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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is something that I've wanted to talk about for a while ... It' s not that I particularly need help or advice or anything. Just to say it out loud (or type it quietly as the case may be) and be heard by people who *can* imagine what it is like, and who have been there... or near enough to 'there' that they can see my own vista from their space.

Caution: It's a *long* post, and it jumps around a lot.

Only part of it is about pregnancy loss, although that theme is inerwoven with the larger story. Part of it is just a wierd story that most people probably won't spend the time to read
but it's a story I want/need to tell. Here seems like as good a place as any, and a lot better than some <grin>.

Back in 1996, I was in the Army.
I got stationed in Germany.
Shortly after arriving, I met and fell in love with Dave.
He was supposed to have *left* Germany already, and I still had 2 years to serve before I'd be able to leave, so we mutually and tacitly decided to live in the moment, and not talk about anything that might mess up what we had.

One day I told him I loved him, but he didn't hear me... well, actually he *did* hear me, but he thought he was imagining things that he wanted to hear, so he said nothing, and neither of us brought it up again.

At this stage, both of us had recently come out of pretty traumatizing relationships, and being in the Army was a complete disaster for us both. Meeting each other there, and being able to share even as much as we did wasn't merely strange, it was a miracle. He compared it to a tornado that wipes out an entire city and leaves one small house untouched.
A total freak of nature!

While we were together, I was on the Pill, and I had a couple of late periods. That's totally normal for me, I've been known to skip periods completely even when on the pill *and* abstinent, so I didn't really think much of it at the time. But one of my periods was *really* bad, which *is* rather unusual for me, and it stuck in my memory.
I just thought I had a stomach bug at the same time as my period.

When I do get my period, I usually wake up bleeding, but on this day I made it to work and had cramps (which was also unusual) for ages. I couldn't eat breakfast, and couldn't stop pacing. I got sweats and chills, and just chalked it up to "food poisoning or something". Then I had a gush of fluid, and ran for my emergency stash of tampons... but when I got to the bathroom, the idea of using a tampon just totally repulsed me (also wierd, 'cause I was a die-hard pad-hater back then) so I begged a pad from a coworker, and when I was getting cleaned up, I thought it was kind of a wierd watery period, but I dismissed it as part of being sick, and tried to get on with my day and get through it so I could go home. Still had cramps and felt *lousy*.

By the time I got home, all I could do was curl up in bed and moan. I had to run to the toilet to throw up and have diarrhea a few times. The last time, I didn't quite make it. Or at least that's what I thought, but when I looked at the pad, there was a lot of blood, and some wierd greyish-pinkish tissue as well, about the size of my thumb. I'd never passed clots before, so I still didn't think anything of it. I had some more cramping, and felt kind of light-headed, so I finally laid down and managed to sleep for a while. I was crying a lot, and thought that was really nuts. I felt *bad* but not anything to *cry* about. It was just an involutary reaction.
The next morning, I felt almost bruised, my abdomen was so tender, and my breasts were sore. But I thought that whatever illness it was had finally run it's course.
I got better.

Dave eventually left Germany.. a few weeks later, I think. There were no tearful goodbyes. I cried for weeks afterward, but not in front of him. We were "only" together for about 6 months all told. We kept in touch afterward, as friends, but never did admit to being in love with each other.
I thought I just had a bad crush on him, and that he was being polite keeping in touch, but wasn't really that interested.

I decided I needed to just grow up and get on with my life.
What a fool.

A couple of years later, I met Brendan. He was a good friend. I wasn't in love with him, but he was such a *nice* man that when he persisted in trying to have a romantic relationship, and I couldn't think of any "good reasons" to reject him, I caved in.
(I did try to dump him 5 times.. he was persistent.)
It wasn't *bad*, it just wasn't what I wanted. I still *wanted* Dave. But that was *silly*. He didn't want *me*! It was just girlish stupidity, and too many romance novels.

I even stopped drinking socially after I got together with Brendan, because after about 2 beers I'd start getting all maudlin about Dave, and that was just *stupid*.
Dave was the past, Brendan was the future... Right?

Brendan and I both thought (and had extensive medical opinion to back this up) that we were each infertile, when we got together. Imagine our shock and delight when I got pregnant 6 months later! Well, *he* was shocked, and *I* was delighted. But he never said anything about being less than thrilled to be a father. I firmly closed the door on the wistful thoughts about Dave and determined to get on with my life and my new family.

