Wednesday, October 15, 2014

For the Ones In Our Hearts

Today, while we sip our coffee, go to work, make dinner, give kids baths, and otherwise move through our day, somewhere there is a woman who just found out that she is having a miscarriage.

More than one woman today is going to rush to a doctors office or have an ultrasound reveal that the baby she already loves, doesn't have a heartbeat.

There are women in NICUs with tears streaming because their baby's fight for life is finished.

And somewhere else, another mother is weeping because her precious baby who she rocked to sleep did not wake up today.

Today is for them, and their precious little ones.

October 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.

I do not know what it feels like to stand over a crib in the NICU, and pray that today is not my child's last. Nor do I know how it feels to have a baby that I have hugged, nursed, and breathed in that unmistakable baby smell suddenly be gone from my life, in an instant. My heart hurts for these mommies and daddies, as all I can offer is open arms and tears to mix with theirs. 

But I know about about miscarriage. 

Oh yes, that is a heartache I know very well.

You see, I've had three.

And my heart broke with each and every one. 

 Always with me. They are the children who live in my memory and in my heart.

But I don't talk about them a lot. Because it still hurts a little, a tender spot on my heart. But I will today, if it helps another woman not feel so alone. If it assures another mother that the baby that no one else saw, or felt, was real, and loved, and will be remembered.

This was the day I first found out I was pregnant with my first baby. (I was clearly so happy I apparently over-zealously squeezed my puppy dog out of sheer joy.) 

We felt it a momentous happening, and couldn't decide which grandparents to tell first. So we brought his parents and my mom all together and had our moms open a bakery box together.  

The surprise had it's intended effect. Happy tears flowed. Many hugs were given. Everyone was happy. And after that we told everyone! We practically shouted it from the rooftops. 

Nearly two months after these, some of my happiest moments, came some of my saddest. After beginning to spot heavily and rushing to the local clinic, the doctor sent me for an ultrasound after trying for what felt like forever to find a heartbeat. By the time we made it to the nearest hospital after the four hour drive (because we lived waaaayyy out in the sticks then) it was night time. The ultrasound tech wouldn't say anything. We had to wait until the next day to find out the results. 

The next morning, a doctor I had never seen, told us that despite the amniotic sac measuring in at average for 12 weeks, the baby had apparently stopped growing around 8 weeks. I was miscarrying. My baby was gone.

It was shattering news. 

Later when the cramps were at their worst, it still couldn't compare to the ache in my heart.

The thought that kept going through my head was that we had nothing to hold onto this baby with. No ultrasound pictures. We had never heard the heartbeat. I wasn't far enough to have begun to feel any kicks. I hadn't even begun to show, just barely beginning to feel my jeans squeeze.

But we did. We had the memories of such amazing joy. We had these few pictures. We had a journal of letters to him/her that I had started shortly after finding out. 

But these were also reminders of the pain. They were not comforting to me. I put them away, not because I didn't want to remember my baby, but rather in hopes that I would forget the pain.

I was told that while never desirable, miscarriage is proof positive that I could conceive, and that chances were very very low that I would miscarry again. That was little comfort then.

I ran the gauntlet of emotions from sadness to anger to fear to bitterness and back around again. I had days and weeks where I was sure I could never try again for fear it would end the same way and I would be there, in that empty place, all over again.

Well meaning friends said that the fear and ache would ease when we had a baby, that we would have a baby. I did not find that comforting either. I didn't want to replace the baby I lost, I wanted that baby. I felt disloyal to him or her by even thinking about having another.

What did help was time. As the months went by, I didn't feel as consumed. The guilt, and pain, lifted a little, a little at a time. Gradually, I began to feel normal, even while still feeling an emptiness. I felt great comfort in the clear Bible reminders that God is never to blame for our suffering  and that he promises the hope of a resurrection.

I wasn't ready to start "trying", but I was okay with not not trying, as in enjoying myself without worrying about it or feeling guilty or stressed.

Seven months after my first pregnancy ended, my second one began. We told no one. We finally told our moms not very long before my first ultrasound was scheduled at eight weeks. I cried when I heard that speeding heartbeat, and when I saw that little peanut somersaulting and wiggling away. And nine months later we welcomed our beautiful baby boy with many tears and hugs and kisses.

