Living with Loss Years Later
I have many special dates in my life that serve as constant reminders of wonderful things. On the flip side, I also have three other very specific dates that remind me of a heartbreaking loss. It’s sad to remember but I think very important to never forget.
Our first baby was due to be born on St. Patrick’s Day. Sadly we went through the heartbreaking journey of pregnancy loss and this day came and went without the birth of our first child. Every year I think of her (I’m convinced she was a baby girl although I will never know for sure) on St. Patrick’s Day and many others days throughout the year.
September 10th was the day that she was officially taken from me.
For those who have read my very first blog from years back you would know that at 12 weeks gestation I found out that our baby had stopped developing around the six week mark. I had no signs up until that point and had to go through what I consider a very traumatic and emotional experience of having a D&C.
I remember that day vividly. I remember not wanting to go through the procedure even though it had to be done. In my mind I felt that she was still mine, and in some strange way I was in a form of denial that she wasn’t alive anymore. After having the procedure I wouldn’t have her anymore, not physically anyway, just in my heart and my memories.
Months after the procedure I was still having a hard time dealing with the loss. I decided to commemorate our lost little one with a very meaningful tattoo; the word “strong” written in old Irish text. It’s beautiful and a permanent reminder of our lost little one.
Fast forward more than a year; when we found out that I was pregnant with twins. My grandfather (who was 90 at that time) said to me, “Well that makes up for the one you lost.” He’s very blunt and matter of fact, and as harsh as others may think his comment, it was his way of helping me deal with and accept everything that had happened. In a strange way I feel that he was right.
In no way does one of my twins make up for the loss of our first. My twins are their own little people and not a place holder for anyone. At the same time, being blessed with twins after losing a baby almost feels symbolic.
Stranger yet, we discovered months after the girls were born that one of their names means “Life” while the other means “Little Fairy.”
Many people ask if we’re planning on having any more kids. I hummed and hawed a bit at the start but looking back on our journey we are so lucky for what we have. I don’t want to ask or wish for anything more because I feel so lucky for our family of four (plus Dougie our dog). I just want to sit back and enjoy every moment of what we have without wondering and wishing for something more.
The third specific date for me is October 15th: National Pregnancy Loss Awareness Day. On this day I stand in solidarity with the thousands of others who have suffered this heartbreaking experience whether in infant loss, miscarriage or stillbirth.
I am a statistic. I am 1 in 4. It’s a much higher number than I’m sure many can believe. That 1 out of every 4 women alongside their spouses and loved ones suffer this type of loss. Even years later it still hurts. It’s something that no one should have to endure, yet so many do. That’s why I share my story and my continuing journey, I feel it’s important to let others know that they’re not alone.