May 16, 2013 by Katia
I’m so happy to share today’s post from Jennifer at Beyond the Crib with you, because it’s a wake up call for us who are quick to judge. There’s a common thread between a lot of the posts I receive for Donate a Post. Sadly we’re incapable of grasping the emotional reality of those going through miscarriage, until we’ve experienced it ourselves. We say things that we think are comforting, only to be appalled by ourselves later. We think thoughts that we’re ashamed of once we miscarry or when confronted with posts like Jennifer’s.
Jennifer is a mother of eight who lost two babies at the later stages of her pregnancies. Her post goes to show that no matter how blessed you are with children a mother’s loss is still a mother’s loss, a constant imprint on her heart. I would love to read your comments.
After I lost Bennett, I would wake up and reach down to touch my belly, thinking he was still there. Then I would remember and realize I must have been dreaming. I should have been counting down the days until his birth, instead I was counting the days since I last held him. As the snow melted and spring started peeking it’s head in, I remembered how I was looking forward to spring. Spring meant he was coming, my sweet boy. I couldn’t wait to go shopping and buy a closet full of blue. It’s had been almost 8 years since I had brought home a baby boy. I missed what could have been – Hotwheels, football at the park with his brother, and slimy things he would want to bring home to be his pet.
I have always wanted a house full of little boys. I love raising my oldest son. He brings me such joy. He has always wished for a brother on his birthday candle. He loves his six sisters, but there is something special about having a brother. He was finally going to have his wish come true for his ninth birthday. There was a very good chance Evan and Bennett would have shared the day.
Three months later, we were expecting again. By 25 weeks, Elijah was gone. I can still hear the doctor as turned the ultrasound machine from my view, “Your baby does not have a heartbeat.” In all honesty, I was prepared for it. I knew it could happen again. You lose that innocence of pregnancy once you lose a baby.
I will never be able to get the image out of my mind of Evan carrying the casket out of the church and placing it in the hearse. He was so proud to carry his brother. I was so sad, but more so for Evan.
I kept saying I would never get pregnant again during Elijah’s pregnancy, even if there was a tragic ending. I felt incomplete. I needed to know that my body, that has done this 7 times before, could bring a healthy, living, breathing person into the world. My body had betrayed me.
By springtime, I was pregnant. With two losses under my belt, the pregnancy I had longed for was now my greatest fear. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop.
24 weeks into the pregnancy, my water broke. I couldn’t do this again. Every time they checked the fetal heartbeat, I prepared for the worst. The baby held on for five days until I developed an infection and I needed an emergency Caesarean section. Luckily, my micro preemie, Linus, after spending three months in the NICU, was my take home baby.
There are two empty spaces at our dining room table. Whenever we go out and I am counting heads, it always feels like someone is missing. I still get sad when I think about never holding my boys again. I’ll never know what their hair and eye color would have been or what their voices would sound like. When I look at my sons, I wonder if their brothers would look like them. My heart breaks a little when I see brothers close in age to Bennett and Elijah.
I believe my boys chose me so that they could be born and their souls could go to heaven. I am grateful that I was given the gift to carry them and birth them straight to heaven’s door. I will be a better person because I carried Bennett for 21 weeks and 6 days, and Elijah for 25 weeks.
I am the mother to ten beautiful children, eight on earth and two who fly with the angels.
Jennifer Swartvagher blogs at Beyond the Crib about her life and her adventures raising eight children, ranging in age from 17 to one year. The journey beyond the crib doesn’t end when the kids are out of diapers, and no one judges us as hard as we judge ourselves. Beyond The Crib’s goal is to help other moms (and dads) see that we are all in this crazy world of parenthood together. Find her on Twitter @BeyondtheCrib.