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Empty Arms and Heart

by Daisymaelw

Date: Mon, 8 Nov 1999

There were only two things I desperately wanted to be as a young girl growing up, and that was a teacher and a mother. When I met my husband, I instantly knew that we were soul mates...we both shared the same hopes and dreams and wanted children. We waited 5 years into our marriage to try to conceive, and luckily, got pregnant right on the first try!!! We were soooo overjoyed that we contacted everyone we knew to share in our happiness! I started a daily journal the day that I found out I was pregnant, and began a weekly ritual of shopping for at least one item per week for gifts for the baby. I had no morning sickness and I reveled at the fact that I felt great, everyone admired my "glow" and said that I never looked happier! My Ob/Gyn was such a wonderful person, and when my husband and I went for our 9 wk check-up, she was going to let us hear the baby's heart beat for the first time! She waved the transducer over my belly and all she could detect was bowel sounds from me, but, "Not to worry!" she told us! So she scheduled an in-office ultrasound the next a.m. to put our minds at ease, and told us to bring a blank VCR tape to record the moment. We were so excited, we also invited the baby's Godparents to come along for the show! The tech showed us the baby's heart, etc, and we even captured the baby sucking it's thumb!!! My mother-in-law gave me a replica of a fetus at 12 weeks during my twelfth week mark and we cried and marveled at it's size!

The start of my 14th week, I spotted a little bit and called my dr. in a panic, and she had me come in for an exam. When she did an internal, she gasped a little and told me that she wanted me to go to the hospital for an ultra-sound. Before I left, she asked if my husband was at work and I said, "yes". When I went for the ultrasound, I swore I would try to remain calm as the technician made idle small talk about the fact that I was a first time mommy, and when she pulled the image up onto the screen, she immediately pulled the screen towards her and gasped. I sat up a little as she was typing the words onto the screen POST GRAVIDA. I asked her if everything was alright, but she said she wasn't allowed to say anything because she wasn't a dr.. So, I drove home, and put my feet up (DR's orders!) and surprisingly, my husband came home at 2p.m.! The phone rang shortly after and he rushed to get it...then, came one of the worst feelings I ever experienced in my life...he told me that we had lost the baby! We both cried our hearts out, and he told me that the Dr scheduled a D&C for me the following morning because they discovered that the baby had already been dead for two weeks and they didn't want me to wait to miscarry. Then we began to call our close family and friends to ask for prayers and support, and the next day I left the hospital feeling totally empty and alone. The doctor later informed me that it had been a girl.

I had two weeks off from work and I just couldn't face going back to questions and stares, but one of the teachers I worked with (yes, I did fulfill one goal!!) called to tell me her personal miscarriage story and urged me to come back to work with my "head held high". So, I did. I got the usual comments..."Don't worry, you're STILL young", "It was God's will", "You'll have many more chances", etc.. It was a very hard time for me.

My husband and I waited the allotted 6 months before trying again...this time, I found out that I was pregnant on Thanksgiving morning (DEFINITELY a sign from God!)...I went to work the Monday after the holiday, and I immediately began sharing my news with the teachers and my Principal...they were very happy for me. It was to be short-lived however, because one hour later, when I went to the bathroom, I discovered that I was spotting! I left work and went straight to my dr. She sent me to a perinatologist and my husband and I went the following day. She did an ultrasound and said that I was at approximately 6 weeks gestation and that due to a high glucose reading from my previous pregnancy, she suspected that I may have gestational diabetes, and that I had to closely monitor my sugar, diet, and be on complete bed rest until my next visit at 9 wks. She also said that with the chance that I may have gestational diabetes, I also had a high risk of deformities, etc.
So, I followed Drs orders diligently. My wonderful husband (who is not a morning person, I might add!) got up every a.m. at 5 to make my breakfast for me, and he would then pack a cooler with snacks, fluids and my lunch, and place it next to the couch which became my permanent resting place, except when I had to get up to pee! My mother-in-law would come over a few times a day to let the dogs out for me, and then my husband would return home after a full day's work to do the housework and cook my dinner.

