I've been lurking here for a while. I never post. I never comment. I think it's time to change that. I need to tell my story, even if no one ever reads it, just to put into words what I've been through. This post is for me. If you'd like to read it, I'd be honored, but I won't be offended if you turn away. I will warn you in advance, I don't sugar coat anything I've written. It may be graphic, but if you can endure or relate, then you may appreciate the honesty behind it all. If you think you'll be offended, just don't read it.
My name is Eden. I am 26 years old. I am married to my high school sweetheart, Damien. He's my best friend, and my rock. I am a mommy to an amazing 4 year old girl, Piper. She's talented, brilliant, and the most beautiful person I've ever met inside and out. I'm also a mother of angels. 4 angels to be exact.
Our first loss happened when we were both very young. I was 15, he was 18, and neither of us were ready. I was late and scared. I didn't have any money, and couldn't ask my mom for help, so I stole a pregnancy test. It was positive. I panicked. How was I going to explain this? Would my stepfather lose his mind and hurt me or my mother? I know he would have hurt Damien... Would Damien even stay around? How would my Dad react? These questions raced through my mind. 3 days later, I started to bleed. I told Damien. Turns out he wasn't going anywhere no matter what happened. The baby didn't make it past 6 weeks. I had a natural miscarriage at home, alone, and never told anyone but Damien.
We stayed together, and on my 18th birthday I moved in with him. I didn't talk to my mothers side of the family for weeks. My father supported my move and my relationship. Damien had brought me out of a deep depression. I had a history of self harm, and he was able to stop it all together. All was well. I finished high school. Every day though, that baby and what could have been crossed my mind. Would I have ended up leaving home sooner with a baby? Would I have been able to finish school? Would my young body have been able to even survive pregnancy and childbirth? I became thankful for the pregnancy, baby, and miscarriage. I felt that our child was only ever conceived to show me that my life is precious and to take care of myself, because one day when we're ready that baby would come back in a new body, and we would all be together as a family.
Fast forward to 2009. Damien and I both work together. One morning at work, I started spotting. I knew then that I was pregnant. I told him, and he said not to panic yet, just wait, and he's sure everything is normal. 2 weeks later, I had a massive craving for squid tacos. Damien helped me shop for the ingredients, and stuck a test in the shopping cart. I took it the next morning at home alone. It was positive. I had a mini anxiety attack. I called him at work and told him. I told him I'm sure this is the one, that this one will be perfect. I was right. Friday, November 13th, 2009, at 7:17AM Piper was born. She was born too quickly though, with just one push. She didn't have a chance to get all of the fluid out of her lungs, and her lung collapsed. She was sedated and put on a ventilator, and sent two hours from home to a children's hospital to stay in the NICU. She stopped breathing only once, and had to have a tube stabbed into her ribcage to reinflate her lung. She came home after two weeks, and still to this day and a scar on her ribcage from the collapsed lung.
Being pregnant with Piper was very difficult. I had hyperemesis. I vomited every time I ate, multiple times a day. To make matters more difficult, my mother in law was also pregnant at the time. When I got to three months along, she gave birth. The baby was stillborn. She lived with us at the time, so it wasn't like she could just stay away from me whenever she felt resentment to me or my baby. She treated me like dirt. I thought maybe it was all in my head, but later she admitted to making me do things that hurt or making things for dinner that she knew would make me sick just because she was jealous. I had to hide any happiness and couldn't even talk about my pregnancy in front of her in our own home. I understand her pain. It's hard to see someone else getting something that you should have, too. She went through multiple IVF treatments and inseminations, but to no avail. She was completely changed by the loss of her youngest daughter, and it made having Piper around her very difficult. I know she resented Piper, and I understand why completely, and we all stood by her to help her move on and still do to this day.
