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Five Tiny Names Engraved on My Heart"
Jan 15, 2003

"Five Tiny Names Engraved on My Heart"

This is my story of joy, heartache, hope, faith, and courage. Sadly, five of my seven pregancies have ended in tragedy. I was 20 years old when I got married to Ted in 1990(not his real name). I was very young and in college, and although I knew I very much wanted to be a mother, I decided I would wait till I had started my career. Then in December of 1992, my sister had my nephew and he became the apple of my eye. When I saw my precious nephew Justin (not his real name), I knew I was ready for a little baby of my own. I stopped taking the Pill. I waited anxiously, but month after month went by.... and I wasn't pregnant. I began to get a little worried. Why wasn't I getting pregnant? I got a position as a kindergarten teacher and still no pregnancy. At that time I began to pray very hard.... Then, just before Thanksgiving of 1993, I began to suspect I was pregnant. My prayers had been answered! I was going to have a baby!!! My baby was due to born in August of 1994, just before my birthday! I was so very happy, but also very worried and apprehensive. Would I be a good mommy? I hoped and prayed I could be a good Mommy to this very precious baby, this unique gift from God above. My thoughts were always with my baby, and for nearly two weeks, that was all I thought about. I knew in my heart that this baby was going to be a little boy, and I dreamed about what he would look like, and imagined him playing with my nephew. Then, tragedy struck. On December fifth, I began having some spotting, which quickly turned to bleeding. I had to call everyone up and tell them I suspected I was losing my baby, before I even had the chance to come forth and tell them I was expecting. That was to have been my Christmas gift to my family, to tell them there was to be a new baby in the family--- but that gift was shattered, cause my doctor said my hcg level was dropping, and my baby was miscarrying. A day later, on December 6, 1993, I lost the baby, almost one year to the date of my nephew's birth. I cried my heart out over the loss of the baby. I was consumed by sorrow, but somewhere, deep inside, I still had hope. My doctor said that one out of every 4 pregnancies ended in miscarriage. She said I most likely just had a bit of bad luck, and everything should be fine if I wanted to try again. She told me to wait one month to heal, then advised me to try again. I couldn't even think of trying again. I was so sad. Christmas was coming, but I felt overwhelmed by the depth of my sorrow. My baby was gone... and he didn't even have a name.
It had taken me over eleven months to become pregnant; I was young and niave, and I didn't think it could happen again, just like that. I was wrong. My husband and I were only together once in the next month--- on Christmas Eve... and that night I became pregnant again. About a week after the New Year, I began to suspect. A home pregnancy test showed that 'yes', I was going to have another baby. Again, I thought my prayers had been answered. I was filled with joy--- I had just lost a baby and by some miracle, I had been granted this precious gift--- the chance to bear another. I had so much hope for this new little baby... I imagined her to be a little girl.... and I smiled deep in my heart, believing she would be strong, and praying she would be born. I began to call her Cari, and I talked to her daily in my mind, telling her I loved her and to be strong... My doctor was very worried when I went in and confirmed my pregnancy. She told me that it wasn't wise to conceive this soon after a miscarriage, and she was worried, because my progesterone level was low, and she didn't know if the baby was going to make it. I too had a nagging worry that this baby might not be okay, but I had such a strong feeling and the bond with my unborn baby was growing deeper, and I believed that this time my baby would be okay. My doctor told me if I wanted to give the baby a chance, I would need progesterone suppositories up till 12 weeks along, but even with their use, I might still have a miscarriage. I knew immediately I had to do all in my power to help my precious baby fight for her life. I left the doctor's office, knowing I had to take money from our savings to pay for the suppositories, but feeling happy, cause the doctor said my baby was due in late September. When I told Ted what the doctor said, he didn't want me to take the money from our savings to pay for the suppositories. He said, "You'll probably just have a miscarriage anyway!" I didn't listen to him. I got the suppositories and began using them, despite his protests. That night I took off my wedding ring, because in my heart I knew I could not love him and we did not have a happy marriage, if he wasn't willing to fight for our baby with the strength of which I was willing to fight. In that moment, he did something which could never be repaired, for when he said those words it told me he didn't really love our baby---- and if he didn't love the baby, he did not love me.
