a-girl all day sickness. After having two girls, I know the hints. With each pregnancy, I’ve had a feeling about the sex. This time I just knew it was a girl. We talked about names… I made baby girl Pinterest boards… you might think we were jumping the gun, but time and symptoms made us believe this was happening for us again.
After waiting about 4 weeks to go to the doctor, the day finally came. Back to the ultrasound room. Get undressed from the waist down, she said. Let’s see your baby, she said. There she was.. teeny tiny. Then the minutes starting passing as the tech searched for a heartbeat. It felt like hours. I could feel the disappointment rise all the way from my stomach to my throat to the burn of swelling tears in my eyes as she said “I’m just not seeing a heartbeat.“ All I could do was lay there. Sit up. Get dressed. Go home. Act like everything was fine. They told us to come back Monday and by then we would know for sure.
There was still hope.
The weekend was so long. My mom said “just keep talking to her.” So I did. In the shower.. in my head. I prayed. After being in such a rotten mood for so long because I felt awful, I naturally felt like this was punishment. That I should be more grateful and appreciative. I promised I would be. If there could just be a little heartbeat on Monday. I’d be a better mom and wife and everything else. I found myself pleading and begging to God… I’ve been on a hormonal roller coaster and struggling with so many feelings lately over everything that we’ve been through in the last several months… How in the world could this be happening too? I told myself the chances of losing another pregnancy this soon after having it happen was impossible. After multiple health issues, losing our longtime family pet, an early miscarriage a month ago, and now this? “Why?” was my only question.
Monday came and as our nerves grew, so did our fears. No heartbeat. Just like that. We had anticipated this moment. We prayed for good news but we couldn’t control what we were being told.
So many thoughts running through my head. A sadness I’ve never felt. Like a hole had just grown in my heart. After delivering 3 healthy babies and experiencing 3 amazing pregnancies, I didn’t understand how my body could do this now. When did her heart stop? Was it something I did? Did I know? Did I feel it? I will never know why.
The grief is like waves. I’m fine then all of a sudden there’s tears. Just trying to find something to wear. Taking a shower. Imagining the unborn little baby in my belly that was just… in there. Not living. Not needing me anymore. I can’t explain that feeling. The waiting and knowing. Feeling completely pregnant but knowing that it’s over. Tomorrow I’ll go to the hospital but I won’t be bringing a sweet baby girl home wrapped in pink.
When this happens you don’t just lose a baby, you lose all of the missed moments that you couldn’t wait to have. First smiles, first steps, getting to see Heidi be a big sister to a sister, seeing Brady boss a little toddler around, first days of school, first honor roll report card, cute little girl bows bigger than her head, watching her face light up as she does something she loves. Just like our other kids all over again one last time.
I know we have 5 beautiful, healthy children. And that people would think we were crazy for wanting another. I was prepared for all of those comments. But it doesn’t make this hurt any less. I had visions of a little red headed girl version of Gene chasing behind Brady. That doesn’t just go away. Brady has been such blessing to us. Gene and I are both much older this time around than we were when our other kids were little so it’s just been completely different, and, overwhelmingingly rewarding. We were looking forward to more of that.
When I went to the hospital to have my pre-op bloodwork done, the nurse taking my blood noticed that it was my birthday and also noticed why I was there. She looked at me with sad eyes and said “it’s not a very good birthday huh?” And then she told me her story. Two miscarriages between her two sons who were now 32 and 38. She said “I know exactly how you feel. For the longest time I couldn‘t look at another baby, or hear one crying. But God has a plan and I had to trust in that. It’s going to be okay.” After she was done taking my blood, she gave me the biggest hug and all I could get out through my tears was “Thank you so much.” Not for drawing my blood, but for sharing her story with me.
We walk by women every day who have gone through this. Many women you know and talk to on a regular basis who have silently mourned the same kind of loss.
I’m not writing this to put our business out there… but I feel like if I don’t write about it… maybe eventually talk about it… then this sweet baby we lost never happened. As if she was a big secret that we will never bring up. And I know there are so many of you who have been through this and have silently grieved about it. I want to let the next woman know and the previous women know that I feel you. I know what you’re going through and you’re not alone.
I know in a few short days I will be expected to get back to “normal” …go to work, take care of the kids, teach my cheer class, run a business. The problem is I. Don’t. Know. How. How do you just pick up and carry on when you’re so sad?
It may or may not happen for us again. We have been blessed with Brady and the rest of our clan. And I know things will get back to normal. We will move on.. but we will never forget.
As I sit here and watch Titanic.. I can’t help but feel like I too am drowning. I go back to work tomorrow. I’m trying to prepare myself to be able to come up with answers to the questions I know I will receive tomorrow. I know people mean well… and they are just trying to be kind.. I know people have prayed for us.. people have sent their well wishes… but they dont understand that I don’t know how to answer them.
