Wednesday, October 15, 2008

October 15th

There's a lot of "national" days here and there, ones we all just blow by not giving a thought to.

But today put a lump in my throat as a friend posted that today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

Our story is unique in that nothing has ever been found in us that would indicate that we'd have trouble having a baby...and not so unique in that we just like everyone else, always assumed we'd be able to have kids.

In January of 2002, I was 35 and Brian and I had been married for a couple of years. I went off the pill, and quickly became pregnant the next month. Like so many I thought that that was "it" and the babies would come.

I was so very wrong.

Our first loss happened in May of 2002. We found out at a 12-week ultrasound, where we discovered no heartbeat, even though all the tests were positive and all the pregnancy symptoms were there. The baby had been lost about 8 weeks, according to the size of the sac and the placenta that grew, even though no baby could be seen. Devastation, shock, and surprise that such a thing could happen, what they call a "missed miscarriage".

Our second loss happened nearly 2 years later. It took us forever to get pregnant, and we spent some money and time with a specialist to test out what was wrong. Nothing could be found, and we got pregnant on our own with Samuel.

We saw Samuel's weak heartbeat at just 7 weeks in February of 2004. We saw it again at 8, and by 9 it was gone. I've never been so confused and angry with "God's Plan" whatever the hell it was...than I was after that. Or so I thought.

The following winter would bring our third pregnancy. January 2005. We got help that time with IUI, a relatively non-invasive assistance from the specialists. At 7 weeks, again, no heartbeat.

At that point I was sure something was wrong, even if the doctors couldn't find anything. We gave up and began to visualize our lives with no biological children. We considered adoption and foster parenting.

Then, accidentally, we got pregnant with Jacob in the winter of 2006. At 7 weeks we had a heartbeat. Growth was good, and our angel Nurse Practitioner let us come in for weekly ultrasounds until 12 weeks, when he pronounced that "if everything looks good at 12 weeks, you're pretty much having a baby."

Little did we know that at the 20-week ultrasound, we would find out our son was a boy, and that he too would be lost.

Diagnosed with Trisomy 18, Jacob had multiple problems, including severe Spina Bifida, only 3 chambers on his heart, and a host of other problems that would mean certain death. His growth had leveled off.

A couple of weeks later, he was born silently into the world on July 7, 2006 after 30 hours of labor. Words will never express the loss of hope, and yet the abundance of love in that delivery room that day. We finally held a baby of hours, saw his little face and feet, and told him how much we loved him, at the same time we said goodbye.

There truly is no greater pain than the loss of a child, no matter how small.

I am not alone in all the loss. I have many friends who have been through losses, some just one, many more who have had as many or more losses than me.

A few have never had to have biological children, but most have. We all share different levels and different kinds of pain over our infertility and loss.

Our miracle Nora was born September 17, 2007. She has saved me from the despair that would come from having nothing come from all of those pregnancies and so much heartache. As I type this, she's running into the room with a laugh and her arms up in the air. She's a bandaid on a large wound -- she doesn't heal it, but she sure helps.

So remembering today, all our babies.

If you see fit, wherever you are, light a candle at 7 p.m. for at least an hour. The idea is that there will be a wave of light going around the globe in remembrance of all those who went before us.

Goodnight sweet babies. Your Moms and Dads in this world will never forget you.

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