So it happened again.
And here I am, trying to wrap my head around the fact that in a span of 2 years, I have lost 4 babies, in utero, 3 of them almost at the very same time around halfway through my pregnancy. Since my last post, after losing both Tory and William – both late into my 2nd trimester, I thought I experienced the worst of it. But then Lucy came. A pregnancy I was certain would take. A pregnancy that was carefully followed by 3 specialists, and a group of midwives, a lot of prayer, and baby aspirin (which was what my doctors believed was going to be the miracle pill that would save this pregnancy).
I was extra careful. I read all the right books, ate all the right foods (although, these days… what IS right?), felt all the right things. THIS TIME, it was going to be ALL RIGHT… Right?
When my ultrasound at 13 weeks detected that the Nuchal Translucency fluid behind my baby’s neck was slightly larger than what was deemed as “normal”, and only millimeters less than Billy‘s fluid – that was the beginning of my sleepless nights. Something was wrong. Something is GOING to go wrong.
I went in for the harmony test that would supersede the results of the U/S and bloodtests (although I continued to take all the right tests – remember, my vow to do all things “right” in my power?). This non invasive prenatal test was going to analyze my blood to determine if my baby was at a high or low risk of having trisomy 21 (down syndrome), trisomy 18 (Edwards syndrome, and trisomy 13 (Patau syndrome). This was supposed to give me peace of mind, as apparently, it delivers the lowest false-positive rate of any of the known trisomy blood tests.
And to my surprise and joy – weeks later … my results came back negative. My baby was low risk of at least these three detectable disorders, and my baby was in fact – a baby girl.
Names started popping into my head like cannonballs and my smile was so obscenely wide, that even my 3 year old daughter who’s lifelong wish, specifically aimed at the big guy in red, was to become a big sister to a beautiful, baby boy or baby girl – could immediately identify as if I actually sat down and spelled it out for her. It was a day like no other. After all my previous losses, disappointments, moments of deep deep sorrow, months of bitterness and anger – THIS was the day I was waiting for. A positive NEGATIVE outcome.
No one could stop the bounce in my step. My little Lucy was going to be in my arms this week – due March 30th, 2015 – only weeks after LD was going to celebrate her 4th birthday. And what a birthday present that would have been for big sis.
I finally felt that amazing sensation of sleep, rest, calm.
Until I went in for a routine fetal heart check. I brought Grammy in there to hear it for the first time and share that amazing joy with her only daughter, who she has known only too well to suffer only too much. It was my gift to her.
But just like that – my tears of joy were quickly replaced with tears of fear and worry. There was no heart beat. There was nothing. WHY was there nothing!?!? Because of my previous two late losses, I have already been regarded as high risk, so I was immediately sent in to the hospital for an ultrasound appointment. LD‘s Grammy had the torturous decision to make between staying close to her 3 year old lighthearted granddaughter or her 30-something year old heavy-hearted daughter – and ultimately chose to take LD away from me for both our sakes. And it was in that moment – when I realized that my baby girl was no longer thriving. She was no longer moving, kicking around, or checking out all the neighboring organs in her mommy’s cozy womb. She was no longer listening to my conversations, and dancing along to daddy’s rendition of Meghan Trainor’s All About That Bass (Since we have planned meticulously that, every inch of her, and all of our kids, “is perfect from the bottom to the top” – gotta love Meghan and her wise mama). She was no longer alive, no longer a possibility, and no longer coming on March 30th, 2015.
My baby was gone. Just like that. Just like how Billy was ripped out of me viciously like a nightmare and later placed still in my arms, just like how Tory was taken from me and was so incredibly damaged, she was thrown out as surgical waste. Once again, Lucy was no longer going to be a living, breathing being that I could call my own. And once again – I had to surrender another child at the foot of heaven’s gateway.
The rest of that day at the hospital was a blur. I remember a lot of doctors coming in and out trying to explain in different ways that there was nothing I did, and nothing we could do at this point except to decide on how we were going to terminate this pregnancy. I had medical genetics specialists who have been feverishly analyzing my files since losing William at such a mysterious point in my pregnancy, coming in and out talking to me about sending samples of my baby immediately out of country for analysis. I remember both of my hands trembling and drenched with salty tears while dialing my already hopeful husband (who, up until this point, was rather reserved with his expression of excitement and joy due to his past experiences of losing 2 other babies late into our pregnancy). I remember hyperventilating while my best friend cried with me on the other side of the phone thousands of miles away. And I remember touching my belly… and feeling… nothing.
