I never expected to be here, that is the truth. In my mind, miscarriage and child loss was something that happened to people with fertility problems—you know, those people who want to have kids but can’t. That’s not me; I already have four beautiful children. I was a veteran at getting pregnant and bringing people into this world. So naturally, when the pregnancy test popped up positive, I was fully prepared for the journey—ready to roll through the motions and create another little human being! Bless my little, naive self—pain can affect us all. Grief and calamity do not have a check-list they follow when choosing their next victim.
None of us are “safe”, and I definitely wasn’t—I just didn’t know it yet.
When I hit 14 weeks I went into our local pregnancy center (where I had been a volunteer nurse educator for a few years) to have an ultrasound and see if we would be welcoming a little boy or girl in the Spring—an exciting day! As I laid on the table waiting, getting my camera ready for a good picture, I heard my nurse friend who was helping me say the words I never could have prepared for, “Lori, I don’t see a heartbeat. Double-check me.” My little, perfectly formed baby was not moving and there was no fluttering heart. Long story short, we went into our doctor later that day for verification, and our beautiful son was welcomed to this earth, already in the arms of Jesus, the following day. I was nowhere near prepared for the road I found myself on.
This journey of grief has been really hard, but it has also been a beauty from ashes story. I have seen my faith bring hope to my soul where I was certain that part of me would shrivel and die. It has not been perfect or easy, but have overcome so much already! Just when I thought I was getting a handle on my emotions and nailing this journey of life after loss, I found myself pregnant with a rainbow baby. Cue emotional roller coaster number two. So here I am, 13 weeks pregnant. Between the normal physical “joys” of hovering over a toilet, puking my insides out and needing about 48 hours of sleep a day, I am also riding the waves of emotions navigating a pregnancy that feels completely different than all the other ones I have experienced. This one isn’t “safe.”
Although, mentally, I have always known that there are no guarantees in pregnancy; now I am keenly aware that every day is a gift and tomorrow isn’t promised.
Whereas I didn’t find myself worrying much during my previous pregnancies, I am now faced with the constant thoughts of how my actions could affect my baby—as if I have control over everything. I am more anxious about missing my prenatal vitamins and more likely to decline that forbidden hot dog which I am craving so intensely, because it could be a potential life sentence for the child in my womb. I continually battle the feeling that I can control the outcome of this road. The truth is that I can’t, and those thoughts only increase my anxiety and fear of the unknown. Even though I don’t feel “safe”, I am making a conscious choice to do my best, and trust for the rest. It may sound crazy, but when I begin to allow my heart to believe and hope again, I feel a peace over me that I cannot explain. I do not have to carry the guilt of my previous loss, or bear the burden of anxiety over this one. I am not responsible for giving this child life. I am just responsible for making the best choices I can to have a healthy pregnancy. So here I am, learning to take a deep breath, trust, and let my fear go.
So as I walk this journey out in written form, I hope that somewhere out there I can encourage and inspire—even if it is only for one mama—to chin-up and carry on in her journey. I fully believe that even though this blog will be about normal, everyday, pregnancy “things,” that somehow these words can bring hope to someone who is feeling the weight of grief and the fear of the unknown pressing on their shoulders. If anything, Mama, I hope you know that you are not alone. Every day is not sunshine and rainbows, and I don’t expect it to be; but I fully believe there is beauty on the other side.
Wherever you are in your journey right now, I hope that you know I am thinking of you.
Thanks for walking this very unexpected journey with me.