Hello there! I took a week off and didn't even say anything... mostly because I wasn't prepared for my time off, it just happened. My kiddo got sick, I had life to take care and while I do have things to share, I just couldn't get my mind settled to write it down.
After Mother's Day I had began to write down my motherhood story. Sometimes we can get caught in assumptions online, we think everyone has more than us or has it easier than us, mostly because no one wants to talk about the bad. I promise, no one would be here if I was talking about everything I can't afford and making cuts to pay bills, blah blah blah. That would be depressing, right?
This goes for motherhood too. If someone is having trouble conceiving or has experienced loss, it's easy to look at anyone with children and immediately think "It must be so easy for her, she just popped one out and has never experienced what I have."
I get it because I've been there.
I have one child and I didn't just pop him out, end of story. Because the truth is, I have two children, but I've only ever held one in my arms. I've only had the chance to hug one, kiss him, read him stories at bedtime, change his diapers and care for him when he's sick. But I have two children.
I didn't get pregnant, have a smooth pregnancy and pop out a perfectly healthy baby on my first try. No, I lost my first baby, before I even knew whether he was a he or she was a she. But not before I knew I carried her, not before I knew she was mine and dreamed of my coming days of motherhood.
There are stories we all have to tell, they don't seem important when the events occur and we think no one will ever want to hear that! But recently I was on a blog I follow and she was talking about her problems getting pregnant and how scary everything she was going through was, how worried it all made her. In that moment, reading and relating to her emotions I shared a glimpse of my experience with her and got an unexpected response. My story was inspiring to her.
My story, it began 6 years ago. My husband and I were newlyweds, we knew when we got married that we wanted to start a family. We were married on May 4th [Hooray! Just passed our anniversary!] and I found out I was pregnant in November. We were excited and could not wait to welcome our first child into the world. Being our first pregnancy, we announced it with glee as soon as we found out. We purchased baby items and began picking names for boys and girls. I was 21, young and healthy, there was no way I could have any problems, right? Ah, to be so young and naive. I was positive at this time that I was carrying a girl, we were already planning to name her Lillian Grace or Emma Rose yet we had not a single boy's name picked.
Our lives would change forever during my second month.
It was a routine day, at this time both my husband and I worked for the same company, in the same building but different departments. It was wonderful because we always had our breaks and lunches together. Break was coming up and I didn't want to waste it using the ladies room, so I decided to take care of that before my husband came for me at my desk. But, I wouldn't be returning to my desk... I was bleeding.
I remember standing in the hall, shaking and trying to reach my doctor. I was young and so very clueless. A woman I worked with had come out of the office and saw me standing there, I thought I was hiding my emotions but clearly she could tell something was up. With just a glance she diverted from her path and asked me if I was okay. I couldn't speak in that moment, so I began crying and her eyes widened with concern. Finally I croaked out that I was bleeding and she quickly embraced me, just holding me for a few minutes while I cried. I don't think you know how good of people are until they show you compassion in a difficult moment. She finally let me go and told me she was going to get my husband. After she left, my doctor called me back and told me to get home and get off my feet. I would call her back in a few hours to update her if anything changed. I had my checkup just that past Friday and it could just be a little bleeding due to irritation.
When my husband came, I told him and then my amazing co-worker followed shortly with my purse and jacket, assuring me that she'd already informed my boss and shut down my computer. In that moment, she was such an amazing, caring woman and I will never forget her kindness.
After hours at home, in bed, nothing changed, I continued to bleed and began to feel worse. My husband called my mom and by time she arrived we were leaving for the ER. I don't recall much from when we arrived, I know I was put into a wheel chair and a nurse had me moved in quickly because I was very pale and running a fever. Everything felt like it went by in seconds, though I know we were there all day. I had blood drawn, had multiple ultrasounds and was wheeled from room to room. But in the end they regretted to tell me that I had lost the baby, my body had literally vacated the premises all on it's own. But they had more news for me, my blood had come back as O- Negative, which meant I had to get a special shot which followed with the worst news they could give me. With my blood, my body has a tendency to attack anything foreign. This meant, for whatever reason, they baby must have had positive blood and somehow it made contact with my blood and my blood attacked to protect itself. This didn't mean my body would always do this, there was a chance something had gone wrong and my body was going to release the baby anyway. I've received many reassurances that something was wrong with the baby and my body took care of it naturally by preventing the pregnancy from continuing. That wasn't actually very reassuring, lessons from experience, don't tell a grieving mother negative things about the baby she just lost. I hated even more that all the Doctor could tell me was to try again in three months and see what happens. They wouldn't know how to proceed until they knew if my body was always going to do this. And I made up my mind, at that moment, that I wouldn't be trying again, this was too painful.
