One in Four women will experience a miscarriage. ONE in FOUR. Are you one in four? I am.
The story of my transformation from child to mother is beautiful, but it is not without its tragedies. Before I moved to my hometown, before I met my husband, even before I knew what it meant to be an adult, I found myself pregnant at 19. I was in my own apartment, engaged to my boyfriend of nearly 2 years, and had a decent job with insurance. All in all, being pregnant wasn't such a terrible thing. Being as young and clueless as I was, and being that I was on birth control for many years, I didn't find out about the pregnancy until pretty late in the game. I was nearly 16 weeks when I found out. Unfortunately, impending parenthood proved to be too much for my sweetie and he bailed the very weekend I told him I was pregnant. The pain of losing my fiance and the stress of becoming a single mother put me into a terrible spiral. Maybe that was a contributing factor, maybe not, but on the afternoon of the day before I hit the 20 week mark, I went into labor. I remember starting the day feeling crampy and stiff, which wasn't all that uncommon since I hadn't been eating much or hydrating myself for several days and had spend most nights crying into my pillow instead of sleeping. After lunch I excused myself to the bathroom and found that I was bleeding a substantial amount. Everything from that point on is pretty much a blur. I don't remember leaving work or driving myself to the hospital. I don't remember checking in or getting a room. I don't remember being sedated or the delivery. What I do remember is waking up the next day, in a haze, with a morphine drip and not a soul around. It felt like hours before anyone came to check on me, and when the short, tubby nurse with the big white bun came in with the doctor to tell me about what had happened, it felt like a dream. I had delivered the baby, a girl, shortly after being admitted to the hospital. She had a significant cord anomaly and her growth was severely restricted, putting her around the size of a 16 week gestation baby. I had hemorrhaged and had some trauma to my uterus, which might cause me some complications in the future, but I was otherwise healthy. They left me alone with my thoughts. I never asked to see the baby. Never asked to name her or even asked her weight until several weeks later. I carry a lot of guilt, even still, that I never had a chance to hold her.
I entered what was probably the darkest time in my life. I stopped going to work, moved out of my apartment, and started crashing on friends' couches. I threw myself into whatever temporary comforts I could find. It was several months later that I met my now husband. Our relationship was a whirlwind and we married just 5 months after we first said "hello." Shortly after that we welcomed our first daughter into the world. I was terrified for the majority of the pregnancy that something would go wrong. She wouldn't survive, or my husband would leave me, or any other nightmare-inducing fear that I allowed to creep in. I can't remember when I told him about my first pregnancy, but I do remember the sympathy in his eyes and the love that his arms wrapped me in. And I remember thinking, maybe for the first time since I said goodbye, that everything was going to be okay. It was his idea to give her a name, and we chose Meadow.
It's been almost 7 years since Meadow left our world, but I still think of her often. When the leaves swirl in the wind, that is Meadow. When a baby laughs for the first time, that is Meadow. When a snowflake kissed my cheek, that is Meadow. And when I look at my two daughters now, and I play with their hair, or tickle their tummies, or hold them tight, Meadow is there.
She lived only for a short time in my womb, but she will live in my heart forever.
One in four women have said goodbye too soon. One in four will never know the joys of bringing home their new baby. One in four. Today we honor those women, the toughest of us. Today we hold them tight and show them love, and remind then that they are not alone. Today we remember the babies that were lost. Gone, but never forgotten.
Peace and Love,