When you lose a baby, everything changes. It doesn't matter how far along you are when the loss occurs, because loss is loss. Grief and pain are part of the whole process as you navigate your new normal, however unexpected that "normal" may be. I've lost two pregnancies, and though everyone else may forget what I went through, there are things I want my partner to remember about our pregnancy loss that will never, ever escape me. They were his losses, too, but it often feels as though I'm alone on this forever road of healing.
It was late in the summer of 2009 when the pregnancy test I took came out positive. My partner and I had been trying to conceive for under a year. We had no solid reason to believe, at this point, we wouldn't be successful in making a baby, especially since we'd already had my daughter in 2006. Even though that first pregnancy was difficult and plagued with significant health issues, such as a previous diagnosis of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and hypertension (that forced me to bedrest and, ultimately, induction), everything was relatively "normal." My baby came out healthy and thriving (albeit slightly jaundiced), so we knew we'd eventually want to give her a sibling.
Then the time came to "try," my doctor warned me it may take longer than usual due to having been on birth control since my daughter's birth. So, I braced myself for the wait. So, the day that pregnancy test came out positive, we were thrilled. It happened faster than anticipated and it felt like the pieces of our life together were falling into place. Then, when I went in for my first appointment, I received the news that there was no heartbeat detected. I still remember the way the technician avoided eye contact and dodged my questions as she guided me into the corner room to wait for the doctor. During those first moments, after he pushed open the door, I couldn't tell you what he said aside from "I'm sorry." I only really remember his hand on my shoulder, the weight of it grounding me into the moment I was told my baby was dead. The rest became a fog it took months to find my way out of.
We didn't stop trying for a baby but, through the grief, our relationship (however strengthened by the bond of loss), experienced new hurdles. I became obsessed with conception. The more time that passed, the more depressed I was. I had this beautiful little girl looking to me but I couldn't get past whatever would've become of that baby we lost. Then, New Year's Day 2011, I miscarried again. This time, I didn't even know I was pregnant. It was so early, there were no symptoms to note. By this point, my partner and I decided maybe we weren't meant to have another, so for the time being, we let it go. Not even six weeks later, I'd become pregnant again with my son, our precious rainbow baby. Funny how life works.
Through everything I went through, I'm grateful to be where I am today. Even with a stronger marriage with my partner, and two gorgeous kids, I still mourn those two losses. I didn't have to meet those babies to miss them, and the pain of losing them will never really go away. Here are some things I want my partner to remember about those losses because to forget is to pretend they didn't happen. That's not something I'll ever be OK with.
It's Never "Over" To Me
It doesn't matter how much time has passed, how far along I was, or whether or not the babies would've survived outside of the womb. They were ours. I may have "recovered" to the best of my ability, but everyday, at some point, I think of them. There will never come a time I don't. If my partner doesn't think much of the losses, it's OK. But please don't forget that I do.
It's Your Loss, Too
Sure, it was my body that carried and miscarried those babies, but we created them together. For whatever reason, my partner has been able to separate himself from the situation as if it happened to another couple entirely. I'm sure he still grieves, silently, but if he does it's not with me. I wish he'd remember he was just as much a part of the losses as I was. Then maybe, just maybe, I wouldn't feel alone in my grief.
Subsequent Babies Don't Replace The Ones We Lost
I love, love, love my two children. They're my world and there's nothing I wouldn't do for them. However, they don't fill the void of those miscarriages. There are different spaces in my heart and every baby has their own section. In giving birth to two healthy babies, it, in no way, takes away from the two that I didn't deliver.
I May Be Sensitive On Those Miscarriage Dates
I wouldn't even expect my partner to remember the dates because, again, he's become detached to the events. Of course he never tells me to "get over it" or anything of the like, but he also doesn't acknowledge the lingering pain. For me, every Sept. 29 and every New Year's Day represents the babies and what could've been. When I'm old and gray, I'll still grieve those days and I wish he'd sit next to me and grieve them, too.
I Wouldn't Change A Thing
Despite how challenging those times were, I'm thankful to be where I am now. The mother of two, a wife of nearly 10 years, a writer, runner, and multitude of other things I took for granted before the losses. I'm not happy I miscarried, but when it comes down to it, things worked themselves out eventually. So I suppose I wouldn't change any part of it, or I might not be where I am now.
Loss Changed Me
I'm the same person I was before miscarriage in some ways, but I've changed dramatically in others. I look at my kids with more gratitude. In fact, I look at my entire life with more gratitude. I can't afford to take those moments for granted, because they're not guaranteed. I didn't accept that before, but now I live by it.
I Couldn't Get Through Any Of It Without You
No matter how things happened, they did happen. Those are undeniable facts and part of my history as a woman and (technically) mother of four. Even if my partner doesn't think about the miscarriages or remember the chain of events the same way I do, and even if the void isn't felt the same, one truth remains: I wouldn't have gotten through any of it without him. Whether it was all the hugs I couldn't bring myself to ask for, support, understanding, and compassion long after I should've been "healed," or his ability to re-focus my grief into something tangible (he's also pretty damn funny), I'd no doubt still be grief-stricken if he weren't by my side.
To my husband: You're an amazing husband, an even better father, and the one connected to both my greatest joys and hardest losses in life. More than that, you remind me I can get through anything.