I'm linking up with Kelly's Korner again this Friday for Show Us Your Life. The topic this week is for Mom's who have lost children. This is a group that I KNOW each and everyone of us would not wish ourselves into. But through God's amazing graces, these experiences and losses have also made us stronger, shaped our families into what they are, and given us wonderful friends who have helped us through tragedy.
I am in the process of sharing my fertility journey, more of the story is coming soon. This part jumps a little ahead but I want to share it here for the link up. I spent better than 10 years thinking that it would be impossible for me to have children naturally. After nearly 6 months of fertility treatments, that moment of pee-ing on a stick and having it say PREGNANT happened!! It was Superbowl Sunday - 2006. To say we were excited is an understatement. It's hard not to immediately start thinking about the future when you find out you are expecting for the first time... we immediately started talking baby names, made a surprise trip to visit my folks to share the news, shared it with all of our sisters...
My sister was nearly nine months pregnant with her 5th when we found out we were expecting. Then on March 8th she had a little girl - Katarina. We went to our doctor that morning for my first checkup (7 weeks) and ultrasound. To our horror, the ultrasound showed a little sac with nothing in it... no beautiful little heartbeat, no little fetal pole. It was one of the hardest things I ever did in going from that ultrasound to my sister's hospital room to hold her beautiful new little baby. It was 4 or 5 more weeks before I actually miscarried our first little one.
We had Karen nearly two years later - how blessed were we! We started treatments again when she was almost one and I found myself pregnant with twins this time! It was an exciting time as I have always wanted a big family and as involved as my treatments are, this seemed like such an amazing blessing. Both little ones were thriving - my doctor had me in every two weeks from about 6 weeks and I was able to see both babies growing via ultrasound. At my 16 week checkup there was a med student working with my doctor and she conducted the ultrasound. We happily looked at the first baby and got growth measurements and then the student excused herself to go get my doctor. I honestly didn't think anything of it. When my doctor came back he softly but immediately broke the news that the other baby had died around 15 weeks. We do not know why or what caused the death. I fortunately did not miscarry the twin I lost as this would have put the other baby in jeapordy. When I delivered Megan at full term, I also delivered the remains of her twin. It took almost two years, but we finally buried Emily Rose in the arms of her cousin Jessica this last October.
Last spring, I took a pregnancy test just before we left on a trip to Cleveland to visit family... positive! After 5 more months of treatment we had been blessed again. During the visit, however, I started miscarrying and we confirmed that I had lost the pregnancy when we returned home. I found that the sorrow at saying goodbye to another baby was not getting any easier, in fact it was harder. But, the distraction of two toddlers gave me less time to dwell on it.
In addition to these confirmed miscarriages, I have also had two unconfirmed miscarriages, one other prior to Karen and one other prior to Lauren. They happened so early that I had yet to have a blood pregnancy test and likely only caught it because I knew we were trying and start peeing on a stick about 10 days post-peak...
It is only through God's amazing love, comfort, and grace that we continued to be able to move forward with our family. I realize in looking at each of my daughters that I might not know their little souls if we hadn't lost one before them. I've also come to the realization that motherhood is not a right but a gift, and I am called to embrace that gift even if I only get to know the child in my womb for days and never get to know him or her in my arms. For as He says in scripture, "Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour."(Matthew 25:13).