In case you weren’t aware, this month is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness month. Given our experience in this area and how open we are about our story, I’ve heard from SO many women who have gone through losing a baby. I don’t know actual stats, but I know more women who have had a miscarriage or the loss of a baby than have not. And I know it’s a lonely place to be, and a very confusing loss too. And I think the biggest thing to take away from it is that each loss is significant, each loss was/IS meaningful. That baby mattered/matters, and we will never forget them or move on. I’m thanking God today for our little Rainbow baby. Kennedy, you are our little miracle, and even though you’re a toddler in your terrible two’s, MAN DO I FREAKING LOVE YOU. Today, and this month, (Well, always really) I salute you mommas. Being a mommy, especially losing a baby is the worst kind of pain, and although we’re stronger now, we’ll always remember.
I decided in light of this month, I would share again with you my most recent blog on our last baby loss experience. I hope reading this helps you feel not so alone, and it leaves you feeling hopeful.
There’s No Heartbeat – 3 Words You Never Want to Hear
About a year ago, Daniel and I found out that our 5th baby had no heartbeat. I was 12 weeks pregnant when we found out, and it was pretty devastating. We weren’t prepared to be pregnant again that soon, and I just wasn’t ready for another baby. We had just gotten to a place of peace with it and were excited about the new addition to our little family only to be heart-broken again. Since then, we decided we would wait at least a year to talk about trying again. We made the decision for me to get on birth control and prevent pregnancy which we had never really done before. So here we are, a year later, our hearts are healed and we are a happy little family, yet we pose the question, should we try again?
People ask me all of the time, so, are you not wanting to get pregnant because you are scared of the outcome or because you just aren’t ready for another child right now?
If you hadn’t heard our story before, we lost four babies, all in very different ways. Our first baby we found out at 18 w that she had a severe neural tube defect. The second and third babies were very early miscarriages (one in Napa, which meant we were left with a 2K ER bill all for them to just confirm I miscarried- Thanks Napa), and then the last where at 12 weeks when we had finally gotten excited about it and had dreams of a double BOB, we heard the words, “I’m sorry, but there’s no heartbeat.”
Miscarriages. I can’t even begin to explain how hard these are to go through. It’s a feeling that people just simply can’t understand unless they have experienced it for themselves. It is often minimized as if it wasn’t a real loss or avoided in conversation because people just don’t know the words to say. But let me just say a few words about it to help people understand.
It is a real loss. We have lost babies at 4.5 weeks and also at 20 weeks, so I can say confidently that it all hurts the same. Not only are you losing this child that you never got to meet face to face, but you also are losing all of the dreams that come with having that child, raising the child, being a mommy. And while chances are you will go on to have healthy babies, many people minimize the pain by saying things like, “Thank goodness it happened so early.” or “It’s God’s way of saving you from the heartache of having a child with defects.” “Have you considered adopting?” The list goes on an on (and just know, I KNOW they are all good intentioned and very sweet people who say it, just hard to hear in the moment.) But hear it from me, it is a real loss. It’s okay to not be okay because one day you will wake up and you will be okay again.
It’s a very lonely place to be. Just like any kind of grieving, you feel alone in your grief. And because everyone grieves differently, you probably even feel isolated from your spouse because he is grieving differently than you. I even had people try and tell me HOW I should be grieving, which was super awesome. I remember after the first baby, I was so devastated that I wanted to first, leave the state of Florida so I could go where no one knew I was ever pregnant (only to end up in Chicago where I swear they were having a pregnant-lady convention), to then wanting to crawl in my bed and staying there forever. Daniel, on the other hand, who was just as heart-broken, wanted to get back to work. For him, working was how he would get through it, and he couldn’t understand why I didn’t want to do the same in the same timing. It’s also lonely because life just keeps going on the same for everyone around you. You have lost a child, the dream of expanding your family, and people still have to go to work and school, and pick up their kids and go out to dinner. It feels insulting how everyone just keeps on living as if it didn’t matter (knowing that is absurd because life DOES in fact go on).
You feel broken and ashamed. When you first decide to start a family, you never think it will be hard for you. You never think, oh, wait a minute, you mean there’s a hiccup in this equation? You see all of your friends getting pregnant with multiple healthy babies, or you just see everyone’s highlight reel on Facebook and Instagram and think everyone else’s journey to mommy-hood was super easy, while knowing how hard it is for you. You start to feel ashamed of yourself, like why can’t I do the one thing women were made to do which is conceive children? Am I being punished? Will my husband be okay if all he ever has is me? There are a million lonely and embarrassing thoughts that go through your mind. Miscarriages are hard, and you are not alone in it because I know more women who have had one than have not. I wish more people talked about it so that we could be there for one another when or if it happens, and share those stories of hope and show one another pictures of the healthy, beautiful babies we went on to have, but also understand that we’ll never forgot the babies we lost (longest run-on sentence ever). We’ll get to hold them all once we are in heaven, I’m confident of that.
So with all of that said, do we want to go through that pain again? No, not really. Are we fearful of the outcome? Yes, at times. I could choose to not ever get pregnant again out of self-preservation, which would be totally fair given all we have been through. BUT, Daniel and I WILL choose to try again because of several things: God is in control, God is good, we TRUST Him, and we choose to live with HOPE and not FEAR.
When I was pregnant with Kennedy my mantra was Matthew 17:20 – I prayed it everyday because given my past experience with pregnancy, the outcome wasn’t good. But because I had even the tiniest bit of faith, I could believe that God can move mountains, He can raise people from the dead, and He could certainly knit together a perfect little baby in my body EVEN if my body wasn’t capable. And He did indeed.
So, as Daniel and I start this process over again, the TTC process, the tracking ovulation, the stress of sex becoming a chore instead of a blessing, the stress of waiting, all of it, we will choose to live with hope instead of fear because at the end of the day, no matter how God chooses to bless us with another child, we want a sibling for Kennedy. In other words, “The only thing I can control, is the posture of my heart while I wait. And I can tell you this with certainty. Even if it turns out to be a “no”, waiting is so much sweeter when you do it with hope.” (Amanda Bailey Leach – who also has her own blog and writes often on her journey through infertility – she’s amazing)
Daniel and I choose hope because we know God has a good and perfect plan for our family, He doesn’t waste a hurt, and no matter what happens, we will get through it and be better because of it.
Daniel and I have been through the agony of losing babies, but also the just as hard to bare agony of waiting for a baby, the whole “trying to conceive” thing. If you’re in a place were you need more encouragement or to just not feel so alone in what you’re going through, check out these other blogs.
The Waiting (Infertility/TTC) – When a Gift Becomes a Chore
Our whole story of Loss (My first blog) – God Must Think I’m a Bad…
More on the WAITING – God Meets Us in Desperate Places
Also, if you would like to drop me a word, ask for prayer or even have coffee, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Much love, Ladies. Much love.
About the Author
Carol has a Bachelor’s degree from Auburn University in Business Administration, Marketing, and is a die-hard Auburn Tiger fan. Carol is passionate about inspiring people and brands, and writes a lifestyle blog called “Let’s Get Real, Ladies.” Carol resides in Jacksonville, Florida with her husband, Daniel and daughter, Kennedy. https://reallifemommy.org/
Article first appeared in BoldCityVoice.com