Trigger Warning: This story contains mentions of miscarriage and addiction that may be triggering to some.
“For as long as I can remember, I only wanted to be a housewife. It’s such an ironic statement from someone as headstrong and independent as I am, but it’s all I ever wanted. Not only be a housewife but like June Cleaver status—let’s all take a moment to laugh together here. At 26, I was a single mom to two sons, who were 3 and 8, and perfectly content. But then, like most times in life when we’re content, everything changed. This was 7 years ago. 7 years ago, my husband literally walked right into my life and into my heart one day and never left. We met, fell in love, and were married all within 6 months. When it’s right, it’s right. The marriage blended our two families into one, my two children and his three. It was a whirlwind, and it was questioned by everyone and anyone who knew us, but we knew this was happily ever after. Until it wasn’t.
We immediately knew we wanted a child together. This should be a non-issue, as we both had zero issues with fertility in our past. I fully expected to be pregnant within a couple of cycles. Each month came and went, and left me heartbroken, with nothing but negative pregnancy tests and boxes of tampons (adding insult to injury). 6 months in, I called my doctor for help. I was due for a pap smear anyway, so I went in. A few days later we got a call the test resulted in some abnormal cells they wanted to biopsy. First a biopsy, then a LEEP procedure, and then another. I had minimal cervix when they were done, but I didn’t have cancer and that was what was most important in the moment.
However, the scar tissue left behind wouldn’t make it easy to get pregnant and the weakened cervix would add complications. We chose to try to accept life as it was, maybe our baby wasn’t meant to be. It all just seemed so risky. Life went on, the kids grew up, some became adults, the younger ones were involved in sports and school, and life was busy. 6 years of marriage passed. Six busy football seasons, wrestling seasons, lacrosse seasons, and summer vacations. We stayed busy as a family, and we found activities to fill our daily life individually. My husband fell in love with disc golf almost as much as he loves me. I spent my free time working out—if I couldn’t be pregnant, then I could be in the best shape of my life. I did well to not constantly bring up the phantom baby I couldn’t let go of, even though I constantly mourned what I never had.
Then one Halloween, I took a girl’s day trip to Salem, Massachusetts. What would a trip to Salem at Halloween be if we hadn’t stopped to visit a witch, a psychic, a fortune-teller? Call it what you will, I originally called it silly. I went in with my friend Krysten. We had decided if we both went together we could split the cost, get a simple palm reading, and be out. The fortune teller took my hand, looked at me, and said, ‘You’re married.’ I nodded and smirked at the same time, as my wedding ring is tattooed on my finger. She then looked at me and said, ‘This man is your soulmate.’ Although our marriage, admittedly, was not in its best state at the time, I also knew this to be true.
She then looked up and casually said, ‘You both will have a daughter together.’ (She also mentioned how I needed to spice it up in the bedroom.) Her statement about a daughter ripped the Band-Aid off a wound I had long since thought I’d healed. I immediately texted my husband and told him what she had said. I don’t remember his response, but I’m sure it was something casual, probably an ‘lol’ or ‘oh yeah.’ He hadn’t brushed it off as much as I thought he had because, for the next month, it was a constant conversation in our house between the two of us. By November, I had an appointment to have my IUD removed. I was equally nervous and excited as we began to track ovulation.
January 3, 2020, I was shocked to have a positive pregnancy test in my hand. I honestly didn’t think we were going to conceive, and it would be a repeat of years past. I wasted no time telling everyone we knew, I was just so excited. I was planning a nursery and already knew her name. I had known her name for years. Harper Ivy Jones, the child who had lived 7 years in my heart and imagination. I hadn’t remembered the last time I had been so happy, so content, so excited. Then, 2 weeks after finding out, I went to the bathroom before bed and saw the blood. It was light, and I jumped on Google and reassured myself it was normal. I didn’t tell my husband. I was afraid if I said it out loud, it would make it worse.
