If I had a dollar for every time I heard the words “I’m sorry” or “I don’t know how you go on with your life” I would be incredibly rich.
I am almost 27 years old. Years ago, my journey into motherhood began. When I was 19 I got married. We never really discussed trying to have children but we had a mutual understanding we wanted at least one child and would be ready whenever it happened, God willing. Shortly after my 20th birthday I became pregnant with my first child. I would say I had a fairly normal pregnancy. I had horrible morning sickness and I was always tired but I worked every day and things seemed normal. However, it was my first pregnancy so I didn’t really know what normal was anyway. I had one scare at 10 weeks but everything turned out to be fine.
When I was almost five months pregnant, I went into labor. Every nurse and doctor seemed to be really confused. Pre-term labor usually doesn’t happen that early but every ultrasound showed a perfectly healthy baby boy. No issues with anything. I was admitted into labor and delivery and started on medication to stop the contractions. Going home was not an option and I was pretty much prepared with the reality that I would probably be laying in that bed until my son was strong enough to breath on his own. But, as miserable as the thought was, that was ok with me. I would have done anything for him.
Two days passed without contractions but I developed a severe infection in the amniotic fluid that could have very well not only compromised my son’s life, but mine. Then, everything went downhill. I started having contractions, despite all the medicine and the fact that I had been laying upside down in the bed for days without moving for anything.
I will never forget the moment I knew he was going to die. My doctor came in to do an ultrasound as soon as my contractions started again and my husband told me not to look at the screen. The doctor said he was very sorry and there nothing more they could do. My son was going to be born breech and regardless of me being upside down, he was making his way into the world. They sat me up in the bed and within what felt like minutes my water broke and my son was born.
He was quiet, he could not cry. But he was alive.
I don’t really remember exactly what went through my mind when he was placed in my arms. I think I was just in shock. But, I remember, I moved the blanket because I wanted to see him and he hugged himself, he was cold. I watched his tiny heartbeat, his chest rising and falling. All of his tiny movements. I was just wondering if he could feel my touch. I didn’t want him to be in pain, but I wanted him to stay with me so badly, but that felt so selfish. I knew there was nothing that could be done for him. That’s why they handed him to me instead of taking him the NICU. He didn’t even weigh a full pound.
Then, the time of death was called and almost as fast as he came into this world, he was gone. I held him for five hours after he died. I slept with him in my arms. How could this happen? I never smoked or drank. I took my vitamins. I did what I was supposed too but my son just died.
I felt helpless and empty. Going home without him, felt unnatural. Being at a funeral home when I was 20, signing papers, planning my son’s cremation, it wasn’t right. This wasn’t supposed to happen.
Following my son’s death, I felt like I was going crazy for the longest time. My husband wasn’t supportive, he stayed to himself. I remember one night, I was home alone. I was feeling paranoid that something bad was going to happen. I was afraid to be in my house. I kept thinking someone was going to break in and steal his ashes from me. So, I left. I put his urn in my purse and drove to the bookstore.
There was I, at night sitting in a Barnes and Nobles parking lot terrified to get out of my car. I was scared someone might steal my purse and then I would lose him, but I was afraid to leave him in the car because what if someone stole my car? I ended up driving back home. I pulled into my drive way and I was sitting alone in my car screaming at the top of my lungs and crying. How did this become my life?
But as months went by, I started to feel better. I realized I had to keep going. I continued working and started leaving my house without being fearful of things that would most likely never happen and I carried on.
Then, I found out I was pregnant again. I felt like I couldn’t get excited because I now knew things could go terribly wrong. I wasn’t even aware of my pregnancy for a whole 2 weeks before I had a miscarriage. I handled it extremely well and I think that was only because what I had just been through prior, was so much worse. Because I was only 6 weeks pregnant, my doctor said it was safe to try again whenever we were ready.
The third time, we planned it. I looked at calendars and figured out which days I would most likely get pregnant and it worked.
During my third pregnancy, I made sure to cherish every moment. To take a lot of pictures and make as memory memories as possible. I was now considered high risk so I had ultrasounds every week. I felt so close to my third baby from the time I was only 4 weeks pregnant because I spent so much time getting to listen to her heartbeat and see her. The day I saw her sucking her thumb was such an amazing moment. I felt so blessed, so safe. Seeing so many doctors I felt like things just couldn’t go wrong. I let my guard down and let myself get excited.
My stomach got much bigger than it did with my first baby and I felt her kick so much sooner. She always moved the most while I was trying to sleep. Then, in the blink of an eye, I went into pre-term labor. The doctors couldn’t even get my contractions to stop. I was dilating way too fast.
Nine hours of labor, minutes of pushing and my daughter, my third baby, was still born.
That day, I lost all hope. I felt like everything has been stolen from me. I never got to feed my babies, change them, dress them, and play with them. I never got a kiss or a hug or to hear them call me mommy. How does this happen? Why doesn’t anyone have answers? It doesn’t seem fair. Sometimes I close my eyes and I try to feel them in my arms.
Here I am, over 6 years after losing my first child and I still cry for them some days. I know I will never let them go or stop loving them. I just hope, if anything, they’re watching over me and they know how badly I miss them.
Photo credit: adapted from lensnmatter| Flickr