In October 1988, President Ronald Reagan Proclaimed October as National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.
“When a child loses his parent, they are called an orphan. When a spouse loses her or his partner, they are called a widow or widower. When parents lose their child, there isn’t a word to describe them. This month recognizes the loss so many parents experience across the United States and around the world. It is also meant to inform and provide resources for parents who have lost children due to miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, stillbirths, birth defects, SIDS, and other causes.”
I have struggled to write this post. I have put it off. The feelings & memories writing it will bring up are not pleasant. And I prefer to focus on the positive, fun parts of my world.
But I also can’t stop thinking about this issue, so it needs to be written. So here we go…
About 10 years ago, I suffered a miscarriage. Two actually, back to back.
I purposefully don’t keep track of the specific dates, I don’t want to focus on any sort of anniversary. But I do know they happened in the fall. And I know how old those babies would be. I remember my friends who were pregnant at the time & how old their kids are now. But again, I try not to think too much about those things.
The first pregnancy was not planned. I knew early on I was pregnant, before I even missed a cycle. Some of my memories are crystal clear, others are vague, shadowy. Bear with me as I sift through them.
My symptoms mimicked the symptoms I had early on with Emma. I was excited, but nervous. When I showed signs of something not being right, I was devastated.
I remember a nurse telling me my hormone levels were not increasing like they should be. I remember saying something like but I’m still pregnant, right? The baby is still there? Bless her, I don’t remember exactly what she said, but she let me know the pregnancy was not viable.
But still I hoped.
I remember going to Emma’s room, it’s always been a place of peace for me. Well, it WAS a place of peace for me when she was a baby & toddler…now it’s a teenage room which is so not the same! But back then, it was clean, quiet & the sunlight streamed through the windows so beautifully.
I remember being down on my knees, praying, begging the Lord for my baby. I remember being at church, pleading for my baby in the alter. During a revival service I was prayed for & I believed.
I lost the baby.
I don’t think husbands get it, and I’m not sure they can help it? I fell in love with my babies, all of them, from the moment I knew they existed.
Men don’t have the honor of growing them, of the changes in appetite, hormones. All the fun & not so fun stuff. Robbie struggled to help me through this loss.
Some of you know Robbie’s history. How he & his first wife suffered the unimaginable loss of their perfect, blonde haired, blue eyed sweet first born son. When I met Robbie he had gone through a divorce. He informed me that he was never getting married again, never having kids again. I heard those words, but didn’t quite believe him. I hadn’t been through what he had, couldn’t even imagine.
So clearly we got married & then went on to have Emma. I had undergone genetic testing after we got married to make sure that I didn’t carry the gene for MLD, the horrible disease that stole Blake from them. I still remember getting the phone call with the results. I was sitting at my desk at Eure Communications (now The Charlottesville Radio Group). When they told me I didn’t have the gene, I was overjoyed! Robbie had asked the doctor to test me for ALL possible conditions. They assured him that was not how it worked. Bless him. He was and is still such a worrier.
I got pregnant almost immediately. Clearly I am fertile Myrtle. Emma was born & she was perfect.
Fast forward 3 years.
After I lost the baby, I was devastated. I begged Robbie to try again. He agreed, he couldn’t stand my grief.
I lost that baby too. The pain was physical, spiritual, emotional.
What followed these miscarriages was by far one of the darkest, saddest times in my life. I didn’t understand why?
The Depression was overwhelming.
I am a person of deep faith. Have been since I was a teen. These losses really tested me. I didn’t understand what I did wrong? Was God punishing me?
I am thankful for my people that prayed for me. I am thankful for medicine that helped my brain. I am thankful for counseling. I believe faith, good counsel & medicine all have their place & in this time I needed ALL of them.
I eventually emerged from my pit. The things I learned about myself during this time are powerful & should have a post all to themselves.
Life moved on. Babies were not on the agenda. I threw myself into mothering my sweet Emma.
And then out of nowhere, I’m late. I’m never late. I should not be. I’m almost 40, we were certainly not trying & were taking precautions. But I was late. I could not believe it when I saw the positive pregnancy test stick.
I remember calling my sweet friend Barrie and blurting out “I’m pregnant!”
I waited several days before telling Robbie because I knew that conversation was not going to be easy.
And then the shock of finding out there were two babies! I was scared to hope. I was scared to believe that my long lost dream could possibly come true. I was covered in prayer by my fantastic church & family. I was showered with support from my sweet friends.
And despite all the odds stacked against them, (I was OLD, they were unplanned, I was on medication that I had to quickly come off of safely) I carried those precious babies to term & they came home from the hospital with me.
We chose Faith & Grace as their middle names because we knew from the beginning that’s what it would take.
I don’t know why I lost two babies.
I don’t know why I was blessed with twins years later.
Some have said the Lord was blessing me because of my losses.
But that doesn’t happen to every mom who loses a baby or every parent that loses a child. I am not special.
I have learned His ways are not my ways. His thoughts are not my thoughts. I would have never lost those babies in my plan. But I chose to believe the suffering I went through does have meaning. I have to believe that.
I just want to encourage you, if you have experienced loss, you are not alone. God is near to the broken hearted, even when it doesn’t feel like it.
If you love someone who has suffered a loss, love them.
Don’t try to fix them.
Don’t tell them to let you know if they need anything. They won’t.
Send the card.
Bring the casserole.
Cry with them.
Do not tell them it’s for the best.
Do not tell them it’s nature’s way of taking care of things when something is not right.
Don’t say anything if that’s all you can think of.
Hold their hand, rub their back.
Be still & love them.
And then be the hands & feet of Jesus.
This is deeper than my normal ramblings. I’ve struggled with this & it’s not my best writing. But I want to get it out of my head. And I saw that today was the day 4 years ago that I joyfully announced we were having twins. Facebook memories are the best, good job Mark Zuckerberg!
That FB memory was the push I needed to finish this & post it. It needs polishing but I’m done. Maybe it’s just for me & that’s ok too.