The road to parenthood has not been an easy ride for me.
From the beginning I struggled with fertility issues.
Granted, I was 25 years old when I started trying and I had years ahead of me to be successful in my quest to have children, but the steps there were filled with fertility treatments and unfortunately, pregnancy loss.
I admire women who get pregnant and just assume everything will be okay.
After my first loss – a stillbirth at 22 weeks – I never took my pregnancy for granted again.
I stressed and worried and bothered my OBGYN in ways you can’t even begin to imagine, insisting on extra ultrasounds and additional testing to be sure that everything was okay.
No amount of reassurance could convince me otherwise.
I have been pregnant six times but only have two living children.
My first pregnancy ended in stillbirth when it was discovered that my son Douglas had a large tumor growing off the base of his spine – a sacrococcogeal teratoma.
Google it if you want to see what it looks like, but be forewarned, it’s not pretty.
It’s called a “monster-making” tumor for a reason.
Douglas was born still on September 22, 1998.
He was perfect in every way except for a giant tumor on which his little legs rested.
To add insult to injury, Douglas’ body was thrown out with the hospital laundry by accident so it took a few extra days to recover him, cremate him, and hold a memorial for him.
Not all my family was supportive.
My mother-in-law didn’t even bother to attend the memorial.
After Douglas, I lost three babies between 8 and 12 weeks.
I also lost a little girl named Ruby at 16 weeks.
She was physically perfect and genetically nothing was wrong with her chromosomes.
It’s just one of those things that happens, I was told.
Recently, another loved one’s loss has brought all these feeling bubbling to the surface again and it was with tears in my eyes that I embraced her, knowing that she’s reluctantly joined the same club I joined all those years ago when I lost Douglas.
The club for women who will never be able to sail through a pregnancy like women who haven’t experienced a loss.
Worst club in the world, if you ask me.
But we’re there for each other.
There are meet ups for pregnant women who are pregnant again after a loss.
And they call subsequent babies “rainbow” babies to signify how even after a loss, something beautiful can be created.
My love to you.
You know who you are.