Friday, October 15, 2010

Five years ago

Not long ago, I never would have imagined I’d be where I am today: happily married to the man of my dreams for 10 years and the mother of two healthy, unbelievably adorable children.

We got married at 19 and 20, and we knew we wanted to spend several years together before we started a family.

After five years, we decided it was time. We got pregnant right away – it was Halloween 2005 – and I made an appointment with my OB/GYN as soon as I possible.

 We were definitely pregnant, but it was still very early – only six weeks along. The doctor’s office loaded me up with goodie bags full of pregnancy magazines, prenatal vitamins, the infamous What to Expect When You are Expecting, and more. How exciting! My beloved husband and I were about to embark on a wondrous new adventure, and we couldn’t wait. Immediately, we started telling everyone.

Unfortunately, our celebration ended abruptly. Not even a week later, I started bleeding and cramping. Immediately, I went back to my OB/GYN and she confirmed what we hoped would not be true. We were having a miscarriage.

Along with a broken heart, I left the office that day with a single brochure that insensitively spoke on what happens when you have a miscarriage and a prescription for pain medication.

I cried for days – for the child we would never know; for my physical and emotional pain; for the fear of the unknown.

Support from our family and friends was crucial. And a few of my girl friends confided in me that they, too, had had a miscarriage. It was helpful to know I wasn’t alone, but I still felt like a black sheep... And it bothered me – why was it that miscarriages were not talked about? Why did it feel like when something so special and important went south that it was unmentionable, like a dirty secret? …And why was this happening to us?

A couple of months later, we decided to try again. And by April 2006, we were pregnant. This time we saw and heard a heartbeat! Again, we were given tokens and gifts fit for a loving couple expecting their first baby. At this point, I had heard that it’s common to have a miscarriage before you have your first child. So we thought it was certain that we would get to meet this baby, and we started telling people. We excitedly thought, This is it! It’s real! We’re going to be parents!

We were shocked – and crushed – when I started bleeding and cramping again. I rushed to my OB/GYN’s office where the little heartbeat we had seen only a few days earlier on the sonogram was still.

Again, I cried for days. This time, the experience was more painful physically. And we were asked to look for the baby, so we could send it away for genetic testing. We never found him or her.

We took some time off from trying to start a family. We were both drained.

In March 2007, we were pregnant for a third time. With this pregnancy, I felt different. I remember driving to work one day and finding a live lady bug in my car. How’d she get in here? It must be a lucky sign, I thought. So I started calling this baby “Bug.” And I just knew we were destined to meet him or her. So when I started bleeding and cramping for a third time, I could not believe it.

What is wrong with me? Why can’t I carry a child? A third miscarriage – really?! My husband and I love each other so much. Why can we not create life?

It seemed we were just not meant to have children.

This miscarriage was the most painful of all. And this time, we were able to send the baby away for genetic testing. Unfortunately, the results were inconclusive.

We decided to switch to an OB/GYN who specialized in fertilization.

Surprisingly, we learned were pregnant for a fourth time in May 2007. My new OB/GYN immediately put me on progesterone, and I was able to carry our miracle baby boy to full term.

Dylan Anthony Forbus was born on Jan. 2, 2008.

And his baby sister, Arley Rae Forbus, was born on June 17, 2010.

Now our little family is complete.

We will never forget our three babies we didn’t get to meet. They changed our lives forever, and we appreciate Dylan and Arley more than words can say.

You’ve heard the expression, Everything happens for a reason. At the time we were having miscarriages, it made me livid, but now I can see the truth in it. I know I’m a better mom, wife, daughter and friend because of what my family has been through.

I encourage anyone who has experienced the loss of a child or children to let yourself feel – it’s painful, but being numb is worse.

And your experience is yours – no one completely identifies with what you are going through – but you are not alone.

For those who are fortunate enough not to go through this type of loss, don’t be afraid to be there for your family or friends who aren’t as fortunate. More than ever, they need to know you care.

Nationally, Oct. 15 is recognized as National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. I haven’t done anything special on that day myself, but our three babies are never far from my mind. Since it’s rarely discussed, I don’t know how others deal with the loss of their babies. For me, I try to take the lessons I’ve learned and help others. How about you?

Mandy Forbus
Sr. Marketing Specialist
Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Hurst-Euless-Bedford

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