October, 2012. I'm late again, but I don't feel well. I'm afraid to take a test because of what it might say, so I never bought one this time. On the morning of 10/28/2012 I stayed home from work. My stomach was hurting so badly that I couldn't stand up. Damien was off from work, so he spent the day with Piper, while I laid in bed. That afternoon, I went to the bathroom and started bleeding. Hard. The pain stopped, but the blood kept coming. I was afraid it was happening again. I looked down and there it was. Tiny, pink, and covered in blood. Not moving. It was so small that I could barely see it, but it was there. Couldn't have been more than 8-9 weeks. I told Damien, and went back to bed. I took Piper with me, and laid there holding her, crying. She didn't understand, but she hugged me back and rubbed my hair and said, "It's ok Mommy, I wuv you." Damien didn't leave me alone though. He came to our room, laid down behind me, and held me while I cried. It was the most painful day of my life to that point. Again, I miscarried at home, but not alone this time.
Then comes 2013. I've pretty much decided that I never want to be pregnant again. Piper is content with being an only child, and I'm happy to see her grow up. I have a brother, and Damien has two brothers and one living sister, so surely there will be other babies in our family in time that we can give lots of love to. March comes. I'm late again. I don't feel bad, but I don't feel good either. I'm tired and sore. I'm overweight, and had been doing a pretty intense workout program, so I blamed the fatigue and soreness on that. middle of the month comes, and still nothing. I bought a test. It was a very faint positive. I was ok with it, even though I had made up my mind. Before the day could even end, I was already bleeding. I only told Damien, again. It seemed easier that way. Then Mother's Day came. His brother called and shared the news: his wife was pregnant. It hurt, but I told myself that it would all be ok. I cried. I was jealous. It was so soon after losing another that I couldn't even comprehend it all. How could she be pregnant? I mean, yes, I was happy for her, but I don't agree with their parenting methods for their son. How could they handle a baby if they want a 5 year old to act like an adult? I congratulated over a text message, because I couldn't say the words without tears coming to my eyes.
My brother in law's baby get's far along enough to know it's going to be a girl. I'm very happy with it at this point. I want to welcome a new baby to the family, even if it isn't ours. They ask me to make a personalized blanket with the babies name on it for her to come home with. They buy the yarn, and I get to work. It took 4 months, but the blanket is perfect, and Charlotte is born. She's healthy, but not happy. She's colicky. They end up leaving the baby with her Grandmother almost daily.
Before Charlotte is born though, Piper celebrates her 4th birthday. We make her big day special. We let her pick out a special toy at the store, and let her design and help make her own birthday cake however she wants. I've never tasted anything more ridiculously sugary in my life, haha. We put candles on her cake, and turn off the lights. We tell her make a super special wish and blow out the candles. She closes her eyes, thinks for a second, smiles and blows them all out with one giant puff of breath. Later that night, and looks at me with chocolate covering her face from the cake she eats and says, "Hey Mommy, you wanna know what I wished for?" I told her sure. She smiled and said, "A baby brother!" and grinned. I told her, "Maybe oneday baby girl, maybe one day..." Three days later, we host her actual birthday party with all of her family. While cutting her cake, I start to get lightheaded and dizzy. I thought to myself, "There's no way..." but the next morning I took the test anyway. It was positive. She was going to get her wish.
The months go by. I have morning sickness, round ligament pain, irrational crying fits, you name it it happened. I was uninsured, and didn't qualify for help from the state because of my husbands income. We had to wait until March for open enrollment at his workplace to put me on his insurance. The end of February comes, and I call my new OB and schedule and appointment for March 5th. By then I would be a little past 19 weeks. We would be scheduled for an ultrasound. We would find out the gender, and tell everyone our babies gender. All would be as dreamed... but it didn't go that way. March first comes. I'm excited because my insurance is in effect, and I can start seeing a doctor for the pregnancy. I had taken my vitamins and eaten (mostly) well. But that night, I started spotting. I was scared, and so was my husband, but I thought if I didn't show my fears, that it would just pass and everything would be ok. The next morning, I woke up. The spotting never stopped. I was officially terrified. I called my husband at work. He left and we packed up Piper and went to the ER. We sat waiting in a room for hours. They finally came and did an ultrasound. It was only the second ultrasound I had ever had with this pregnancy, but I knew something was wrong when they turned the monitor away so I couldn't see our baby. I did get to see him for a second, and I saw him laying still. Babies aren't supposed to be motionless. After another hour they came back to our room and told me what I already knew in the back of my mind. We had lost our baby.
