Yes, it is!

Monday, May 2, 2011

International Babyloss Mother's Day

Yesterday, May 1st, was Babyloss Mother's Day.  This is a topic that I've been wanting to write about but had not felt it was the right time.  And unfortunately, being on the road and then returning home and spending time with my children prevented me from making a timely post yesterday.
I know pregnancy loss and baby loss are very difficult topics for so many people.  It is a difficult topic for me, too. I'm dedicating this post to my fellow babyloss moms. 
I'll give a little background information.  As a teen or young person, I was not one of those girls who aspired to get married and have babies right out of high school.  In fact, I was against marriage and having children for so long.  The ideas just scared me.  Marriage scared me because I had a very poor example of a marriage during my childhood.  And children?  I didn't think I was capable of being a mother. Beside, and I'm going to be frank here, I just could NOT fathom the idea of squeezing an 7-8 pound baby through such a narrow passageway.  The very thought of it frightened me.  I was just a fearful person about so much anyway.
Fast forward to my adult single days.  I met and dated a few guys but I always found something to not like about them.  Looking back, it was fear keeping me from opening up to the idea of marriage and having babies.  And I enjoyed my freedom as a single person.  I didn't have to care about anyone else. I could go anywhere I wanted anytime I wanted to.  I just was not ready for marriage and babies.  I wasn't sure I ever would be... until I met Tim.
I was in my 30s when I finally got married to Tim.  We weren't sure if we wanted children but within a couple of months, Tim told me I could discontinue taking the pill.  I was surprised and a little excited, but SCARED.  So, I became pregnant a couple of times before we finally had Jackie.  I will never forget my first miscarriage.  It occurred during Mother's Day weekend in 2003.  I was devastated.  I just knew it would fail.  I was just a failure from the very beginning.  I still went to church with Tim that morning, knowing that the pastor was more than likely going to recognize all the mothers that day.  Tim asked if I wanted to stay home but I insisted that we go.  Why?  I was so afraid that God was going to punish me even more than I was already being punished.  It was so difficult to keep my composure that morning during church.  I'll never forget where we were sitting.  The church was still in the older sanctuary which had a small balcony.  We were seated in the balcony hoping that not too many people would be seated up there.  I was wrong.  It was crowded.  I was already starting to lose my composure during the singing.  Tim asked if I wanted to leave. I was trying so hard to keep myself together.  I declined the offer to leave.  I just avoided looking around and I kept my head down so nobody could see my tears (and snot).  It only got worse when the pastor finally recognized all the mothers in the congregation. That was so painful, especially knowing that at that very moment, my baby had already gone and I was still dealing with the physical reminder of it.  I vaguely remember the rest of the day.  We celebrated the day with Tim's mother, who had no clue what was going on.  I was able to keep a stoic composure around her. Still to this day, she has no clue about my lost babies.  I just don't have that kind of relationship with her and since she has never experienced anything like that, she just would not understand.  I suffered another baby loss between that day and before conceiving Jackie.
Fast forward to when we became pregnant with Jackie.  We were cautiously excited.  This time, we were expecting twins.  But we were warned that one of the twins had a much slower heart rate and more than likely would not make it.  I remember leaving that office, scared and begging God to please let me have at least one of those babies.  I was so scared.  The doctor told us that when the dying twin passes, we probably would not see physical evidence of it but that it would more than likely resorb back into my body.  And it shouldn't affect the surviving twin. Just a couple of days later, Tim had to deploy for a week and he was going to be in a location where I would not be able to get in touch with him.  I would have to contact the commander at the base if I needed to contact Tim.  A couple of days after Tim left, I started to bleed. Why was I seeing blood?  Was I losing both twins?  I was so scared.  I couldn't get ahold of anybody.  I had not broken the news of the pregnancy to anyone, yet, not even family.  I didn't feel comfortable enough to reach out to Tim's mother or my mother.  I felt alone.  Finally, a friend of mine who had previously lost her first baby, called me and I told her what was going on.  She came right over and sat with me as I continued to bleed.  