In 2000 I got pregnant. I had been married for two years. We were trying to get pregnant and it only took two months after I stopped taking the pill. I was so excited and also terrified at the same time. My mother had three miscarriages; one before I was born, one after I was born, and one after my sister was born. My sister had one miscarriage when she was 17. I knew a miscarriage was a possibility, but I just wanted to relish the joy of the situation.
The same week I discovered I was pregnant, a co-worker/friend also discovered she was pregnant. We were excited that we would share this experience together. Two weeks later while at work I had a weird feeling that something wasn't right, it felt as though maybe I was starting my period, but I knew that couldn't be right. I went to the bathroom and I WAS bleeding. My husband and I worked together and I went to him in hysterics. After several hours in an emergency room all they could tell me was that I was "probably" going to miscarry and I would have to come back for another blood test the next day. I was at home alone when I got the call confirming what I already knew in my heart. My baby was gone. I have never hurt so badly. I had barely gotten used to the idea that I was pregnant and it was over already.
My husband was sad that the baby was gone, but I don't think he has ever truly understood the depth of the pain the loss caused me. It wounded me down to my very soul. My co-worker/friend had a wonderful pregnancy. No problems. She had a beautiful baby girl the same week I also should have been delivering my child. I don't think anyone ever understood how painful it was to watch her get everything I dreamed about. It's been almost 9 years now, but the pain is still so raw. I was happy for her, but her happiness reminded me that I should be experiencing the same joy. It was like a slap in the face.
About a year later I discovered that I have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). It causes fertility issues. I have never been able to get pregnant again. I may never get pregnant again. And the pain is always with me.
I never held my child. I never even saw my child. I just knew that for a brief time it was there within me. And then it wasn't. My dream was gone. But my sorrow from the loss of my dream is real, and still just as intense nine years later.
In 2003 my sister Wendy gave birth to a daughter. Alexis was born 16-weeks premature and she only lived for three days. After Alexis, Wendy had another miscarriage. She was finally able to carry a son, Connor (4), and a daughter, Raelee (9 months), to full-term. Because of the loss she (and our family) suffered, Wendy has never taken one moment for granted with her children. She knows how lucky she is to have them and that the death of her daughter will never leave any of us (along with her two miscarriages).
It has also reminded me that the pain never goes away, it is still there, but we can still have joy in our lives. Maybe one day I will know the joy of my own child in my arms. If not, then I will be sad, but I will go on.
I write this post as a way to honor all of the mothers out there who have experienced the sorrow of losing a child. People like Wendy, and Heather, and Beth, and millions of other women out there.
Please donate to the March of Dimes. They are saving the lives of babies and the hearts of mothers every day.