September 20, 2010 - I climbed off the elevator and came face to face with a pregnant woman. It was after all the fourth floor, where women go to have their babies. Only, that’s not what I was there for.
Although 40 weeks earlier I’d looked forward to a September 18th due date, that pregnancy was lost soon after it started. In a fog I had tried to process...feeling guilty for being so sad over losing a baby I never even had the chance to announce. But we pushed forward, believing it was a fluke, and kept trying to grow our family of 3 to 4.
A roller-coaster of monthly emotions finally came to delight with another positive test! Days turned into weeks and our excitement grew. We scheduled an ultrasound and had an excited big brother ready to see our new baby...but my belly was empty. The baby had passed away and absorbed back into my body. My pregnant womb measured at 5 1/2 weeks although we were well beyond that at this point.
My mind whirled as I laid there with goo spread on my belly.
I was in Chicago at 5 1/2 weeks, I remembered. I know that because we saw my cousin there and my mom told him how far along I was. We had shopped and played, and I had probably carried my 4 year old son too much. Every morning I had eaten fresh chocolate filled croissants and every afternoon cupcakes. So indulgent, even when eating for 2. We had walked for miles every day, maybe more than I should have. What had I been thinking? While exploring a sweet little neighborhood after brunch our last day in Chicago, I had to pause - everything had started spinning. I grabbed my mom and said I needed to sit down for a minute, but before I even had a chance to sit, it had passed. At 5 1/2 weeks in a cute little neighborhood by the Miracle Mile, my baby had passed.
At least that’s what I told myself.
As I lay there on the ultrasound table with this realization, the guilt flooded in with no end in sight. I was far enough along that it was unsafe for me to wait for my body to catch up and naturally pass what was left inside of me, so a D&C was scheduled. That’s how I got to the fourth floor this day. Not to deliver my baby conceived 40 weeks ago, but to have my “missed abortion”, as the hospital so painfully referred to it, taken care of.
Our hearts were broken, but we didn’t give up.
After waiting for my body to heal and our spirits to renew with hope, we tried again. A few cycles passed of holding my breath as I peed on a stick, and we had another positive test result! With cautious optimism I was running to the hospital for bloodwork every few days, our son in tow. When the numbers increased, even a little, we celebrated. But before long there was no more to celebrate. We had lost another baby a year later on this same dreaded week in September.
My body was spent, my mind was a fog, my heart was broken...again, and my spirit was barely holding on. It was here that we decided we couldn’t do it anymore. Not always gracefully, but out if instinctual self-preservation.
And that’s ok.
It’s ok to accept the miracles we pray for when they happen as well as when they don’t. It’s ok to want to move forward and not dwell on what if. It’s ok to feel complete where you are and how you are. And - it’s ok to talk about it! You can be truly joy-filled when you hear someone else is pregnant...and it's ok if, like me, it takes a few months or years to get there. And you can be content with life as it is while cherishing the dreams you held so deep in your heart.
Over the years I've worn my angel momma jewelry with so much comfort, and I hope it does the same for you. Here are a couple of creations I made for us, out of the rawness of my heart.
Big hugs from one angel mama to another.
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