I was so scared but having L there and having her pray with me brought me comfort.  I thought for certain that I had lost both of my babies.  The doctor's office called me back and the nurse said that since the hospitals really can't do anything to stop a miscarriage, that I should just wait until the next morning first thing to see my doctor.  I did that.  I was so shocked to find out that Jackie was alive with a very strong heartbeat.  However, I was saddened to discover that Jackie's twin had perished.  I continued to beg God to allow me to keep my surviving twin.  I was so used to having things yanked from me and I was so scared that God was going to do it again and take my baby.  The bleeding decreased.  When Tim arrived home, I told him what had transpired and he was disappointed that he was not home to help me when I needed him the most.  But all was well.  Until the bleeding picked up again. Back to the doctor again.  This time, my doctor probed around with the ultrasound wand to try to find the source of the bleeding. He finally found it.  It appears that what took the twin that perished is a chorionic bleed.  And unfortunately, Jackie's placenta was showing a chorionic bleed, too.  Both placentas were affected.  I don't know what the chances are of that but I was downright frightened.  I just knew I was going to lose my surviving baby.  The doctor explained how about half of pregnancies with this type of issue end up being lethal for the baby.  But he was confident and prayed with me that everything would work out okay.  I just loved that doctor. He is one of the best.  I continued to be closely monitored and was put on progesterone injections.  Those are painful but I was going to do whatever it took to ensure that my baby was going to survive.  The bleeding finally subsided as I entered my 2nd trimester. I had the occasional bloody show which would make my heart stop for a moment.  But I just had to keep holding on to faith that everything was going to be okay.  With all of the anxiety and fear that I experienced during my pregnancy with Jackie, I am a little sad that I did not fully enjoy being pregnant.  But I was able to carry Jackie to nearly 37 weeks term when my water broke at home.  I delivered my baby girl via c-section due to her being in a breech position.  But I didn't care.  I had my baby.
Tim and I sort of discussed trying for another baby.  We even sort of tried for another one to no avail.  I had been told years before I even got married that my chances of becoming pregnant were very low due to a pre-existing condition.  At the time, I was okay with that as I wasn't even sure I wanted to have children.  As a single person, I thought that I might perhaps adopt an older, slightly special needs child.  So, I was okay that Tim and I were not successful at having another baby.  We were content with our only child.  And since we believed that we would never conceive again, we were not consistent with pregnancy prevention as time went on.  Still, we were absolutely shocked to discover that I was pregnant with our son.  I never thought I would have babies at this age but I wouldn't change it for anything.  After our son was born, we were done having more children.  At least, I was pretty sure I was done and did my part to prevent pregnancy.
Apparently, I didn't do a good enough job at preventing pregnancy.  I am about to open up about something that very few people have known about until now.  I feel a little trepidation sharing it.  I have not even shared this next story with other family members.  But, it is something that I feel the need to share even if it helps just one person to understand the shame or stigma of pregnancy loss. Two years ago, I found myself unexpectedly pregnant.  Again. But this time was different.  I was not happy.  At. All.  I remember one day, realizing that I had been feeling different.  And I suddenly noticed some physical changes involving my body.  Then I realized that I could not remember the last time I had a cycle.  I just know it had been quite awhile.  All of these thoughts and realizations hit me within a matter of minutes.  I remember getting ready to get a shower when the possibility that I was pregnant hit me.  I was panic-stricken. This couldn't be.  I called my best friend and she tried to reassure me to not panic and that it was probably my body changing because I'm... you  know... getting older.  But I just wasn't buying Lisa's idea.  Here I was, somebody who was not supposed to be able to get pregnant and I'm even doing my part to prevent pregnancy.  And I'm older now.  I shouldn't be pregnant but I was pretty sure I was. I kept my thoughts to myself that night.  I just knew Tim would be mad at me if I was indeed pregnant.  I called my friend again the next day and I went over to her house that evening where I did a test and she read the results for me.  I was hysterical.  