The last eight years have been difficult for my family. We’ve just ended our fourth deployment, we’re about to move for the sixth time, my husband has just lost his fourth relative and we’ve had the normal ups and downs of family life.
Last night on the heels of finding out that my husband’s cousin died, the second in just four months, I got a text of one line.
“No heartbeat :(”
It said it all. As did my responding text.
Between friends nothing else was needed. As devastated as I was to know instantly what my friend meant I was thankful that, that was one loss we haven’t suffered. We haven’t had it easy but I’m not sure I’d be strong enough to endure something she’s been forced to live through a second time.
I was one of the first she told when she found out she was pregnant. I was terrified to learn that her HCG levels were dropping. I was ecstatic when they said they were climbing again. I was happily planning on making poorly crocheted baby blankets when I noticed her bump.
She was the first friend I had that I could be near while she was pregnant and I was going to enjoy it. My friends are literally all over the world and it’s often that I can only send electronic hugs and gifts that take weeks to get to them. I’ve had friends that’ve had miscarriages before but it has always been before I knew them.
I remember ten years ago being told that the chances of me getting pregnant were slim. Twelve months, they said, if you can’t get pregnant while off all forms of birth control in a year you’ll need help. It was devastating hope at the time. I’d had ‘feminine problems’ since I nine by 21 I’d already had surgery, and now to know that we had hope however small.
I remember the eleventh month appearing and no pregnancy. I told my husband that I couldn’t deal with the knowledge so I went back on birth control before month 12. That devastation of knowing that there would be no child in my immediate future was harsh. And yet my friend suffers far worse.
We had already ruled out methods to ‘help’ us conceive. My grandmother lost twins and we weren’t willing to risk multiples in a situation where it was already a probability. We wanted one child, not four at a time! We talked about waiting a few years then adopting. Both of us have family that have been adopted so it wasn’t a strange idea to us.
At 22 I found out I was four months pregnant.
The knowledge was so sudden, so unexpected that I wasn’t sure my heart was beating or I was breathing. We rejoiced and I was terrified. Four months and I hadn’t known. Did I drink during that time? Was my starvation diet affecting my child? Was the stress of working in a large hospital as a medical clerk too much?
I was so terrified. I refused to buy baby items at first. When I finally broke down to do so I saved every receipt convinced my baby would be taken from me. My pregnancy was ideal, the birth a mere 4 hours once I was induced due to a high water break. Eventually I had my little one. “Mr. Midget Man” on account that he was so short, a mere 20 1/2″. I still call him Midget today though he yells at me insisting he’s not short.
I remember all this while worrying about my friend and wondering at her strength. She’s survived it before and I don’t understand how. She informed me she’s putting on her ‘happy face’ and dealing with their PCS coming up. I’m pretty sure I’d be a ball of tears and unable to move. Screw PCSing and screw, well everything.
She’s mourning her baby and she’s still being a mommy to her boys and a wife.
And I sit here thinking of my mother’s tubular pregnancy which took away her chances of having more children. And I think of a friend who can’t get pregnant no matter how much she wants to. And I remember all of my friends who lost children.
And I realize that these women are my heroes.
They suffered greatly. They pulled themselves together and they survived devastating loss.