Updated: Aug 20
When I was in my early twenties I became unexpectedly pregnant. I was with someone who I thought was a good man, he wasn't. Although I had no intentions of becoming pregnant, we also did not take the proper precautions.
I endured tortuous pregnancy with both medical issues and harassment from the father and his family, including death threats. It was an extremely stressful pregnancy. Between depression and stress I wasn't healthy. On top of that I had a blood disorder which called for me to have an insulin pump, only it pumped blood thinner. I knew this pregnancy was a health risk for me but still I wanted my baby.
The odds were against us though and my son was born early and deceased.
I held my lifeless son for only a few minutes before he was taken to the morgue. My life have been filled with pain, yet this was the hardest thing I would go through in my young adulthood. Later that evening, after giving birth to my lifeless son, my milk came in, but there was no baby to feed. Newborns cried in the rooms that shared walls with mine, but I had no baby to sooth. Depression set in quick and hard. The anguish turned into shock, my tears turned into days on end with no sleep. My tears dried up and the never ending migraine began. It would be weeks of no sleeping or eating and the world being a blur with no emotion, before I was able to cry and mourn and release the tension.
I left the hospital and buried my son.
I asked for the funeral to be just myself, my best friend and the pastor. I just wanted to do this alone, the same way pregnancy and delivery were. However, my well intended mother decided I didn’t know what I wanted and invited about 50 people. The depression was so bad, the funeral is still pretty much a blur. I didn’t realize someone was taking photos but it's the only reason I knew who came. I needed that time to mourn alone, but I didn’t get it, and this made my depression worsen.
The next couple of months were incredibly hard. It seemed as though everyone were pregnant or had a new baby. I couldn't be around my friends who were pregnant or had babies. My milk dried up within a couple weeks and my body started to heal but it craved a baby to nurture. The emptiness is indescribable. The depression crippling. I had completely stopped eating, I felt it was punishment I deserved for not being able to keep my son healthy enough to live. One slice of bread and 2 Dr Peppers a day would be what kept me alive for weeks. I’m not sure if it was starvation delusion or the severe depression but something made me believe the only way to heal was to have another baby and take better care of my body and emotions this time. So I learned how to track ovulation, and with the voluntary help of my new boyfriend, someone who had been my best friend for the last couple years, I intentionally became pregnant. This pregnancy I would gain a ton of weight trying to eat enough for the baby. I tried to stay low stress, which pretty much was me disconnecting for everyone. I finally felt like I had some light in my life again, but it was short lived. I’d lose this baby as well, a girl, in the second trimester. I was absolutely devastated.
That was it, I would never again put myself through a loss like that.
The doctors denied my request to tie my tubes because my mental state was too fragile to make a permanent decision like that. It seemed everywhere I went people were pregnant and glowing or had new babies and were surrounded in sparkling fluffy clouds of positivity. I couldn’t be happy for them. I wondered why horrible people are given healthy babies and good people like me were given dead ones. It was a dark time. I honestly don't remember much of my life then, other than the darkness. Fast forward almost a year later. My boyfriend and I were now living together. He helped me through the dark times, and they were still grey. We took every precaution available to avoid pregnancy because I couldn’t survive the loss of another child. Then that New Years Eve came and we had way too much to drink, we slacked on our precautions and I ended up pregnant. This was the scariest news I’d heard. I couldn’t believe it, and wasn't ready to accept it. It must’ve been some sort of self preservation that kicked in because this time I wouldn’t bond with the baby during pregnancy like I had before. I did everything you are supposed to do for a healthy pregnancy but didn’t get my hopes up. I didn’t make plans, buy new nursery stuff, have a baby shower, or anything. I just went through the steps of pregnancy like a zombie.
There was a lot of stress during this pregnancy with outside factors as well as medical issues again, but I got through them. When I realized I only had about 6 weeks until the baby’s due date it finally set in, I’m going to have a baby. I started to prepare. Thankfully the nurse who came to give me shots every day of this pregnancy was ready to help. She had a baby shower for me a month earlier with her friends and didn’t tell me until I was mentally ready. Once I was, she came through with everything you could need for a newborn, she was such a blessing. Now that my home was filled with baby things, anxiety set in, and my weekly doctor visits became mostly him convincing me everything was okay. I had felt like my water was leaking for a week before it actually broke but the doctor thought it was just anxiety.
Three weeks before my due date, my water broke, it was time to have this baby.
We were admitted and contractions were coming steadily. The nurses seemed concerned, they kept coming in the room but not saying anything. I was so incredibly scared and they could see it, they didn’t want to make it worse. Finally the doctor came in and let me know the baby‘s heart rate was too low and we needed to do an emergency C-section. (Insert PANIC here) I started hyperventilating, shakining, crying, and saying “I can’t do this again”. I was scared of the surgery itself and scared I was going to lose another baby. But the doctor convinced me,
this was the only way to save the baby.
Just save the baby.
I was rushed to the O.R. where they worked quickly to rescue my child. When they pulled her out and exclaimed, it's a girl the room went instantly silent. She was purple and not moving. Her dad was there with me and we were both panicking now. The cord was wrapped around her neck in the womb, which was what caused the low heart rate, and now she was out and not crying, not moving, purple… dear god please not again. It probably was only seconds of silence, but it seemed like an eternity. I watched the nurses rush her to the other side of the room to work on her. It seemed like slow motion as her limp body traveled across the room in the hands of the nurse. The anesthesiologist pumped me with calming meds, but I could see the fear in my boyfriends face.
Moments later, we heard it, the cry.
The cry I didn’t hear with the others. Oh the cry, I was so happy to hear that cry. As the doctor tied my tubes and sewed me up the nurse handed our new daughter to my boyfriend. He held her close to me where I could see her and when I looked in her eyes, I saw all my babies looking back at me. I saw a spirit that had fought hard to be next to mine. A spirit that had tried to join this world in two previous bodies that couldn’t hold it.
She made it. We were whole. My spirit was calm again.
My precious baby, my soulmate, is 21 now. We are still inseparable. She’s the most amazing human I know with an incredibly strong spirit. She’s an author of LGBTQ inclusive novels, a designer, a baker, and an incredible daughter. She taught me that a spirit isn’t defined by the body it is placed in. There is no limit to her understanding and incredible compassion. She’s an old soul, and I’m so grateful for her determination. Because of her, I lived again. She fought for us before I knew who she was.
This article is dedicated to the Mothers without babies, I know not everyone has a happy ending and my heart goes out to you all. Some things we never get over, but we get through them.
Also, it’s dedicated to the spirits who recognize they are not defined by the bodies they were born into. Don’t let anyone place you in a box darlings, fly free.