Friday, October 15, 2010
Go Light Your Candle
Today is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day. It comes October 15th of every year and for many it means nothing much. I didn't even know it existed before this year. Everyone all over the world is asked to light a candle at 7pm so that for one whole day a candle will be burning in remembrance of all babies lost for various reasons.
I miscarried two babies this year. The first was June 2nd. My husband, Adam, and I had been trying for a child for a year and seven months and then I finally got pregnant. I couldn't believe it when I looked at the two faint pink lines of the test on May 31st. I showed Adam and he just grinned and said, "Oh boy!" What a happy day that was. It was more than happy, it was plain joyful!
We immediately started guessing if I was going to have a girl or boy and fantasising about a child playing happily in our living room floor. I was thinking about how my time had finally come after all those months of hoping and praying.
All that joy was short lived, however, because two very short days later on June 2nd I miscarried my baby at five weeks one day along.
The hardest thing to deal with is that I have nothing to show for my baby. I have no grave to visit and I had no funeral to grieve at. All I had in my mind was an image of a baby lying in a sewer pipe crying for his mother to hold him. Worst of all I didn't even receive a birth certificate. My baby is not even recognized by the state. I had to remind myself that my baby was recognized by God and He is all that matters.
Jeremiah 1:5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.
I had many well wishers try to comfort me during that time but they hadn't gone through what I had and didn't know what to say. Unless you have experienced a miscarriage you don't know what to say to one who has. The most comforting words came from those who had went through what I had. Words like, "it is ok to feel whatever you are feeling and grieve however you want," were a blessing. Other words were well meaning but didn't help like, "you can try again," "at least it was early," and "those things just happen." A word of advice: if you don't know what to say to someone who has had a miscarriage simply say, "I'm sorry."
I grieved heavily for a few days but then I felt a determination to get pregnancy again. I learned that one in five pregnancies end in miscarriage and many people I knew had miscarriages and just didn't tell anyone. I was optimistic I could get pregnant again and have a child just like all those other women.
I got a positive pregnancy test August 4th and I soon learned that having a miscarriage once robs you of more than a baby. It robs you of having pure joy ever again while you are pregnant. You will never be at peace while pregnant because you are terrified of it happening again. You feel you can't get attached because you may loose that baby at any moment.
I made an appointment with my doctor immediately because I just couldn't have that dreaded circumstance happen again. I had my HCG tested and it was going up and up. Everything looked great. I was happy but still a bit guarded. I got through the five week mark with no problems and was beginning to slowly allow myself to feel joyful. I silently thought, "this is it, I'm getting my baby!"
I made it to six weeks and I was really happy then. Adam and I even cruised down a few baby isles thinking about buying those little outfits and pastel colored toys and soft blankets. I had an appointment at six weeks, three days and I was worried sick waiting on the results of the ultrasound. The doctor said I was measuring at four weeks, not six weeks. I hid it but I knew something was wrong. I was thinking in my heart it was just a matter of time. The doctor said not be worried and that maybe the date had just been figured wrong. I really think she was lying to me then.
I got the results of my HCG back on my birthday, August 30th, and they weren't good. The nurse told me they were falling and I should expect to miscarry soon. Her voice was cold and matter-of-fact like. I felt numb and didn't know what to think. I think I was still holding out hope that it wouldn't happen. But it did. That evening my second baby slipped away to be with the Lord.
Another pregnancy without a baby. No grave, no funeral, no certificate. All I had was an empty womb and an even more empty heart. Turns out that baby stopped growing at 4 weeks and while I was dreaming about what he or she would grow to be, they were already with Jesus singing beautiful songs to Him.
I have since been to a different doctor who has preformed several tests and could find nothing wrong with me. There is no reason for my losses and no reason I can't carry a baby to term. At least, she hasn't found one yet.
Today, I'm not sure I can try again. I'm not sure I am strong enough to go through another loss. I look at pregnant women today and think, "Why are they so happy? Don't they know what could happen?" Many don't. They push miscarriages under the rug like a dirty secret. Some states offer birth certificates for miscarriages at any stage in pregnancy, others will only issue one after so many weeks. It isn't about who is pro life or pro choice. It is about having your loss recognized as an actual loss. Please seek out your state politicians and encourage them to pass new laws supporting the issuing of birth certificates for miscarriages at any stage of pregnancy. Don't allow more lives to go unnoticed without official certificates of birth.
Please light your candles tonight at 7pm. If you don't know anyone who has lost a baby in pregnancy or infancy, remember mine.