No one ever told me how badly it would hurt to lose 2 babies.
There was no warning about the physical pain I would endure or the emotional pain that I would feel like I was drowning in.
No one ever told me that the word miscarriages would be stamped on my heart forevermore. That word held so much. It became more than just a medical term to me.
This was my first pregnancy and I didn’t know what to expect, but something deep down didn’t feel right. My morning sickness stopped overnight. Fear tried to slither it’s way into my mind, but I told myself that I was one of the lucky ones who didn’t have to puke for weeks and weeks. I held my slightly puffed out tummy and whispered, “Please be okay, sweet one.” I refused to think the worst. That wouldn’t…couldn’t…happen to me. I was young. I was healthy.
No one ever told me that miscarriage was miserably common.
I was a few short days away from my second trimester and completely euphoric for this baby. Unable to contain our excitement and optimism, my husband and I already bought a car seat and stroller and had begun our baby registry.
No one ever told me that I would so fiercely love a little being that could fit in the palm of my hand. But I did. This child and I had become one – body and spirit.
Then, blood. And pain. So much pain. In less than a day’s time I went from a heart full of joy and planning where the crib would go, to heartbroken with grief and planning final arrangements.
No one ever told me that 24 hours could contain almost every emotion imaginable. Shock, disbelief, heartache, anger, fear and everything in between.
The very next month, I was pregnant again. But this time, everything was different. Our optimism was threatened by reality and our hope clouded with fear. Every day was like a battle; a battle I didn’t feel completely armed for, but was more than willing to fight.
There was something freeing, empowering even, to pray, “I trust you God. Either way, I trust you.” It didn’t always come naturally. It wasn’t painless. But my heart needed it.
No one ever told me that being pregnant after losing a baby would wear at my soul.
For the next 9 months my entire mental and emotional capacity would be used not only to grow a person, but needed to fight anxiety, fear and traumatic memories from losing our first baby.
Every day was a gift. I held my breath at every doctor’s appointment, anxious to hear that beautiful heartbeat and be told the baby was measuring perfectly.
At first, my body would tense up in panic at the slightest ache or twinge. It felt so unnatural to cramp, even when my doctor told me it was normal. But every healthy puking session, every normal pain, every successful doctor’s visit was met with a “Thank you, God.” I didn’t care what had to swell, hurt, expand or shift in my body. I wanted a healthy baby. That is what mattered.
Frustration and even anger would wash over me when I heard women say how they hated being pregnant. Their complaints were fueled by their lack of perspective and mixed up priorities. Discomfort was insignificant compared to having a healthy baby. Didn’t they see that? I was thankful for the sweetness of this pregnancy because I had also tasted the bitterness. Unwilling to fill my pregnancy with constant grumbling, I didn’t even allow myself to express discomfort. I was afraid if I mentioned an ache or pain, it would void how grateful I was for a healthy baby. Three weeks before our daughter’s due date, my whole body hurt. I stopped halfway down the hallway and began sobbing. I could barely get the words out to my husband, “I hurt…so bad…all the time, but I’m…so thankful for this baby!” My darling husband smiled, hugged me and said, “It’s ok to say you’re hurting and be thankful at the same time.”
Days had turned into weeks, weeks turned into months. And it was finally time to have a baby.
She was perfect. Sleepless nights were worth it. Fussy days were worth it. They weren’t easy, but each of them was worth it.
Two years later, it was Christmastime. The mountains were covered in snow and every house in the neighborhood was wrapped in brightly colored bulbs. And then, an early Christmas surprise. A positive pregnancy test. I was about 5 weeks along. Because those double lines showed up unexpectedly, I was confident that this child was meant to be ours. I woke up early one morning and headed to the bathroom. I paused and my hands started shaking. I stared in disbelief for a few seconds trying to process what I saw. Blood. This couldn’t be happening again.
No ever told me I would spend Christmas Eve in the ER.
The day that should have been filled with hot chocolate, carols and Christmas movies was filled with tests, internal ultrasounds and waiting. The doctor walked in and confirmed everything we already knew. I no longer had a life inside of me. My feet had walked this tear-covered ground before, but it still felt shaky and unknown. Having gone through a loss before didn’t dull the pain. It didn’t buffer the ache of my loss.
Soon after, I was pregnant again. It was a new year. I tried to cover my mind in confidence and submerge my heart in hope. But I knew that I wasn’t guaranteed or promised tomorrow. Staying hopeful also brought with it a sting. It was almost painful to hold on tightly because…what if? But I didn’t want the what ifs to kill my joy or steal my moments. Despite the ache, regardless of what could happen, I kept a tight grip on hope.
Chasing a toddler around everyday was a great distraction. My days were filled with building fanciful block castles, creating clay masterpieces and soaking up snuggles on the couch. Without knowing it, my daughter walked along side me throughout my pregnancy. She was my most faithful friend and unwavering encourager.
She taught me how to do life one day at a time. Some mornings thinking about a day in it’s entirety felt too big, so I would take an hour at a time, or even one coloring book page at a time. And those moments added up until I conquered one more day. One more day of growing a healthy baby. One day closer to meeting our newest addition…another little girl.
Before I knew it, I was holding my daughter and I saw what perfection looks like for a second time.
I remain so very thankful. I savor the moments. They infuse my spirit with life.
We want more babies. But trying to look ahead feels like standing on the edge of a dense jungle, unable to identify a clear route safely through it.
So today, we sit and we color and we build more castles. We store up strength and love to call upon later. We stay forever changed by the past, thankful for present and hopeful for the beauty of future.
No one ever told me how pregnancy after loss would change me. But no one ever could have. My journey is my own. And it is beautiful, scars and all.
Heather lives in Colorado with her husband and two daughters. She is also the mommy of two heaven babies. She loves sharing her journey of faith, family and hope on her website, Faithfulness Declared.