Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Talk with Mama about Pregnancy Loss

I grew up knowing my whole childhood that my mother had suffered multiple pregnancy losses b/t children numbers one and two. In fact, the matter of fact manner in which she always spoke of her losses did not serve me well when I had my own. B/c of the way she always spoke of them, I greatly underestimated the great pain and depth of despair that goes along with such a loss.

I am the 5th of 5 children. By the time I came along, the losses were a memory 8 to 9 years old and older than that by the time she was discussing them with me. It's so strange to me now how it was just something that we always seemed to talk about. Did we really or is that just how I remember it? Anyway, she went on to have 4 more healthy children after those losses and had a baby at home while they were happening. I suppose that makes all the difference.

Allow me to digress a moment for background purposes....My sister also m/c her first pg and went on to have 4 healthy babies in 12 years. My mother's sister had 3 or more m/c after her 1st over a 12 year period until giving birth to number two. All of these women seemed to sail through these losses. How is that possible? Was I too young to see the truth? Does going on to have a baby change it all? I don't know the answers to these questions. I know that I still ache for my lost baby even while I nurture and grow this one in me.

Okay, back to the story...

This weekend I went home for... Well, you know what I went home for. I don't think we have to name it here. And to tell my parents about the pregnancy. Sat night my mother and I couldn't sleep. We sat up in the living room talking. I started asking questions about her miscarriages. So now she tells me that maybe there were 4. I always knew that one of them was a 2nd trimester loss and that she almost died from blood loss, but now I am just heartbroken by the story. She was taken to an Army hospital and was knocked out immediately without being told anything. They took the baby, by a D&C I suppose. She doesn't know any details of what they did to her. The procedure was not abdominal. She knows that it was a boy. She did not get to see the baby. The Army, an organization that has to give a name to everything, made her name the baby that she never saw. She has no idea why she lost the baby because, as she says, "the Army doesn't tell you anything." It sounds like placental abruption to me. They did not tell her how far along she was, but she thinks 4 or 5 months. I'm so thankful that I did not come of age in the '50's. She was treated as if she had no brain.

Oh, the story will be so much more poignant if you understand that my mother got married at 17 in 1954. She had her first baby 11 months later at age 18. All of these losses were happening when she was 19 years old. Can you imagine that?

Now, here's the thing that I really wanted to tell you. I asked her, "when you had all of those miscarriages, did you get to a point where you thought you would never have another baby?" I almost fell off my chair when she said, "No, uh uh." I mean, it was so obvious that it had never occurred to her.

Youthful naivete or faith? What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. What a story. So sad. I, too, am grateful the we are allowed to be sad, and memorialize our lost children - but it is still a path noone should have to take.