A little over four years ago, I found out I was pregnant with our first child.
I became a mother instantly. I went to the doctor, dramatically changed my diet, started taking prenatal vitamins, and all of the other recommendations that are given to women in the first trimester. I couldn’t wait to talk about it and tell everyone. I thought the “first trimester” waiting period was incredibly too long to wait. My husband and I told our family and friends and we were all waiting impatiently for our first doctor’s visit.
Our appointment was on a Tuesday in late October during my 11th week. We were anxiously sitting in the exam room while my doctor searched for the heartbeat with her little monitor.
“Don’t worry, it’s still too early and these things hardly ever work this early.” She went to get a portable ultrasound machine. But she was still having trouble locating a heartbeat. It made me feel incredibly worried.
My husband still seemed hopeful. Luckily, the big ultrasound machine was available so we went across the hall and after a long time in a really quiet room with a very still screen, the ultrasound tech left to get my doctor and I started to cry. My husband was still positive and even told me that I had no idea what I was looking for and that I shouldn’t get discouraged.
But I knew…
I truthfully couldn’t get myself together. I had hit a point where I wasn’t sure if I was still a mom. Can you become a mom and then not be a mom? Is that possible? I knew I had been following all of the rules, but I was still thinking, “What could I have done differently?”
Within a week, I had heard from at least ten people about their own stories of loss and had them offer support if I ever needed it. So many families have experienced miscarriages, stillbirths, and infertility issues and it gave me a sense of ease that other people could understand what I was experiencing.
In the beginning, everyone is thinking of you and trying to be there for you. It’s a coffee run and a random visit with dessert or a card in the mail. It gets lonely though, after a few weeks, when people have moved on but you haven’t.
Staying on the Ground
It’s important to have closure somehow. I found a pair of earrings with the birth stone of the baby’s due date and I regularly wear them to keep that little life with me. Four years and two amazing daughters later gives me hope that I can offer support to people in the future.
Charlie Hunnam once said, “Everybody, at some point in their life has fallen down and not felt like getting back up, but you have to, no matter how difficult it is.”
We really do make the choice to stay there on the ground or get up. After I lost the baby… I just laid there a while, a few weeks, not ready to go back to being myself. Eventually it gets easier, you move on past the obstacles thrown at you, and you think about your next step. You might even just find something else to distract you so the pain goes away, but it DOES go away, and you can get back to the old you once you take the initiative to seek happiness again. Do things! Forget about grocery shopping and going to work, REALLY do things! Go away for the weekend, go on a hike, pick up a hobby, and go enjoy time with your significant other, as they lost a baby too and would like to spend time with you.
To the baby I never knew. I hope you know you will always be in my heart.
About the Author
Heather is a wife, a mother of two daughters, and a special education teacher. She loves music, dancing, to-do lists, learning new things, and running. She’s an optimistic, energetic, and happy person who time and again looks past stereotypes and sees the good in all people.
Main picture @ Ruben Alexander