“You didn’t stay for long, but in those precious few weeks, you changed me forever.” –Zoe Clark-Coates
These words resonate with me. Now, as I am only through the first sentence of this post, the tears flow. October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Month. This is the 9th year that this month is significant for me, but this is the first year I remember two lost darlings.
To recap for those who haven’t heard my story, I gave birth to my first child, Kaydance Michelle, on February 3, 2009. I was 19-years-old and absolutely terrified, but not because I was so young. Half way through my pregnancy I learned that Kaydance would be born with a congenital heart defect called pulmonary atresia. She was born without a pulmonary value so there was no blood flow to her lungs.
The doctors told us that with the proper medical procedures she had a 98% chance of surviving. She underwent her first open heart surgery at 3 days old. Over the course of the following weeks, she fought hard. She beat multiple surgeries, a round of sepsis, 3 cardiac arrests, and a stroke. When she was 6 weeks and 2 days old, she came down with sepsis again. This time she would not win.
March 20, 2009 will be a day that is never forgotten; the worst day of my life. I walked into her hospital room that morning to the doctors and nurses surrounding her, waiting for me. The moment I walked in, Kaydance went into cardiac failure. The doctors did nothing. That’s when I knew the fight was over. They told me she was too sick and there was nothing else to be done. It was time to say goodbye. I was 19-years-old when I buried my daughter.
Flash forward to now. I am 27-years-old, married to a wonderful man, and am a mother to a 6-year-old and 3-year-old. Life is finally good after the trauma. Then, this past April, I had no doubt I was once again pregnant. After three pregnancies, you know. While the pregnancy was unexpected, we were excited. Three children would complete our family.
May 8th we went to our first ultrasound. I knew right away something was wrong. Where there should have been the start of our baby, there was nothing. We had to wait two weeks for another ultrasound, but they told us the chances of there being a baby where slim. After an agonizing two weeks of uncertainty, our fears were confirmed. I was diagnosed with a blighted ovum. My egg had been fertilized and my body was pregnant, but the embryo would never form. At 12 weeks pregnant I had a D&C. My body was holding on when it was time to let go.
“This is not a reflection of you. You did nothing wrong. It’s an unexplainable thing that happens.”
I wanted to scream, yell, shout, but all I could do was whisper, “OK.” My body had betrayed me twice. You never think such an enigmatic event could happen to you, but it happened to me once over.
While this is one of the hardest things I’ve written, it’s also the easiest. The heartache pours from me effortlessly. I am unsure which pain is worse; the shock of what happened, or the ache for what never will. When you lose a baby, you are made to feel like it is just a common medical condition. It feels like a dirty secret you have to keep, and it starts to hurt the most when you have to pretend it doesn’t.
Life is often full of heartaches and surprises, we all suffer differently. Losing a child, be them infants or miscarriage, is an unimaginable experience. One I would never wish on anyone. You feel alone in a room full of people. You are angry, confused, and bitter. Everyone tells you how strong you are, but you feel nothing but empty and fragile.
You are at your worst, but life is supposed to go on. People get past your lost, they’ve offered their condolences. And there you are, alone.
“At least you lost it early.”
“At least you have other children.”
“You can always try again.”
Those words hurt the most. You lost a child. You are more than a statistic, more than a number. You are part of an exclusive group. There is no name for us.
Don’t be ashamed of your loss. Don’t be afraid to give in to the pain. Don’t be afraid to shout that it hurts like hell. Our babies were here and we will never forget.
I lost Kaydance 8 years and 6 months ago, and my 4th pregnancy 4 months ago. I will never be “over it”. I will never not miss them. I will never not think of the “what ifs”. What happened to me is part of who I am. What happened to you is part of who you are. It’s okay to embrace it.
If you have suffered a loss, I grieve with you. I won’t say I know your pain because we are different beings. Know that I am here, and I see you. I invite you to share your story on this page.
You are not alone.
Read a follow blogger’s miscarriage story here.
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