I’m Thinking of You Today.

October 15th is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day.  Today is the day we stop, quiet ourselves for a moment, and remember these little lives that ended too soon, these mamas (and daddies) who are hurting and missing out on what could have been.  In my three years of “mommy blogging,” I have met so many moms who have endured this loss, this loss that no one can truly understand unless they are living it.  I have friends who have miscarried at 6, 10, 12 weeks.  I have friends who have miscarried at 4, 5, 6 months.  I have friends who have given birth to quiet babies (a beautiful term for stillborn), and yes I have friends who have given birth to live, healthy babies and then lost them. 

pregnancyloss

Every one of their stories has been written on my heart, and I pray for all of them, on different days, at different times, when their stories come to my mind and I think of the pain they have endured.  But, I must admit, I was living in that imaginary bubble, that “it-will-never-happen-to-me” bubble, and I was going on about my days as a well-intentioned support system for my friends, crying with them and worrying about them, but not as someone who had truly felt their pain.

It is with a heavy heart today that I share that I no longer live in that bubble.

I have been blessed with three healthy children.  Sam is 6, Cooper is 4, and Nora is 2.  My husband and I (together since we were 16) knew that we wanted to start a family soon after marriage, and have always said that we would like to be done having kids by the time we turned 30.  Not knowing how our family-building journey would go, we decided to try right away.  Three months after we said, “I do,” I was pregnant, and Sam joined our family just three weeks before our first wedding anniversary.  My pregnancy was healthy, and my baby boy was extra healthy (10 pounds!).  Two years later, his little (6 pound) brother joined us.  Another healthy pregnancy, although I did have some major pain after he was born (ended up having to have my gall bladder removed).  And, two years later, we welcomed our little Nora Jean.  My third pregnancy was, by all accounts, healthy, but it was not easy.  I was in pain, and ended up in the hospital with fears of delivery at 30 weeks.  However, after some bed rest and lots of prayers, our baby girl joined the family at 37 weeks and perfectly healthy (7 pounds) on August 4, 2012. 

We were 28 years old, and we had three healthy children.  What more could we ask for?  My husband, without a doubt, was done, and he didn’t mind sharing that fact with the world.  (In his defense, it was a rough time for him, chasing around two boys and dealing with a wife who couldn’t get off the couch).  And most days, I agreed.  I didn’t want to go through those worries again, I didn’t want to feel so helpless and so exhausted and so dependent on everyone else.  But, as Nora grew, and those memories began to fade, I’ll admit there were moments that I felt that ache again, the same one I felt on the boys’ first birthdays, that maybe we should have another baby

Most days I was “done” too, but some days I still wasn’t sure.  And besides, we hadn’t turned 30 yet…

And then, one year ago, I sat in my bathroom staring at that all-familiar plastic stick, the stick I didn’t really think I would be staring at again.  The stick we were not planning to be staring at again.  I already knew what answer the stick would give me; I just had to see it to believe it.  And there it was. 

{From my journal:  I knew I was pregnant; I just knew it. Obviously we weren’t trying to get pregnant.  That was the first difference this time around, and it was a big one.  I never thought about how different that could feel. I was instantly panicked. What would Matt say? And then the bigger, stranger question for me:  how do I feel about it? For the first time, this was happening to me at a moment when I wasn’t praying, hoping, and wishing for it.  And then…instant guilt.  How dare I look at this miracle as anything but good news?  After so many of my friends have prayed and prayed for children, have gone through costly procedures and painful tests to get there.  And the heartache my close friend had endured, with me at her side.  And now, this miracle, this long-hoped-for dream that never becomes a reality for some people, was happening to me when I wasn’t expecting it at all.  Dare I say, when I wasn’t wanting it.  Those words hurt.  They sting.  Even to write them now is so painful.}

I was 29 years and 2 months old, and I was pregnant. Again. Unexpected, unplanned, and the most conflicting moment I’ve ever had. 