Little did I know that a few years later I would indeed feel that heartbreak again. And it would hurt nearly as bad, despite being far less along. 

But then came the joy of meeting our daughter.

More pain after another couple of years.

More joy just ten months after that in welcoming another daughter.

Most people never even knew about the other two we lost. I came to be intensely guarded each time I found out I was pregnant, and when I grieved, I did so very privately. It hurt too much to have others know, and to see the hurt in their eyes because I was hurting. But I have told some close friends, especially ones who are lost in the pain of a loss themselves. And while I still think of those babies often, it doesn't hurt so much to look at these pictures now, to look through the memories of the babies I lost. I can even smile at the good memories.

I'm so grateful for my children. All of them. My children (the bigger ones) know that before each of them, there were others who also filled my heart, no matter how briefly we shared a body. Without the three I never got to meet, I would not have the three I get to hold now. They are two sides of the same coin. 

And I love them all.

Some in my arms, and the others in my heart.

There are so many mothers out there who are loving a child whom they can hold only in their heart now. If you are one, you are not alone. You are a mother. Your baby was loved. If you know someone, love them, hug them. If it is especially recent, and you had a gift for them, give it to them, even if it makes her cry, she will appreciate knowing that others loved her baby too. Bring her meals, wash the dishes, take older kids to the park so she can sleep, or just rest. Or just listen. Or help her laugh with a funny movie marathon. Or give her space. Often times a hug is simply the most perfect thing one human can give another. 


  1. Loving you......♡♡♡♡♡♡

    1. Loving you back Mama. Thanks for always be there for me, through the happy and the sad. xoxoxo

  2. A beautiful post, thank you for sharing your story and sending hugs to you. I lost my first baby at 6 weeks and it was weeks before I was even able to talk about it. I also know what it is like to stand over an intensive care cot praying desperately for your child's life and whilst I am thankful that my prayers were answered, I am always conscious of those other mothers who have aching arms, who did not have those prayers answered. I lit my candle tonight and thought of my little pip and all those who have little angels who gained their wings too soon. I will be keeping them all in my prayers tonight xx

    1. Big hugs to you too, Louise. Thank you for sharing your story as well. I'm so glad you came by to visit and share. ♡♡

  3. I know how you feel. I had 2 and they were the worst experiences ever. Big hugs xx

    1. Thank you, Emma. Great big hugs to you, too. ♡♡

  4. This brought tears to my eyes. But your sweet message of hope is a testimony to your faith and love. Thank you for sharing this touching message.

    1. Thank you, Deborah. Your sweet comments are much appreciated. Hugs♡

  5. WOW this just got me all emotional. All I can say is what a beautiful beautiful post and so amazing that you are sharing your story for those that may be going through the same and find comfort in your words and your amazing writing. Thank you. Thank you for linking up to Share With Me and sharing this. #sharewithme

    1. Thank you so much for your kind support. It's hard to show people those sensitive parts of ourselves, but if can brin others comfort and help alleviate fear or guilt for another mom out there, then it is a privilege. Thank you for reading and sharing.

  6. I totally understand the guilt feelings that come up when you think about trying again. I had 2 miscarriages that happened early enough that I didn't know I had been pregnant (had gone to see doctor about odd "periods") and a third when I was 14 weeks along. That was one of the most devastating experiences I have ever been through. I still have the disc with the ultrasound on it and the pictures. It feels wrong to throw them out, but I know I can never look at them again without reliving that pain. On the brighter side, it makes me appreciate my daughter all the more. She truly is a miracle!

    1. Thank you for sharing your story and feelings. Those feeling of pain can be so overwhelming. And yes, I think it does make us appreciate the blessing of our children all the more. Hugs.

  7. This made me cry. My mom lost seven of my siblings. I have lost one child, last year. It was heartbreaking, and hardly anyone even knew I was pregnant, much less that I lost a baby. I didn't want to talk about it. It was a hurt I held close to myself, and somewhat still is over a year later. We nearly lost our two year old son in the NICU, but I am so grateful that we now have a healthy little boy running around getting into trouble. Beautifully shared.

    1. Oh, your comment gave me a lump in my throat. I'm sorry for your loss. And I'm so glad that your little boy made it through! Thank you so much for coming, and reading, and for sharing.