The next few weeks were so rough. I used the suppositories and prayed they would be enough to save my unborn baby's life. Everyday, I spoke to the baby in my mind, telling her to hang on, to fight, and how deeply I loved her. I imagined her so small, and growing inside me all curled up, and that brought a smile. As my bond with Cari grew, she was slowly losing her fight. I began having sharp, ripping pains in my belly, and I knew she could not fight much longer. Her life was ebbing away. The pain grew worse and worse, and I had no other choice but to realize, I would soon be losing another baby. Then one day in late January, I began to bleed. I went to the doctor and she was so sad when she told me the horrible news. I was about to have a second miscarriage. On January 26, 1994, little Cari was born too soon. She was only about the size of my little finger, with tiny black dots for eyes and tiny arms and legs, with hands and feet which were just beginning to form. She was so small, but beautiful. She was my daughter, and ohhhh how I cried over her tiny, perfect little form. A day after I lost her, I went in for an ultrasound, and then my doctor wanted to do a D and C, to clean out my uterus in hopes of giving a future baby a better chance. I didn't want to think of another baby. All I could think of was little Cari. I loved her so much and it was hard to believe she was gone. (Still today, as I sit here nine years later, I am holding back the tears that the memories of this loss causes--- its such a bittersweet feeling, loving so much, and hurting in the same proportion!) I had the D and C, and I began to grieve. My baby was gone... and so was the baby before her... and my heart and body were empty. I didn't know where to turn. My family and friends didn't seem to understand. I heard so many insensitive and well-meaning comments which made my pain seem to grow worse. I heard, "There was probably something wrong with "it" (as though she was a thing), and its probably a blessing you lost "it" anyway," "its a good thing you lost "it" before you could get attached to "it" (I was deeply attached and bonded), and "you will have others, you are young" (I could only hope, after having lost two). I cried over the things people said, and thought why can't they understand. I had just lost my baby, and I loved her.... and they were minimizing my pain and grief. It seemed like no one I spoke to truly understood. And my husband didn't even want to talk about it. I had no one to turn to. I thought about all the prayers I had prayed to God when carrying my babies. I wondered why my prayers for a baby had been answered, but when I became pregnant I had lost the babies, despite praying for their health and safety. I began to thank that God had another plan for me, but I didn't know what that would be. I read books on miscarriage and infant loss to find ways to deal with my pain. These books encouraged me to give my babies a name, a special name to remember them by. I named my babies Caden Anthony and Cari Lee and I wrote them each a letter saying 'hello' and 'goodbye'. I began to read religious books in an attempt to find comfort and meaning in what had happened to my babies. I began writing poems about my loss and that told of my shattered dreams. But through it all I had hope, hope for a brighter tomorrow; my hope and faith slowly lifted me out of my sorrow, and although the pain was still there, in the distance I was able to see a tiny ray of golden sun. I knew I had a bounty of love in my heart for a baby, so I began praying again, praying for a baby to love and the means to make my dreams possible.
In May of 1994, I started taking Clomid, a fertility drug. My doctor explained that it would better regulate my monthly cycles, and make me ovulate at a better time and also help to make the developing egg stronger before conception. She thought a luteal phase defect (which can cause aging of the developing egg and also lack of progesterone which helps the baby attach in the uterus) was causing the losses, and that the babies didn't have enough hormones during my pregnancies. She was confident that the Clomid would help, although there were no guarantees. In June of 1994, I discovered I was pregnant. I felt joy, but apprehension. I was pleased I had the chance for a new baby, but also very worried, due to my previous losses. I went to the doctor right away and she told me all looked good, but to take it easy and hope for the best. I gave up my teaching job, thinking I would only concentrate on my baby, and giving him the best possible chance.
To make a long story, very, very short... I had a very good pregnancy. I only had one bad scare in the first trimester, with a little bit of light spotting, but otherwise, it was a normal pregnancy. I got lots of rest and ate right... and what a joy to watch my tummy grow and grow and grow! It made me think of my other babies, and how I never had this joy with them. It made me sad sometimes, but overall I was very happy. Still I had underlying fear, I would go sit by the baby's crib at night, and I would cry and cry, thinking of the loss of the two before him, and worrying if I would ever get to hold him and tell him of my love. Deep down, I could never completely bond with my unborn son, fearing that somehow, someway I would lose him, too--- and the tragedy of having lost Cari was like a giant gaping hole in my heart. My sister was pregnant at the same time, and my nephew David (not his real name) was born four and half months before my baby. Then in March of 1995 (and week overdue), I was blessed with a baby boy weighing seven pounds, ten ounces. We named him Jason (not his real name), and I was ever so happy! Ted and I had been having some major troubles after the loss of the first two babies, but Jason seemed to smooth all that over in some way. We spent every moment devoted to our son, and the next couple of years seemed to be very very happy ones. Life was good and it appeared all the tragedy was so far behind us. Every time I looked into my little boy's eyes, I was reminded of the beauty of life and the joy of the miracle God had given me. And somehow, losing Cari and Caden now had some meaning.... because my little Jason could not have known life had they lived, and in that I was grateful--- even though as a mother, I would not have traded one child for another, but was comforted in knowing my Jason knew life despite that tragedy.
