Re-posted from my sister-in law’s new blog:
She and my brother are amazing!
My husband and I always talked about having “2 or 3” kids. Lucky for us, it was a baby BOGO our first time around and we quickly decided two was enough! We each had a kid to hold, we weren’t out numbered. They were pretty cute…life was perfect.
Then, about 5 months after the birth of our twins, I found myself pregnant – despite being on birth control. *Please allow me to point out the irony here: it took us 2 years and medical intervention to get pregnant with our boys but here we were, preggers again after literally only 2 “relations” post partum. (Don’t judge me, I was exhausted.) Besides, wasn’t the purpose of an IUD to act like a very effective bouncer at the door to my “nightclub? Since it was a pregnancy involving an IUD, it was highly recommended to have the device removed ASAP to reduce the risk of complications. But in doing so, there was a risk of “interrupting” the pregnancy. I Googled the topic for a few minutes with my unshaved legs dangling out from under my noisy blue paper gown. I knew what I had to do – Snopes confirmed it. After a quick but horribly painful procedure to remove the IUD that had embedded itself into my uterine wall, (“make yourself at home!”), I lost the pregnancy the next day. Although sad and emotional, I honestly found myself relieved – I wasn’t expecting, trying or hoping to get pregnant with two tiny babies at home. We could go on having a 1:1 ratio of parents to kids and not have to be that family that needed 3 highchairs at a restaurant. (No offense to any of you who may be that family…)
Months down the road, a stranger stopped me in the store to compliment me on how well behaved my babies were (compared to the woman with a pantsless toddler who threw cans of baked beans at both of us while in the checkout). She asked a very simple question; “So…you gonna have another one?”while casually sipping her coffee, the rim smeared with pink lipstick. Another one what? Another piece of chocolate? Yes. Another glass of wine with dinner? Certainly. Another kid? I don’t think so…But it was the fact that I couldn’t effortlessly say, “No way!” that got me thinking. And so I went home to ponder the idea with my husband. We decided we were amazing parents (by our own standards) and committed to trying for another kid once the boys were at least a year old.
Eventually, life started getting easier for our household. The boys were insanely independent once they started walking at 10 months. They could now keep themselves entertained long enough for me to do laundry and empty the dishwasher in three 5 minute increments instead of ten 90 second increments. I was no longer as dependent on my morning caffeine buzz of a grande Starbucks mocha with a sugar free Red Bull chaser, it was now purely an excuse to get 20 minutes to myself. Is it possible that I was over the hump and would start functioning like a hot mama who no longer lived in faded yoga pants and t-shirts with baby food encrusted on both shoulders? I suddenly had more time to think about the future…oh dear.
When the boys turned one, I started seeing a handful of my Facebook friends announce they were expecting. I began seeing those dumb pregnancy test commercials EVERY time I glanced at the TV. Everywhere I went there was a pregnant lady – even Halle Berry was knocked up! I was approaching 32 and not getting any younger. What if it takes 2 years to get pregnant again? Time might not be on my side. I casually brought up the idea of trying for #3 one night after my husband had downed a beer and his favorite dinner: mac ‘n cheese with peas and hot dogs cut up in it. He was completely on board (Hello – what man wouldn’t want an excuse to have lots of sex?) and said, “I hope the next one’s a girl…and only one.” We smiled – finally, something we both agreed on.
In late May after only 1 month of trying, I had the symptoms but I was hesitant to take a test – maybe I was just imagining things since I wanted it to be true? I waited until I was 4 days late. It was clearly a “+” but to be sure, I also took a digital test that said, “No, seriously; You’re Pregnant”. I told my husband the good news and had it confirmed by the doctor later that week. Holy shit – we were going to have a baby!
From the start we referred to this pregnancy as a “her”. She would have big green eyes, adorable pigtails, perfect pouty lips and speak 3 languages before she could even walk! We’d name her “Morgan Marie” after our grandmothers and she would have my humor and sass and her daddy’s cute chin butt and amazing map reading skills. We waited almost 2 weeks to tell our parents, a few close friends had figured it out upon seeing the smile plastered on my face and distance with alcohol.
