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Archive for the ‘previous pregnancy’ Category

Not so much a birthday

Today our baby girl would have been one. Well, at least according to our due date – a date that doesn’t mean much when you’re pregnant, but when you’ve lost a child, it certainly makes the spot. A lot has happened since we lost her and this is not how I thought our life would look a year later. But I don’t suppose anyone ever expects these sorts of things. In any case I wanted to take a moment and acknowledge what today should have been. So to our sweet baby girl, we love you very much and miss you everyday.

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For years this holiday is about your mother and it comes and goes with a card and some flowers and you pause and are thankful for the woman who gave you life.  And then one day you’re pregnant and now look who’s the mother. But then the unthinkable happens and your baby dies before they are able to take a breath. There are some people out there who would argue that they weren’t a life yet, and frankly I’m not even going to say they are entitled to their opinions. What my husband and I lost was a daughter, a healthy child, who, for whatever reason couldn’t sustain 9 months in my womb. Does this make me a mother? Even though we have no child at home, I haven’t been rearing a little one for the last year. So am I a mom? Do I deserve acknowledgement on this Sunday’s holiday?

It’s kind of like you’re in Mom-limbo in this situation. And doubly so for me this year since we’re pursuing adoption and I feel as if I’m paper-pregnant. The transition from where I am now to where I’ll be when we have a baby at home will be enormous. And so no, according to traditional thinking, I am not a mother. I haven’t breast-fed, I haven’t changed diapers, I have soothed a crying baby to sleep in the last year. And society would tell me that I don’t count, I haven’t worked as hard as real mothers have, I haven’t been through labor. But I had a child and you can’t be a mother one day and not one the next. I was a mother and I nurtured and loved and talked to and could feel the life inside me. She was there. As real as you or I.

So am I a mother? You bet I am. Perhaps there are those who won’t understand, who’ll think it’s silly and foolish for me to put myself in that category. But I don’t care. Last May when our daughter died, we grieved, we are still grieving now, we have pictures of her from my womb, we heard her heartbeat several times and saw her wiggle her little arms and legs. She was real, alive and because of her I am a mother. So tomorrow I will celebrate the day designed to honor mother’s. I’ll call my own and tell her how amazing she is. My husband will take me to lunch after church. It will be difficult, I don’t suppose it will be a happy holiday for me until we do have living children at home, but we will acknowledge it because to not do so would be to negate her existence. And we will not do that.

So for all you mother’s out there, the ones with children in heaven, I say to you Happy Mother’s Day!

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Support

They did a segment on the Today’s Show (which I don’t normally watch – I’m a GMA girl) on miscarriage. It was even a rather lengthy segment and they did it well, which is so appreciated. There just isn’t enough media coverage on miscarriage and infertility despite how many people it effects. I’ve talked a lot about my loss on this blog and for me, that’s been part of my healthy. Being a writer by profession, expressing myself through the written word is as natural, if not more so, than talking. And expressing your feelings about miscarriage is crucial. For some reason, in our society, there is a stigma attached to it and women are ashamed to talk about it. All this does is perpetuate the myth that these women are to blame for the loss of their children. So if you’re out there and you’ve lost a child, find someone to talk to. If you’re like me, you’ll probably want some of those someone’s to have been through the experience themselves.

I found this myself on a site that until my miscarriage had been a “fun” place to go. Fertility Friend. It’s a charting website for women to chart their cycles and take charge of their own fertility. And until the day that we lost our child, the day we lost control of our fertility, that’s all that site was to me too. But some time around June of last year I saw a post on the bulletin board. A call for women who’d lost May babies and I responded. Many of us did. Some of the women got pregnant again right away and eventually left the group. But there is a core group of us that have been together the entire time. Talking about our feelings, sharing our bad days and our good.

I don’t know these women. Not in the way that I know my everyday friends, but they are as real to me as any friend I might meet for lunch. They have been there for me in ways that my sister or my mother could not be. We are all spread across the country (we even had a member from Australia) and are from different backgrounds, have different professions, been married a variety of years, and we would probably never have met had it not been that one thing that joins us together. We are the statistics. The 1 in 5 pregnancies that end in miscarriage.

These women have been life savers for me. Supported me through times I didn’t think I would be able to survive. Held me (virtual) hand as I walked through the ugliest part of life where I swore that if I ever got to the other side, I’d never be the same. I’m not the same person I was before we lost Cordelia, but I didn’t lose myself like I thought I would. And much of that is because of the kindness and camaraderie of these women. Many of whom are pregnant right now – Mika (who should be having her baby any time now!), Chassie, Katherine, Kellie, Jen, Becca and Tremaine (who is having all her kids at once with her triplets!) and Lisa and Sue, who like me, are not pregnant (YET!) but who will be very soon. Thank you from the very bottom of my heart, you honestly have meant the world to me.

