The biggest and hardest life event that has ever hit us has the first anniversary this week. As it approaches, I find myself not only reflecting on how I felt 1 year ago, but also what the future has in store for us moving forward and everything that has happened in between. I’m of course talking about the anniversary of losing our baby boy.
On September 18, 2013, we were given the terrible news that our baby’s heart stopped beating at 13.5 weeks gestation. I had a really hard time with the news, and had to have a D&C which also contributed to my downward spiral. Thank goodness I had a great support group – not only was my husband absolutely amazing, but parents, friends, and family were all there for me. I recently saw a post on how people were shocked that the Duggar girl that is pregnant announced her pregnancy so early. After my experience, I recommend that everyone announce their pregnancies as early as possible. Was it hard to talk about? Absolutely. Did it get frustrating having people ask how I was doing for two weeks straight? Sure – but they’re just well meaning. But the most important part of having shared this experience with the world is how much love, prayers and support we received. Some people forgot within days. Some within weeks. A few checked in a month or two later. After that most people stopped asking. But by that point, I was fairly healed – as healed as you can be after that. It definitely leaves a scar. But that’s what it should do. The support we had was amazing, and it is much better than suffering in silence I think. When I had my breakdown at Thanksgiving last year, everyone knew why. I didn't come back to a bunch of questions of where we went and what was wrong. Everyone knew and they knew I just needed a few minutes to regroup. I was told stories about miscarriages from people I had no idea that they went through the same thing. You get stories of hope. You get shoulders to lean and cry on. And most importantly, you get people praying for strength and healing for you.
There have been two important things I've learned through going through this awful event. 1) Tomorrow is never promised. You can’t live life like there will be tomorrow. You never know when the end is coming. So you need to love with your whole heart every day. Strive to be the best you can be every day. 2) Family is there to support you through good times and bad. They don’t run away when things get tough – they are there to give you strength and help pull you through. It doesn't do anything but hurt when you try to keep things to yourself because you’re embarrassed or think people will think differently about you. Don’t feel bad about leaning on your support team when you need them. And make sure you are there for them when they need it too.
Over the past year, my husband and I have become even closer. Losing a child can have a prolonged effect on a marriage – but luckily it just brought us closer. We leaned on each other when we needed it (and we both needed it at different times). We both dealt with our pain differently, but we were there for each other and it only made us stronger. We got pregnant again a few months later once we were both ready to try again. This pregnancy has been just fine.
When it clicked that our due date was a day after the anniversary of losing our baby boy, I lost it. What are the odds that that would happen? God would take away a life one year, and bring us a different life almost exactly 1 year later. He obviously had a plan – I just don’t understand it. Apparently, it happens often that couples who miscarry end up with due dates around their miscarriage. When you think about it, it makes sense. You have to wait anywhere from 2-3 months to try again, and honestly, it takes about 3 months to emotionally be ready to try again.
After I had this realization, I had told myself that I hope our baby girl isn't born on the anniversary of losing our baby boy. Others suggest that it would help lessen the pain – but all I see is that with that balance of sadness, also comes a decrease in happiness for our daughter’s birth day. I don’t want to take anything away from either one of them. But, if God’s plan is for it to be the same day, I know I will get through it. My husband says that he knows we will be able to handle it if that’s the plan we’re handed. We had always planned to explain to our daughter why we light a candle on Sept 18, we’ll just have to carefully explain why it is on her birth day. My biggest fear though is that we’ll be in the hospital on that day and completely forget that it’s the 18th (if I’m in labor and delivering), or that we can’t light a candle in the room (if I’m in recovery) to remember our son.
As excited as I am to meet our little girl, as the 18th approaches, I can’t help but find myself sad and teary-eyed when I think about it. I know our baby boy would be happy to have a sibling, and I know he’s just as excited for us to meet her as we are. But it’s still hard thinking that we missed out on getting to know our little boy. And even when they’re still inside me, they have little personalities, and I missed out on that too because we lost him so early. I wish I had gotten to hold my baby boy once, seen his face, felt his movement. I miss him. He’s still part of our family. But now we are about to welcome our baby girl, and we cannot take away from her. We are excited for our Rainbow Baby, but still miss our first baby very much.
I needed to write this post to not only reflect on the year and the day coming up, but also to acknowledge that I have not forgotten my baby boy. Even though when people ask if this is my first baby, and I have to say yes, in my heart, Brooklyn is not my first baby. My first baby is the baby boy we lost. Brooklyn will be the first baby I get to hold in my hands though – which will be special as well. Both of our babies have special meaning to us. I will update everyone once Brooklyn arrives --- and if you’re family, please light a candle the evening of Sept 18th (Thursday) for our baby boy. Let’s remind him that he’s not forgotten – that he’s still in our hearts and we love him just as much as we love Brooklyn.