Thursday, November 8, 2012

Failed Pregnancies, Fear and New Babies in Arms - TRIGGER WARNING

***Submitted by S

TRIGGER WARNING:  this post is about pregnancy lo

I don’t want to talk about being pregnant. 

My pregnancies were not particularly enjoyable experiences. I don’t want to talk about the swelling, the hip pain, or the hemorrhoids; the nausea, the enormous boobs, or the constant fatigue.

I don’t want to talk about the fear of loss, of how it felt to have my tiny baby swish inside me, while being afraid that something might pull us apart.
I don’t want to think about my friend's baby who died late in pregnancy when his umbilical cord wrapped too tightly around his neck, or of the babies who simply fall out through a weak cervix, too young to survive.

The three pregnancies my husband and I lost all happened very early- around week five. The doctor referred to them as “failed pregnancies,” and not miscarriages.
Two of these happened before our first child, Emberly, was conceived, and were for me more about the loss of the title of “mother,” than the actual loss of a child. For the small window of time that I saw two lines on the stick, I had the potential to become something great.

And then that potential was gone, washed down the toilet.
When I was pregnant with Emberly, part of me didn’t want a baby shower. I was afraid that something bad might happen. I didn’t want to have a room full of gifts that I might have to return, reminding me of how close I had come.

The part of me that held onto hope was bigger, though, and I did have one. Afterward, I set up the crib and put away the baby things. 
One friend had brought me some scented pouches that I put in Emberly’s closet. When I think about this time of waiting, with my swollen belly and the hope of new life kicking inside me, I see an empty room, sunlight filtering through the windows, a crib just waiting for a tiny newborn to take up residence, and I smell the warm and powdery sweetness of those pouches.
Emberly came. When the doctor handed her to me, wet, with a towel wrapped around her, she looked right at me. I touched her tiny purple fingers, and rubbed the rough towel against her soft skin to wipe off some of the wetness. I looked into the eyes of my daughter, and in that moment, became a mother.

Later, I birthed a son, Breckin, and became a new kind of mother. 
I have three sisters and no brothers, so I imagined having a boy would be difficult or strange. So far, it isn't. Breckin didn't look into my eyes, but he did started nursing the night he was born, and he and I were able to bond in a way that Emberly and I hadn't.
I didn’t want to talk about these struggles, but I think I needed to. 

They brought me to where I am- a place that is so wonderful, and irritating, and all-encompassing, and that makes me vulnerable to so much more loss- yet that I wouldn’t leave for anything in the world. 

I am a mother. 

And that is something I want to talk about.


  1. You were a mother the first time there were two lines on the stick. Mothering is nurturing and you were nurturing those precious ones before you knew they existed, and after you knew they were there. And you grieved when they were taken away. That our society does not acknowledge that status until the baby takes his or her first breath makes it no less a loss.

    Thank you for talking about this very private and very wrenching experience. It's important... and you are brave!! :)

  2. I love what Judy said. I had a miscarriage at about 7 or 8 weeks, and I remember the insensitivity of the nurse I spoke to when I called to get the results of a blood test after I had some bleeding. She said in this rushed, irritated voice: "Well, you may have been pregnant before but you're not now."

    It was a crushing blow - I burst into tears and she got off the phone as quick as she could.

    The two lines and the feeling in my body of becoming - becoming a mother even though I was newly pregnant, and then waking up the morning of the bleeding and feeling so different that I knew. The 'becoming' feeling was gone.

    I was/am a mother to that lost child as much as I am to my other two. So few people are sympathetic to early pregnancy loss. But not me. I know how much it hurts, and how scary it makes EVERY pregnancy feel.

    Thank you for sharing your brave words.