My pregnancy with Samantha was an easy one. Her birth was medically uncomplicated, but heavily managed, and it seriously triggered old abuse issues I had. I got depressed. Sam had colic. Things were really really hard for a while.
Brendan was diligent in physically caring for us, but emotionally distant. Eventually I began to recover, and I chalked up the emotional distance to the stress, and thought things would get better now that I was on the mend.

When Sam was about a year old I started getting broody again, and Brendan said okay to trying for another baby. We got pregnant with Rhianna pretty much on the first try.

The first trimester was rough. I lost a lot of weight, and felt very weak most of the time. Brendan finally admitted, about 14 weeks into it, that he didn't really want to be a dad, and *really* didn't want another baby.
Well, gee... thanks for telling me *now*, I thought. What the hell am I supposed to do about this *now*?
I told him he was welcome to leave. He said he didn't want to leave *me*, he was just unhappy about the parenthood thing, but he'd work through it.
There really didn't seem to be much I could say or do about that. I started seeing a counselor the next day. He refused to participate. After talking to me for a short while, the counselor gently told me that it sounded as though my husband was profoundly depressed, that I was coping as well as could be expected, and didn't need counseling so much as I needed support from him, and that really, there was only so much I was going to be able to do to fix the relationship on my own, unless he got treatment as well.
I stopped seeing the counselor, and just decided to endure it until things got better. To try to enjoy my kids, and take care of myself as best I could without letting Brendan's issues get to me.

Then I started bleeding at about 18 weeks.
I freaked.
I couldn't get hold of my midwife right away and started looking stuff up on the internet.
What I read at first was clinical stuff about the signs and symptoms of miscarriage "When to worry" lists, and that sort of stuff. I rapidly determined that I was probably *not* miscarrying, but what I was reading started this nagging sense of familiarity in the back of my mind. Eventually I ran across a first-person narrative account of one woman's early miscarriage; how it felt, and how it looked. She related the stages of the miscarriage to the stages of a full term live birth. I began to see the parallels between my daughter's birth and that "really bad period" I had back in '96.

I freaked some more. I really had a complete meltdown over it.
Having believed that I was infertile for so long had been a long-term grief process anyway. To learn that I had conceived a child... *with Dave* whom I had loved so passionately, and still missed so much... so long ago, and never even *known* about it, just devastated me.

I had to tell Brendan *something*. He thought I'd lost my mind.
I told him only that I'd recently learned that I'd had a miscarriage several years ago, and I felt like I'd lost a child. That I *should* have a 6 year old running around. That I felt like I'd spent the last 6 years living a false life because I hadn't acknowledged that child's existence. I didn't say anything about the father of that child, of course. Brendan knew I had relationships before we met. It wasn't really relevant to him, it only made things harder for *me* to bear.

His reaction made things so much worse. He said all of those kinds of things you hope never to hear from *anyone*, much less someone who claims to love you. Stuff like:
"Good grief! it was a fetus, big deal."
"It's not like it was a*real* baby."
"If you didn't even notice, how bad could it have been?"
"You've gotten along just fine not knowing until now, why is it a problem? It's past. Get over it."
"You've got a child now, and another one on the way, what more do you want? *I* didn't want them, this was supposed to make *you* happy."

I was even more devastated. I thought about leaving him then, but the thought of being a pregnant single mom was just too scary. In retrospect, I wish I had left then. But I just got through it, and got on with my life.

Rhianna's birth was beautiful. A home waterbirth, peaceful and serene. It was so healing for me... and I adored my new baby.

Brendan didn't seem much affected by it. He wasn't interested in hearing about it, either. He participated by fetching and carrying, and telling jokes, but he didn't get too into the birth-support role. At that stage, I preferred that he keep his distance. He cuddled up after she was born, and we had a nice, if somewhat distant babymoon, but I was still grieving over my lost child as well, and I couldn't share that with him any more than I could share my joy/relief at having my two *living* children with me.
I thought about their half-sibling a lot in those early weeks.

Life moved on.
Sam was labeled (by us both) as a child with behavioral problems. We began seeking help for her. Everyone we spoke with said the same thing. Brendan is depressed. Nothing's wrong with Sam. You guys need counseling.

Brendan politely, but with great finality, told them all to f-- off, and persisted (as did I) in attributing the problems to Sam.
My poor, poor baby. I am so eternally sorry for doing that to her.

rendan said, about a year ago, that he was only taking care of her because he had an obligation to do so. He didn't love her. I nearly walked out the door that very night, but the fear overcame me again, and I tried to remind myself that he was depressed and it was the illness talking, and that it could be fixed if I just kept trying.

