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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Not a Sewing Post

I know this is normally a sewing blog, and when I deviate from that, it's usually still about crafting, but I feel the need to talk about something personal. If you don't want to read it, I'm not offended. Don't worry. I have an adorable apron and an interesting dress to post about already (I'm a little behind) and an extravagant Civil War ballgown to post about soon. So what do I want to talk about? My child.

Yes, I have a child. A lot of people don't know that, don't believe it, or forget. And I'm not really offended by any of that, either. I understand. I really do. But that doesn't mean I don't cringe when people ask if I have kids or anything like that. You see, I don't always love giving people my husband's usual answer: "None living" because people don't get it at first, and then we have to explain, and then they get uncomfortable. I don't like making people uncomfortable. But I hate telling people I don't have children because I feel like I'm betraying my sweet baby when I say that. And I can't just say yes, I have one because people will ask how old, etc., and we go back to the making people uncomfortable option.

You see, my husband and I are extremely infertile, but we did become pregnant once. And we already knew we were infertile and had waited a long time, so those two pink lines were the most wonderful shock we've ever gotten. I actually only took the test that day to prove to my stupid obsessive brain that it should stop jumping to conclusions like it wanted to every month. And then that second line showed up. There was no loud cheering or anything like that. We were both silent. But if people glowed when they were happy, we would have been blinding the neighborhood despite the walls of our apartment. I'm pretty sure Jon was late for work that day.

The next several weeks were blissful. We had finally gotten our miracle. I didn't even mind the constant exhaustion or the fact that at archery practice I couldn't even stand up the whole time like usual. I had to start bringing a stool and sitting down when I wasn't actually shooting and have my husband pull my arrows, etc. But nothing bothered me. I was just so happy that I would finally have a child.

And lest you are tempted to think that I'm deluding myself because early miscarriages usually happen just because the fetus was never viable, we had a scare and an early ultrasound, and my child was perfectly formed and implanted in a good spot. They even turned the doppler on, and my baby had a heartbeat. She was healthy.

But I'm not even sure it was really a girl. I just always felt that way. Two weeks after that wonderful ultrasound, and about the time the baby should have been "safe," I woke up in a pool of blood. I'm not an early riser, so I had to call my husband home from work. We drove to the OB's office, and when they got us in for my ultrasound, the screen was blank. My baby was already gone. The tech even questioned if I had ever been pregnant or if it had actually just been a "chemical" pregnancy because it looked so clear. Can you imagine what that was like for me? Or my husband?

Some people don't bond with their children until they're born, and I have no criticism for that, but I loved my baby so much it hurt from the moment I got those two pink lines. So you better believe I was heartbroken. And to make matters worse, men don't get time off for their wives' miscarriages because many people don't really see it as a death that you need to grieve. Honestly, even women generally barely get enough time off to heal physically, but luckily that wasn't an issue for me because I didn't have a job at the time. But I did have to deal with my grieving mostly alone because my husband had to be at work.

That was a very bad time for our family. And you know what? I didn't just get over it and decide that I didn't really have a baby, and had just been overly emotional because of pregnancy hormones, etc. I still cry sometimes for missing my child. I will probably never become pregnant again. It would take another miracle, even with extreme fertility treatments, and we found out about two years later that my body is fairly inhospitable, so it would also be difficult for me to ever carry a child to term. But that is a whole separate grief because no other child could ever replace my first one. I would love to have more children through birth or adoption, and I would love them just as deeply as my first, but you don't replace a human being. Not even one you never got to hold in your arms.

That's one reason why my faith is so important to me. I believe my baby is in heaven surrounded by people who love her and where no one and nothing can ever hurt her. I believe I will see her again. I have to believe that. I can't live with anything else.

And that is why a couple you think is childless has Willow Tree figurines of a mother cradling her baby, a mother and father holding their baby together, and an angel holding a young child. That's why our Christmas tree has a tiny angel baby on one of the branches. And that's why my husband really wants one of those car window families of a mom, a dad, and a tiny angel. We still love our child very much, and although we wish she could have stayed with us, we're just grateful for the very short, but beautiful time we did have. We think about the milestones we're missing out on, like the fact that this year, she'd probably finally be old enough to really appreciate Christmas and Halloween would have been great fun. But we never wish the experience away because how can you wish an angel out of your life?


  1. That was a beautiful post Karena. I wish everyone could love their unborn children as you do. It would be a much better world.

  2. Karena, I'm so sorry. I have two children buried under a rosemary bush on the property we were supposed to build on next to my father-in-law' house. I don't understand all of your pain, but I do understand the joy and immediate bonding. I didn't bond immediately with my other pregnancies, but with my first one I did. It was my first pregnancy and with another man than Gandhi (although he fully accepts that child as part of our family.) I grieve both for the child and the family that wasn't. You don't just get past it. Huge hugs.

    1. Thank you, Hastings. I didn't know you had more children. Sometimes it's really good to know someone understands.

  3. Karena,
    I am so sorry that I never knew about this when it happened. I know it isn't an easy thing to share, especially with someone who isn't there to give you the hug you need. I only had one miscarriage and that child is very real. I grieved, still wonder sometimes even though it was 21 years ago. I believe she will be waiting to greet you someday.
    I love you.

  4. I can relate a little and I hurt for you. My ex used me after our divorce (I know, I can be rather pathetic) and I ended up pregnant. He abandoned me once he found out and I went through a horrific emotional battle. I have always wanted to have a child but have trouble getting pregnant, but the circumstances were less than ideal. I had finally made peace with it and was falling for the baby I carried. Three months in I miscarried while at work. I've never felt so empty both emotionally and physically and I wonder daily how my life would be different had I managed to carry. My new husband and I have been trying but I have complications. I hurt for you and I hope you find a way to be a Mother.

    1. You posted this so long ago, and somehow, I never saw it. I'm so sorry you went through that, and are still dealing with the fertility problems. I'm glad you have Gabe now, though. You two are great.