The truth is I don’t know how to smile and say Hi. I don’t know how to laugh at my co-worker’s joke. I don’t know how to act like I’m fine.
When I’m not fine.
Brady looked at me tonight at bedtime and said “Mommy I hope you will feel good.”
They know when something is wrong. our children know when things aren’t right. He may be 4, but he knows.
I’m sad. I’m angry. I’m disappointed.
All I can tell you is that I’m going to look forward to this: Im going to play with Brady, do Heidi’s hair, watch Maddy and Cole go to the Winter Formal Dance, and plan vacations… I’m going to breathe fresh air, look at the stars.. and pray.
Pray for happiness and a simple life that feels complete.
2 weeks since surgery. Things are starting to feel “normal” again. Life is once again regimented. There’s a routine again. Wake up, throw my hair back, drive to school, get through the day, hurry home, cook dinner, wash dishes, wash clothes, clean… stay busy.
I had to convince myself that it was better to do things. To be around people. To work. To be ”us.” All of the things I was fighting because I was sad.
One of the hardest parts of this entire unfortunate event in our lives is that I felt like I am expected to just move on and be okay. I felt that multiple people in my life said things or insinuated that ”it’s going to be alright” so “I just needed to move on,” that “I can’t stay sad forever.” Not because they intend to be insensitive but because they care and don’t know what to do with me.
I think that one reason why it’s difficult to move on for anyone who’s lost a baby is because of the guilt. You feel so guilty every time you smile, laugh, or enjoy something. That guilt makes you feel like the little life that you lost was meaningless or that you shouldn’t feel good about anything because it would be wrong. Wrong because it was YOUR body that failed them. You just can’t help but feel that it was your fault.
You feel helpless when this happens to you.
I am reminded of this every day. When I go to the bathroom. When I see a baby. When I see the adorable little girl with pig tails in Brady’s preschool class. When I see a commercial for diapers. I am constantly reminded that my heart has been broken.
I don’t know when it gets better. I can’t tell anyone who has been through this or is going through this that “it was meant to be” or “it’ll happen if it’s supposed to.” All I can say is that time and love will help heal. There are still going to be moments when all of those emotions come rushing back out of nowhere and take your breath away.
It feels extremely surreal and out of place to realize that the ideas in your head for two months about the future are now gone. For someone who likes to be in control, it is scary and difficult to deal with something so out of your control.
Brady just crawled in bed beside me and said “I love you Mommy” and reminded me to be strong. Heidi leaves random sticky notes on my desk during the day that say “I love you Mommy.” I am loved and I am lucky. Even the toughest of us go through things that change us. I have to remind myself of all of the things that I have gone through to get me to this place. And how I have overcome them all. A LOT of things in my life have gone wrong, or not as planned. But then I remember how much has gone RIGHT. It’s not vanity but empowering to once again believe in yourself.
For the mamas who never got to hold their babies, I understand why miscarriage isn’t often discussed… why your stories haven’t been told… because you physically cannot… it’s too painful.
The experience of a miscarriage is so sensitive and intimate because it involves all of you.
The depth of your sorrow is one no one can understand until it happens to them.
Find something that gives you strength. For me I find strength, relief, and peace in writing.
It’s the knowledge that my story can help heal someone else’s.
Valentine’s Day. This week has been so much better. I have felt better. Gene sent me flowers today. He never disappoints.
Things have actually been going ok…. I’ve been laughing, working, smiling.. and hey, I can even drink wine again. Everything was almost back to normal..
Until this afternoon when I had to relive this entire experience over again. Without getting too personal and without going on and on forever, out of nowhere, I had massive bleeding. When I say out of nowhere I mean I was standing in my classroom when I realized something wasn’t right. I went to the bathroom before somehow making it to the phone to call my mama. My mom rushed me to my doctor where they did an ultrasound and admitted me to the hospital immediately.
I have a large blood clot in my uterus.
I feel like we have taken two steps forward and a million steps back.
I am telling you that I feel like my body is so far from normal. And so competely tired.
I knew there wouldn’t be a “right” time to share my story… but I knew I would know when to. I have been nervous about sharing just because stories of pregnancy loss are often hard to hear and it’s natural that people begin to judge and compare. That is terrifying in itself. I am always so self-conscious about how I will make other people feel when they read my writing. But I recently read another blog post that said you shouldn’t be afraid to share your story because your grief is just as deserving as anyone else’s. I had planned on sharing today. I just didn’t think I was going to have all of this to add to it.
Gene and I are spending Valentine’s night in a hospital room. Although I’m tired and worried… I know I am loved. So many of you have showed that today.
It takes a village. Mine is pretty great.
If you’re going through this or you are struggling with your own story, lean on your village. Remind yourself that you are strong. You are capable. You can do this.
To be continued.. because our stories always are.
“A person’s a person. No matter how small.”