From the depths of sorrow, to finding peace and hope, our members have so much they want to share about this unexpected journey we are on...
This story was originally shared at the St. Mary's Pregnancy and Infant Loss memorial, and we're sharing it again here with permission.
Hi, my name is Beth, and in 2016 I had an ectopic pregnancy. We call Baby Blueberry, because that’s the size they were when we discovered they had implanted in my fallopian tube.
My husband and I had been married for YEARS before we decided we were ready to start a family. For four glorious weeks I experienced that blissful and naïve pregnancy that I’ve since realized is TOTAL fiction, but we convince ourselves is real so we feel like we have control.
I did the things pregnant women are supposed to do. I stopped drinking coffee, ordered my ramen without the runny egg, and lamented the raw oysters I wouldn’t be eating on our upcoming trip to New Orleans. I was going to excel at pregnancy because that’s what I did - I set my sights on a goal and accomplished it.
We all know where this is going. At my first OB appointment, we didn’t see Blueberry on the handheld ultrasound. I was so confident that I literally didn’t register concern as I booked a real ultrasound appointment for a week later. The cramp in my right side also didn't concern me. It blows my mind to think back on - I didn’t give it another thought, other than I was looking forward to the next appointment.
My world came crashing down at the ultrasound. It was impossible to fathom how there could be a problem and we wouldn’t even know until it was already over. It was a hard reality to accept - that there was nothing we could do. We couldn’t think or work our way out of it. And it was a little murky whether Blueberry was still alive or had already passed, but it also didn’t matter because the pregnancy was not viable - and could kill me - either way. My only choice was how we would terminate the pregnancy. I actually didn’t find the answer to whether or not there was still a heartbeat until months later, going over a medical report with a perinatology team.
The piece of pregnancy advice that I followed that I REALLY regret is waiting to let family and close friends know, because what if something happens? We didn’t get the chance to tell our loved ones until we were calling from the emergency room, and Blueberry was never a reality for anyone but my husband and me. And then I went through the loss in silence and with barely any support, because I didn’t want everyone to know that we were trying to start a family after so many years of squashing that question.
It was extremely hard and isolating - especially because the message I was getting was that I needed to get over it, and why was I still feeling sad?
My big revelation - which was driven home after a subsequent loss - is that we want so badly to be in control, and so we subject ourselves to all the advice do all the things. When things work out, we pat ourselves on the back and say “Yes, I did this. I did everything right”. But the horrible flip side to this is that when things go wrong - as they often do - it must also be our fault.
How much control do I actually have over the things that are meaningful to me? It’s a lot less than I thought before I first got pregnant. It’s hard to accept, and I still find myself railing against it. But I also appreciate that - I think - I see the world more clearly than I did before my pregnancy and loss journey. A pop culture analogy that suddenly clicked for me is when Harry Potter first arrives at Hogwarts is able to see the horses pulling the carriages that are invisible to his classmates.
Written with love by Beth, Blueberry and Calvin's mom
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Each of these stories was featured in an e-newsletter and distributed to parents and professionals in our community. We hope that parents reading these stories will feel less alone and that the caregivers and professionals that we trust can learn from our experiences.
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