This could not be.  How could it be?  Medically speaking,  I should not be able to get pregnant this easily and on top of that, I thought I was doing my part to prevent it.  I had the test confirmed the next day at the doctor's office.  I still had not told Tim.  And to be honest, I wasn't sure if I would because I was in crisis mode.  When I first discovered I was pregnant, I am ashamed to admit that one of my first thoughts was to "get rid of it"  before anybody finds out.  I am ashamed now that I even thought of that. But I was in crisis. I had no clue how pregnant I was.  We finally determined that I was at least 6 weeks along by then based on the blood work.  I finally told Tim a couple of days later.  Surprisingly, he took the news okay.  Not excited, but okay.  We started making plans to buy a mini-van.  We talked about who would share a bedroom.  We started to plan.  During that first week, I still was not excited but I was starting to accept the idea.  It took me over a week to finally come to terms with the pregnancy and I started to allow myself to picture myself with 3 children.  I started to picture my 3 children playing together. I worried about how Ben would feel about sharing me.  At that time, he was still very possessive of me.  He would get very upset if he saw me holding another child or even paying attention to another child.  Including his own older sister.  Within a few more days, I started to become more protective about the pregnancy.  And cautiously excited.  I still worried about my age, about how I was going to handle 3 children, how I was going to work. I was planning to finish my Master's degree and work part-time.  But my plans were derailed.  Again. I ran the gamut of thoughts and emotions. Mother's Day was coming up and I was becoming a little more excited about having this baby.  My clothes were getting too snug by now and I couldn't button my pants or zip them up all the way. But as fate would have it, Mother's Day 2009 brought more sadness.  Again. I started to bleed that day.  I was nervous and a little scared and held onto the idea that I had had a chorionic bleed with Jackie. And I even bled during my pregnancy with Ben.  I held onto hope that this baby was going through the same thing until a couple of days later when all hell broke loose and my baby was gone.  In a flash.  I was heartbroken.  Why did God choose such an important holiday again to take away yet another baby?  A day that recognizes motherhood?  Wow, it feels good to finally get that out.  Until now, it was not public knowledge and I had only shared this with just a few people.   
Miscarriage and baby loss is very painful.  It may not be physically painful for some but the pain deep within is piercing.  It doesn't matter how far along or even if it is an unplanned.  The loss of a baby is painful. As content as I am with my two living children. I still often think of the "what if".  I'm okay, I no longer deeply grieve the loss of my babies but I do miss them. I really don't know how to explain it.  Unless a mother has been in these shoes, it is not something that a typical person can understand.  No matter how late or early a pregnancy is lost, no matter if a baby is born sleeping or lives for just a few moments, no matter if a mom never holds another baby in her arms, she is still a mom.  And she should be recognized as such.  On Mother's Day and every day.  I have several friends who have lost babies during pregnancy or soon after delivery.  My heart breaks for them.  I know the pain.  I may not fully understand the pain of giving birth to a child who passes shortly before or after birth, but none the less, I know the pain.  And the grief that follows.  My heart aches for my fellow sisters who have experienced such pain. I have a blogger friend who, after suffering  miscarriages, was finally able to carry her son to term only for him to be born sleeping.  Oh, the pain she has experienced.  She has yet to hold a living baby of her own in her arms.  But you know what?  She is still a fellow mom.  She is still worthy of such distinction.  When I read her blog and some of her Facebook posts, it is evident her pain is still deep but I truly believe that this mom will finally realize her dream of holding her own living baby in her arms, whether born of her flesh or no.  She has so much love to give.  How could God deny her that? Does he have another plan for S and her husband? I hope that whatever that plan is, S and her husband will embrace it. They just have too much love to share to not embrace whatever awaits them.   Happy Mother's Day to you S!

1 comment:

Tristansmommy said...

And a Happy Mother's Day to you my dear friend.. It's crazy how you can love someone as a friend that you've never physically met, but it's there nonetheless.. I appreciate you, your prayers, and your love!!! May God hold all of our angels while we wait to get that chance.