I spent the remainder of the week at home, mostly in bed, while my husband returned to work. I didn't want to see people, I didn't want to talk to anyone, even my Mother gave me love that day but gave me space the remainder of the week. She would call or text my husband to ask about me instead, Mom's are wise in those ways. I boxed up the things I had bought for baby and put them away, I couldn't stand to see them. At this time, I wanted nothing to do with babies because it all just reminded me of what I had lost. That following Monday, I picked myself up and returned to work. I remember sitting at my desk, doing my work and no one talked to me. I actually preferred that, maybe they all knew it was better too.
As the next few months went by, I returned to life as normal. My husband and I continued to enjoy our life, just the two of us and the dog... gosh, I forgot how much time the dog and I spent together. Just as I am writing this I wonder if I took her passing so hard because I bonded with her so much during my time in bed. Yes, I let the dog lay in bed with me as I cried all that week, dogs are amazing companions in that way. My dog's name was Emery, in case you were wondering. She was the most amazing dog, a german shepherd mix we adopted, all kinds of personality and I miss her dearly.
My husband would try to talk to me about having kids and I was convinced at this time that we would never be having children. I wasn't going to sacrifice baby after baby to my angry womb to "see what happens" and go through that terrible experience again. But I also knew that it made me sad to refuse to try because my husband wanted children so badly. It's not like this experience didn't impact him too, that his heart wasn't as broken as mine, he was just better at controlling his emotions. But as that three month mark came closer, he persisted in bringing it up more and more.
The three month mark came and the discussion became more serious about having children. I came to realize, despite my self-righteous decision to "protect babies from my womb" the truth was, I was scared. I was hiding behind "reasons" to disguise my fear of experiencing the pain of loss again. We actually had a nurse, the night we lost the baby, tell us that I couldn't get pregnant without a series of shots. Being clueless I took that to heart and thought I could never have babies! The truth was, we were ill informed, because of my blood type I have to have a shot after a miscarriage, around 26 weeks during a pregnancy or immediately following birth. Having the correct information is important. At this point I finally relented and told my husband we could start trying again and in my mind I began preparing myself for the unpleasant experience I knew would be coming.
Weeks passed and our first anniversary arrived, we took a weekend to Dallas, stayed in a hotel and spent the weekend together having fun. Regretfully I became sick our first night there, we went out to a super nice steak house and when my filet mignon arrived my stomach turned. We went to a pizza place we were told we must try and again, my stomach turned. Clearly I had caught a stomach bug, I hardly ate that weekend yet I was ravenous with hunger. What I didn't consider at the time was I was missing an important event in my life, not my anniversary but my monthly lady business.
It had been 6 weeks.
I left work early that Monday because I still felt sick, I never "lost my lunch" but I still had a gross feeling and just wanted to rest. I progressed sluggishly that whole week, getting behind on work, not eating much and just wanting to sleep.
7 weeks go by.
My husband noticed and mentioned it to me, I hadn't sent him on a store run in awhile to grab anything for me. He's an awesome husband, he's not embarrassed to go to the store for tampons and m&ms, yet I am. I told him he was crazy, hadn't it just been a few weeks go? He wanted me to go get a pregnancy test and I actually told him, if this was the case I'd rather not, if I'm going to lose it then it's better I never know for sure I never had it. In reality, this was a stupid idea because if I had a miscarriage I needed my shot. I'm not ashamed to say that me at 22 was a pretty stupid person sometimes (or from my current POV, I was stupid all the time).
And now 8 weeks arrived.
If I'm pregnant, I'm at that line, in just a matter of days I'll carry one baby longer than the other. I keep waiting for it to happen but it doesn't, I cross the line and finally give in to taking a pregnancy test.
I was pregnant.
At this point, you probably think everything turns out fine from here, smooth sailing and a healthy baby boy. I wish that was the truth, but I had many ups and downs. We actually spent the majority of the pregnancy knowing that our son was showing signs of down syndrome. Which meant extra tests, ultrasounds and doctors visits. When it came to birth, I wouldn't dilate and they found out my cervix was tilted [makes it hard for baby to find the exit!]. Only when he was born did we finally know he was completely healthy and have an idea of how our lives would proceed.
Becoming a mother would be a life changing experience for me, the three of us have weathered a lot together in just four and a half years. I had a terrible time trying to breast feed and ended up being unable to continue after three months. Yes, I had wonderful mom's that made me feel like a failure for it. After my maternity leave was over, my husband and I discussed it and looked at our finances long and hard before deciding I could be a stay at home mom with some sacrifices. We committed and we were doing fine but three weeks later my husband lost his job. We survived unemployment with a baby and when my husband started work again, he was working a night shift. He was on night shift for 3 years and I practically acted as a single parent the entire time, hardly ever getting a break from my duties. Life doesn't always work out as we plan, maybe it isn't as cheery and perfect as people think, but we do the best we can.
I have never forgotten the baby I carried first. I've always been convinced she was my little girl and thinking about her, losing her still brings tears to my eyes. But I can talk about it now, I can share it now and let other women know that they are not the only ones having a difficult time with pregnancy.