Remembering Baby #1

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My husband and I weren’t in a huge hurry to get pregnant when we got married. We were “older,” but we were enjoying life. When I wasn’t getting pregnant, though, I did seek a specialist for answers. I was told I had Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome and was put on a few medications.

We weren’t panicking though—no fertility treatments.

Fast forward two years and I got pregnant! We had recently moved across the country for my husband’s job and with the stress of everything, the pregnancy was a little surprising but welcome. We told everyone –of course—and were beyond excited.  Nine weeks into the pregnancy, something went terribly wrong.

We were buying a new house at the same time we were welcoming a baby, and after visiting the builder and choosing flooring and tiling, I began to bleed—enough to make us worried and to head to urgent care where the doctor was cautiously optimistic that everything would be fine. Fast forward 24 hours—things were not ok. We had to go to the emergency room. I had never felt pain like this before. I could not put my feet on the ground and wanted to curl up and just have the pain go away.

We were not that lucky.

The pain did go away but so did the pregnancy. 

Baby #1 was gone. So were our hopes for starting a family. The physical pain of miscarrying a baby, for me, was beyond description.  I hope no one ever has to go through that much physical pain while also going through the emotional toll of losing a baby. The entire time I was wondering, What did I do wrong?

After leaving the emergency room, I was lost. What happens next? Where do we go from here? I had to first tell work that I needed to have the next day off.  They gave me so much grief that I finally asked if I had to provide a death certificate. Seriously? Who challenges a mother’s loss? (I left that job within a week).  

Miraculously, after two months, I got pregnant again. This time, we were cautious. We did not tell everyone about our news. We held it close to the vest.  It was almost as if by telling people, we were cursing the viability of the pregnancy.  

Nine months later, our daughter was born.

It has been a balancing act of not looking back at the loss of baby #1 and not forgetting it. We bought a lime tree in honor of the baby, but when we had to move, we couldn’t take it with us and left it with a friend to take care of.  

Since the birth of two children and since the loss of the first, we have made sure that they know what happened—that there was Baby #1 before #2 and #3. Although we didn’t know if it was a boy or girl, the baby was a part of our family. That baby died so that our daughter and son could live.

Fifteen years later, I do not think of the baby daily, but it doesn’t mean that I love life without him/her.  I find myself wondering “what if,” but I do try to concentrate on “what is” and live from there.

     

 

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Tracy
Tracy owns Safe Spaces, a consulting and training firm that focuses on building resilient families, communities and organizations (www.sfspcs.com). She is also an Authorized Facilitator and Certified Instructor with Darkness to Light, www.d2l.org, a child sexual abuse prevention organization. Tracy grew up in northeast Ohio, and has lived in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Arizona, and Northern Virginia and has worked in the arts, in education and most recently as a Public Educator for a child abuse prevention non-profit. Her husband's job brought them to the Bay Area and there's no looking back! Tracy is mom to a 14-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son. Self-care includes getting to know her new community, having lunch with friends, pedicures, reading, cooking, crafting, and just being with her family.

1 COMMENT

  1. Oh, that pain! The pain of both your heart and abdomen being ripped out of your body at the same time.
    We experienced this loss twice. Neither time had we told anyone and I believe that made the loss slightly more bearable – not having to deal with the looks of sympathy or meaningless condolences, and awkward hugs.
    We always celebrate both their birthdays with a family day and often buy them an ornament for Christmas.
    Two of my children would not exist if we had not lost the first two but it is still a loss.
    One regret I have from the first recovery is that I did not see past my own pain for several days to realize how much it hurt my husband as well. It was his loss a much as mine. Thankfully, he did speak up and we were more able to comfort each other through the second loss.
    My heart aches for other parents who have gone through this. I am sorry for your pain.

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