When Jason was two, we began thinking of having a little sibling for him. He was a very mature two, and the absolute joy of my life. My entire world revolved around my little son, and I began thinking of how wonderful it would be for him to have somebody to play with and love. A month after his second birthday, I went to the doctor for a check-up and told her I was ready to begin trying for another baby. She told me all looked good and I started taking Clomid once again. To my surprise and joy, I became pregnant right away!!! I cannot express how much happiness I felt. It was so much more than when I discovered I was carrying Jason--- I had just lost Cari right before that... but this time it was different; I had nothing to fear, the Clomid had helped, and my prayers had been answered with the birth of my son. I went to the doctor, had my hormones tested, and everything looked absolutely great. I was given a due date of February 21, 1998, and my doctor said everything was fine. I felt great, too. I had a big appetite, and felt absolutely glowing. I had said a prayer and believed God answered it by blessing me with a precious baby who would soon be in my arms with his brother. I immediately began to bond with my little unborn baby, imagining him to be a precious little boy. I could see him in my mind's eye, with gorgeous shy-blue eyes and soft blond hair like my Jason, and I could see in my heart his precious baby smile. I gave him the name Caleb. Caleb was my heart. I know his tiny heart beat with the same rhythm as my own. The love I had for him was unlike any other I have ever known. Everyday, I talked to my Caleb. I told him all about his big brother, and how much we loved him, and how we could not wait till he was here, and all the wonderful things we would do together. I was bonding so deeply with my unborn son. I could feel his presense so strong, and I knew he was going to be a very very special baby. (This is so hard for me... as I sit here writing this, the pain is still so very strong, it is like a part of my heart has been ripped away!) As I bonded with the baby, so did Jason. Everyday, he patted my tummy and talked to his little brother. Those are the moments I treasure, years later... seeing my little Jason, his eyes so bright with love, a little grin on his sweet face, saying, "Hi, I'm your big brother. I love you... when will you come out and play with me?" as he softly patted my tummy where little Caleb grew. Somehow, we just knew he was going to be a little boy. Even through this happiness, a little fear somewhere deep inside still remained, and so I would pray and pray, asking God to keep my little baby safe, praying for his health and the chance to hold him and whisper "I love you." It wasn't to be. In late July, when 12 weeks along, I noticed a tiny pink spot in my underwear. It scared me to death, but I still couldn't believe anything was wrong. It just couldn't be blood. I just couldn't lose this baby. It just couldn't be happening.
I went to the doctor and she tried to reassure me. Everything looked good. High hormones, entering my second trimester, a good previous pregnancy. But when she put the doppler on my stomach to listen to the baby's heartbeat, she got nothing. I really got worried, but again she reassured me. She said she would schedule an ultrasound, cause sometimes the heartbeat can be hard to pick up. A day later, I had the ultrasound. I was terrified, though I tried not to show it. I tried to be calm. I tried to convince myself everything would be allright, that Caleb was allright. I had prayed all night the night before, asking God again to take good care of my baby and telling Him how much I loved him and needed him with me. I couldn't imagine losing Caleb, my special, precious baby. The ultrasound technician said nothing as she performed the ultrasound, then she looked at Ted and me with an almost emotionless expression and said she had to go get my doctor. I wondered what was going on, cause she had not even showed me the screen. I wanted to see my baby. I was so anxious to see my little Caleb. It seemed like forever before my doctor came into the room. Her expression was absolute sorrow, and I knew almost immediately that Caleb was gone. Then she said the words no mother ever wants to hear, "I am sorry. Your baby has died!" I just remember screaming and saying, "No No No!!! Not again!!!" but it was true. The doctor turned the screen towards me, and it was there on the ultrasound, my only picture I would ever see of my beloved son, Caleb. There indeed was a form of a baby, appearing quite large, but malformed and lifeless. My precious baby, Caleb was gone. In that moment, a part of me too died. A part of my heart. I remember asking the doctor how could this be, how could I have lost this baby too? She had no answers, she just said it appeared he didn't develop properly and although my hormones were good this time, the baby had just stopped growing. I cried and cried. I felt such total despair. Even the thought of little Jason at home didn't seem to bring me any comfort. I was terrified for him too, that something would happen to him, and I would lose him too! I cried my heart out, thinking that all I loved would turn to dust. I was given two awful options, go home and try to miscarry naturally, or go in and have a D and C and just get it over with... both were terrible, but I could not imagine allowing anyone to just go in and remove my precious baby in such a manner, so I went home in a daze, knowing that any moment, I would begin to bleed and my baby, my darling Caleb, would be no more. Over the next day, I spent many hours crying... and I could not sleep... and I was numb... and not myself. My little Jason didn't understand, and I was afraid I would soon end up in the hospital, so although it broke my heart, he went to stay a week or so with his grandparents. I cried my heart out as I told him (my only child left in this world) goodbye and watched him drive away. It tore my heart out as I let him go. I was soooo afraid I would never see him again... just as I knew my other babies I would never hold or see. Over the next week and half, I started having bleeding.... which grew worse and worse. Then on August ninth, I hemorrhaged and needed an emergency D and E. The baby was so big, it could not pass on its own, and strong bleeding set in. When I woke up from the procedure, I was on the operating table and the nurses were preparing to take me back to recovery. I heard one nurse say to the other, "I told you not to wake her before we got her into recovery!" but it was too late, I had already seen the metal bowl in which were the bloody remains of my baby. It was the only sight I would ever get of my baby, and I wanted to die. I started screaming and praying and praying I would die, and then suddenly I began to hemmorrhage once again. I was given shots in my legs to make my blood clot, then I passed out once again.
I did not die. But part of me was indeed dead. I poured all my energies into caring for my little son and also into caring for my two small nephews while my sister went through nursing school. Three little boys became the center of my life. A deep sense of emptiness was all I felt, and long periods of daily crying went on for weeks and weeks. I couldn't understand why my life was so full of sorrow. Why did I lose three of my four children? Why didn't God answer my prayers?
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