When I stopped taking my birth control after my wedding, about to turn 29, I never anticipated I would have any trouble getting pregnant. I come from a big extended family and knew that my mother had never experienced miscarriage, so I didn’t think I would either.
Getting pregnant did not prove to be a problem. That moment when I got the positive test was just like the commercial. I was so excited. I could not wait for my husband to come home to show him the test. We shared the news with our parents immediately, along with a few close friends.
About a week and a half after that positive test, I began to feel intense waves of cramping, soon accompanied by spotting. I didn’t really panic at first. I read on just about every website and blog that cramping and spotting in the first trimester was normal. It didn’t take long, however, until the pain rose to a level that was concerning. Having visited the doctor, and with two blood tests taken, it was confirmed that I was having a miscarriage.
I told the people who knew about my pregnancy that I had lost it. Whilst I was devastated, I found it difficult to face the emotional pain of the loss.
A second heartbreak
Soon after, with my body having recovered, we decided to try again. It wasn’t long before I was holding another positive pregnancy test. I was more cautious about telling people this time around – I didn’t want to tell people until I was further along.
At around 12 weeks, whilst having an ultrasound, I found out that my pregnancy was affected by triploidy and was a partial molar pregnancy. This is very rare, not hereditary, and totally random. I couldn’t believe that this was happening to me – I felt completely stunned, like I’d been hit by lightning twice.
My doctor scheduled me in for an operation the following week. I was petrified. During this period, all I can remember doing is crying, shedding constant tears.
Road to recovery
My road to recovery and healing was a difficult one, but it was aided by my relationship with my aunt, who was battling appendix cancer. My aunt never showed an ounce of fear. She never lost an ounce of faith. It was her bravery that strengthened my own faith, particularly in those moments when my emotional stability wavered.
A few months later, and after having seen a fertility specialist, we decided to try again. Soon after, I fell pregnant. This pregnancy has been full of fear and nervousness for me, but I have passed some important checkpoints, and every test has come back with a healthy result.
Faith, gratitude, and healing
Sadly, just before my 20-week appointment, we lost my aunt. It was at her funeral mass that the priest’s words gave me the confidence I think I’ve needed all along during this pregnancy. He said that two words, gratitude and faith, described my aunt. She lived every day with the utmost gratitude for life.
A few weeks before my aunt passed, I was sitting with her while she was laying in her hospice bed. We had a moment alone and I told her that I was pregnant, and that it was a girl. I told her that we were going to name her Mary Grace. Mary, after my grandma (and also after my aunt herself, Rosemary). Grace, because it means a gift given from God.
She was so happy, and kept repeating how wonderful it was. She told me that she’d made baby blankets for me. I remember my heart soaring and my eyes welling with tears. My aunt, who was extremely talented at crocheting, had made hundreds of baby blankets over the years for family and friends.
She had made a beautiful white blanket, and a second made of Irish wool. Words can’t express how grateful I am to have those blankets. They mean the world to me.
I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to write this piece, given the nervousness I have felt during my pregnancy. But after losing my aunt, through all of the pain and sadness we are feeling, I was reminded of the gratitude I can have, not only for my life, but for this little life inside me. That gratitude, alongside my own personal faith, has completed my journey of healing.
1 in 4 pregnancies end in loss – and most parents never find out why due to a shocking lack of research. It doesn't have to be this way – and Tommy’s research is finding the answers. But research into pregnancy loss is currently seriously underfunded compared to other medical conditions.
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