Without getting into the medical jargon that, thanks to the specialists I spoke to throughout the grieving process and good ol’ Dr. Google, I have become only too familiar with – I can honestly say that this experience was life changing. Not any MORE or any LESS life changing than the others. But if my life had any ounce left in it TO change – the moment my daughter was removed from me… was THAT moment. That very moment I lost so much. I lost hope. I lost faith. I lost a lot of blood. I lost my mind. And I lost the daughter I felt so strongly would not be lost.
And then I became angry. I hated everything. I would look at my couch where I sat after losing all three of my babies, which has now taken on the notoriety of being the “miscarriage chair”, and I wanted to set it on fire. I hated my beautiful blessing of a home. I hated the city I lived in and all the bubbly, beautiful, happy, worry-free (is there such thing?) pregnant women in it. (Sorry to all my friends who were pregnant at the time… don’t worry – I didn’t hate you). I was filled with this debilitating sense of hatred and bitterness that I could not even function. And then, the anger was replaced by sorrow. I would wake up in the morning with such resistance, that my 3 year old potty-regressed love-of-my-life (and I take all the blame for those 10 steps back in potty training), would have to pour her own milk and cereal, read her own books, and choose her own clothes for the day.
Slowly, I would inform my closest friends and even some not so close (in desperate search of answers) that I have lost yet again. Some would respond with tears, others with words of wisdom, and then there were the expected few that would tell me to smarten up, look at the little but gigantic blessing in front of me and my supportive and loving husband rubbing my back as it was turned towards him – and be grateful. The fact is, I am grateful EVERY. MOMENT. OF. MY. WAKING. EXISTENCE. I didn’t need to be any MORE grateful than I already was because it is ALL I had left: To be grateful for what I already have. But when you lose someone you love, someone that is growing inside of you, someone who you have called by name, someone whose dance moves and fluttering gave you all the proof you needed to know that they felt your love. When you lose that someone – it doesn’t matter if you have 300 other someones in your life that you love… you STILL lost that love. And Lucy. And Tory. And Billy were, and still are – my loves. I wanted to tell all my friends and colleagues who would say so freely that I’m forgetting how lucky I am – to dig deep into themselves and remember the time they lost their grandma or their close friend. Did they grieve any LESS because they had another grandma, or 10 other friends? No. They grieved because they lost. And I did too.
And as I began writing this, on January 30th, 2015 – the exact day 2 years later when I lost my sweet Tory, and the exact day 1 year later that my sweet boy, Billy, was due to be born – I was experiencing the loss of yet ANOTHER baby. My fourth baby, in 2 years – and only 2.5 months after that dreadful day I lost my Lucy. This time, unlike Tory, Billy, or Lucy – THIS baby was only in my first trimester, at 10 weeks ( I would be 20 weeks today), and was deemed a “typical” miscarriage by my doctors. My husband and I have chosen not to name this baby as the pain is still fresh, and may I add – just as profound of a loss as my other three. We thought it would be easier going through this, without the vested weeks of hope and confidence, and without the added mystery of uncertainty that my other 3 had in their untimely demise (I should mention that all tests results of my previous pregnancies suggested no chromosomal defects, and now we’re trying to figure out if there were hormonal issues, inflammation, or something in me that may have contributed to my losses). But we were wrong. Loss is loss is loss is loss. And nothing, and nobody, can say otherwise.
Speaking as a mother – I can honestly say that losing a child whether they’re in your belly, in your arms, away at college, or raising their own children – losing your own child is the most horrifying experience life has to offer. It is the closest thing to hell that I can imagine. When a family whose desire to grow in number is so strong, but more time is spent weeping, getting through the process, and planning memorial services – it just doesn’t seem fair. And it’s not.
Especially when one of those family members is barely 4 years old. A disappointed child who doesn’t truly understand why she is in fact, holding her sibling’s box of ashes in her hands, and not their living, breathing body in her arms. I think she is still waiting for Lucy to come. And she would have been in her arms for the very first time… today.
I wish I could end this post with some insight, and some answers – a happy ending of sorts. But my happy ending is this – I woke up today. I got out of bed. I wiped my tears. I fed my daughter. I changed my clothes and brushed my hair. I got down on my knees, I looked into the eyes of my sweet little girl – and I told her: I am grateful…
Because, I have you.
Original post found here on Debbie's website www.sassandsmalls.com