Finally I began to subconsciously realize (very slowly) that things were seriously not working, and that there was only so much I could do to fix it if he was in denial about his depression. I was making last ditch efforts to "save the marriage", although I wasn't fully *aware* of what I was doing.
I started using my "married name" more often, put Brendan's name on one of my old bank accounts... he offered to TTC a third child (because he knew I wanted more kids, not because he wanted them).
It didn't happen.
My body knew better than I.
I stopped having any cycles at all in April of last year, just before we started trying to conceive again. No cervical mucus, no basal temperature changes, *nothing*.
I started seeing doctors, and was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome just before I left.
I was worried about it for a while, but the symptoms I was having have all resolved since I left him. hmm..

The day I told Brendan I was leaving, in November, my period came back. He asked if my leaving was just PMS... I didn't even respond to that.

I began making plans to rent a place in New Zeland for a while, to tie up loose ends and eventually bring the kids back to Texas, where I could be on my own home turf, and start over. He didn't argue. Didn't want to maintain contact with them, didn't even want any pictures of them, though he later took a handful when I insisted. Once we *got* here he changed his tune, and sent some nasty e-mails and some distraught phone messages, but he seems to have calmed down now. I hardly even hear from him. one or two line e-mails about having a hard time selling the house. That's about it. What a relief!

Shortly after I began to make efforts at either fixing or finishing my marriage, I heard from Dave again.

It was now EIGHT YEARS since we'd seen each other. Probably 4 years since we'd spoken on the phone, and about a year since the last e-mail exchange. It started out nice and friendly. Talking about his work, my kids, and other harmless stuff.

Then, out of the blue, he asked about that time when he *thought* I'd said that I loved him. Did I love him? Had I said that? Did I even remember what he was talking about? He wondered if he was just making it up... wishful thinking...

Oh my god.
If I forgot my own *name* I'd remember that day!

I told him that I hadn't meant to say it, I'd just blurted. I'd *meant* it completely, but under the circumstances, I'd had no intention of *saying* it. I asked why he'd never brought it up before. He said that he didn't know... and didn't know why he was bringing it up now, either, it just seemed like it couldn't do any harm, seeing as how he was in Texas, and I was happily married (as far as he knew) and living in New Zealand. He just wanted to know. Because he loved me.

Now at first, I thought this was just insane! But over the next few days... no, not even days, it was *hours*! I had re-examined so many of the things I'd thought and decisions I'd made over the last few years... it was like my whole world turned itself inside out!

I asked Dave what he wanted. What he would want if I *wasn't* happily married and living on the other side of the planet.
His response was simple. "I'd want *you*."
"Even with the kids?" I asked. "Even considering that you haven't seen me in 8 years, and you would have to be a stepfather to my kids, and deal with my husband for the rest of our respective lives because he's *their* father? Are you *insane*?"
His response, in essence, was "Yes, but I love you. I've loved you for 8 years. It's obviously not going to just go away. I won't screw up what you've got, I want you to be happy more than anything, but I still want to be with you.. *and* your kids. I will always want that, and always regret these years of not telling you how I felt."

So I asked him if he was *sure* that he was serious, or if he might want to backpedal. Because I *was* actually leaving my husband, and I would love nothing better than to have a second chance with Dave... but only if he was *sure* he wanted to take on my kids, and reasonably sure that he was up to it. Not fair putting them through all of that upheval just to have him say he couldn't cope in a few weeks or months.
I was talking about *commitment*, here.

His response was that he had thought about it, he was sure, and he could be in a family-sized apartment in 10 days.
When could we be there?
My response was rather unmistakable I suppose...
We arrived in 9 days, and helped him finish moving in!

It was weird how not-weird it was. The kids took to him more quickly than I have *ever* seen them take to a stranger. We were careful around them at first. Tried not to freak them out too much... but they just settled right in. I'm sure there will be tougher times at some stage, but the initial stages have been so smooth.
Sam says a lot about not wanting to go back to her daddy, wanting to stay with "her Dave" forever and ever because he is nice to her and smiley instead of frowny, and he listens to her and talks to her like a real person and not a stupid baby
<sob!>

Rhianna isn't as verbal, at age 2, but before we left New Zealand, she *never* went to her daddy if I was around.
She'd just scream at him.
Now, she'll actually choose Dave *over* me when we go out!
(At home, she's still a mama's girl, though.)

There's lots of other good stuff, of course, but this post is pretty long already!

