November 17th, 2004 started normally as any other day had for me. Then when I was walking through my dining room to my living room I felt a funny sensation and realized that I was bleeding. I quickly woke my then fiance, and we rushed to the hospital. I was only seven weeks pregnant. The words “threatened abortion” were used so callously by doctors and nurses, exam after exam yielded the same results. Seven weeks pregnant with a strong heart beat. “Go home,” they said and hopefully the bleeding will stop. Early on the morning of November 18th I was back at the hospital. The doctor, my doctor at the time came in, he told me that I had an ectopic pregnancy. He explained that the baby, or in is terms the fetus, implanted in my cervix and that there was nothing that he could do. My only hope was to go through surgery to remove the baby (fetus). My baby was still alive. I was heart broken and crushed. Never in my life would I have agreed to an abortion. The doctor explained under no uncertain terms that my blood pressure was dropping. I was dying and before they let me bleed to death they would remove the baby whether I consented to treatment or if they had to wait and perform life-saving measures. He also warned that if it came to that they might not be able to save my uterus and I may never have children again. I was twenty years old. All I ever wanted was a big family. I agreed to treatment knowing that as I went into the surgery the baby whose heartbeat inside me would soon no more. There would be nothing left by tears.
The surgery took a lot longer than the doctor expected. There were serious complications. He had to keep giving me transfusions. They were finally able to stop the bleeding. I didn’t have to have a hysterectomy. I didn’t lose my uterus, though, at the time, I felt like I had lost everything.
I might have only been seven weeks along, but I coped by naming my baby. I had to put a name to the baby that I lost because it was the only way I could deal with my grief. At seven weeks there is no way to know, at least not yet, whether the baby would be a boy or a girl. I imagined she would be a girl. I named her Bethany Anne. I am not sure why I picked out that name it just seemed right. I didn’t like to refer to her as the baby that I lost. I needed to give that baby a name, even if I had only been carrying her for seven weeks.
Part of losing a baby at any point in the development is that the mother goes through the grieving process. Dad’s do too, but this story my story is about how a mom grieves for her child. I did not know at the time that a miscarriage of an ectopic pregnancy in my case would mean grieving as though I had lost a child. I did not know at the time that the child I had lost was as much a part of me as any of my children are. I knew I was sad. I blamed myself and doubted my bodies ability to carry a baby. I went through all of the stages of grief and did so alone because I didn’t know that I could talk to people about what I was going through. My then fiance was no help. He didn’t understand what I was going through; he couldn’t fathom why I was so upset over a baby that we had barely acknowledged. We knew we were pregnant when we went into the hospital, and we knew when I went home that the pregnancy was no more. He didn’t understand what I was going through and quite frankly neither did I. Our relationship ended shortly after that. A series of fights gave way to his leaving, and later conversations revealed that he didn’t like the new depressed me. I had no one to talk to, and so I didn’t know until later that I was grieving. I couldn’t explain to him. I didn’t know how to explain it to anyone else. I had lost a grandmother when I was twelve but other than that I had not been touched by grief. I had no idea what the process as all about. They say that the death of a child is one of the most difficult things a couple can go through, and most relationships do not make it.
That is not to say that the grieving process has a set time limit. I do not believe that. I do now fully believe that grief occurs in stages. I also believe that we go through these different stages, not in any particular order. That when we finish the depression stage and move into the next stage, it is not necessarily finished. As we can move from bargaining to depression to acceptance right back to depression and then through bargaining again. I went through all of these stages for over two years then something happened.
I moved, and I met an amazing man. He changed my life, before that I thought that I would be alone forever the mother of a dead baby. We dated for a short while before we found out I was pregnant again and on November 1st 2007 our son was born premature. He weighed just five pounds and nine ounces and had to spend time in the NICU. He was born with sleep apnea and came home on a machine that alarmed if he stopped breathing. It alarmed twice. After everything that happened I still thought of him as a miracle. My miracle baby just turned seven.
While it is true that our fairy tale romance had it’s problems. We were separated. We had a lot of issues. We got over those issues and were married on July 2nd 2011. It was on July 31st 2012 I gave birth to another son that was born healthy although he was a week late. He is light and sunshine the cutest sweetest little man that I have ever met (takes after his older brother that way).
Last November I was due to have my third child a daughter on November 10th. The due date came and went without her arrival. My doctor said that they would schedule an induction and that the only time that we could do it was on November 18th. With a heavy heart I weighed asking her to wait, just one day or two. I couldn’t possibly go into the hospital and have a baby on the anniversary of the day I lost my first child. I asked so many people what they thought I should do and then finally I kept quiet. I didn’t say anything and on November 17th, 2013 just nine years after I lost my first baby I went into the hospital to be induced.
My daughter was born healthy, sweet and perfect on November 18th. It was only after she was born I told the doctor what happened. I told her that there was something, perhaps even God, that propelled me into staying quiet. I felt that perhaps he was saying after nine years of grieving let me give you a reason to celebrate. You lost your baby but from that loss I have given you a wonderful man and three perfectly wonderful children. From great sorrow, I have brought great joy.