This afternoon while I was on a lunch break run around the lake near my house, I had some time to reflect on some personal things that have been going on over the past few weeks. I was out enjoying the beautiful 80 degree day with just enough clouds in the sky and wind at my back to make running feel joyful. As I felt that joy, I began to finally feel grateful for the body that I have after it had betrayed me again just a few short weeks ago. As I began to dissect these thoughts, I realized in order to really move forward, I should share my story so women everywhere can know that it’s not easy for anyone.
After we had Callum, our third baby together, we knew that we still had more love in our hearts for more children. We kept going back and forth on one or two more? The joke was if we had another boy, we’d definitely go for one more after that, and if we had a girl, we’d probably be done. Well, low and behold, in May 2018 we had another beautiful baby boy! After a few months of the crazy newborn stage (with 4 other kids at home…..4 of them 4 years old and under) Mark and I had a heart to heart to really talk about if we were done, or if we wanted to bring one more baby into our family. Our life was chaotic, we paid a bajillion dollars in daycare fees, and there was no way we could keep up with laundry no matter how hard (or not hard) we tried! However, we know that everything in life is a phase, we have so so much love in our house, and we both felt that one more child would complete our family.
So, like always, we kept the goalie pulled, as they say, and continued to hope each month that we’d see that second pink line on the home pregnancy test. Month after month nothing. 4 months….5 months…6 months went by and still nothing. Now I know that six months is NOT a long time to be trying for a baby, but our four youngest kids are all between 18.5 and 20 months apart. I am already at the geriatric pregnancy age, and my hubby is 7 years older than I am! So as the time was ticking by, I started to get more and more worried that maybe this last baby who would complete our family would never be here. Croix’s first birthday came and went, and I’ve never not been pregnant at the time one of my kids turned one. I was starting to feel defeated, but also very guilty for feeling sad because I already had 4 healthy babies and a gorgeous stepdaughter!
And then, one Saturday morning on a hunch, I peed on that little white stick preparing for disappointment, but I got this instead!
Woo hoo!! I was so excited I couldn’t stand it! I immediately downloaded the Glow Nurture app on my phone to figure out an estimated due date and see what was currently happening in my body. I figured out when I should make my first doctor’s appointment, determined when I could start telling people, and even thought through who I might tell right away.
I’ve never been able to tell Mark that we were expecting in a cool way. I’ve always just kind of word vomited out of my mouth in a not so thoughtful way. I wanted to tell Mark in a cute way this time, especially since this would be the last time we’d go through this together. I spent a few hours keeping the secret for myself, trying to plan a cute way to tell a father that we was going to have his 6th kid. Let me tell ya, Google and Pinterest do not have much content for “how to tell your hubby he’s going to be a dad…for the 6th time.” So, I just decided to go for it and do it my way. I put the positive test in my pocket while Mark was outside siting on the front porch with Croix. We had family pictures the next day (another family picture blog post coming soon!), so I sat next to him and said, “Is there anything special you want to do for family pictures this time?” He looked at me like I was crazy. (I don’t usually ask him his opinion on family pictures. I usually run around like a maniac the day before finding coordinating clothes for 7 people and scream at them about what they need to wear and how they have to smile….not a forced smile, or a closed mouth smile, or a smile that looks stupid….they need to smile like they are happy and we are a loving family DAMMIT.) So when he said what do you mean? I asked if there were any thing he wanted to bring, or signs, or perhaps props. He still looked confused, so I pulled the test out of my pocket and said “what do you think about trying to do something with this in the pictures? Maybe use it as an announcement in a few months?” When it finally sunk in, he got the biggest smile ever, grabbed me, kissed me, then told me he knew exactly the time and position it happened in. HA!
So here we were, finally pregnant with our last baby. We were so happy and it felt good knowing that we’d finally be completing our family.
Until is was quickly over.
I woke up 5 days later to pee at about 3:30 am. It felt a little wetter than usual when I wiped, but early pregnancy usually juices things up down there and it was too dark in the bathroom to look. Then, when I got up to get ready for work, I went to the bathroom again and saw the blood in my underwear. My first thought was “F*CK.” My second thought was “It’s over.” But then, I started thinking through all the other things that could be happening to try and reassure myself that maybe since this was my 7th pregnancy (I had a miscarriage after Harlow and before Jacek), that maybe my body was just reacting a little differently this time. I took a shower, put a pad on, and called the doctor. The nurse who answered asked if I was bleeding through a pad in an hour, and while I was bleeding very heavily, I wasn’t quite at that point….or at least I did not want to admit it to myself or anyone else. She said she would consult with the doctor and they would call me back. In the meantime, through the research I did I tried to tell myself I either had a subchorionic hematoma, which can be normal in pregnancy, or I could have cervical cancer which I’ve had scares of before, or maybe my body was confused and just having a period because ladies on pregnancy community boards said they they got their periods the whole time they were pregnant, so maybe I was, too.
The horrible part about all of this was even though I was going through something really scary, I still had to be a mom to my other kids. I couldn’t go cry in the closet and wait for the doctor to tell me what to do. On top of that, I had two kids home with a nasty stomach bug vomiting every hour and then pooping through their clothes in between vomit sessions. So I took care of my little guys, rubbed their backs, and tried to keep them hydrated while I waited. Two hours later, I called the doctor again to see if they forgot about me. I was on the list of calls to make, and I had to sit tight until they could get to me. I could feel the baby draining out of me while I waited and there was nothing I could do, and no one seemed to think it was a big deal.
After lunch, Mark and I went to Harlow’s last day of Kindergarten celebration. I stood there and watched my big Kindergartener proudly sing her school song on the playground with her beloved Principal and her entire school while I smiled and clapped and had to act like I wasn’t standing there losing a baby. I hugged other moms and chit chatted about a bunch of shit I don’t remember, because my mind was somewhere else. Thank God it was sunny that day because my giant dark sunglasses kept all of my sadness hidden. As Harlow ran off with a friend to play, I finally got a call from the doctor. She said she wanted to see me and check things out, but the next appointment available was 8am the next day. Fine. More waiting.
Throughout the rest of the day I kept checking to see if the bleeding had stopped. Nope. Still going strong. I cried, and then made myself stop, and went on with the day. The next morning Mark asked if I wanted him to go to the doctor with me. I don’t know why, but I told him no. I just wanted to be alone. So, I went to the doctor, peed in a cup, went to the room with the nurse and told her what has happening. She handed me tissues as tears started to fall. She left the room, and the doctor came in right away. She asked me when I got my first positive test. I told her it was Saturday morning, and that like all crazy women who find out they are pregnant, I proceeded to take three more tests over the next few days to see that line appear over and over again! She smiled, looked down, and said, “well, I am sorry but the pregnancy test we just did with your urine came back negative.” So just like that, it was officially over.”
I share this story so women (and men) know that pregnancy and loss is not easy for anyone. I know I am lucky to have had four healthy babies, but I’ve also had two miscarriages. And even though I have four healthy babies, miscarriage hurts really bad for me, too. My life is just as imperfect as everyone else’s. I just hope that going through these times that aren’t written the way we would’ve wanted them to be help us get to the moments that we are meant to get to all along. I’ve still got hopes that maybe our family will be our type of perfect and complete with one more baby, but I also have to realize that maybe we are perfect the way we are.