I was admitted into the women's center and labor was induced. My father came and took Piper for a 'weekend at grandpa's' visit. We told her before she left that the baby was very sick, but didn't tell her everything. An hour after she left, at 7:27 PM on Sunday, March 2nd, 2014, he was born. I had just been checked for dilation, and then nurse said it would be a while. I told her, "I don't think so" but she assured my I could go pee if I needed to. I closed the door, and locked it behind me out of habit. I sat down, and felt him drop. I gave birth, again, alone in the bathroom. This time though, I was too terrified to stand up. I could still feel the umbilical chord. The nurses and my husband had to pick the lock to get me out of the bathroom. Once the door was open, the nurses helped me to the bed. I had to lay there with my dead baby between my legs for almost 20 agonizing minutes. The nurse had told my OB that it would be another hour or two, so she wasn't even there yet.
Once the doctor came, they took him away. She told me that he had very delayed development and was only the size of a typical 13 week baby. It was obvious what had caused his death though. She said he had an extremely severe form of spina bifida as well as hydrocephalus. We opted to have him checked for chromosomal and genetic abnormalities instead of a burial. If his afflictions we genetic, I wanted my tubes tied. I wanted to be done. I never wanted to have to go through this again if it was pretty much guaranteed to happen this way every time. A few days later, Piper came home. I missed her so badly. When she walked it the door it was all I could do to not cry. After my dad left and she was alone with us, I explained that her baby brother had died. Her heart broke. I held her and we cried together.
It took two weeks to get the results back. His issues were not on a genetic level. I told my doctor about the last miscarriage and she says it was probably nothing more than an implantation issue. She put me on a permanent prescription of folic acid as well as prenatal vitamins incase we do get pregnant again. Because he wasn't genetically prone to spinal malformations, she told me that if I wanted to get pregnant again, she recommends I wait 2 or 3 months, and then to go for it. I cried when she said that. I had decided then that we will try again, and this time we will have a doctor by our side.
Today, I'm still mourning the loss of our son, who we named Link. Piper had nicknamed him Link months ago, as Link from The Legend of Zelda is her favorite hero, and the name just kinda stuck. She still considers herself a big sister, even though he's not here in body. I still consider myself a mother of multiple children because I actually got to feel him move. Even though he was there, I know that what happened had to happen the way it did. Had he been born alive, he would not have survived more than a few hours if that. He would have had a short, painful life. I know it was for the best, but that makes It no less painful.
I'm strong because I have to be. If I let myself get weak, I will be crushed under the weight of what all we've lost. I'm very thankful to have Piper, and to have had Link, and even to have had the others who didn't live long enough to be named, because they've shaped me into the person I am today. No, I'm not glad that they passed away, I wish they all could have had long, healthy, happy lives, but I know that everything happens for a reason, even if we never understand. One day I will join the TTC After a Loss board, but not today. For now, I will just cherish the life I have and those who are in it.
I know this was very, very long and for that I apologize. If you've read it all, thank you. I'm sorry if anything I've written was too graphic, but I really needed to get this off my chest and out into the world. Sadly, life isn't all sunshine and flowers, but it's important to always enjoy the days that have even a single ray of sunshine.
Born at 37 weeks, strong NICU survivor
Friday, November 13th, 2009, 7:17 AM
Baby Brother Link
Born sleeping at 19 weeks with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus
Sunday, March 2nd, 2014, 7:27 PM