It's 18 years ago today since I lost a baby in utero...a miscarriage at 16 weeks...one of the most traumatic and horrific experiences I have been through in my lifetime! I have lost 7 babies in total (to the ten healthy ones I've had). I can't say one was harder than the other. It was all hard! It still is... especially on days like today. It is one of the many reasons I treasure my family, why I feel so blessed and why I don't take life for granted. Life itself is a game of Russian Roulette and you never know when it will all be over!
Treasure those near and dear to you, for life can turn on a dime - in an instant you could be living life without them...and that is truly one of the most painful things to bear. I know because I've had to do it more times than I can care to count and it never gets any easier!
Eighteen years ago I stood on a cliff face in Robe, in South Australia, as I looked out to sea, wishing with all my heart that the outcome had been different. Hearing those words 'I'm sorry, but there's no heartbeat...' are the single worst words a mother can hear. In one second, all of your hopes and dreams are dashed...gone...like dandelions blown away on the breeze...gone in a puff...nothing left but fragments of shattered dreams...life has certainly been like that lately!
With nothing between the Limestone Coast and Antarctica, it's no surprise this region is part of the Shipwreck Coast. More than one hundred vessels have sunk here in the past century.
The turquoise arctic waves lapped at the shore, as the icy fingers of death wrapped themselves around my heart. My hot tears chilled on my cheeks as they fell..I barely felt their warmth before they turned glacial against my skin...The view was breathtaking but I barely noticed...and yet, it is a memory that pierces through the pain and I eagerly attach to when the unwelcome memories spring unbidden to my mind as they sometimes do on days like today when I cannot avoid them.
I am fortunate to remember the times my husband and I marked the moment by releasing helium balloons, or threw rose petals in the ocean at sunset, and got up at sunrise to usher in the day with a walk along the pier in my hometown to remember this huge loss. He wasn't part of my life when I lost my first baby, but he's been with me for others since we met and married. Many times we've travelled this agonising journey together...the last time was in 2010 when we lost a baby that was due exactly 12 months before our last baby arrived on Feb 10, 2011. Both of these little ones shared a due date of Feb 25 (2010 and 2011 respectively). When I started to bleed with my last baby, just hours after the pregnancy test showed positive while we were on an interstate roadtrip, I was sure we would end up with another loss; but he hung in there and we were excited to welcome our tenth baby on the 10th! He was alive and perfect, delivered naturally...a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarian), some 14 hours after I was induced. It was a long, arduous, slow and painful process and probably the hardest labor of them all!
But his birth was a healing birth... his arrival began to mend me back together after a very hard year...he is still my little healer...my peace in troubled waters. He and I are very close after spending his first year of life struggling with his ill health and getting him over a big hurdle. I honestly didn't know at times if he would make it, he was one very sick little boy! (Read about it here.) But here we are 3.5 years later...and he is thriving! Here he is below with his elder brother who is 7. That Giraffe he's holding belongs to his brother (pictured)...it's his fave toy that he's had since he was a year old, and yet he shares it with his little brother all the time. No greater love have a brother that he will share his most prized possession with his sibling. I am so grateful for the love they share! There is just nothing more important than family! And never is it more evident than on days like today when I really need all of mine!!! That sibling bond is an amazing thing. The love of a parent to child is so special. These family ties are all that make life worth living ...but when they unravel (for any reason) it is the worst pain any human can endure...it leaves you feeling wounded and breathless, broken...unable to keep going. Family is truly all that keeps me going in this world. Without mine - I am nothing!
You can read more about our baby's journey here
and/or here 'Lifestyle Changes.'