I didn’t know if I should be happy, I didn’t know if I wanted to be happy.  I didn’t know how to feel, or how I was going to tell anyone, or what the next day was going to look like.  And then, when the fog of shock started to lift and I started to remind myself of the beauty, the sheer miracle, of creating a child, I started to do the math: he or she would arrive the very week of my mom and my grandma’s birthday (yes, they share a birthday), perhaps even on that date.  What a sweet, sweet gift from God.  And that due date would be nearly exactly in the middle of Matt’s 30th birthday and my own.

{From my journal:   And just as quickly as I realized those things, just as quickly as I started to come around to the idea and to smile at the thought, it was over. It was over before, in some ways, it had even begun.  No one knew, no one was expecting anything, and yet there I was, mourning.  Mourning the loss of something, someone, that no one even knew existed.  And to tell Matt….oh, to tell Matt.  How do you tell your husband that you are expecting a baby, and that you are losing that baby, at the exact same moment?}

And just like that, in a hotel bathroom on a family vacation (the irony continues), it was over.  There were no more plans, no more worrying about how to break the news, no more smiling at the thought of baby #4.  Through tears, and through the pain, I told Matt (who had already suspected the news).  And he held me.  So tight.  He worried, I worried, and at the same time we put on a happy face for our kids as they played in the pool and jumped from one bed to the other in our hotel room, because that’s what kids do.  We took them to the Children’s Museum with their cousins, and I held back tears.  I ran to the bathroom because I was bleeding, and it hurt, and I didn’t exactly know what to do.  We googled, we prayed, and I racked my brain for any stories that my friends had told me.  What did they do?  Did they hurt this bad?  How was I not there for them more?!

The bubble had burst.  I was no longer in the “that-will-never-happen-to-me” club. 

Now, I was part of a new club, and as we all know, it’s not a club that we want to be in.  I had had a miscarriage.  (And by the way, it took me months to even use the word “miscarriage”).  I was sad, I was confused, I was hurting, I was lost.  I wrote a few months later in my journal about how I was “wondering and wandering”:

Today I am sad. I spent the weekend with a lot of pregnant people, and as I listened to their stories, I can honestly say this feeling is not jealousy.  It really isn’t.  I don’t know if it has a word, but if it does it isn’t jealous.  It’s sad, and lost, and confused.  It’s wondering, and it’s wandering, and it’s again and again ironic.  Last year we were joking about vasectomies and tubals for our 30th birthdays (those were jokes), but this year that would be plain cruel. 

And most days, I’ll be honest, I’m on the train with Matt, the we’re-done-at-three train. And then I’m not.  I’ve stepped off the train for a moment, even just a brief moment, and I’m aching in the insides, as if I could feel my uterus, the blood pumping through it.  And then I wonder (so much wondering)…is this just that “ache” that they speak of?  Will it be with me forever?  Because if so, I guess I will have to graciously accept that.  But what if it’s not just that ache?  What if I don’t want to be on this train?

What if, what if, what if?

Tomorrow is another day, as they say. Perhaps tomorrow I wont think about it at all. Or at least not as much.  Maybe tomorrow I will be gung-ho on the train to happily ever after as a family of five.  No matter what happens tomorrow, there isn’t a day that goes by that I am not grateful to the very pit of my soul for these three precious angels that we call our sons and our daughter.  I do not spend entire days sad, just moments, and I cannot cry for more than a few minutes, because I know that my children need me, and they need happy me, and they need good mommy, and they need sunshine.  And so that is what I give them, that is what I strive to give them, and I will do that until my last breath (which I hope is a long, long time from now).

But tonight, while they are in their beds with their precious little eyes closed and their imaginations running wild in their dreams, I am here, writing. I am here, crying.  Even though I didn’t want to.  And these birthdays, these 30th birthdays gosh dangit, are going to be the biggest ball of emotion that perhaps there ever was.  No matter how much I try to pretend, the fact is here.  We lost a baby, and she was to be born on (or around) July 12th, and that day is approaching.  I guess I should go for now. I wonder, I wander, I cry. I am tired.

