A Letter to My Children – I want to share about my path to motherhood and the 4 pregnancies that defined that path. I realize I can not jump into talking about one without addressing them all first to be fair and for context. I want to offer a message of hope to other moms out there too.
A Letter to My Children
I always do take time out to reflect on life and feel gratitude for what I have in life – that’s pretty much what I base this entire blog about. Now that I am pregnant, my 4th pregnancy, I want to pause and reflect on everything that has brought me to this point.
It’s hard for me to share such personal subject matter, only because I just want to articulate it well. It was other women’s personal stories that helped me tremendously when I was going through all these situations. It made me feel like I was not alone. I also feel like it’s time, I am ready to share and sometimes it takes me a while to find the words to express these complex emotions. That’s why this post is just the start of a series about my path through motherhood, an index to branch out from.
Someone to Lean on
I just want to say that my husband Eric, has been a support through all these life experiences and I am grateful to have him in my life. He is a loving father to our daughter and wonderful partner to me. Whenever we experience any life difficulty, we lean on each other and it makes us closer and stronger together.
I am sharing a letter I wrote a day ago before bed, after my husband and daughter were asleep. Pregnancy and motherhood often brings the symptom of insomnia and during those wakeful moments, I think about all these things that have been significant in my life. I share this further along in the post.
More significant than past relationships, any career or job or life experience, has been the 4 pregnancies that I experienced and with each one I learned something new about life and it deepened my human experience.
Coping with Grief
I have learned to cope with the deep grief of pregnancy loss. And here’s the thing about that, in my experience, as years go by, it never truly gets better, all the thoughts, feelings and emotions are still there, almost like this PTSD that you live with but sometimes your brain can forget so you can live in the moment. I find being productive, making things (like food:)), loving who’s still here in life, looking around at nature and the world around you, being positive, self reflection, facing how you really feel instead of stuffing down emotions helps me. I know everyone copes with grief differently. It’s actually important not to forget, I have found, because it can turn a sad, wounding experience into a life-learning paradigm shift.
A Significant List
I have always been a list-maker since I can remember, the following is a list that has come to be a significant part of my life, I will include a brief summary of each which will be elaborated on in later posts in this series:
- January 28th, 2011 – Ectopic Pregnancy – At the time of this post, rewind 6 years ago…unbeknownst to me I was between 9-12 weeks pregnant, with an nonviable pregnancy which was in my fallopian tube, the technical term being an “ectopic pregnancy”, it ruptured as I was driving to a convention for the hobby business I had at the time. I made it home, threw up 4 times, managed to call my Mom and my now husband Eric (we were engaged at the time and our wedding was July 11th, 2011) and still conscious but extremely weak, cold and ready to pass out on the floor of my bathroom. I was internally bleeding out into my body cavity. Eric found me, I went to the hospital in my first ever ride in an ambulance (it’s not that fun as you think it would be 🙁 ) and the emts solved the problem of what was wrong with me, they had a theory that I was having an ectopic, a pregnancy test in the ER confirmed it and I was rushed into emergency surgery. Eric watched me, helpless (both him and I), standing there, as a room full of people worked on finding out what was wrong, trying to stabilize me and ultimately, getting me ready for surgery. You know you are in trouble when the resident doctors are swearing to the operating team that they aren’t going fast enough to get you into surgery; it was truly frighting and my life depending on these people. I just remember asking them to, “please help me and don’t let me die,” as I faded off into the anesthesia. I had to have major abdominal surgery, 2 blood transfusions during surgery to save me and another 1 after. I have a 5-inch scar on my bikini line which I am told is similar to a c-section scar where they cut through and later sewed up about 7 layers of tissue. The surgeon told me after I woke up that if I had been found a just half hour later I would have been dead. I lost my right fallopian tube in the process. By the way the surgeon shook his head and frowned, I knew it was serious and I was very lucky to be alive. I learned that after having 1 ectopic pregancy, the statistics are higher for me to experience that again. I suspect that the egg never made it to the right place because of a previous ovarian cyst I had surgically removed back in 2006/2007 which may have left scar tissue but I will never know for sure. It took months to recover, I was anemic for more than a year after and the aftermath was hard because I had this acute, scary, shocking experience and I would say it took years to process. I still reflect on how profound and what a near-death experience it was for me. For a long time, I was pinching myself because I couldn’t believe that I was actually alive. There are so many more details from that day that I want to share eventually. Before this whole experience, I was not sure I wanted to be a mother, I didn’t know I wanted to be one, it was just hard for me to imagine. I want to say to the pregnancy that I lost, that you showed me that I could be and wanted to be a mother.
