October is also a month that is pretty important to so many people, for entirely different, personal, and no doubt very painful reasons.
This month is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, and today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.
Though I haven't personally experienced a pregnancy or infant loss, several people who are very close to me have, and their stories have resonated with me deeply.
Before I was born my mom had a daughter. Her name was Mikaela, and she was born on August 8 (just one day after Julia's birthday). Mikaela had Potter's Syndrome. For one day my parents were able to hold their daughter, kiss her face, and fiercely love their daughter before she passed away.
Another very important person in my life who has been dealt more than her share of pain and loss is my very best friend, Amy... But, I'll let her tell you her story.
This was originally published October 2, 2015, on Amy's blog.
Today my best friend in the whole world celebrates her 5-Year wedding anniversary. While she looks back and remembers all the beautiful friends and family gathered around her, laughing, drinking, celebrating...
I remember standing in the stall of a hotel bathroom, wadding up my chiffon bridesmaid dress and injecting a 1 1/2 inch needle into my butt.
The needle is thick too. It has to be because I was injecting progesterone in oil, a hormone that is often prescribed for women suffering from recurrent pregnancy loss. I nicked a vein, as you sometimes can, and when I pulled the needle out, a fountain of blood squirted out in it's wake. Being prepared for this exact moment, I had a wad of toilet paper tucked into the waistband of my Spanx and was able to put pressure on the bleed right away. I slapped on a bandaid, yanked up my Spanx...and went back out into the party.
Game. Face. On.A Game Face is a vital necessity when you're living in the world of recurrent pregnancy loss and infertility. You see, three days prior to this...I was living in hell. My husband, Kevin and I had just found out we were pregnant...with twins. Exciting times for most, but scary as hell for us. This was pregnancy number three for us. I had suffered two miscarriages prior to this day. Miscarriage one at 12 weeks, miscarriage 2 at 12 weeks 2 day. Miscarriage two began on the due date of Pregnancy 1.
is good like that. So my doctor wrote me a prescription for pregnancy safe pain medicine, handed us my HUGE medical record, and wrote down a list of all the nearest hospitals in KC. We were preparing for the worst to happen while we were there.
I would likely miscarry.Most people probably look at me and think...are you crazy? Stay home! Lay down! Keep your babies safe! But when you're living in the world of recurrent pregnancy loss...life doesn't stop. If I would have skipped out on every special event or evening out because I "might miscarry" or I "might be pregnant" ... I would have been even more miserable than I already was. And guys...I was pretty freaking miserable. It took us three years to get pregnant the first time and then I got the double whammy of being diagnosed a "habitual aborter"...at least, that's what my medical records call recurrent miscarriage.
This is where the game face comes in.
It's party time, remember? My best friend is marrying the love of her life! So we dance, and we laugh, and we fake drink the night away...because the last thing I want to do is tell everyone I'm pregnant with twins but probably going to lose them before I get home. That's the life of a Habitual Aborter. You mask the bad with the good. You perfect your Game Face. Because there's no handicaps in the world of infertility and miscarriage. Every stroke is yours. Every bogey is recorded. And there's no best ball.
Thankfully, I made it through the wedding, but I later lost both those beautiful babies. It wasn't in Kansas City though. Baby A passed away around 9 weeks and Baby B literally fell into my hands over a toilet bowl in labor and delivery at 14 weeks pregnant.
But here's the funny thing...the real kicker...
Today, when my bestie posts a beautiful blog spread, celebrating her amazing day...it doesn't make me sad at all. It doesn't make me mourn the loss of those babies. It makes me feel closer to those precious lives I lost. It makes me feel like I shared one of the most beautiful memories with them. They were with me...inside of me...when I watched my best friend walk down the isle.
They were with me then...
They are with me now...
And they certainly are with this little miracle that I ate fruit loops with in bed this morning.
My point is...regardless of the bad...regardless of the sad...regardless of the horrid memories we all walk around with...it's all shaping us into who we are. You just have to put on your game face, and get back in there. Because shooting for that big WIN is what makes memories worth keeping.
Amy Daws lives in South Dakota with her husband, and miracle daughter, Lorelei. The long-awaited birth of Lorelei is what inspired Amy's first book, a memoir called Chasing Hope, and her passion for writing. Amy is a lover of all things British and her award-nominated romantic comedy series, The London Lovers Series, is centered around Americans in London. It's emotional and self-deprecating with lots of humor sprinkled in. On most nights, you can find Amy and her family dancing to Strawberry Shortcake's theme song or stuffing themselves inside children's-sized playhouses because there is nothing they wouldn't do for their little miracle.
For more of Amy's work, visit: http://www.amydawsauthor.com