‘A Mother Never Forgets’

October 15 is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Everyone around the world is encouraged to light a candle at 7 p.m., as it falls in each time zone. If everyone lights a candle and keeps it burning for one hour, there will be a continuous Wave of Light over the entire world.

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Photo courtesy Elizabeth Johnson

by ELIZABETH JOHNSON

September 2, 2006; July 3, 2009; February 10, 2010; April 19, 2012; January 18, 2014; January 6, 2015; October 18, 2015

These are the due dates for my angel babies. A mother never forgets.

I don’t forget the feeling of happiness, excitement and hope. I also don’t forget the hurt, emptiness and pain.

I always wanted to be a mother. Growing up, people aspire to have promotions, recognition and be leaders. I just wanted to have a family. A good family.

When I found out I was pregnant with my first baby, I was so excited and scared. I’ll never forget when I started bleeding, drove to the hospital and had my sonogram. They didn’t detect a heartbeat any longer.

I cried and cursed everything around me. I didn’t understand how this could happen. I had a D&C (as I did for all of my losses) and the doctor just told me basically that “these things happen and it’s very common.”

I recovered on the maternity ward where I was hearing babies cry and the happiness had by these women. I couldn’t help but feel angry and cheated.

“What did I do so wrong that I couldn’t become a mother?”

Fast forward to loss, after loss after loss. Do you have any idea what that does to a woman? It destroys her. It destroys relationships, outlooks and how I viewed myself. I was damaged. I self-medicated in one way or another to get through it. That wasn’t the right thing to do, but I didn’t know what to do.

In August 2015, I became pregnant again. I felt like it was going to end up like the others. I had a different obstetrician, Dr. Satcho. He said we are going to treat this pregnancy as if you have a clotting disorder.

I had to inject myself every day with Lovenox, later with Heparin and took baby aspirin. I was high risk, so any of my activity was limited. I didn’t even tell people right away because I was so scared of the outcome.

I prayed hard, and I grew bigger.

Looking back, I should have taken more pictures, been more proud, but I wasn’t. I couldn’t let myself get too involved, because I was certain the baby would be gone. We found out the gender. I was having a baby boy! My hopes were up!

I thought, “This is it” and it was! I delivered my son at 38 weeks via emergency cesarean section. A healthy, beautiful baby boy! I finally became a mother, and I thank God every day for him. He’s perfect.

I was blessed.

If it hadn’t been for Dr. Satcho, I wouldn’t have my son. I cried to him and thanked him from the bottom of my heart. He is an angel.

In 2018, I was thinking of having another baby. Dr. Satcho had left Warren to work in Pittsburgh. I saw Dr. Burns. We did some bloodwork and it turns out I DO have a clotting disorder.

It’s called Antiphospholipid Syndrome. It is a rare condition that mistakenly attacks the normal proteins in the blood. It can cause blood clots to form within arteries, veins and organs. It can also cause miscarriage and stillbirth in pregnant women.

Finally, I had an answer. It’s too bad that it was 12 years too late.

I was so angry at the whole thing. Why wasn’t I taken seriously? Why wasn’t this done sooner?

Everyone kept saying “Everything happens for a reason.” It happened because of my condition that was overlooked by three doctors, which I won’t mention here. My life was overlooked, and my babies were pushed aside. Yes, I was able to have my son, but what about my other babies? They were going to be important, too.

I like to write about this so that maybe some women who are struggling can ask for this testing. Maybe it can help some other struggling mother. I know miscarriages happen to many women and are common, but that doesn’t take away that those babies mattered too.

As I said before, a mother never forgets. Hopefully, by some grace of God, if I make it to heaven, they’ll be waiting for me. They were part of me, and they deserve to be recognized through this letter. I see no mother more deserving than the ones who have had to give their children back.

Editor’s note: Your Daily Local reached out, through Addie’s Gift Foundation, to families willing to share their stories for National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Week (Oct. 9 – 15). All the stories were written by those who shared them and have been edited only for style and spelling/grammar where appropriate. More stories can be found here.