My 8 Angels
Content Notice: This blog post is a story of a mother’s journey to grow her family. It mentions miscarriage, grief, and domestic violence. Please navigate away if you are sensitive to these topics.
Our journey to having children started off great! Before we knew it we had three healthy, happy children. One boy and 2 girls. A few years went by, and we still weren’t sure if we were done growing our family. After struggling in our marriage, hitting an all-time low, and then coming back together to renew our wedding vows, we knew we wanted another child. What we didn’t know is how hard that would be. We had never had any trouble conceiving or carrying a child before. Why would we now?
You see, after struggling in our marriage, I found companionship elsewhere. That relationship turned out to be very abusive. Not only for me, but my children as well. On the very last occasion, it landed my sweet, precious, and innocent 2 year old child in the emergency room. The abuse for my children stopped then and there. It trailed on for me, because I had to deal with police, CPS (Child Protective Services), that person, and the court system. Although we did eventually get justice, the trauma of it all will be with me forever, and has affected my health.
In the process of it all, I had my first miscarriage. We had taken a vacation to North Carolina and came back with a surprise. I was pregnant. A couple of weeks after that, I miscarried what is called a blighted ovum. I called my sweet midwife for advice, and she explained what a blighted ovum is, a condition that occurs when a gestational sac develops without an embryo. It was so painful, physically and emotionally. My husband was away at work. My children, I couldn’t tell them. I went outside and sat on the porch while I just ugly cried. I hurt so bad. I was 7 or 8 weeks pregnant, and then I wasn’t.
A few months later, it happened again. It was easier physically this time, but my heart still hurt.
Another few months past and again, I lost a child.
And then, another. This time only one month had passed. Why? Why was I losing my babies? That’s four in one year. After stepping back and thinking we couldn’t have any more children, 5 months later, I got the positive pregnancy test. I couldn’t do anything but cry. I was crying out of fear. Would I lose this child too? We hugged for so long, happy that we were pregnant again, but fearful of what seemed to be the inevitable.
On February 12, 2013, almost 2 weeks after my due date, a big, healthy baby girl made her arrival. We had made it!
Everyone always told me that we would know and have this “done” feeling when our family felt complete. I didn’t have that. My nurturing spirit would take all the children in the world if it could. We decided not to do anything permanent, but also not to try to have anymore. Well...we all know what that means. After flying up to Philadelphia, PA to see my husband for the weekend, I flew back with a surprise. I couldn’t believe it! I didn’t let myself get excited until my 1st trimester was up, and even then I was nervous to be excited. I was due December 4, 2014, however on December 29, she was FINALLY born.
We definitely knew we were done growing our family. After 5 children and 4 losses, we had that “done” feeling. I called and set an appointment up for my husband at the doctor to do something about that. January 21, that was the day. Ha ha! Work called, and he had to go. That appointment got cancelled! So, three months later, breastfeeding and all, I had another miscarriage. I was so confused and hurt. I had never gotten pregnant while breastfeeding, but it happened. We were careful after that, or so we thought. 8 months later, near the first birthday of our December baby, I miscarried for the seventh time. We could not keep doing this; I could not keep going through this! We made my husband another appointment for a vasectomy. This time we were able to keep the appointment, and all was well until...one week later. I started spotting. “No...it can’t be”, I thought to myself. After numerous pregnancy tests, and all having faint lines, I knew it was happening again. “It would be the last time”, I told myself. “It won’t last long”. Two weeks drug on, cramping and bleeding. It was done. My eighth loss, and such heartache. I often wonder: were they all girls, surely there was a boy in there somewhere, should I name them, should I tell my children, what would they have looked like? I try not to blame myself, but it’s hard not to. A little bit of me will always be missing, but I hope they know I love them. Every single one of them!
Written by Kelly Burnett
Kelly Burnett is birth and bereavement doula with Orchard Births. To find out more about Kelly and what she offers, please check out her profile.