The little white stick showed a blue cross, and my breath was frozen. It was the seventh time I’d seen that symbol, but my home only had two children running through it.
With my wide hips, regular cycle and two natural childbirths, I had assumed having babies would always be easy for me. After my first miscarriage, I was sad, but I was most traumatized by the hemorrhaging, ER visit and two pint blood transfusion accompanying it. My first loss was quickly followed by another early miscarriage. After some medical investigation, I was given approval to try again.
I had every confidence I would keep the baby this time. My older children were getting impatient for a sibling. Once I was in the second trimester, we took them in for an ultrasound. Cocooned in the dark with eyes glued to the screen, all my ultrasound technician could say was, “There is no heartbeat. I am so sorry.” I knew I should try to keep it together for my children, but I could only wail. My daughter tried to comfort me by saying, “The baby is in heaven, Mama. It is okay.”
But it wasn’t. I had lost all three babies within one year.
So many people were struggling with infertility, and I had two lively children already. Our attempts at a third child had brought me to death’s door, but I could not shake the feeling our family was incomplete. I prayed and cried, and we determined to try again.
I was petrified the first time we had unprotected sex because I knew what could follow – blood, tears and the antiseptic smell of the hospital. I blocked out the fear and soon the cross turned blue. I tried to form a bond with the baby, but I knew I couldn’t give my heart to it until I was holding the baby in my arms, or I would risk totally crushing my spirit. We prepared our children with the knowledge this baby could join the others in heaven at any time – and we waited.
A year after my last miscarriage, I delivered a red-headed boy. Oh how this baby was worth the wait and the fear and the anguish. He is catnip, and we are all helpless felines in his presence. My heart aches for the babies I lost, but I know we were right to brave loss for the opportunity to love this child.
Candice Young is a Nutella-eating, comma-abusing mom of a girl and two red-headed boys, ages six, four and eight months. After a two-kid hiatus, she is blogging again at lettersfromcandice.blogspot.com.