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In memorium

I’ve commemorated several things on this blog – all to do with my pregnancy. Today marks one more, the last one actually. Because a year ago today we were in the doctor’s office for our weekly scan and we found out her heartbeat had simply stopped. The doctor couldn’t explain it and we felt like we’d been hit by a truck. We had been so close to the 2nd trimester, so close to that “safe” zone and frankly we’d stopped worrying. We’d felt falsely secure about the life I carried and then, in a moment, she was gone. We called our parents – my mom had just purchased me a bag of maternity clothes went straight to the store to return them – his parents who were actually on their way to see us, driving from Ohio. We had a very different visit that time than we usually do. I had the D&C the following day.

I was angry a lot of last year. A lot. I was mad at bad parents and other pregnant women and women with lots of children, but mostly I was mad at God, so mad I didn’t talk to Him much. I knew He was a loving God and I knew this hadn’t been His will, that He hadn’t caused it, but I also knew that while those things were true He had allowed it to happen. He’d allowed our baby to die. Suddenly nothing in life made sense. All those things I thought had been so certain were crumbling before me. I worried about my husband’s safety, I worried if I’d make it out of the D&C (which is not really a complicated procedure even though they put me under for it), and I worried about whether or not I’d ever be a mother. In the midst of the crippling anger, I felt guilt. Had I done something that had caused the miscarriage? Had I not done something? And what right did I have to feel so angry and demand so many things for my life when I had a loving husband and supportive family and there were those out there who would trade for my life? Guilt about everything. And more anger when the next three fertility treatments failed. Needless to say guilt and anger do not blend well and frankly I wasn’t all that great to be around and I feared that in the midst of all of that yuck that I was losing myself.

It took a long time, but I can honestly say, a year later, I feel stronger and healthier. I’m not angry anymore. I don’t feel guilty. It feels right to me that we’re on this path to adopt. I don’t feel out of control anymore, instead I feel peace.

Even so, today I will pause and remember the life of our little girl and how much we wanted her and how much we loved her. And I’ll take solace in knowing that someday she will be in my arms, not in this life, but in the next.  And sometime in this life I will hold another child (hopefully more than one) who will look up at me and call me Mommy.

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…we got two beautiful little pink lines.  I wasn’t really expecting to remember much less feel sad, but I’ve been sad all day.  It just pretty much sucks that a year after getting pregnant and we still don’t have any children at home.  It just seems we’ve had one setback after another and today I’ve just really felt it.  I know tomorrow will be better.  I haven’t given up on my hope and I haven’t given up on our plan for adoption.  If anything I’m more determined, more ready to get going.  But today I had to pause and mourn a bit more for the child we lost.

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still mourning

I faced my due date with dread for months, expecting it to be a rather difficult day. And to be truthful, the days leading up to it were much worse than the actual day. But I thought once I passed that date, I would feel better, I’d have some closure. Evidently that’s not the case. It’s not as if I expected not to be sad anymore, not to miss my little girl, but I just thought the sting would be taken out a bit. Time heals all wounds, right? Well, these last few days have been rough. I’m sure the holidays are compounding everything, but I realized something today. For the last few months I’ve been mourning my pregnancy and the dreams we had for our first child. Now, though, I am mourning Cordelia and the things I should be doing right now. Nursing and changing diapers and not getting any sleep. Taking that picture in the little Christmas sleeper and making that into a Christmas card to send out as a birth announcement. Not having any time or energy to decorate or bake or even think about the holidays.

I’m trying to take things in stride though. Focus on the future as much as possible. We should be getting our copy of China’s Lost Girls in the mail tomorrow which we plan to show to both of our parents over the holidays. In the meantime, I’m shopping and baking and crafting and anything else I can do to keep my mind occupied.

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My due date…

Today was to be my due date. I remind myself that it’s just a date and that for most pregnant women the due date is just a loose guideline. But for a woman who’s lost a child, it’s a significant date. A date to remember or mark or set aside to spend a few moments thinking about the child you lost and the love you have for them. Shortly after my miscarriage I came across this poem and it seems quite perfect for today.

Barely a Mother
by Erin McSparron


If I am a Mother,
It seems I’m barely so.
For it was only weeks or months
That I held my baby close.

But God is helping me to understand,
He made me a Mother that day.
The day He gave me a precious life to hold,
And no one can take that away.

For Motherhood is a valuable gift,
Given by the Father above.
Conception is the only condition,
Not a living child to love.

God also gives another gift,
A gift of love so wild.
A Mother feels this gift most strong,
When she’s seperated from her child.

So God knew that I would be sad
When He took my baby home,
But he promised to be by my side
And never leave me alone.

For grief is not a symptom given
To those who know no love.
It’s not a sign of weakness,
But proof of God above.

So if you’re told that Motherhood
Is reserved for Moms of the living.
Remember the honor that God gave you,
When He chose you for your baby’s beginning.

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