It seems *way* to good to be true, and I am trying so hard to not get too laid back about it. But they are so *happy* now. It's getting harder to worry about it, and easier to believe in happily-ever-after for all of us.

Oh, and Sam's "behavior problems"?
I haven't seen one of them since Brendan said goodbye at the airport. She's like a different kid. Totally.

On the... third or fourth day after our arrival, I think... Dave and I had a couple of conversations. Just random stuff, about a bit of a news story on the radio, someone he knows who's had miscarriages (he was telling me why she'd adopted) and something he said about how he felt watching me with my kids, and wishing they were his... I broke down in tears.

He was pretty surprised at the overblown reaction.
And he was obviously curious about it...
I had never intended to tell him about our earlier miscarriage.
I thought it was just... past. Nothing to be done about it, it would only cause pain and grief, so why do that to him?
But I ended up telling him anyway.

His reaction was... so much different from Brendan's...
practically the opposite, in fact.
He cried.
He said things like:
"My god, I was a father and I never even knew it."
"Did you name the baby?"
"He or she would be, what, about 7 and a half, now, right? They'd be in school, riding a bike, I'd be teaching them to play baseball..."
"Why didn't you tell me once you realized it? I wish you'd told me right away, so we could have shared this instead of you having to go through it alone. I'm *glad* you told me now."
"I always wanted kids. I never met anyone other than you who I'd have wanted to have them *with*, though. Knowing that we *did* have a child together, and I never knew... it's so hard. I don't know what to say. I love you. I'm so sorry."

And the next day he asked me if... not now, but in a year or two... or whenever the girls seem to have settled into our new family life, if I would mind having more children. It would never be the same as having our first child with us, and he didn't want me to think that "my" kids were any less to him than "our" kids would be, but he still wanted to have a child *with* me.

We borh cried a bit more... but it was a healing sort of crying.

I guess I am still grieving. For our child. For the 8 years we lost. For what our lives might be now if we had spoken of our feelings before... and it's hard sometimes. He and I still talk about it a lot, but after a while it feels a little like we're wallowing in it instead of living in the moment. And since he and I both *know* the story, I haven't really ever sat down and told it all from start to finish like this. To write it out, and see it in writing is cathartic.

I don't know if I'll leave it up here, though. I may come back in a few days and think I'm a nut for posting such intimate stuff in *public* and freak out and edit it... I don't know.

If anyone is still reading, I thank you.

I think I'm done now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Wow! That was quick! <LOL!>
I was just making sure it posted correctly and there was a reply already!

Funny you should mention the two daddies thing. Sam is on her toy phone "talking to her Daddy" and telling him about "my Dave, who is like a Daddy, only he's happier to me."

Funny that she won't speak to her father on the phone for real, but she chatters away on the toy phone. She's usually telling him off, which is wierd, because I'm really careful not to say bad things about him in front of her, but she seems to have the same gripes about him that I do (on a 4 yo level, of course, but still)

I hope it works out, too! <grin>
 

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Silliest,

That was such a heartwrenching and wonderful story - I thank you for sharing it. I hope that life works out for you and your wonderful daughters, and that you and Dave are able to have more children together. I really wish you such a happy ending to a very dramatic story.



Christina
 

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Hi;

Reading your post I thought, "wow -- those kids were meant to be hers and she had to get with the jerk guy to get them" Now you can move on, with your amazing kids, and have the rest of your life.

I think it was all meant to be. Not easy, but meant to be.

Congratulations!

Carolynn
 

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Hi;

Reading your post I thought, "wow -- those kids were meant to be hers and she had to get with the jerk guy to get them" Now you can move on, with your amazing kids, and have the rest of your life.

I think it was all meant to be. Not easy, but meant to be.

Congratulations!

Carolynn
 

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I love a good love story and this one is no exception!!! Thanks for sharing your amazing journey and I wish you and your family all the happiness in the world......so glad you found your true love again........
 

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What an amazing story! I
love stories! I am so glad things are working out for you now, both with Dave and your daughters.

I hope you will take as much time as you need to work through your grief at your miscarriage, at your own pace and in your own way. Just because you didn't recognize it as a loss *then* doesn't mean it isn't a loss that you feel *now,* or have felt in the recent past, even though your life has worked out in some amazing ways. Don't bury your grief under your new-found happiness - you need to come to terms with it, integrate it into your life and your self in whatever ways make sense for you.

 

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That was a great love story. I am glad that you and Dave have found each other again, thanks for sharing! I am sorry about your loss, though it is wonderful that you and Dave will be able to work through your grief together.
 
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