After my first miscarriage, I actually experienced a moment of relief. Losing my first baby had been a devastating experience, but it was over. Naively, I felt like the worst was behind me. Because I knew so little about pregnancy loss, I assumed that this was a one time thing. Surely, this wouldn’t happen again.
Five months later, I lost another baby to a miscarriage.
This second loss compounded with the first loss left me wondering how my luck could be so bad twice in a row. Despite how devastated I was, my doctor didn’t seem concerned by two miscarriages. They assured me that it wasn’t worth looking into until I had three consecutive losses. Their tone implied that this would be very unlikely and the part of me that could handle no more heartbreak believed them.
Even though I wanted to try again, I worried about my ability to handle any more heartbreak.
Then I became pregnant for the third time. My head filled with cliches like “third time’s a charm” and “three’s a magic number.” I had been through two miscarriages and although my miscarriages had left me anxious, I didn’t think it possible to have a third loss.
At thirty weeks, my third pregnancy ended with the stillbirth of my daughter, Dorothy.
Every loss turned my world upside down, but losing three babies in a year made the world seem to spin out of control. I no longer knew what to expect in a pregnancy and I no longer trusted in my ability to give birth to a living baby.
I was experiencing recurrent pregnancy loss and it was destroying everything I once thought true about having a baby.
A pregnancy test was no longer an affirmation–it was a question mark.
Going to the doctor wasn’t about checking on your baby–it was about making sure they were still alive.
An ultrasound machine was no longer meant to find a heartbeat–it was the thing that confirmed death.
Losing a baby again and again…and again–it changed me.
How could I possibly remain hopeful when my hopes had been shattered over and over again? When all you know is failure, how can you come to expect success? Having a child was no longer about when–it was about if and that uncertainty terrified me.
Maybe I would never have a living baby. Maybe I would never get to be the kind of mother I had once dreamed of being. How was I supposed to keep going when I had lost so much?
Was trying again going to be worth it when it could end in yet another loss?
I decided to try just one more time. I wanted to give myself one more chance at the dream I was carrying in my heart before I set it aside for a new dream. I wasn’t yet ready for a new dream–I still wanted to believe that having a living baby could be a reality.
I did eventually give birth to a living baby. She was worth trying for–but I do not believing in saying that she was worth the babies I lost. Every single one of my babies was wanted. Every one of my babies is loved.
And even though every one of my babies can’t be here with me–I am still their mother.
So while I know what it is to lose, I also know what it is to gain. Because even though I lost my baby again and again…and again–each one of those times I also became a mother.
Again and again…and again.