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Miscarriage and Falling in Love with my Toddler Again

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~Sometimes it takes a shake-up of expectations to make us fully come back to the earth, grounded in our original intent, changed yet unchanged.

Eight months ago I had a “chemical pregnancy.” Yes, I stood and waited for the line to turn pink, pacing with anticipation—my husband in the next room asking “Well”? We were both blissfully unaware of the possibility that anything could go wrong. Our first pregnancy was undeniably simple. We got pregnant immediately and had what some would call an “easy pregnancy” for those nine months. An energetic, kind little boy entered our world, early in the morning on a sunny, spring day, and you could say…life was good.

The line did eventually turn pink that day, just as I suspected it would. We jumped up and down and gave each other a look that made us both feel untouchable and, well, ready. We drove off to our cousin’s baby shower, our son strapped in his car seat, chatting us up the entire ride, while we giggled. Four days later we were no longer pregnant. It kind of felt like a rock to the stomach, fast and frantic. However, we moved forward, thinking we had only just started the journey of a second pregnancy. We quickly became pregnant again, this time truly trusting that it was impossible for something bad to happen. The endless reading I did made me somehow believe that a normal pregnancy was all that was left in the cards for us. When I started spotting five weeks later, I took it as an immediate ominous sign, and even after blood draws, an ultrasound, and two doctor’s visits telling me “things were progressing well,” we were eventually told to prepare for a miscarriage that would take place at an indeterminate time.

My pregnancy had stalled. I think I stalled around that time too, stuck in my bed. My open sea of fertility joy slipped through my grasp. Shock slowly turned into agony that gradually faded into all the rest of my life experiences. When waking up suddenly felt normal again, possibly even peaceful, all I wanted to do was take my son on daily adventures: soaking in the outdoors, feeling the sun drench our skin, hearing the shrieks and laughter, watching the amazing growth and learning he was doing at the ripe age of two. Such simple activities made me smile more than I knew I could, more than I ever had pre-baby, more specifically, pre-mom.

I was not the mom who gave birth to a child, held him, and immediately felt an earth-shattering, glorified, sense of profound new love. No, in that moment, I was simply in awe and utter fascination with this new life in my arms that I could hold onto, squeeze, and care for—always. Our love grew with time and before I knew what happened, we had formed an intense bond that I will never share with anyone but him. That bond strengthened when I lost something. That bond reminded me that what I yearned for was already here in more ways than one. My son has grown with me over the past months, and our family’s strength altered in ways unknown to us in the past. We’re ready to embark on the journey again, somehow feeling a shift in the air, moving by us at a slower pace.

And now when my son tells me he hears the birds chirping, I hear it too.

Holly McCann is a “stay-at-home” mom that rarely stays indoors and enjoys frequent adventures with her active two-year-old little man in Denver, Colorado where she currently resides and writes.  She credits her inspiration to those around her, especially her fluffy cats.

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  • comment avatar Amber Johnson November 16, 2016

    This is so beautiful and poignant. Thank you for sharing your story.

  • comment avatar Katie November 16, 2016

    My heart goes out to you. Then we received the results, and they showed that my blood levels were rising like they should in a normal pregnancy. So my doctor sent us for clearer ultrasound pictures. Afterward, she informed us that it was what she had expected from the beginning: I had suffered what’s called a “missed miscarriage,” in which the baby stops developing but the body doesn’t recognize a problem and continues the pregnancy process.

    We were told we had two options: to let my body pass it on its own or to get a D&C, or dilation and curettage, where tissue is removed from the inside of the uterus. Since a D&C is a surgical procedure, we chose to wait it out and let my body process everything naturally.

    When I thought my body was finished three weeks later, I called my new doctor and went in for a follow-up ultrasound. I remember him just looking at me and shaking his head. “I know this isn’t what you wanted to hear,” he said. “But you didn’t expel everything. What’s left needs to come out now before it makes you sick — you have to get the D&C.”

    This was almost two months after first being told there was no heartbeat, and I just wanted to be done. I needed to try to start moving on. But now I was going to have to do the last thing I wanted to do.

  • comment avatar Abbey November 16, 2016

    I lost two pregnancies — one in February 2013, the other in July 2015.

    Losing that first pregnancy was heartbreaking. The hard part was that I didn’t know. I didn’t feel any different. I had to get the very upsetting news — that my hormones had stopped rising, that the pregnancy wasn’t viable — over the phone. I got a call from the nurse. That’s a terrible detail: Nurses give you good news, not bad news. She said, “Please hold for the doctor.” I immediately knew something was very wrong.

    Emotionally, I was in shock. I had been really excited to be pregnant because we had been struggling with infertility. Once I got pregnant, I thought, my body can do this. I knew miscarriages happened in the abstract to abstract people, but somehow I never thought it would happen to me.

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