- April 30th, 2014 – Margo Elise is born– My daughter, now 3 years old, my miracle, my best friend, my soul. We planned for you and wanted you. We are so thankful to have you every day. You show me everyday that there is life after death. You made me a mother. I hope to share your beautiful birth story someday. I am forever grateful and humbled to have you in my life.
- October 2016 – Miscarriage – My first ultrasound was normal, all my early test results were normal and my due date was 4/23/2016. So close to Margo’s birthday! A date that has come and gone by now. It was my 12-week check up that made an up-to-that-point, happy & hopeful pregnancy turn into one of the most depressing experiences of my life. It was mid-October 2016. When you plan to be pregnant, become pregnant, start planning for the new baby and then lose that baby – it is the most cruel, deflating and horrible experiences. At the point where I lost my pregnancy, I should have been 12 weeks (3 months) but the doctor thinks from looking at the ultrasound that it could have died 5 weeks prior (his guess based on measurements), meaning I lost it at 8 weeks. We could have but never learned the sex of the baby. It was just too hard to know. But I thought, I was 12 weeks, so close to the 2nd trimester which would start at 13 weeks. So, October 2016 and into the winter months that followed (of course I had to have a miscarriage close to the Winter, right?), I was so sad, it was so hard. I expected the sadness and was surprised by the absolute rage and injustice I felt. Life isn’t fair and doesn’t owe us anything. We do our best to avoid bad things but sometimes bad things happen to us. Talking to other moms who experiences miscarriage really got me through, knowing that there were others who knew the pain I felt was one of the only things that relieved any pain because it never went away. Even now, as I write this, it chokes me up, especially since it wasn’t that long ago. Sometimes my brain feels scrambled in a confusion about what happened. It was so hard to go from a happy pregnancy to devastating loss. In a lot of ways, I am still unpacking that experience. Here’s what I want to tell this pregnancy and baby that I lost: It was hard saying goodbye to the hopes I had for you; You showed me gratitude for what I still have.
- My 4th pregnancy! – I am pregnant right now (see our pregnancy announcement). At the time of this post, I am at week 23, day 5 (according my my pregnancy app) and my due date is October 5th, 2017 (Eric’s birthday is later in the same month!). Because of my previous miscarriage, I waited until it was blatantly obvious that I am pregnant to tell people. I say this jokingly but I probably would have waited until I have the baby but I don’t want to hide myself. I have felt this baby kick and punch ever since week 19 or 20 (see, if I don’t write this down I will forget! That’s pregnancy brain for you!). Soon, we will be announcing the gender on the blog after that I want to write about all the “pregnancy feels” I have during this pregnancy. What I want to say to this baby: You gave and continue to give me hope for the future.
The path to and through motherhood, for me, has been a down and up and down one and up again. It hasn’t been easy. I am happy for the mothers out there that never have to experience loss like I have or like other mothers have.
A Letter to My Children
I felt it was right to title this post, “A Letter to My Children”, because even though I lost 2 of the 4 pregnancies I have experienced, I still carry them with me every day. I can’t see them, others can’t see them but I feel them with me every day. So, in that way, they are and always will be my babies too. This is the letter I wrote to them the other night:
My heart aches for the babies I lost along the way,
I’ll never get to hold you and tell you that I love you in person.
I am forever grateful for the brief time we had and hope for the future you all gave to me.
You will never know the grief I carry knowing and experiencing your loss.
You mean so much to me, I love you, always.
I speak out to let other women who have experienced similar experiences, that they are not alone in their experience, they are not alone in their hurt or pain, hope or happiness. <3
If you made it to the end of this post, thank you for listening and being there. When I do share in more detail about each pregnancy, I can link to the posts here in this post. I don’t know when I will, I don’t want to put a time limit on it but eventually, I will.
Please feel free to share your experiences in the comments below, if you wish.
Best Wishes, ~Sara