The first time I got pregnant, I experienced an ectopic pregnancy on my right fallopian tube and suffered a miscarriage immediately after. Sometime later, I had another ectopic pregnancy, which caused my fallopian tube to explode. After that, I had several more miscarriages. But you won’t find me crying or feeling sorry for myself. I actually share my story with everyone who wants to know about my struggles to have children, and I do so with a victorious smile. Because all those struggles taught me about love, and for that, I’m grateful.
When I meet a woman devastated after suffering a miscarriage, I try to make her feel at ease. If she will listen, I will tell her my story, which may sound harrowing, but has a happy ending.
Five pregnancies that didn’t go anywhere. Spending too much money on IVF treatment without positive results. Lighting candles to all the saints we Latinas believe in, and telling my family back in Venezuela that one day I would give them their first grandchild and grandnephew or niece.
Going through constant blood-draw appointments, getting a little excited about a possible positive outcome, and then having yet another D&C was painful. But deep inside I felt this certainty that some day I would be able to give my husband the child he so much wanted. I knew I would eventually be a mom. The kind of mom my own mother would be proud of!
Read Related: 12 Reasons to Love Being a Mom
TRYING TO STAY POSITIVE
In January 2007 my favorite person in the world passed away in Caracas. She was my grandma on my mom’s side and I was far away in Boca Raton, Florida. I was devastated. I had seen her three months earlier when I went home to visit after my fifth miscarriage. Somehow she knew it would be the last time I’d see her. Six months later, I found out I was pregnant once again. After all I’d been through, it was nearly impossible for me to get excited. But this time, it felt right. I had more hope than ever. I had a feeling. And I’m all about feeling.
For nine months I felt a little happiness, a little gratitude, a little hope, and a lot of anxiety. I didn’t love my belly like other expectant moms do, caressing it, with their head tilted to the side, sighing as they knit baby clothes. I lived each day without expectations, even smoking an occasional cigarette—something I regret now. I wasn’t careful about what I ate. I didn’t drink alcohol, but only because I’m not a drinker. I felt as if I were unconsciously telling myself that if this pregnancy was going to be successful, it would happen no matter what. I honestly believed I was trying not to get excited. My attitude was one of detachment from that little person I was carrying inside.
During the last two months of pregnancy I felt terrible. I had trouble sleeping, eating, walking, breathing… I hated every minute of it. I even asked my doctor to tie my tube once I delivered the baby, but he refused. I attended a prenatal class and was disgusted by the birthing videos. My husband and I both left in the middle of the class at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, in Chicago. Every day I endured a frenzy of mixed feelings that swung between exhilaration and total fright. Thank God I wasn’t working at the time. I was moody and depressed when I was alone, but managed to be cheerful when there was company.
I had a mutt who was rescued from hurricane Katrina and I worried that I would never be able to love a child more than I loved my dog. During my pregnancy I barely read any baby books, magazines or websites. I didn’t want to get upset if my pregnancy didn’t have a happy ending.
Then, April 2008 came along my water broke at exactly 40 weeks. I had to undergo a C-section. As I wept inconsolably out of anxiety and worry, I heard a baby cry. Not just any baby, my baby. I could not believe he was alive. My sixth pregnancy delivered. A dream come true. A surreal, unforgettable moment. Any kind of love I had ever felt was overshadowed by what I now felt for my baby.
FEELING OTHER MOTHERS’ LOSS
It was at that exact moment that all the stories of mothers losing their children came to mind. I channeled all their grief and agony into the most pure sentiment I had ever felt. The love of a mother for her child.
For months after the birth of my son, I cried. I cried of joy and cried of pain. I cried for the suffering my aunt endured when she lost her two babies, one after the other, before they were even toddlers. I cried for the anguish mothers of military men have gone through when they receive the awful news that their child has died in the line of duty. I cried for the distress of mothers in African countries who cannot save their famine-wracked children no matter how hard they try. I cried and prayed for mothers who had lost children, and that they might find peace. Sometimes love alone can’t save the people you are supposed to protect.
Now, with a 4-year-old in tow, and a 9-month old that came after yet 2 more failed pregnancies, I still ache when I see a baby cry. I want to calm him down, as if stopping his tears will prevent mothers from suffering if they ever were to lose their child. My biggest dream is to one day honor the love of every mom by adopting a child. I want him to have the most precious gift I am capable of giving: motherly love.