Today I should be 22 weeks pregnant. But I’m not.
This is a post I never thought I’d write. Not because I didn’t think this could happen to me, but because I never imagined I’d be brave enough to talk about it on the internet and put it out there for the world to see and judge. Opening up about this has been weighing heavily on me and I’ve gone back and forth about whether or not to say anything on the blog. It’s like if I don’t say anything, maybe it didn’t even happen. But a few things have happened over the last couple weeks that really made me think that I might just be ready to share…that my story just might make a difference to someone else. So I’m holding my breath and taking a big leap of faith here. Please be kind.
First of all, yes, we’d been trying. As you may recall, we had a hard time getting pregnant with Mac and we knew we wanted him to have a sibling close in age. As overwhelmed as I was having one spirited baby that didn’t sleep through the night (and still doesn’t), the thought of having another made my heart absolutely soar. In the hospital as I was getting prepped for my c-section, I joked to my OB that it’d be great if she could just put another baby in when they took Mac out. I was half kidding, not actually knowing what I was getting into with one baby, but I was ready to grow our family and knew we weren’t stopping at one. It helped that I loved being pregnant and that Mac is the most amazing kid in the world. I’d take 10 of him. So when it was time to start trying again for #2, needless to say, I was ready.
It took about four months this time. No drugs, no shots, no ultrasounds, no doctor’s visits, no blood work, no stress. This time my body had done what it was supposed to do. I was so proud of it. I was also incredibly relieved that we were going to avoid all the pain and heartache that came along with fertility treatments. The thought of going through everything we went through to get Mac again scared me to death. I didn’t know if I could handle it physically or emotionally again. I prayed that we could do this on our own, that pregnancy had somehow “fixed” me. And when I saw those two pink lines on the test, I broke down in tears of joy and relief and gratitude.
I spent the next two weeks on a cloud. The baby would be due in November. I would be on maternity leave for the holidays. Our children would be 18 months apart. They would grow up the best of friends, just like Ryan and his brother. We’d move Mac into the guest room down the hall and he’d have a “big boy” room. We’d have to buy another crib. Another stroller. Another high chair. I made plans. I made an OB appointment for the week of Ryan’s birthday. What a great gift it would be to see the baby’s heartbeat. I daydreamed about Mac being a big brother. We’d know the sex of the baby by the Fourth of July! I looked at our list of names. I touched my belly constantly, knowing that I had a secret. I ordered a pair of mint maternity jeans and I was so excited to wear them with a big round belly. I made a secret Pinterest board of all the fun ways we were going to announce that our family would be growing. It was all so exciting. It’s really amazing how many plans you can make and how much you can love something in such a short amount of time.
And just as easily as it happened, it un-happened.
We were devastated. Humiliated. Scared. Sad. Angry. Shocked. I don’t even know how to describe the range of emotions running through me. I was surprised and overwhelmed at how much I had grown to love the baby (or the idea of it) in only a few weeks. I was shocked that this was happening to me. After all, it had all felt so right. I was supposed to have this baby. I was supposed to be pregnant. But then part of me felt like I should have known better – that it was just too easy, too good to be true. Which made me angry. Angry that my body was failing me again. Angry that having a baby was so incredibly hard for us when it was so easy for everyone else. Why did we have to go through this? What had we done to deserve this?
But mainly, I was sad. Sad that I had somehow failed this baby. Sad that I wouldn’t get the chance to meet him/her. Sad that she wouldn’t get to be a part of our family. Sad that Mac wouldn’t get that baby brother or sister. Sad that I didn’t do my part to keep her safe. Just so incredibly sad.
When they told us that we’d lost the baby, I already knew it. I felt vacant and empty and alone. I tried to hold it together, but as soon as Ryan left the hospital room, I lost it. I had the biggest, ugliest cry of my entire life. I cried until the nurse came in and gave me a hug. I cried for me, for Mac, for Ryan, for the baby that would never have the chance to cry on her own. I cried until I passed out. When I woke up and it was time to go home I was cried out. I gathered my things, washed the mascara off my face and walked to the car, with my hair still in a fancy up-do from the wedding I was missing. It was time to be a mommy again. Time to go home. Time to take care of the baby I had and be strong for him.
Just typing this all out feels surreal. I feel like the last few months have been like watching a movie of this happening to someone else. Someone else is going through the motions. Someone else is getting through it. Someone else is being strong. Because there’s no way I could possibly be that strong. I would be in a pile of sadness, letting it consume me and define me. And yet, I’m not. I think I’m ok. I think I’ll be fine. Of course, not a day goes by that I don’t think about what happened; that I don’t feel sadness and heartsick about it. But I also think that having Mac by my side – happy, healthy, strong and growing – somehow makes it better. I am so grateful for that child.
Over the last few weeks I’ve had multiple friends share their recent losses with me, which never seems to get easier. I’m honored that they trust me with their experience and feel safe enough with me to open their hearts. Their loss becomes my loss all over again and I mourn with each of them over their lost hopes and dreams. I’m not sure if they’ve approached me because they “know” that I went through this – whether that means actual knowledge or just a feeling that I might be part of this secret club that none of us ever wanted to join. Or maybe because they know that I’m no stranger to those intense and indescribable feelings of wanting a baby so badly it hurts. But each time I tell my story, it seems to make someone going through it themselves feel a little bit better, a little less alone, a little more normal.
So that’s why I’ve chosen to share this post with you today. In the hopes that maybe someone out there reading this is going through something similar and somehow my words will make it a little better. I know the power of blogging myself and how comforting it can be to know someone else has been in your shoes and survived. In the weeks after my miscarriage I reached out to a fellow blogger (that I didn’t even know), because years ago I had read her posts on her miscarriage and I immediately felt like somehow she would understand what I was going through better than anyone else. Her email back to me was so sweet and thoughtful and really made me felt like I wasn’t alone in this. Thank you, Julia.
And so we’ll all get through it…together. I’m not saying that I’m over it. I’m definitely not. It's hard not to imagine how different things would be had it not happened. It's hard not to think of what could have been. Sometimes it hits me out of the blue and I'm overwhelmed by grief and sadness. But it does get a little easier every day. Somehow, some way, it’ll all work out like it’s supposed to. Right? At least I’ll keep telling myself that. I feel like my experience with infertility taught me a valuable lesson in patience and trust. When I finally held Mac in my arms after all those years of trying, I somehow knew why I had to go through it. I knew that I needed that struggle to appreciate it. I knew I was meant to wait for him. Hindsight is a funny thing. Maybe I’ll never know why I lost this baby. Or maybe someday it’ll make sense. Either way, I know how lucky I am. And I know that life goes on. And we’re all in this together.
Love you all.