What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. Today’s guest posts is by Cynthia Coppinger.
My whole life I knew the one thing I wanted to be was a mom. It was my goal. I knew that I would achieve it one way or another, but I was going to be a mom.
The first year that I was married I couldn't work because I couldn't drive due to health issues, I stayed at home and dreamed about it. My husband would ask me what I wanted to do with my life and I stared at him matter-of-factly and said "I want to be a mom."
My husband and I started trying to get pregnant in 2006. My OB at the time didn't seem concerned about the fact that I had a period maybe twice a year. She just wished me luck. After a couple years of nothing happening I switched doctors because I needed more than luck. It was at that time (2008) I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and my new OB gave me a plan of attack.
I was devastated to get this news because I had heard horror stories about women being told not to expect to get pregnant if they had PCOS. I cried. I was ANGRY. I was mad at my previous doctor for not figuring this out, I was mad at my mom for giving me crappy genes, I was mad at God for allowing this to happen to me.
A few months later I got a positive pregnancy test. I was so excited. I couldn't contain my excitement. So I did what every excited mom to be does...I told the world. Four days later, I started bleeding. I called the doctor on call and was told it was normal, and I'm probably fine. The next morning I woke up to more blood, and was told that it was probably just pooled blood, and to stay off my feet. She said I should call my doctor the next morning. The following morning I was told to come in for a blood test. The blood test confirmed my worst fear. I had miscarried. I was crushed. I cried. I sobbed. A friend said to me "That's why I'm not telling anyone I'm pregnant until I'm through the 1st trimester."
WHAT?!? My heart is breaking and that's what you've got to tell me? Now I was MAD. And not the kind of mad you get at someone driving slow in the left lane when you are running late and you have a screaming baby in the back, but the kind of mad you get when you see RED, you want to just punch someone in the face, and you know you better bite your tongue or else the situation will explode. Because as a friend you expect support.
My husband and I decided to take time to heal. I felt as if my dream of being a mom was being torn away from me.
Nine months later, we decided to begin trying again. This time it took longer. This time it took a surgery to remove endometriosis. And while I was waiting to have a child EVERYONE I knew was getting pregnant. And my closest friends were ignoring my hurt.
Finally in July 2010 I got that positive pregnancy test with very high numbers. I was ECSTATIC! I went in for my 1st appointment to find out I was pregnant with TWINS! I was scared, but so grateful. So excited. So blessed.
This pregnancy had it's ups and downs, but I got to see the doctor more often so my fears were always put at ease. I had such great support from my doctor, and he knew that after all we had been through I needed extra support.
We went in at 16 weeks for THE ultrasound. My doctor came in, and announced it was a boy and a girl. We were beside ourselves with excitement. We were going to have a SON and a DAUGHTER. Owen Paul and Julia Ruth were going to be born in March, and we began planning for them.
On October 30th we went to a college football game, and came home late. When we got home I realized I hadn't felt the babies move in awhile. I got a little panicky. I called the doctor on call, and he said I was only 18 weeks along, and it was normal for me not to feel a lot of movement because they were still small and moving often. He said that if I wanted to give myself peace of mind I could go to the ER.
I talked my husband into it. I wanted to be sure that everything was okay. I was sure it was, but I wanted to hear 2 heartbeats and go home.
We got to the hospital around 3 AM and the nurse came back and said she could only find one heartbeat, but the babies were small so not to worry and we would get an ultrasound. The ultrasound tech came back to get me, and said that my husband couldn't come, but I would be back soon. I was certain that everything was fine. I would see the babies, I would see their heartbeats, and I would go home. My husband didn't need to be there.
As we pulled into the room where the ultrasound was to be done the ultrasound tech said "I will let you watch, and I will answer as many questions as I can, but there may be some things I can't answer."
No big deal. I laid there. She asked questions. She asked me if I knew what we were having. I told her all about Owen Paul and Julia Ruth. I told her how we chose their names. I told her how excited I was. I watched the screen. She confirmed they were a boy and a girl. She checked Owen and did measurements. Something didn't look right to me, and she said that all she could do was let me watch. She checked Julia. She had a healthy heartbeat and was moving. The tech said that she was going to take me back and I would hear from the doctor soon. I asked if we had 2 heartbeats and 2 moving babies. She said "I can't answer that."
I remember getting back to the ER and my husband looking at me and saying "Is everything okay?". I remember saying "Something isn't right. I couldn't see Owen's heartbeat, but maybe I missed something." I remember being hopeful that my children were safe.
The ER doctor walked in with a somber look on his face. I knew he had news he didn't want to tell me, but I was hoping that he was just tired. He sat, and looked at us and said "I have some bad news. We lost one of the babies."
I felt as if all of the air had been sucked out of my body. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't talk. I couldn't think.
My husband and I just held each other. And then I called my parents. That was when reality set in. The moment I had to say the words that I had lost a baby I began sobbing.
I was transferred to the hospital where my OB had privileges, and admitted. The OB on call came by, and said he was going to let the maternal fetal medicine doctor look at me since I had seen her before.
She came by and confirmed that we had lost little Owen. She said the placenta had detached from my uterine lining. She told me I didn't do anything that could have caused it or prevented it. These things happen. It is more likely in twin pregnancies.
As my family arrived I cried more. I began to go through the stages of grief. I began to ask why God allowed this to happen. I began to ask if babies really go to heaven. I had moments of uncontrollable sobbing. I began throwing up. I was so overwhelmed. This sucked. My son was gone. I couldn't get him back.
As friends found out I began to get empty words of comfort. Things like "He's an angel", "He's watching over you now", "He probably had something wrong". Really?
I'll admit I didn't have much grace for those who were trying to comfort me. I didn't want empty words. I didn't want feel good happy words. I wanted truth.
God showed me how to live the next 20 weeks between grief over my son and hope because I still had my daughter to look forward to.
Julia was delivered by c-section on March 11. She was perfect. She is healthy. We talk to her about her brother. And we will always talk to her about her Owen. We don't want to forget him. His life was so important. His life had a purpose. It was very different from hers, but it was filled with purpose.
I also realized that it doesn't matter when you tell people your pregnant. If it is as soon as the test is positive or if it is the day the baby is born or 50 years later. When you lose a child, it hurts.
It doesn't matter if you have tried for years to get pregnant or if you got pregnant by accident. When you lose a child, it hurts.
When you are hurting, you need people to listen, you need people to pray for you, and you need people to pray with you. Not advice. Not someone's personal opinion. Not empty words that you don't believe to be true.
You don't always have to have the answers. Prayers are enough.