By Penny Kane.
It’s hard for me to write this. The emotion that it stirs up even after all of these years is intense. It’s real. I want to share my story with other people who are grieving, whether it be from the loss of a baby, or the loss of the opportunity to conceive a baby because they are both devastating. I have experienced pain on the loss side, and the complicated pregnancy side. Pregnancy never came easy for me, and I always wondered if I was different, and what was wrong with me.
The first loss that I suffered was when I was younger and barely able to cope with the shock. I was blindsided by pre-eclampsia at the gestational age of 21 weeks. It came on so quickly and with such fury that the baby died while in me and I became very sick. I had never heard of losing a baby at five months and up to that point in my life I had never experienced pain like that.
I am teary-eyed as I write this because that pain is permanently etched in my heart. Losing a child isn’t a feeling that just goes away over time. The pain gets lighter, but reliving the moment is raw and very real. A child is a gift from above and thankfully my little girl is up there just waiting for me. Every time I hear the song “Tears in Heaven” by Eric Clapton I am reminded of that.
The second loss happened in my first trimester. When my husband found out that I was pregnant, he sent me a dozen blue roses. I loved those roses, they were so bright and I had never seen that colour of blue before. I hold on to the memory of the roses because they brought me hope and remind me of the happiness I felt to be pregnant with our baby ,who we called Baby Kane.
Unfortunately the happiness didn’t last very long. Trying to remember the moment when I knew something was wrong is still hazy. I remember feeling like I was in a tunnel and the lights and sounds were getting fainter. I know I went through the motions, listened to the doctor and just felt numb. You know they say that even if we dull the pain, our heart still feels it? After I had my D&C to remove the baby, the doctor made of point of telling me that I cried the whole time while under anesthesia. I don’t know why he told me that. I knew I was sad, I knew my heart felt like it had been ripped out, I didn’t need to know that my psyche was permanently imprinted with the loss of another child.
In an attempt to lighten our spirits we left town to go to Jasper hoping that a good refreshing stay in the mountains would help to ease the pain. I learned something that trip.
When my husband fell asleep, I spent the whole night tucked away in the closet crying. I felt so alone, and like a failure of a woman. Even when the sun came up and I had to pick myself up, I really wanted to stay huddled in that closet. I wanted the world to go away, and I wanted to cry. I saw no upside that day, I only saw grief. I felt like there would never be a time where I would conceive a healthy baby, and hold one in my arms.
You see, what I learned from that closet in Jasper is this, you can try to get away from the grief by moving physical locations, but it doesn’t work. That grief leaves a mark that you carry wherever you go and can be so heavy that some days you feel like you can’t go on.
My daughter Taylor came into this world by emergency c-section 8 weeks early due to pre-eclampsia complications. That word brings me shivers. I felt more scared than I have ever been in my whole life when I started to swell during that pregnancy. I put the call out to whoever it was that could help me, the call that begged for her to live. I didn’t feel I could handle another loss at that time. My pregnancy with Taylor had gone the longest that I was ever able to carry a child and I desperately wanted her. Thankfully, that call was answered. She was very sick and attached to breathing machines and tubes in her belly button, but she was alive. She was so beautiful, so perfect and someone I had been waiting for all of my life.
The struggle with her health has been very minimal in contrast to the struggle that I had to bring a child into this world. It seems so long ago, yet so fresh. My heart pours out to all of the couples still waiting for their little angel. I understand your pain, I really do.
If there is one thing I can bring to you, it’s that it is not your fault. In my quest to find out why I wasn’t “normal” I found out something really inspiring. I AM normal. I make up a part of the percentage of people dealing with fertility and pregnancy issues. There are many more people just like me. I have to admit that comforts me in some weird way.
When I think back to that closet in Jasper, I was sure that I was a failure, that it was my fault. But it isn’t any of our faults. I believe that much of this is an environmental problem that we can fix with awareness and by talking about it. More importantly, what we have been through is a journey — and one that we can use positively to support each other on the road to parenthood.
Photo Credit: Gail Lynne Goodwin