This Mother’s Day I shed tears ... tears of pain and tears of joy.
I have been blessed with two beautiful boys. Not all women can say that. I know many struggle with infertility or other reasons why they aren’t able to enter the often-coveted world of “motherhood.”
I know I am one of the fortunate ones this Mother’s Day time of year. My heart goes out to those who have carried the heartache of not holding the title.
I know I am privileged to be able to call myself “mom.”
However, I’ve also felt some pain through the process of becoming a mother, and I'm not referring to physical pain.
The topic of miscarriage is often taboo. Yet statistics show that one out of every four pregnancies ends in miscarriage. That is a staggering percentage.
I never thought they could be right ... until I became one of the four.
It brings tears to my eyes even now as I type this, five years later. But so many women face this pain, especially on a day like Mother’s Day.
Despite having two perfectly healthy children, there’s a hole in my heart that misses our unborn. I believe it was a girl. I think of her often. The miscarriage occurred in March 2006. She would have been 5 this October.
Here’s my story:
I was still in the first trimester, just under nine weeks, when I had some minor problems -- enough to send me in for an early ultrasound.
In my first pregnancy with my oldest son, I was on strict bed rest for four and a half months, so doctors were monitoring me very closely with this (my second) pregnancy.
As I drove to the appointment alone, it never occurred to me what was about to happen. Things like this were normal in the first few weeks … a little cramping, a little spotting. It had happened before. No real worries. I had been doing everything right -- eating healthy foods, avoiding caffeine, taking my vitamins.
But when the ultrasound technician rolled the rounded device over my gooey belly, I could tell something wasn’t right. She didn’t say a word. She wouldn't look me in the eyes. All I could see on the black screen was a little “peanut” of a baby in what seemed to be a perfectly developed gestational sac.
One thing was missing … a heartbeat.
The doctor came in as I lay there with numbness creeping down to my toes and into my ears.
“This isn’t happening to me,” I thought. “I’ve had a child already. I’m capable of carrying a baby.”
I’ll never forget his words. Coming from Texas, he had a soothing Southern drawl, but it didn’t lessen the sting of what he told me.
“Darlin’, I’m sorry to say, but it looks like things aren’t gonna work out this time. Sometimes you can’t fry your fish before you catch ‘em.”
To this day I can’t believe that’s how I was told I was having a miscarriage. I can’t even remember his name.
At first, I just laid there. I told myself I could be strong. This happened to women all the time.
But as I walked out of Lehigh Valley Hospital’s office of Maternal Fetal Medicine, the floodgates opened. I sat in my car and wept for a long, long time until I finally was able to drive myself home.
I remember feeling so alone, so confused, and so helpless. “Had I done something wrong?” I wondered. “How did this happen?” and “What do we do now?”
My husband and I had struggled for almost a year to become pregnant, wondering why things were so different this time around. After all the waiting, all the wanting, I couldn’t believe this was happening to me.
This wasn’t in our plan. It's no one's plan.
My point in all of this is that my heart has never been the same since that day. I know there are many others out there who share my grief, possibly at even more intense levels depending on their situations and experiences.
So often we’re told that “It will happen when the time is right,” and “There’s a reason you lost it. Something must have been wrong.”
These words don’t ease the pain of knowing that little soul, that precious spirit that was created had no chance at this beautiful life.
A few days after the miscarriage, I had a vivid dream, one like I’ve never had before or since. (Here come the tears again.)
I was in a big open field of wildflowers. The sky was so blue! In the distance, a little girl was twirling in circles with her long dark hair flowing in the breeze. The sun was shining like I’ve never seen. I walked toward her. She turned, smiled at me and waved as she said, “I’ll see you again, mama.” Then, she ran off into the distance. I awoke having felt her true presence.
I like to think I will have a chance to meet our lost baby someday. It somehow makes it easier for now.
Thankfully, we have been so blessed to have our boys who bring us constant joy and laughter. The tears of thanks come when I think of the miracle of life and what we have been given.
If I hadn't gone through that experience, Weston, our joyful little boy, wouldn't be with us today. He came one year later.
Even then, after his birth, I was told the crushing news that I couldn't have any more children. My body didn't heal well from the previous surgeries, and it would be too risky. Again, an emotional blow. We were hoping for three, maybe even a girl.
I know I'm one of the lucky ones. I have two children. I'm a mom. But I know there are some who are still waiting for their miracle. And I now know something of your struggle. I can only wish you strength in your journey to "motherhood."
Rest assured, even though you may not physically have a child to hold, you still have a mother's heart.