Those words…. If only you knew how much they hurt. Seemingly innocent, but everytime someone says it, it’s like having a dagger stabbed in my heart.
The other day, I was in the checkout line with Riley. He was chatting away when the older lady behind me said, “He’s so cute, are your others at home?” “No, he’s my only.” I softly replied. In a chipper voice, she smile and said, “I guess it’s time for a brother…” Her voice trailed off or I tuned her out. I’m not sure which one. I quickly paid, gathered my things and the small boys hands and exited as fast as I could.
Those are words I never want to hear. There is no time for a brother or a sister. Those words seem so simple to say but for some of us they dredge up heartache that never heals. Pain that is hiding so deep in our hearts, it should never be unearthed. And you, sweet lady, at the cash register, you cracked the vault. You made my flash light flicker. You made me sting.
You see, we got married later in life. We tried to start a family later in life. I remember the excitement of that first positive test. I was going to be a mom and then…
Miscarriage! We lost our sweet babe. “It’s okay, it’s very common.” the doctor said. We were a statistic on the losing side of statistics. We could try again. And we did. With anticipation, we watched for the positive and, boy were we excited when we got pregnant again. We, anxiously, waited to hear that heartbeat and as quickly as it came, it was gone. Again!!! This time the statistics were not on our side.
A second miscarriage, a spontaneous abortion, as they call it. What a cruel word, abortion! And here we were, sitting in that doctors office, listening to them say is all again. We could try again.
And we did, because, as they say, the third time is a charm. Well, the third time was not a charm. We were losing another, my hormone levels were dropping. Then, I woke with a with a pain so sharp, it doubled me over. It was like nothing I have ever felt. I knew something wasn’t right. So, off to the doctors again.
Before I knew it, I was being IVed and prepped for surgery. I had an ectopic pregnancy and my tube was about to bust. To hear a doctor say, “If we don’t do surgery, you will die,” are words I never thought I would hear. So this “third times a charm” thing is a load of crap on top of surgery and pain and no baby. Crushed!
Appointments and tests and more tests and then hormone pills because now we were working with one tube and one ovary. The other one was damaged by the ectopic. The pills took my crazy to a new level. Ladies, if you are on hormone pills in an attempt to conceive, please know I am here, I understand. I get your crazy. And then, by the grace of God, we got pregnant again. That’s right, number 4.
And there was a heartbeat and it was strong. And there was pregnancy carpal tunnel that hurt so bad that it made me cry. And there was a heart beat. And there was gestational diabetes. And a heartbeat. And there was insulin and more insulin and more tests and shots but there was a heartbeat. And at 38 weeks, the doctors induced us because of the risk to my life.
53 hours, yes, 53 hours after being induced, I was taken into the operating room for a cesarean section and my sweet, sweet Riley was born! And he was heathy. Praise God. And life was amazing and I was a mom.
Then…we tried for number two, see I told you that I was crazy. The thought of another small babe just made me sparkle. We were elated when we found ourselve with that big pink positive. We went to the doctors and there was our sweet baby. And we were so excited. My belly was growing. And then, we went to another appojntment the heartbeat was gone. The silence was deafening. I went home, I hugged my sweet Riley, I drank way to much beer and I cried.
So, let’s do this again. I really wanted another baby. Then, the doctor said that if we were to get pregnant again and the baby were to stick, that myself and the baby would have less than a 7% chance of us surviving. My husband may be forced to choose between his wife and his child. My sweet Riley could grow up without a mom. You think that would solve it. But, my crazy always wins.
The flashlight was flickering. I was stuck in a place and I could not see the light in front of me. I was angry. I was sad. I could not accept it. This was not fair. I anguished over the decision for nearly 9 months and finally, I accepted the fact that there would be no more babies. My sweet boy would be left to fend for himself in this scary world.
So “I guess it’s time for a brother.” There is not time. We will never be granted that time. Oh dear, sweet, old lady at the checkout line, if only you knew how your question hurt.
You took some of my sparkle that day. You took some of my joy. Ladies, if your are struggling with these issues, speak up. If you are swimming through motherhood easily, be conscious that for a lot of us, there are struggles that hurt so much.
I remember after loss number 3, it was Mother Day weekend, yes, that sucked. We were invited to a couples baby shower for some dear friends, and I couldn’t. I wanted to be happy for them and at the bottom of my heart I was, but I just couldn’t face her. That glowing smile, the beautiful round belly, the excitement of each little sock. My husband went alone and I sat on the couch and cried.
It is not easy and there was so much sadness. So much guilt. What was wrong with me? Why did my body not work? Why could I not have a baby?
Please, I beg you, think, before you ask?
Are you planning to have kids? When are you going to start a family. When do you plan to have another? Maybe that answer is never. That is not the story you want unloaded on you at the checkout line. An innocent question can steal someone’s shine.
You never really get over it, you just learn to accept it. You focus on the good. My sweet, sweet Riley, the small boy, oh, how he sheds so much light in my world. How blessed we are to raise this blonde haired, mountain of energy. Thank God, he gave us a baby because so many women are not so blessed and my heart aches for them.
Now, I know it’s not easy, but find your flashlight. It’s time to brighten up your day. Stay strong and know you are not the only one walking this long, path. I will walk it with you.
Hope we get to chat soon but until then, in the midst of chaos, sparkle. Don’t let life dull your shine.
The Manicured Mom