On April 24, 2014, my world was turned upside down, and ever since then I’ve had this huge, raw, gaping wound that I fear will never truly heal.
A few weeks prior, I found out I was pregnant. Ryan and I hadn’t planned on getting pregnant, and due to circumstances that positive pink line wasn’t exactly welcomed right away. However, by the next day, I was in love. Keep this in mind: I have always dreamt of being a mother, and if I had been able to I would have started having kids as soon as I’d turned eighteen. Everyone was always surprised to hear me say that I wanted six kids! So after I slept on it and really accepted that I was finally going to be a mom, I was thrilled!
Ryan, however, was not. In fact, he wanted me to get an abortion and told me that if I didn’t, then he wasn’t going to stick around. He may have worded it differently, but that was the gist of his feelings regarding the pregnancy. Needless to say, my heart was completely shattered. I have always said (since I was a teenager) that if I were to get pregnant, the only way I’d even remotely consider an abortion would be if several doctors told me that I, or my baby, would die. Other than that, abortion was never going to be an option for me. Therefore, Ryan’s ultimatum shook me to my core. On one hand, I loved him and we had planned on spending our lives together. On the other hand, abortion was not something that I was willing to even consider. I made the heartbreaking decision to tell him that no matter his decision I was keeping the baby, even while knowing that it meant I would lose the man I loved.
The next few weeks were heart wrenching, as Ryan and I were working for the same company at the time. I had to see him every day, work with him every day. I had to keep my “brave face” on, as our coworkers had not been privy to our relationship. As soon as I’d leave work, I’d sob the whole way home and spend my evenings crying on and off while curled up on the couch in the dark. My family was unaware of my turmoil. My friends had no idea what was going on. I couldn’t bring myself to tell anyone about the pregnancy and the dissolution of my relationship. I was afraid that by actually telling others about my boyfriend’s decision, it would make it real. I guess I was still holding out hope that he would come around.
I was at work when it happened: On April 23, 2014, I collapsed in the bathroom, writhing in pain and screaming for my supervisor, Mary. I had told Mary about the pregnancy, in the event that I became ill or had to miss work (I was fully expecting morning sickness to begin any day). Mary came running into the bathroom and found me on the floor crying, struggling to breathe, and clutching my abdomen. She told me later that all I kept repeating was, “Please, no; Please, no” over and over. There wasn’t any blood, so she tried to reassure me that it couldn’t be a miscarriage, but I begged her to call my mom. My parents lived a couple of blocks away from my work, and I knew she was off that day, so I wanted her to come and take me to the hospital. Mary wanted to call an ambulance, but I adamantly refused. I didn’t want to make a huge scene in the office by having an ambulance come and get me. No one besides Mary knew of my condition, and I didn’t want to have to answer anyone’s questions or hear any rumors that would surely follow.
Once I got to the hospital, I was told that I was possibly experiencing an ectopic pregnancy and I had to have laparoscopic surgery to make sure. Since it was late in the day, they opted to keep me overnight and handle the surgery first thing in the morning. I didn’t sleep at all that night; I prayed and begged God for this to be a viable pregnancy. The answer to my prayers was not what I’d been hoping for. On April 24, 2014, I was taken into surgery to figure out exactly what was going on. The laparoscopic surgery showed that it was not, in fact, an ectopic pregnancy; I was experiencing a complete molar pregnancy and would have to undergo another surgery, a D&C, the removal of all the tissue that had formed.
A complete molar pregnancy, as sourced from WebMD, is when an egg with no genetic information is fertilized by a sperm. It does not develop into a fetus but continues to grow as a lump of abnormal tissue that looks a bit like a cluster of grapes and can fill the uterus. This, of course, caused me to blame myself. It was my body, my egg, that didn’t hold the genetic information to form a viable fetus; therefore, I wondered if I’d ever be able to have kids. The women in my family have had a history of pregnancy complications, including miscarriages, stillbirths, fatally premature births, and more. While knowing my family’s history, I had always wondered if I would have the same struggles. It turns out, I have even more complex struggles in regards to being able to reproduce.
Despite this pregnancy resulting in nothing other than a ball of tissue, in my heart I had become a mom. I felt, to the very depths of my soul, that if this pregnancy had been a viable one, the baby would have been a girl, and therefore I gave her a name: Emmaleigh Rose was born, and passed away, on April 24, 2014, and I have never been the same since. I lost my baby, and during that process I was alone. My family was there, and supporting me as best they could, but the one person I needed was nowhere to be found. Ryan had stuck to his decision and walked away once I had told him I was keeping the baby.
In the years since I lost Emmaleigh, it hasn’t gotten any easier, as people told me it would. Whenever I talk about her, or that time in my life, I’m reduced to heart wrenching sobs. Even as I am writing this to share, I’m finding it hard to see the page through my tears. I carry Emmaleigh with me daily, in my heart and through a memorial tattoo I got for her. I found an abstract baby elephant to permanently place on my wrist, as I felt the complexity of the pregnancy compared well with the abstract of the image. I will forever hold Emmaleigh in my heart, as my first child, no matter what anyone says.
Editor’s Note: The names in this story have been changed for privacy purposes.
[Photo credit to Candice]
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