A Birth Story: For the Miscarried Child and the Mother She Left Behind

The other night as I was spending way too much time on Facebook, I came across a blog titled, "A Birth Story", written by a woman, named Carrie, who had a biological child and then later, adopted a second little girl into her home.  She spoke about the stresses of labor as she delivered her first child and uncertainties of the adoption of her second child.  She said, "And in that moment, our daughter was born. But to be perfectly honest, it isn’t when I feel like I fully became her mother."

Smashed Nose, Smashed Ear Profile
I thought back to the birth of my sweet little girl, Alexandria, who just recently had her third birthday.  I had to deliver her by c-section because she was breeched.  The doctors attempted to do an ECV prior to the c-section, but I have a septum in my uterus, so Alexandria (much like her spicy little temperament) would not budge.  She was bright red when she came out from all of the pushing and her poor little nose was crooked and her ear had grown folded over.  She was absolutely the ugliest baby I had ever laid my eyes on (I can only say this now because she is so stinkin' cute).  At that point I thought to myself, "Ugh, this is one ugly baby".  It wasn't until later in the recovery room, when her naked little body was lying against mine and she lifted her little head up to look into my eyes, that I began to feel like her mother.  During all of the sleepless nights, tantrums (sometimes by both of us), spilled messes, I really felt like her Mama.  I also felt this way during all of the hugs, kisses and hearing her tell me, "I love you sweet Mama".  As stressful as the job of being her mother is, I have cherished those cuddles, the giggling fits of laughter that ensue as we try to "be funny" (her words, not mine), and the squeals of delight as we ride down big hills (on car, on a bike, it doesn't matter).

Stinkin' Cute.
Then I couldn't help but think of the birth of my second little girl, Ezraela Eaven.  I will never forget how the doctor's face looked when he told me that she no longer had a heartbeat.  He was in as much shock as I was.  I will never forget the sorrow that filled each nurse's eyes as they walked me through the steps of her delivery.  Their eyes told me that this didn't happen that often.  Very rarely did they have to witness the birth of a dead baby.  At 18 weeks, I was hoping my first memories of her would be discovering what sex she was and imagining how I would dress her in her big sister's clothes (if she was a girl) or announcing to my parents that we were having a girl.  Instead, those first memories were ones of horror and ones of tragedy.  Those were the moments that I felt like I became her mother.  In an instant, all of my hopes and dreams for this little baby were ripped away.  I would never be able to hold her tightly when she was crying uncontrollably, I would never be able to put her in time out and hide my face from her because she was making me laugh, I would never be able to read that first bedtime story or teach her the ABCs.  After I delivered her, as I held her in my hand, this tiny little baby, I knew I was her mother.

"Ezraela Eaven" "12-31-2014" "I am yours, you are mine"
My Olympic Duathlon Participation Medal and Baby Footprints (Given to Me by My Sister in Law)

Today, May 29th, 2014, is Ezraela's due date.  Before this week, I have tried not to think very much about it.  I was doing pretty good emotion wise.  I felt like my hormones were finally leveling out and that I could focus on other things, like the book I was trying to get published or the Olympic Aquabike Duathlon that I had won.  But that wasn't the case. 

Friday evening I received word that a friend, who was due 2 weeks ahead of Ezraela, had delivered a baby boy.  Almost instantaneously I received an e-mail from another close friend that she had been pregnant and lost the baby.  Immediately my heart plunged into a state of despondency.  I knew that it would be difficult for me once my friends who were pregnant around Ezraela's due date had their babies.  I had even spoken to this particular mother several times about it (and am very thankful that she made those times with her a "safe place" where I could opening discuss my feelings without any judgement from her).  I was so happy that both she and the baby were safe, but I couldn't push away the feeling that I wished that both me and my baby were safe as well.  What I was not prepared for was the news from the second friend.  I knew they were trying to get pregnant and how excited both she and her husband were.  I hated that she had to go through what I went through.  It just didn't seem fair.  I prayed that God would bring healing to her, just as I prayed that he would heal me.

Time and time again I have wondered why this happened to me.  Why did I have to lose a child?  What was the purpose of it?  I don't think I will ever come to "accept" it.  I don't think I will ever come to "rejoice" in it.  How could one rejoice in losing their own flesh and blood?  However, if there is one thing I am bound and determined to do, it is to make Ezraela's death mean something.  To make my pain and my suffering mean something.  And if as a result my pain will help someone else, I will rejoice in that. 

This past week I have been speaking with the pastor of our church about starting a support group for people who have experienced a miscarriage.  Personally, I've had a great circle of friends who have supported me through the ebb and flow of my grief, however, I have realized not everyone has that.  Not everyone has a safe place to be transparent and speak what is really on their heart in regards to losing a child.  Not everyone has a place where they don't think it is taboo to tell someone, "I've had a miscarriage and it sucks."  I think everyone should have a place like that.  I think everyone needs a place like that.  But I have heard from too many people that there aren't very many places like that out there that exist.  My goal is to change that.

So, on the day of Ezraela's due date, with tears in my eyes, I have hope.  I have hope that my loss might be someone else's gain.  That my pain might be someone else's healing.  That my sadness might be someone else's peace.  And that in that, I might find peace and rest as well. 

You never get over losing a child, it just gets a little bit easier with every step that you take.  It is my hope that we can take the steps of that journey together.   

Alexandria and I at the Newport Aquarium

Comments

  1. I am mourning with you, sister. I'm so amazed at God's work in you through this. Love you, so, so very much. ((hugs))

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