The 9th week's ultrasound was still inconclusive and I was told to return for another one at the 11 week mark. Unfortunately, my husband couldn't leave work that day, so my mother-in-law insisted on taking me. She waited in the waiting room. The
ultrasound tech let out a familiar gasp, and left to go get the dr. The Dr took over from there, and I could plainly see the baby's heart beat so I knew that was a good sign! She told me to get dressed and we would talk in her office. As she was leaving the room, she turned and said, "Is there someone here with you to take you home?" My stomach turned upside down and I told her that my mother-in-law was there. I quickly dressed and met her in her office. She immediately thrust the sonogram films at me and said that SHE still was in shock, and that she didn't know how to tell me this, but I was carrying conjoined twins!!!!! My whole body went on shut-down and her words became a blur to me...all I could think of was I was a freak, carrying this deformity inside of me. She continued to speak, but I couldn't hear one single word that she said. Finally the noise stopped and I heard, "Do you have any questions???" I remember asking, "What are my options?" She said that there was no chance for separation because the baby basically had one body, but 2 heads, and that there were only body organs in the one fetus, and even if I delivered at term, it wouldn't survive. My world was spinning out of control. She urged me to go to Miami for an abortion and gave the name of a clinic down there. I remember walking out to the waiting room seeing all of the women with their huge bellies and smiles, and my mother-in-law's bubbly face waiting for the "good news"...I kept telling her that I needed some fresh air and that I would tell her outside. When we got to her car, I nearly collapsed as I told her...I couldn't even cry, I was that numb. We called my husband and met him on the road and we finally broke down together.
The next day, we went to my regular OB/GYN to ask for help...we didn't want to face the horrors of an abortion in a clinic when I could be treated in a hospital...I had good insurance, why would I be forced to go to a clinic?
She told us to go home and she would "pray on it" and get back to us later that afternoon. We left her office and I began to feel a little crampy.
When I got home, I was hemorrhaging. We called the Dr back and were told to rush to the hospital for an emergency D&C. I was in the throes of another miscarriage.

I remained numb for months, just going through the paces. Neither one of my Drs had even seen a set of conjoined twins in all of their years of practice, and I became a "case study"...they had done chromosomal studies on the "specimens" which came back inconclusive, and again, we were told that it would have been twin girls. We tried again 6 months later only to have a miscarriage at 6 weeks.

We waited two years before going to an infertility specialist who ran a battery of tests on both of us. My husband was perfectly fine, but they found that I had enough hormones to get pregnant, but once that happened, my levels would plummet, killing the fetuses. We went through one insemination to no avail, and decided to give ourselves a break.

So, where are we now? We have been married for 13 and 1/2 years, and we don't know where we stand...my husband informed me about 8 months ago that he doesn't want to try again...he's too old and doesn't have the patience anymore....I go through periods where I crave to have a child of our own.
Someone to hug everyday when they come home from school. Someone to tell me, "I love you, Mommy!"". Someone to pass on all of the wondrous things I had dreamed of doing with MY child like baking Christmas cookies, doing art projects, creating blown-out Easter egg trees like my mother taught me, being there unconditionally for a little human being who was a product of my husband and my combined love...

I continue to teach Pre-K and tell people that I get my "kid fix" that way, but I wonder...am I really? Or am I just saying that to smooth over the emptiness I feel inside??? I see so many parents mistreating their children everyday at work, and I think, "If I could just be a parent, I would help to make this world a better place!"...I, too, wonder, do I actually have the patience myself to go through it all again? I am almost 38. I was a senior in high school when my mom was 38!

I see how much my husband loves kids...when we have family gatherings, you can always be assured to find him engrossed in Lego building with his nephews, or actively involved with them...it breaks my heart. "This should be OUR kids he's playing with!" a little voice will say inside my head, and then I am wracked with feelings of guilt for having thought that. Last year on Mother's day, I had to go to the grocery store for a few things. I was greeted at the front door by an employee handing out carnations to moms. He thrust one out at me, and I politely told him ,"Thanks, but I'm not a mother", to which he replied, "Don't you want one anyway?"... "no, thanks", I said.

When I went to the deli counter, a middle-aged woman with snow white hair waited on me. After she finished my order, I told he to have a happy Mother's Day, to which she said sadly, "Oh, I'm not a mother...I could never have any kids"...here we were, two strangers, suddenly united in a sad little sisterhood. "I'm sorry", was all that I could get out.

I see this woman working every week and now I begin to compare myself to her...although she has a constant smile on her face, you can see the emptiness if you look closely behind her eyes...she appears to be just "going through the motions". That's how I feel, too. I feel that I have missed out on the ONE thing that I really wanted out of life, and I feel cheated. I know that sometimes life is not fair, and I try to always be optimistic and think, "God must have greater plans for me!"...A fellow teacher who is very spiritual, once told me after my second miscarriage, "Jodi, I pray for you every night, and Last night I realized that God must have wanted you to be a mother to ALL children because most certainly are...you are a teacher, and when I see all of the love and caring that you pour out to all of your students, I know that that's what God had planned for you!" She hugged me and cried with me, and whenever I feel emptiness due to being child-less, I try to reflect back on that moment.

My husband and I have a wonderfully strong relationship and I am very thankful for that, but nothing can replace the sense of failure that I feel inside. I really feel as if I have let him down and I don't know if I will ever feel whole again, but I am trying hard to remain positive, and to take it one day at a time.

I feel as if a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders and thank you for giving me the opportunity to vent...this is the first time that I have been able to do so! I'm sorry that I rambled on for so long, but maybe my story can help others. God bless!

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