It has been more than 45 years since my story of miscarriages and the death of a full-term baby 24 hours after birth. As I think of each life-changing event, I can recall each one as if they happened only yesterday, these are memories for me that never fade or go away.
I lost my 1st pregnancy July 1, 1973 at 20 weeks. My husband was in the Air Force and we had just been transferred to San Antonio, Texas a few weeks earlier. We had no family, friends or church in this new location for support, so I decided to read the entire Bible. It did give me comfort, but as I look back, I’m not sure how much I really understood. While still in Texas I had a 2nd miscarriage in January 1974 at 12 weeks.
We moved back to Kansas City in July of 1974, and by June of 1975 I was 9 months pregnant with my 3rd pregnancy. I went into labor, but since the baby was breach they performed a c-section under general anesthesia because of time limitations for an epidural. The next thing I remember is waking up in recovery and asking about the baby. My husband had to tell me that the baby was having problems and it did not look good. The next morning the pediatrician informed us that our baby had multiple congenital anomalies and even with surgery could not survive, and she died that evening. (These anomalies would now be seen on sonography very early in a pregnancy)
Looking back, I have many regrets about how my ability to grieve was handled, but at this time there were no organized groups for grief support for losing a baby. My husband was trying to protect me by telling me not to see the baby, I was under the influence of pain medication and not able to think clearly, and seeing the baby was not encouraged by the hospital staff. I regret not holding that baby in my arms until she took her last breath. There was a graveside service, but I was not able to attend because I was still hospitalized.
My husband started his OB-GYN residence just 3 weeks later and had thoughts about not doing it, but it was too late to drop out. I know it was hard for him, but over the 40 plus years of delivering babies he has been able to empathize with his patients, give them support and share our story if they miscarried of lost a baby at birth.
In June of 1976, I had my 4th pregnancy and 3rd miscarriage again at 12 weeks. My doctor at the time said that I should quit trying to have a baby! My thoughts: “NO way!!! I’m not going to look back 10, 20, 30, years from now and say why didn’t I try just one more time? At this time my 57 year old father was diagnosed with esophageal cancer and died in March of 1977. Nine months later on December 8, 1977 I had my 2nd c-section and a beautiful healthy baby boy. Because the timing was perfect, I often wondered if when my father entered the Pearly Gates he didn’t ask God to give me a chance at being a mother.
I miscarried again in June of 1978, but then in 1979, 1981 and 1984 God gave us 3 more beautiful healthy children. So after 9 pregnancies and 5 c-sections, I still say it was all worth it.
Keep praying and don’t give up!