Yesterday was pregnancy and infant loss remembrance day. I read a post about it this morning and felt compelled to tell my story – even if it is a day late. The compulsion is from deep inside of my heart, which tells me someone needs my story this morning.
I lost my first baby in early 1996. I was about 7 weeks pregnant. My ex-husband and his brother stole my paycheck out of my purse and bought crack. I had a panic attack and started bleeding.
A few weeks later, I found out I was pregnant again. I had a great doctor. I still think of him and the care he and his nurse showed me when I was 20 weeks pregnant. I’d been at a prenatal appointment the day before and everything was great. The next morning, I was at work and suddenly KNEW. I called the doctor’s office and said, “Something is wrong.” The nurse who took the call tried to tell me that my appointment the day before was great and I had nothing to worry about. I insisted something was wrong. She had me come in just to make me feel better and they could not find the heartbeat. They sent me to the hospital to get an ultrasound and I remember seeing this perfect baby filling the screen. Arms, legs, body, head. But no beating heart. The next morning, I arrived at the hospital for a surgery to remove it. I am so very thankful that I didn’t have to be induced.
Not 4 weeks later, I found out I was pregnant with my amazing daughter Kaylee. Without those two losses, I wouldn’t have her. And when I say that God gave me her, gifted me her, BLESSED ME with her, I am understating what she did for my life and the meaning she brought to it.
She was almost one when I found out I was pregnant again. This one made it to 10 weeks before I lost it. I called the doctor the next morning after a very traumatic night on my bathroom floor while my ex-husband drank himself into a stupor and begged them to schedule a tubal ligation. I was only 25 and they argued with me but finally consented. At my pre-op, I found out I was pregnant again.
The morning after losing that one, the doctor called and had me meet him at the hospital. A hurricane was bearing down on Florida and all elective surgeries were being canceled. But if I would meet him by 7, he would get me in before he wasn’t allowed to anymore.
I was divorced not 2 years later. In the midst of that freedom, I met Gregg – a man with no children of his own. I very much wanted to give him a baby and was researching in vitro fertilization. Gregg found the paperwork and questioned whether we should spend so much money with my history. That made sense and instead I started researching having my tubal ligation reversed.
In winter 2004, we went to a private clinic in Atlanta and I had the surgery. In mid 2005, I found out I was pregnant and barely started celebrating when I lost it. I was more devastated by that loss than any of the others, because that was the first baby I actually tried to get pregnant with – the first positive test that Didn’t fill me with apprehension of what that meant because of the relationship I was in.
When we got pregnant with Scott, I held back some of the joy until I made it past 20 weeks. This was my 6th pregnancy, and the second longest I’d been pregnant. At about 21 weeks, everything started going bad. My blood pressure was high, I was super swollen, I never really felt well. By 28 weeks, I was in the hospital, and by 30 weeks, he was born.
If the child we lost before him was born, we never would have had Scott. Again, the idea that I would never have known this incredible child who God gave specifically to us, to bless us and fill us with such great joy and happiness — I can’t fathom not being Scott’s mom, not loving him with such pureness and completeness
You’d think at this point we were done, but we knew we weren’t. As soon as the doctor cleared us, we intentionally started trying again. The second I had a positive pregnancy test with Jeb, I called a high-risk OB and said, “I am 4 weeks pregnant and 36-years-old. I have 2 living children and this is my 7th pregnancy. My last one was a 30-week preemie.” They saw me that day and saw me every single week until Jeb’s birth at 36 weeks. That doctor was phenomenal.
When Jeb was born, it was like an affirmation filled my heart. Our family was complete. We needed Jeb to be part of it, despite the cost to my body and the underlying fear of losing him or losing me in the process. Our family would have had a gaping hole without him.
I would have had a dozen children with Gregg and loved every minute of it. Even though that obviously wasn’t God’s plan, the children He gave us – all three of them – fill me with wonder that I get to be their mom.
While I mourn the losses and wonder what could have been, the grief never overwhelms. I know God knew them, that He knitted them in my womb. I’m thankful to have loved them for the tiny moments I had.