Not many stories are this hard to tell. While at the same time feel very necessary to share.
My husband and I had been married almost three years when we decided we were ready to start a family. It was all happiness and joy. Planning. Hoping. Waiting. Wondering who that little one would be.
It didn’t take us long to conceive, only a few months, and we couldn’t have been more excited when that test showed up positive. It was euphoric. We were going to be a family. At that time we had no idea of the dark days that were ahead, and those few weeks of bliss I will cherish for the rest of my life. There is no way to get that peace back.
When I was 6 weeks along, and very much in love with the small life inside me, the bleeding started. Those days passed in a blur of mind numbing agony. Darkness surrounded me constantly, and I felt that every second I was getting pulled deeper into an abyss of anguish that I would never be able to emerge from.
How could my little baby just be gone, all of a sudden? That little life that I loved more than words could express even though I hadn’t even held him/her in my arms. It was crushing.
It took me months to even begin to start feeling ‘normal’ again. Although the word normal had changed for me, because I would never be the same level of normal that I was before I lost my baby.
Days, weeks, months passed, and eventually I couldn’t ignore the longing anymore.
I wanted a baby. I still wanted a baby, so terribly bad. But I was terrified. Beyond terrified. I knew that if I had to face the same pain again, it would destroy me. It had nearly destroyed me the this time, and I couldn’t handle it happening again.
Just over a year after I lost my baby, we started trying to conceive again. And again, after a few short months the test showed up positive.
Of course we were happy, but it wasn’t the same type of joy. There was fear surrounding it. Terror that something wasn’t right with this pregnancy either. There wasn’t that simple elation, and hours spent just smiling and imagining the future. There was hours analyzing my body and hoping for every pregnancy symptom in the book to hit me and not go away.
After the six week mark passed, the date I lost my first little one, I tried to tell my self to relax and enjoy this second miracle. But it was impossible.
When I was just over six weeks my doctor booked an ultrasound for me, to see if they could see anything and make sure things were progressing as they should. Afterwards, when he told me things didn’t look right, I tried to hope for the best. He told me that unless something changed, I was going to lose this baby too.
Devastated is not a word that could even begin to describe what hit me. I wanted to curl up into a ball and never face the world again. But a small part of me held on and said that my baby was still here, still growing. I had NOT lost this baby. I could NOT let fear rule me. I could NOT only focus on the negative.
So I woke up each morning and I put one foot in front of the other. Doing absolutely everything I could to keep my body healthy. 7 weeks passed. Then 8. Then 9, 10, 11, 12. Still I had my baby. But still no ultrasound could confirm or deny the health of the little one. I wanted so bad to just feel happy, and grateful that 6 weeks after that first ultrasound I was still pregnant. It was nearly impossible.
At 13 weeks a wave of cramps hit me. Before I even saw the blood, I knew what was happening. The pain was unbearable. I was rushed to the hospital where all sorts of procedures were done.
Amidst the blur of disbelief and pain, I will never forget this one doctor.
He walked in and said “I have good news”.
Good news? Without invitation, I wave of hope washed over me. Good news? Can they save the baby? Have I not lost it? It was a split second. The tiniest moment of time. Laying on a hospital bed in unbelievable physical and emotional pain. I felt that wave of hope as though it were a lifeline.
But then he finished talking. “We got everything. So you don’t have to worry about infection.”
Infection? I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t see. I couldn’t feel anything except what was left of my mangled heart, shatter into a million pieces. The reality of what had just happened to me finally hit.
I had lost my little baby. Again. I would never hold this little baby in my arms either.
I will never be the same again.
It has been seven months since I lost my second little baby, and the pain is still very fresh. I dream and hope that there is a rainbow baby for us in the future. But that day hasn’t come yet.
I have come to the realization that strength is not only determined by how adept your are at picking yourself up and carrying on down the path laid out for you. Nor is it the faulty concept of masking emotion to maintain the facade of composure. Or how able you feel to face a new day, week, month or year. Sometimes strength is simply the fact that in spite of everything, here you are, still hanging on. Sometimes your grip might feel like it’s going to give out, and you may have forgotten how far you’ve come. Sometimes you might feel like the weakest person on earth. And yet, here you are. Facing this new second, this new minute, and this new hour. That is strength.
It took me a very long time to see this as the truth. A very long time.
I’ve lost two little babies over the past two years. My strength has never been so completely tested as it has been over this. There’s a certain stigma surrounding the loss of a child. A silent rule that it’s something you don’t talk about, or share. But why? My little ones were and are a very real part of me. They made me a mother, they let me give of myself for a small space of time, they let me love them, and they let me have the honour of carrying them right to heavens door. If that’s not a gift, I don’t know what is.