From the time I can remember I have loved babies. Growing up if you had asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up my answers would have varied from teacher to veterinarian, but in my heart of hearts what I always wanted to be was a mother. A career was just what you did until you reached the pinnacle of success and settled down to raise your family. I thought I was well on my way when I married at the tender age of 18, we had talked about how many kids we wanted, picked out names and planned a future. Then he dropped a bombshell after we were married and added that he didn’t want kids anymore. After 5 years of marriage I decided to take matters into my own hands and told him I wasn’t going to use birth control anymore. I was sure he would change his mind once he saw the sweet face, tiny fingers and toes, and smelled the sweet new baby smell. I found out I was pregnant and I was elated, he was angry and accusatory, and then the unthinkable happened, I began bleeding…My nurse practitioner told me “It wasn’t good timing anyway” as if she had the right to judge, and as if that would soothe my aching, broken heart. My first pregnancy loss was such a shock, and with my marriage in trouble at the same time, I felt alone, confused, and most of all, brokenhearted. We conceived again, and the same process began again, anger from my then husband, anxiety from me this time after losing the first pregnancy, and again, the bleeding that signaled the end. I was filled with grief, confusion, anger, frustration, and a need to know why this was happening to me. Wasn’t pregnancy a natural thing that your body just knew how to do? What was wrong with me that I wasn’t able to carry a pregnancy to term? I was determined to find out, and yet here again, I met a wall. I was told by my new OB/GYN that they only tested you after you had three miscarriages, that two did not count as “recurrent pregnancy loss” and therefore there was no need to do any testing. I was outraged, how could they expect me to go through this again before being willing to see what was causing me to lose my babies? I was not going to sit back and wait for this to happen again, so I basically demanded that they do testing anyway, and I was thankful when my doctor agreed to do labwork. Seven vials of blood later the lab called me back to draw more as they had forgotten to draw a certain tube of blood. I was sure they would be able to pinpoint a cause, and breathlessly I waited for the results. Everything was normal. You would think this would be good news, but after all the heartache, you want a reason, you want something to blame, and with normal test results, you can only blame yourself. It must have been something I did, something I ate, something I didn’t eat. I spent days, weeks, months, years blaming myself.
In 2005, we moved to Arizona for new employment, and sought the expertise of a fertility specialist. My then husband was still not really on board with having kids, but he went along with it anyway. Having chosen a specialist that was recommended by an acquaintance, I was all ready to find out what was really wrong, and fix it once and for all. Little did I know that the doctor was on the fringes of science and not well received or respected by his colleagues. After testing, and some strange diagnoses’ that he said only he would be able to discern we began taking some type of voodoo immune strengthening medications that were supposed to solve all our problems. Before we could finish the regimen prescribed I found myself pregnant for the third time. This time it wasn’t just my spouse that was angry, but the doctor. How dare I get pregnant before he finished his treatments?! He prescribed heparin injections to be done every 12 hours. I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach constantly, somehow I knew, no matter how much I wanted this baby, no matter how many prayers had gone up to God, it wasn’t going to last. It ended up being my shortest pregnancy. As I was driving down the road one day, after losing yet another child, a song came on the radio “Held” by Natalie Grant. I had not allowed myself to cry, after all, I knew this was going to happen, and I wasn’t going to let myself feel how much it hurt. When the song came on, it was like a dam broke, I had to pull over to the side of the road because I couldn’t see to drive through the tears. I was broken, but God was still with me.
The following year my marriage ended. I felt as though I was the biggest failure in the world, I couldn’t make my marriage work, and I couldn’t have children. My heart was broken, torn into pieces, and bleeding. I came so close, three times, I was almost a mother.