Awareness happens everyday when you are the one suffering. Yet, we use months to denote the causes that affect a large portion of our population. October is the month of the year that is used to raise awareness to “Miscarriage, Child Loss, Stillbirth, and Infertility”.
This is me. Maybe my face will never be in a calendar, but I am the face of October. I knew at a very young age that having biological children of my own was a longshot. I was diagnosed with PCOS at 17, when it was still relatively unheard of. When my husband and I first started dating, we had the talk. I knew from the moment I met him that we would be something special, and I wanted him to know that if he wanted biological children he may need to do that with someone else. Being a teenager at the time, I think he really didn’t understand the magnitude of what I meant, but he didn’t bat an eyelash.
Years later, after we were married, we suffered a miscarriage without even knowing we were pregnant. We weren’t trying, and it was a huge shock to both of us. That miscarriage brought something else to us, though. It brought hope. Suddenly, there was a chance that it could happen again. Something that I was told would never happen, did, and if it happened once, it could happen again. Right?
After that, we realized how much we wanted to be parents. I had just landed a teaching job, and we were ready. We tried on our own for a few months, but then sought the help of a doctor. I took fertility medicine, and went to the doctor every two weeks for checkups. I had internal ultrasounds to check follicle counts, and blood work drawn to check hormone levels. There were shots. There were also feelings of failure, and arguments. There were feelings of doubt, and depression. Finally, we just couldn’t do it anymore, and we stopped seeing the doctor.
Fast forward a year or so. My friend had just had a baby, and her husband was deployed. We drove six hours to their house, and spent a few days with her. On the way home I realized something was wrong, and went to the bathroom at a Chili’s. Right there I realized what happened, and realized just how far a long I had been. I was irregular, so I didn’t think a thing about not having a cycle, that was the norm for me.
I fell into a major depression. I was failing at the one thing that I was put on this Earth to do. The Bible says to be fruitful and multiply. I couldn’t even do this. Friends were getting pregnant, and as happy as I was for them, I was just as sad about myself. I became withdrawn.
After a few months, I decided to get healthy for myself. My depression had caused me to gain a lot of weight. I began to diet and exercise, and felt better than I had for years. I was happy again, and then it happened. I had begun to get nauseous, all the time. I was tired. It was Mother’s Day and I finally convinced myself to take a test. I had taken hundreds before, but this one showed two lines. I took it to my husband, who was in the kitchen, and we went crazy. We screamed and cried, and jumped up and down. We went to the doctor, and it was confirmed. We were happy, until we weren’t. Memorial Day weekend, it happened again. We hadn’t gotten to see it, or hear the heartbeat, and we never would.
At the hospital, the doctor told me that I had the Rh antigen. My body was attacking the embryo’s. Since I had never been given anything to prevent this after the other two miscarriages, I had built up a high level of antibodies. If I were to become pregnant, I would have to undergo intrauterine blood transfusions that were dangerous to both me and the baby. My husband told me that he didn’t need to have a biological child, and that there was no point having one if it meant that I might not be there to help him raise it. We decided in the hospital that we were done. We couldn’t go through it anymore. The stress, fear, depression, despair had taken it’s toll.
Three miscarriages. Three babies that we lost. We never got to see them, or hear their heartbeats. We never got to know their genders. That doesn’t make the loss any less real. We were expected to “get over it”. People said things that they thought were reassuring. Instead, it only caused so much more pain.
Luckily, we were both open to the idea of adoption. Today, we have three beautiful children that we adopted through foster care. They are our rainbow babies. Even though they don’t look like us, they couldn’t be anymore ours than they are.
I am the face of October. I am the One in Four.