Lilah is our forever baby.
The Hubs and I decided to start trying for a baby at the beginning of June, 2008. We were blown away when we got pregnant on the very first try. It all seemed too good to be true. It was. By the end of July, we found out via ultrasound that the pregnancy wasn't viable. Shortly after, I began to miscarry. In many ways, I was lucky. The miscarriage happened naturally, with no need for medical intervention. Of course, I was monitored by the Early Pregnancy Assessment Clinic at BC Women's Hospital, and I was given options, but we chose to let my body do what it needed to do. Thankfully, nothing further was needed, and we only had to wait until I'd had one regular menstrual cycle before we could start trying again. Physically, the pain was bearable. Although it was certainly unpleasant, a cocktail of over-the-counter pain-killers and anti-inflamatories was really all that was needed to manage it. But emotionally... emotionally... that's another story. It was the most devastating thing I had ever experienced.
I am not at all religious, and I believe that an embryo or fetus doesn't really become a "baby" until it can survive outside the mother's womb. Because of this (and perhaps because I never saw a heartbeat or the movements of a little bean on the ultrasound), I don't feel that we lost a "baby" per se. More the idea or dream of a baby. That didn't make it hurt any less. To be given such a gift only to have it snatched away a few short weeks later... horrendous. At the time, I would have preferred several months' worth of negative pregnancy tests than to have been taunted so. The platitude "It just wasn't meant to be" rattled around my own brain and was offered by others. My silent response was always, "Why the hell not???!!!"
Flash forward to today:
February 26th. One year to the day since the due date of that first pregnancy. If that one had been "meant to be," we would have a one-year-old (give or take a few days). Instead, we have almost-eight-month-old Lilah. And I wouldn't have it any other way. I only have to see her smile, hear her giggle, watch her wrinkle her nose at a new food, smell her delicious little head, or feel her body resting against mine, and all is right with the world. Everything is as it should be.
Yes, I experienced a loss when that first pregnancy ended. I most certainly lost my pregnancy innocence. My second pregnancy was fraught with anxiety. I rode an almost constant roller coaster of emotion, with the lowest of lows between appointments with my doctor, and the highest of highs after hearing Lilah's heartbeat on doppler or seeing her little body squirm on the ultrasound screen. The first trimester was particularly hard, but I really didn't feel I could relax and enjoy until I was about 28 or 30 weeks along.
But overall, I can honestly say that, through that experience, I think I gained more than I lost.
Had it not been for my miscarriage, I wouldn't have joined the message boards on iVillage. I wouldn't have met and become friends with some of the most wonderful women I have ever had the privilege of knowing. These women are spread out across North America and Europe. Some of them are miscarriage survivors like myself. Others have babies who were born within days or weeks of Lilah's birth. And still others are still on their journey towards motherhood. Whatever their situation, these are some of the most supportive friends a girl could ever hope for. I never thought of myself as someone who would have "internet friends," or that I could become so invested in the lives of people I had never actually met in person. But there is something to be said for the (mostly) judgement-free zone of internet message boards that unite those in similar life situations.
I also like to think I gained a greater empathy through my experience. I will never again ask a couple the dreaded question, "so, when are you going to have kids?" You never know what someone has gone through when it comes to fertility and baby-making. If they want to tell you, they will. We can all do without the nosy questions.
Most of all, what I went through led me (and the Hubs) to where we are today. Contented parents to the sweetest, most delightful little creature on the planet, our forever baby.