I went to bed, but woke up at 1 a.m. and the blood was significantly worse and I threw on clothes through hysterical tears, left my husband in bed, and drove to our ER. The nurse had been an OB nurse for years and didn’t think I was losing my baby. She was so reassuring. I knew in my heart I was losing my baby, and when they turned the ultrasound screen away from me to protect me from the empty screen, I knew it in my head, too. I was absolutely gutted. The pain from this loss is still haunting. It still hits in waves, when I least expect it, but the waves still knock me down all the same. I think they always will.
After the loss of our baby, I became consumed. I think this is very real, the obsession that comes when trying to conceive. It is all-consuming. I ate, slept, and breathed getting pregnant. Every old wives’ tale—fuzzy socks after sex, coconut oil in the belly button, carnelian crystals EVERYWHERE. I even drank a tonic from our local mystic store owner. The negative tests were worse than ever, and my mental health was fragile, if nonexistent. I would wake up early, pee on a stick, silently break down in the bathroom, convince myself I could still be pregnant, and repeat daily until my period showed up, and restart the next month. Finally, I called my OB. The doctor prescribed me Letrozole, and naturally, I just knew we’d be pregnant immediately. I was not, and then I was not, and was not and was not. The heartbreak was indescribable, but I was not ready to admit maybe we weren’t going to have this baby after all.
I blamed myself for everything I had ever done. It was clearly my karma. Was it the heroin addiction I had beat? It didn’t matter I had turned it positive and helped other addicts and spoke out, I still owed karma for it. Was it because I was I didn’t hold the door one time at Dunkin? Was it because I didn’t say ‘yes, please’ when I was 6? Yes, I got really unreasonable, but that’s where this journey takes us. After reaching out to Boston IVF, we had an appointment for the first of August. We were going to start IVF and have our baby. Days before, we got a positive test. We were pregnant. Right in the spike of the COVID pandemic. The doctors confirmed it and made my first appointment. I tried (and failed) to stay quiet about it.
My first appointment was scheduled at 8-weeks gestation and at 6-weeks gestation, I used the bathroom and there was the blood. I rushed to the hospital (alone again, thanks COVID). I was shaking and crying, waiting to see the screen turned away from me again, but instead, they pointed at a tiny heartbeat. Our daughter’s heartbeat. Pregnancy after loss is not for the faint of heart, pregnancy after unexplained infertility adds to the stress. High-risk pregnancy after both of these was terrifying, but we kept making little goals: make it to 12 weeks and make it to viability week (a thing I never knew existed until pregnancy after loss). After 39 weeks, we knew our daughter was coming earthside.
Our OB scheduled our induction for a Tuesday night. My liver had decided it was leaving the party, and the baby and I were both at risk. We checked in, and they inserted my IV. My vein immediately blew out, and I joked, ‘Hopefully this isn’t a sign of things to come. 3 days later, 3 days of labor later, it was… ‘Savannah, your baby’s heart has stopped beating.’ So did mine, figuratively, then out came Harper, gray and not immediately crying, but then she did. ‘Savannah, you’re hemorrhaging and we cannot remove the placenta. We need to take you to surgery now.’ My baby was taken out of my arms minutes after I finally saw her face, finally saw her breathing, and I was wheeled away.
Have you ever seen a mom wake up after all this, in recovery, away from their baby? I was trying to scream, ‘Where’s my baby?’ but the breathing tube wouldn’t let me make a noise. Why share all this?? Because when you say to your friends, your family, ‘Put the baby down, she’s fine,’ sometimes, it takes a mama’s heart a little longer to believe that. Someday I’ll know Harper is fine, and I won’t need to contact-nap her, or co-sleep so I can feel her heartbeat on mine, but that’s not today. We’ve been through too much, she’s finally here, she’s so beautiful and so healthy, and I can’t put her down when it took so long to get her in our arms.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Savannah Jones of Norway, Maine. You can follow their journey on Instagram. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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