And so that brings us to today.  My husband is 30 years old, and I am 30 years old.  We have three beautiful, healthy children, and I love my life more than I could ever say in one blog post.  I am learning to live in this new club, this club of moms who have endured the pain of losing a pregnancy.  The hardest lesson for me, believe it or not, was to stop comparing my story to others.  For a long time, I didn’t allow myself to be so sad, because I would think things like at least I have other children, at least this didn’t happen my first pregnancy before I knew if I could carry a child, at least I hadn’t heard the heartbeat or seen the ultrasound or found out the gender or…or…or…

The truth is, none of us have the same story. 

And even though I have other children, and I know I can carry a child, and I didn’t hear this baby’s heartbeat or see its face, it still happened.  This is my story. My baby did not have a name, or a gender that we knew of, but it was ours, and the feeling is that of losing a little piece of hope.   A feeling of something started, yet unfinished.  Something that could have been.

Sharing this story was hard, I’m not going to lie.  In fact, some things I just couldn’t find the words for, so I quoted my journals instead.  But I am sharing it today for you.  A little bit for myself (it really is therapy to share the story), but also for you.  For you mamas who have read the word on the plastic stick, have had the hope, and have, no matter how or where or when or why, lost that hope.  No matter your background, or how many kids you do or do not have, this is your story.  For you mamas who have cried at the first sign of cramping, or who have rushed to the hospital with pain, or who have laid in your bed and mourned.  For you mamas who have put on a happy face for your other kids, or your husband, or your neighbors or your friends.  Your story counts.  Your loss counts.  And whenever you are ready to share it, we are here to listen.  We wish you didn’t have to join this club, but if you do, we will welcome you with a hug and a box of Kleenex (or twelve).

And so today, whether you have lost a pregnancy or a baby or a child, we are lifting you up in our hearts. 

And if you haven’t had this loss, please take a moment to think of these moms, to say a little prayer for them, maybe even send a card or some homemade cookies to a friend who has endured some dark days.  The best thing that we can do in this mom community is be here. Be here to hold a hand, be a shoulder to cry on, make a meal to help their family, or just a text to say, “I’m thinking about you.”  You just never know how much that might mean to someone. I can tell you from experience that it might just turn their day completely around.


ICMBFacebookgroups*Our mission at the Iowa City Moms Blog has always been, and always will be, to connect moms in our area and to build a community of moms who can support each other, befriend new moms, and help us feel less “alone”.  In the spirit of that mission, we are starting a number of private Facebook groups to further connect you and to talk about our days, our struggles, our triumphs.  The first of these groups will be for you, the moms who have lost a pregnancy, baby, or child.  If you are interested in joining this group (all are welcome), please click here and we will get you added.  Thank you, and we are thinking of you today!*

**PS…When I refer to “the ache” in this post, I am referring to this amazing blog post from Sarah Bessey.  If you do not follow her blog, put that on your to-do list today.  I will write more about this ache someday.  I think.  I hope.**


 

Sara
Sara and her husband Matt (sweethearts since they were just 16) got married in 2007, and since then have welcomed four beautiful children (Sam in 2008, Cooper in 2010, Nora in 2012, and Adam James in December 2015). A born-and-raised Iowan, Sara received both her Bachelor's and Master's Degrees (in Spanish Literature) from the University of Iowa. She's still teaching Spanish wherever and whenever she can, but her true passion is owning Iowa City Moms and building this community alongside her amazing team. Sara is also the Community Engagement Coordinator for City Mom Collective, and the owner of Cowork Collective downtown Iowa City. Common denominator in all of these jobs: community, community, community.

