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Motherhood After Loss, A Reader Essay

January 31, 2019

Tommy likes to ask me to pick him up when I’m holding Kate so that I have one child on each hip. My arms are full, Tommy’s chanting “Two babies” and it’s only a matter of time until I drop someone (always Tommy), but for that one minute, I’m holding my two babies and I’m full of joy.
 
By Megan Hood 
 
We lost our first baby during pregnancy. I had my first ultrasound at 12.5 weeks and they couldn’t find the baby’s heartbeat. During the ultrasound, the technician told me that my baby wasn’t big enough for an ultrasound yet and I would need to call my doctor and reschedule. My mom drove an hour to attend the ultrasound with me and she sat in the waiting room and was never brought inside my room. I had a bad feeling because I hadn’t seen my baby but it was my first baby and my first ultrasound and I didn’t know what to expect. I kept clinging to the technician’s words, thinking she would not have asked me to reschedule if something was wrong. My doctor called me a few hours later and said that my baby’s heart had stopped beating at 9.5 weeks. Everything stopped. I miscarried at home a week later and I held my baby in the palm of my hand. He was so small but I could just make him out in the sac. I couldn’t hold my brand new niece for months because I wanted my baby to be the last baby I had held for as long as possible. 
 
I became pregnant with Tommy a few months later and it was a very easy pregnancy, physically. I was lucky. But I was still grieving my first baby and I didn’t know if I could carry a baby to term. I spent 9 months terrified that I would lose Tommy as well. He was born on September 22, 2016 and weighed 8lb 7oz and he was perfect. He was a mama’s boy from the minute he was born. He would cry and scream when he wasn’t in my arms so the nurses surrounded us with pillows and blankets so that he could sleep on my chest in the hospital bed. He’s two years old now and he is my biggest joy. He’s wild and clever and kind and funny. He loves cars, books, and the colour yellow. He made me a mom.
 
We got pregnant with Kate in October, a month after Tommy’s first birthday. In December, I had unbearable pain in my abdomen that felt so familiar. I was sure I was having another miscarriage and I was heartbroken. We went for an ultrasound the next day and the technician found a heartbeat but she couldn’t tell me anything else. We soon learned that I had a large subchorionic hemorrhage next to the baby. My doctor wouldn’t tell my what her chances were of making it to term, just that, at the very least, she had a chance. Kate was born one month early on June 29, 2018. The actual delivery took 6 minutes – Kate was in distress and the doctors and nurses had to get her out as quickly as they could. They handed her to me for just a moment and she was so grey and quiet; I just kept asking if she was okay. She was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck and had to be intubated and taken to the NICU immediately. Kate had so many wires and tubes hooked up to her that I couldn’t look at her without crying. We took her home after a few days and our family was complete. Kate is tiny but she’s a fighter. She’s quiet and curious and so sweet. She can make anyone smile with her big, gummy grin.
 
Motherhood is hard to explain. It’s pure exhaustion and pure joy. Tommy likes to ask me to pick him up when I’m holding Kate so that I have one child on each hip. My arms are full, Tommy’s chanting “Two babies” and it’s only a matter of time until I drop someone (always Tommy), but for that one minute, I’m holding my two babies and I’m full of joy.
 

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