The Five Hearts
Updated: Oct 19, 2020
Have you ever had a life-changing moment in your life that just leaves you breathless? So deep that when you think of it, your hear skips a beat and it takes you just a moment to gather your thoughts? Your stomach does a flip, you may feel a bit shaky and thinking is just something that you cannot do, let alone speak.
This has happened to me at least five significant times throughout my life. And the feeling never goes away. You just learn to handle it a little differently with each passing day.
You see, I have five babies. Five beautiful perfect people that have heard my heartbeat and I have heard theirs. I believe that God blessed me with five babies even if I only have three to hold here on Earth.
My first baby was beyond a joy. Boy or girl, it didn’t matter. The heartbeat was strong even though with each baby check, I was told the baby was small. It was mine. I felt this little one the moment in my heart the moment that I found out I was pregnant. I was a mom and I felt it to the depths of my soul. This was my baby and its heart would be with me forever. It still is.
15 1/2 weeks later everything changed. That baby wasn’t meant to be here with us. I was devastated. I may have shared this before but I had to go into the hospital for a D&C. The baby was gone. I was devastated. There wasn’t a word for the amount of sadness I was feeling and because a physical baby wasn’t here, I felt that no one really understood. I felt alone. Absolutely alone. And filled with a grief that seemed bottomless.
By the time I checked into the hospital, my heart, mind, and body were numb. Yes, I was crying but I really didn’t feel like I was connecting with the tears. My heart was broken and I didn’t know how to deal with the loss.
I sat on the exam table as the admissions nurse entered the room. My husband sat quietly in the chair next to me. She spoke with a heavy accent so it was hard to initially understand her. After the normal questions regarding my health were answered, she followed up with the most stinging question - “why are you here?”.
At first, I couldn’t respond. Numb, remember? How could she be asking me a question like that? Wasn’t it in my chart? I stumbled over my words and then quietly responded. I had lost a baby and needed a D&C. What she said next floored me. Really floored me.
She looked at me with the most caring, kind eyes and slightly smiled as she said “You are so blessed.”
I’m sorry? What?
My expression must have been enough to tell her that I needed an explanation because her next words clarified her comment. She simply and kindly stated “You now have a beautiful angel watching over you.”
Again, I felt a wave of grief and the tears began again. But that was quickly followed by a feeling of peace. Yes, I was sad. Yes, I was grieving but I now felt a reconnection to the baby that I felt was lost forever.
Was it a baby that I would hold in my arms and watch grow? No.
Was it a boy or a girl? I will never know. But it was my baby. It was a part of me. This baby had made me a mother. Such an odd feeling to comprehend. Peace with grief. Love with loss. Motherhood with no baby. An angel that would guide me but could I see the blessing?
I often look to the sky to see if there is a sign of this angel. Sometimes I connect and feel that peace and sometimes, well I just wonder and think of the babies that I lost.
It took two years of trying to get pregnant again. Endless medicines, tests, shots, ultrasounds, IVF transfers and prayers but she finally arrived. She arrived early and with a bit of drama, but she finally, truly made me a mother. She was perfect. A head full of black hair, green eyes, a tiny cry that came from perfectly shaped lips and long legs that have yet to stop growing.
For a moment, I breathed a sigh of relief. Since I found out that I was finally pregnant again, every ultrasound and heartbeat check made me hold my breath until I was absolutely sure she was ok. Was I a little paranoid? You betcha! I had already lost one heart and I didn’t know if I could handle losing another.
Two and a half years later, after another round of IVF and lots of prayers, we were shocked to learn that twins were on the way. TWO babies! AT ONCE! I was told that one baby was very small and to not get too excited about twins until we knew for sure that the smaller baby would continue to grow.
The moment I found out that I was pregnant, I loved that baby. When I found out it was twins, that love only doubled. These lives were my babies and I willed them to be ok. To be strong. To survive.
And survive, they did. They arrived with their own bit of drama, as only babies can do and my heart was full yet again. I was overwhelmed with the thought of raising three babies when not so long ago, I didn’t know if I would even have one.
I was blessed. I was happy. I grieved the baby that had started me on this journey to motherhood but was fulfilled by the three ladies that gave me purpose for each day. They are the loves of my life and what drives me each day, no matter the challenge.
And then, just shy of two years after the arrival of the twins, I was pregnant again.
Now let me just say that I have spent a lot of time and energy in the days before I was married worrying about getting pregnant unexpectedly. I know how it happens and I know it takes me a LOT to get pregnant.
Yet, there I was, with three babies at my feet, staring at a positive pregnancy test wondering how this could have possibly happened. How in the HELL had this happened? What and how were we going to handle four children? Again, I thought having one baby was a miracle and yet now I was trying to figure out how four babies were going to fit into an already very full house.
Well, no need to worry. That baby was only with us for a short time. The odd thing was that I was so sick with this pregnancy. I felt like it was a cruel joke. Here’s a baby, feel really sick, throw up a lot, and then lose the baby.
My heart couldn’t take it. I was grief-stricken, guilt-ridden and just plain broken. Two babies, two natural pregnancies and I couldn’t hack it. I couldn’t carry babies without the help of a room full of doctors, nurses, drugs and procedures. On top of grief, I was angry. What a mean joke to play on the girl that can’t get pregnant naturally. I was mad at the world. I was mad at me. I felt like I was a failure.
The pain was unending. I functioned but really didn’t feel. I was in full-on grief and mad that I didn’t have anyone that could relate. I cried. I yelled. I dwelled in my grief. I wore that loss all over me like tattoos all over my body. If I had my way, I would make sure that everyone knew that I was a failure and couldn’t carry babies the “natural” way. I was at a loss.
And then, for a reason that I can’t explain, I wrote it down. I wrote a letter to my three babies about my loss and my grief. I told them that I pray every day that they don’t have to go through this journey. That they become mothers when and if they choose. I told them how much I loved being their mother and how much I loved them. I expressed how much I hoped they felt my love and that they have the chance to feel the love as a mother feels for her child.
Then, I read my words. And it hit me like a ton of bricks. I thought about if they did, in fact, have to go through what I had. I didn’t shame them for the possibility that they may lose a baby. I didn’t blame them for my other losses. As a matter of fact, it never occurred to me. I only hope and pray that they never have to feel the pain of losing a baby.
If I didn’t want that pain for my babies, then why was I subjecting myself to that pain and shame?
Grief has a funny way of distorting the heart. You get so lost in the feelings of loss that you lose sight of what you have gained.
Believe me when I say that it didn’t happen overnight, but what I lost was also my gain. I gained two angels. I gained perspective. I gained more love than I could have ever imagined. I gained wisdom in that loss is not always physical loss. It can be a gift.
I am not a failure. I am a good mother. I love the five hearts that have made me a mother and I will love them forever.
As I move forward in my life, I will carry each of them with me. I will cherish these as the most precious gifts I have ever been given. These hearts will forever be a part of me and have given me more than they will ever know.
A lot has been written in the media lately about pregnancy loss and it is a personal, heart-aching journey. I choose to share my story in the hopes that others will find comfort in knowing that they are not alone, if they experience pregnancy loss.
It is a journey that is almost a loss for words. If this is you, I know your pain. I understand. May you find your journey across this bridge and find your own peace. But know that you are not alone and most importantly, pregnancy loss is no reflection of you. Our angels were just called for a different journey.
Peace and love until next time,