My sister

San clemente family photographer-4227

Wanted to share a post my sister recently shared. Also, I’m about to be an Aunt. Well, I already am an aunt to my brother-in-law’s kids. So I guess I’m about to be an Aunt, again. Point being, my sister is due with her first, in just a couple weeks. Here’s a glimpse into her journey:

I know, I’ve been quiet about my pregnancy. Protective is the better word. It’s not because this is my first; it’s because it’s my fifth. I like to keep my personal life private, but I share this because I know how lonely it is to go through it, and if I can let just one person know she isn’t alone, that makes the self-disclosure worth it.

A few years ago, Chris and I decided we wanted a kid. It wasn’t a decision taken lightly. There were lots of long discussions. We thought that was the hard part–deciding. As if the universe was just waiting on us: “Whenever you’re ready, guys.” How naive we were. My first pregnancy was ectopic–Greek for “out of place.” The embryo was stuck in my left fallopian tube–life-threatening for me, life-ending for the embryo. I had emergency surgery and lost the tube, the baby, and a lot of faith. We decided to try again some months later and when I got pregnant, we assumed all was well. We asked ourselves that jinx of a question: “What are the chances of something going wrong again?” Then the doctor called and said the baby wasn’t viable. I miscarried some weeks later.

The third time, we said, “Well, either the third time’s a charm, or three strikes and you’re out.” We were leaning on cliches at this point. I got past the first trimester and we thought we could breathe. A boy was on the way. We started discussing names. Then, weeks into the second trimester, they said my amniotic fluid was low. I was on bed rest for two weeks. At our next appointment, our son’s heartbeat was no more. After another surgery, we thought we were really done. This was too much for us. We didn’t know why these things kept happening. There was no common thread, medically, and all the professionals we consulted said “bad luck.” It felt like tempting fate to keep trying. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…. You know how it goes.
Eventually, though, we decided to try again. What’s that infamous definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome? We were crazy, I guess. The fourth time resulted in another ectopic. They didn’t even know where the embryo had implanted, meaning surgery wasn’t an option. I had to do shots of methotrexate, which is a drug they use for cancer because it stops cells from multiplying. It took two months for me to be “unpregnant” again. I asked my doctor, point blank, “Should we just give up?” He said, “No, I don’t think so.” We consulted with IVF doctors, thinking maybe if someone could just put the embryo in the right place, we’d save ourselves a lot of heartache. They wouldn’t work with us though. They said I didn’t have enough eggs, that our chances of success would be 5%.

We could either try again on our own or give up. I felt we had to try again.  And now I am 37 weeks pregnant with a little girl.

It was just a few weeks ago when I got up the nerve to ask her for one of her ‘Mama Bird’ shirts and she took some photos of me. Wearing the shirt feels dangerous, arrogant. I still live with fear of loss every day. It hasn’t gone away. But, I AM a mother.  I think anyone who has lost a child in utero is a mother. For a woman, it starts the day you find out you’re pregnant. It must be a function of nature, preparing us for the responsibility to come.

If you have lost a baby, I feel your pain. And if you ever need someone to talk to, please don’t hesitate to send me a message. I’m working on a book about our whole experience because this is something I feel so passionately about. It’s a terrible thing to go through, and so many go through it. You are not alone, and there is hope.

2 Responses

  • I am so very happy for your sister and very glad she shared her story. So many people don’t feel safe to share these stories but they happen to so many, and are so important to be shared. A friend and I shared a little pair of yellow baby socks with any in our circle who had pregnancies after some difficulty, you know, for the times when you want to be extra careful about giving a gift… They’ve come back to me now, just for safekeeping, and are pretty worn – once you start sharing, you realize just how common loss is.

    • Yes, I agree, I think it brings about a lot of feelings of loneliness when in actuality the pain is shared by so many. Even so, still a lonely and isolating experience I wish upon no one. Glad those yellow socks made their way back to you.

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