13 COMMENTS

    • I’m just now getting around to responding to these comments, had to let it sink in a bit! Thank you so much Shari. So glad to call you a friend 🙂

  1. So proud of you for sharing, Sara. As we have talked many times about our losses as they happened around the same time, I hate being “part of that club” too but it has made me understand other women so much better and value what we have been given and even value what we have lost.

    After my miscarriage and D&C I spent the next few months feeling sad and confused and violated. I have the best doctor and had the best care but the procedure still feels, for lack of a better word – violating. You are taken back with a child in your womb (even if that little one no longer has a heartbeat) and given meds to knock you out and when you awake you know that little person is truly and totally gone, taken from you. Still makes me feel a big amount of sadness when I type that.

    It is all a big mix of emotions when/if you try for another baby as you so desperately want to add that family member but you also have such a fear of going thru the same thing again and perhaps finding out your body is done carrying babies. I am now 15 weeks pregnant with our 3rd and finally relaxing a bit and sharing the news more and getting excited to embrace this little one that will join us in the Spring.

    Hugs to you friend. Thank you for sharing.

    • Emily,
      Thank you so much for your sweet message. It has been so wonderful getting to know you through the City Moms Blog Network, and sharing our stories together. I think of you often and I am praying for that baby #3 of yours! Hugs from Iowa to Texas today, friend!

  2. I am so sorry for your loss but proud of you for sharing. Pregnancy loss is exactly how you articulated it here and your words will help others know they are not alone.

    • Ashley, thank you for taking the time to comment, that means so much 🙂 Your words really spoke to me, saying that it was “exactly how I articulated it”. Thank you so much! It was so great to meet you in person and give you a hug 🙂

  3. Sara

    Thank you for sharing your story, so others can be comforted.

    We are blessed to have the children we have and we pray for those that are lost.

    Love

    dad

  4. I’m sitting here in tears. I was pregnant with twins and at almost 10 weeks at a routine ultrasound I was told baby “b” was just a little smaller. They told me no worries….perfectly normal in twin pregnancy. They said to come back in two weeks for another ultrasound. The entire two weeks all I could do is pray for baby “b” I also lived in the “can not happen to me” bubble. I also had some guilt because when they first said twins I almost fell off the table….I had a
    Two year old boy Ryan at home

    • Sorry hit send on accident. Anyway I had Ryan at home who was my whole world at that time and we wanted another baby so bad but when I heard “twins ” I panicked. Thinking we need everything bigger… House…car… Just everything. But then all I felt was blessed and me and my husband completely accepted it….we really were enjoying the thought of our future with twins. The morning came where I had to go back to check on baby “b” I was probably more nervous then I have ever been in my whole life. I remember going to change in the bathroom and letting out a few more pleading prayers…I came out and laid down on table. The ultrasound tech started looking and I remember I didn’t want to breathe. I just wanted to hear their both OK. First I heard baby a looks great…. Awesome heart beat….perfect size…then baby “b” silence. Felt like hours….then she said what I had been dreading “baby b’s heart beat is not good” they told me I had a 90% chance of miscarriage. One week later it was confirmed…I lost my baby “b” 🙁 it completely changed me. I had to be happy and grateful baby “a” is alive and thriving but I was so sad and lost over baby “b” felt like I was being punished..I carried a confused mixed emotion heart the rest of the pregnancy. When it was time to have the baby I was so excited to meet the little person who was literally kicking me 24/7..but somehow did not want to forget baby b… Carolyn Ann was born August 6 2013 and she was just perfect. I love her and Ryan with my entire existence …and I keep baby “b” tucked safe in my heart. Thank you so very much for this blog…. This is my story. I’m so grateful I read your story. God bless you and your beautiful family .

      • Ann, I guess we brought EACH OTHER to tears! I have to admit, I got goosebumps when I got to the end of your comment, because August 6th is MY BIRTHDAY. No joke!!! I said a prayer for you and your family and will think of you often, along with all of the other mothers who have gone through this 🙂 Thank you so much for reading the blog, and I hope to meet you in person soon!!

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.