Editor's note: This article was originally published on Anne Banks' blog, Travel Parent Eat. It has been republished here with permission.
I hadn't struggled getting pregnant, we had just waited for what felt like the right time to try again. We were thrilled. We had a happy accident with our first pregnancy, meaning we weren't really ready to be pregnant, but happy to have our baby. This time around, we wanted to be pregnant, we wanted this baby. I could barely contain my excitement.
If you haven't guessed from the title of the post, and that preface, yes, I miscarried. I was heartbroken. I was already planning names, counting down to the gender ultrasound. I miscarried at 9 weeks. It was a very difficult time, right around the holidays. My doctor told me that about one in four pregnancies end with a miscarriage. I couldn't believe the numbers were so high. Then I had friends who started to tell me about their experiences. It is a fairly common occurrence. And in most cases, it is heartbreaking for the mom. Dads may feel heartache as well, my husband had wanted the baby as much as me. It's just different for women.
My mother-in-law knew what I was going through. She miscarried three different times after my husband was born. She was there to comfort me and share her experience. She said the pain was so strong, so real, she couldn't get out of bed some days. She compared the pain to a burn victim sitting in a salt bath. "It felt like every inch of skin was singed and set on edge with the sight of another baby."
This heartache can be confounded around Mother's Day. Especially for women who have had multiple miscarriages, or struggled with infertility. My story pales in comparison to my friend Jaymalee Johnson. She lived across the street from me when I had my miscarriage. I knew I could turn to her because she had already miscarried twice when I had my miscarriage. She has since miscarried twice more. Four times, all while desperately wanting a baby, and not really receiving any answers from medical personnel. I asked Jaymee to share a little about her story and healing. I hope by sharing, some of you who have experienced this pain may feel a lessening, or at least know you are not alone in your pain.
"There are things we can try, they may or may not work, but at least there is some action I can take, and at least we have eliminated a few possibilities, we know it isn't genetics, we know it isn't a heart condition, it may or may not be my thyroid, but we don't really know.
Here is what I do know. The last three and half years, have been the hardest of my life. There have been days where I had to fight to get out of bed, there were days that I struggled to be a mom who was focused on her living and breathing children, there have been days that I didn't know if I would ever be able to laugh at my dear husband's jokes, not just laugh because I knew I was supposed to, but really, really laugh with him.
Each loss has been different, the first was hard, I didn't know a baby I had never held could leave such a hole in my heart.
My fourth loss came two days before my husband's grandfather passed away and just two months before my father-in-law passed away. As I looked around at my family who was facing such difficult losses, I realized that I couldn't fall apart right then. My husband, my children and my husband's family needed me to hold on tight and move forward with faith.
I don't know how the atonement of Jesus Christ works, I can't explain it. I've had days where I pleaded with my Heavenly Father to take away the pain, and yet, I knew that this was a pain that I was supposed to experience and endure. Even though there were days that felt very lonely, I have never been alone in this pain. I have an amazing husband, who has held my hand through it all, I've been given three really great children, who are always there with a gentle hug, a fun laugh, and willing volunteers for snuggle time. I have the book my counselor gave me, "Understanding Your Grief: Ten Essential Touchstones for finding Hope and Healing your Heart" by Alan D. Wolfelt, at least it helped me know that I wasn't crazy.
Most importantly, I have a Savior, who has endured my pain. Somewhere, somehow in this past year, I've been given peace, and I have been given the strength to know, that if I will put my hand in my husband's hand, we can look to the Savior, regardless of the outcome in this life, we will be blessed as we do our Heavenly Father's will. We will carry on and we will be faithful."
I know of others who have experienced miscarriage after months and even years of trying infertility treatments. It is hard to imagine the pain of a miscarriage after paying thousands of dollars for a treatment that is supposed to help you become and stay pregnant. Many who have suffered through these trials will turn to adoption.
My cousin Aubry Thompson has a slightly different route to adoption. She has two beautiful little girls and would love to add to their family. She has shared a little of her healing path as well.
"Getting our two kids (and hopefully more) has been an adventure. When we first got pregnant in 2005 we were very excited, but that first pregnancy ended with a miscarriage and a D&C. I was upset and scared because my mom had several miscarriages and went through a lot to get us kids here. I worried that I may never be able to have children. Thankfully our oldest daughter was born just over a year after that first miscarriage. I then had a second miscarriage when we were trying for baby number two. Thankfully I got pregnant again a few months later and our second little girl was born in July of 2009. Her delivery was so much better than the first, and I figured I would be ready to have a third baby in a few short years.
Those plans all changed when I was diagnosed with Peripartum Cardiomyopathy (PPCM) two days after giving birth to our second daughter. PPCM is a form of heart failure that is caused by pregnancy. The heart chambers enlarge and the heart fails to function as it should. I was very fortunate to be diagnosed quickly, but many women are not so lucky. I was immediately put on the necessary heart medications and was told that it would be very risky to have more children. That was really hard to hear because I knew we wanted two more children.
When our baby was one I started looking into the possibility of adoption. It has been a crazy journey filled with a lot of ups and downs (we were emotionally scammed by a woman pretending to be pregnant and have had a handful of possible adoption opportunities fall through). Our baby is now almost 5 and an adoption has not happened yet, but we are still hopeful that it will. While this is not the plan that I had in mind for my family, I know we are stronger because of it. And I am so very grateful for the two beautiful, fun-loving little girls we have. I am always open to talking about PPCM and about adoption, and we are always trying to spread the word about our hope to adopt so that we can hopefully find the baby meant for our family."
There is hope and healing. It takes years sometimes. I still think about the baby that might have been mine around June 12. I was fortunate to be blessed with a healthy pregnancy, and a healthy baby just a few months after my miscarriage. My baby was born just shy of a year after my miscarriage. Somehow, every story finds a ways to have a happy ending, but not every ending is the same.