For many people October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. This is important to me because my mom is a breast cancer survivor. But, October also symbolizes something else for a lot of people. October is also Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. In 1988 Ronald Reagan designated October as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. In 2002 a movement was started in the US and October 15 became Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. It is now observed in the US, UK, Australia, Canada, and Italy.
This is important to me because I have suffered loss. When I was still married to A1 we had wanted another baby. My lovely daughter was 3 when we started trying for baby number 2. When I started to realize that this wasn’t a healthy relationship to be in, I had kind of given up on trying. At first I was able to worm my way out of sex because he had cheated on me. I told him I refused to sleep with him until he had gotten tested for STDs. Somehow his manipulation won and I ended up sleeping with him again. In 2005 I ended up pregnant. Even though I was miserable in my marriage, I was happy. A baby, a life, something positive I could focus on. I was about 6 or 7 weeks pregnant when we fought to the point of me telling him I wanted a divorce. He looked at me dead in the face and told me if we got a divorce I was getting an abortion. Excuse me? You’re going to tell me what I’m going to do? Pro-choice goes both ways. My choice was to have that baby, MY baby. At 10 1/2 weeks I went in for m y ultrasound. The nurse couldn’t find the fetal pole. The doctor couldn’t find the fetal pole. I was sent to an outpatient imaging to get a better view. I had an abdominal ultrasound and an intravaginal ultrasound. There was no heartbeat and my baby was measuring at 7 1/2 weeks. I had to repeat both tests in exactly 1 week. That was one of the hardest weeks of my entire life. A week later there was still no heartbeat and I was still measuring 7 1/2 weeks. Absolutely no growth. My hCG levels had also plummeted. I had miscarried. I had a D&C on July 2, 2005. On July 3, 2005 I was laying in bed crying. A1 told me told stop crying and get over it. Surprise surprise, the man who tried to force me into an abortion wasn’t upset. That was the exact day I made up my mind that I was leaving. It’s hard, because I will always mourn my loss. However, I know if I hasn’t lost that baby I never would have left him. I never was already scared to be a single mom of 1. I didn’t want to be a single mom of 2.
My second loss was with A2. While we weren’t actually trying to have a baby, we had talked about the possibility because I needed to come off of birth control. My body couldn’t handle it anymore. In 2011 I told A2 he was going to be a dad. He was happy and all seemed ok. I didn’t want to tell anyone, since I had suffered a loss before, but it was hard to hide. At 7 weeks I was huge and during the ultrasound to confirm I was pregnant the doctor saw 2 sacs. I was pregnant with twins. Call me crazy, I have always wanted twins. I lost them at 10 1/2 weeks just like the other. This time there was no need for a D&C as I bled for an entire weekend. Went home from work Friday because I started to bleed, called my doctor right away, and was told to stay in bed. He told me to go to the ER if I started to clot, which thankfully I never did. Monday I went in to the office and an ultrasound confirmed my uterus was empty. I was devastated. As the years went by I learned this loss was also another blessing in disguise. A2 could barely take care of himself and the our son (my rainbow baby). I’m almost positive that if he had 2 babies to take care of he either would have completely split or had CPS called on us. Most likely the latter. It doesn’t make the loss less painful though.
Although I was with A1 and A2 during my losses, this entry really isn’t about abuse. But, it’s important. There is a horrible stigma surrounding child loss. Women who have lost often feel silenced and alone. Even though 1 in 4 women suffer a pregnancy or infant loss. No one wants to hear about the children you have that aren’t here anymore. No one wants to hear about our losses. TOO BAD! Facebook pictures of still born babies get taken down for being too graphic. KEEP POSTING THEM! I’m posting this entry today because we need to be heard. Share your story and help end the stigma. You are not alone. You are 1 in 4.