A week before my 1st prenatal visit was scheduled, I started spotting lightly. My husband was out of town for work at the time so I tried not to let my mind wander to dark places until I had his shoulder to cry on. I had no cramping and it was very infrequent, but it was there. I was told this was normal in early pregnancy and not to worry unless it got heavier. I spotted off and on for 3 more days before I asked to be seen earlier in case something was wrong. My doctor agreed to get me in the following day. We did an ultrasound where we saw there was some unexplained blood built up, but the baby looked fine. She even pointed out the heartbeat and a flutter of movement – all great signs!! I went home relieved to have seen my little “M&M” and tried to stay positive until my husband returned.
Two days later my bleeding got worse. I waited for the inevitable and it came the following day – I had lost this baby too – my 3rd miscarriage – but this was the only one where I had been far enough along to see a heartbeat. Fits of rage and sorrow came surging through me. I had to keep it together for the sake of my beautiful boys who were eating old pasta off the kitchen floor while I fought the urge to lock myself in the laundry room with a bottle of wine. I sobbed uncontrollably through the boys’ entire afternoon nap – completely enraged that God would let this happen to us AGAIN. I now regretted seeing that tiny bean alive inside me just days before because that was the moment she became real to me. She had had a heartbeat, she was a living thing – gone.
My husband agreed to bury “her” in our favorite spot along the coast. I wrote out a verse from a song that summed it up, “And He will raise you up on eagles wings, bear you on the breath of dawn. Make you to shine like the sun, and hold you in the palm of His hand.” and put it inside the little box that contained what may have been our little girl. Placing her gently into the sandy earth overlooking the Pacific Ocean helped put a Band-Aid over the wound. Seeing my husband finally cry, made me fall in love with him all over again. We would get through this together, like we had before. Although I was dealing with both physical and emotional pain, I had to remember he was grieving too. We held eachother for a few moments before an awkward thought popped into my head; “I hope some animal doesn’t dig her up…” Could I have picked a worse time to be completely inappropriate? Nope, that’s not my style.
It was a rough week. I now had to back track and tell those who knew, that our baby was no longer to be – each time it ripped the scab off my heart. Trust me, I’m well aware talking about a miscarriage is awkward for all parties involved. There is nothing “right” too say – it just sucks. A hug will do, a hand squeeze, a generic “I’m so sorry” is better than saying something that you may think is comforting but actually makes you sound like an a-hole like, “Well, there’s always next time!”
Our Pastor came over to pray with us and talk through our emotions – he was an immense help in our healing process. In talking with people about our loss, we realized we were in the same boat as so many. Although traumatic, our experiences paled in comparison to other couple’s stories. Some couples won’t ever get pregnant no matter what method they try, others carry their baby full term only to deliver a stillborn or a baby with serious medical conditions. Some families shuffle through a lengthy adoption process to finally be approved and take home a little one and one day out of the blue, that child is given back to the birth mother. Some parents will lose their full grown children to drunk drivers or war. There is always someone around the corner who is hurting more than you can possibly understand.
I did not write this blog to invite you to my pity party. I wrote this to shed light on a delicate topic that maybe some of you have dealt with but aren’t ready to talk about. Suffering a loss can happen to anyone, anywhere – rich or poor, black, white or purple, day or night – even on a holiday. This is the moment you realize exactly how precious the gift of life is and that we have very little control of when, where or how that gift will be given…or taken away.
I may have had my faith shaken, but eventually life goes on and the pain lessens even if it never completely goes away. Maybe my 3 angel babies will be waiting for me when it’s my time to go. Maybe the moments I catch my boys giggling at nothing is actually one of my lil’ angels tickling them. As bad as I thought my life was at the time, I had it all – I still have it all.
In hindsight, a 3rd child for us would’ve taken a lot of re-arranging many aspects of our lives. This happened for a reason as did the others. Perhaps another child will come to be for us some other way. But to answer your question lady with the coffee smeared with pink lipstick, “No. We tried, but it didn’t work out for us.” And that’s okay.
For us the journey to having another child has been derailed and modified to welcome a fur-daughter! We adopted “Clover”, a Border Collie/Lab mix a few weeks ago from a local shelter. I’m happy to report, she is much better behaved than my children, I have not had to sweep under my kids’ highchairs in weeks and she is incredible with the boys! She found us when we weren’t even looking – that’s the way most of life’s wonderful surprises happen.