sharing your stories and remembering your children
By: Carissa Dobson
Karen was a mother of four healthy boys and pregnant with her fifth when she was told that her baby might not make it. She was induced on her due date, September 10th, and gave birth to Stephen, who survived only a couple hours. “I’m a tender person, and I remember… it was so hard to talk to people without tears coming out my eyes, and that’s hard. That’s really hard,” she said. “Because, you know, you’re very vulnerable. And it’s not always fun going around with tears in your eyes, or stuff like that. It’s hard. Tears help to bring healing, it’s true. But it’s not easy.”
After the sorrow of losing Stephen, Karen decided to have a surgery to prevent further pregnancies. She later regretted her decision and had a reversal done. “I was excited. I said, ‘Oh, wow, I can go ahead and have kids now!” Karen said. Only two months later she was pregnant again, and she felt ready to have her next child.
Unfortunately, before even seeing a doctor she began to experience spotting and cramps, and then she miscarried. “I was surprised I had a miscarriage because I’d been really healthy all along without any problems, so this did take me by surprise,” she said. Karen was shocked and devastated by the loss.
Karen and her husband, Mike, decided to try again, and she found out several months later that she was pregnant for the seventh time. She went in for an ultrasound, and was met with shocking news. “The woman who did the ultrasound was really surprised. (She said,) ‘You know you have three sacs here?’ I said, ‘Are you serious?’” Although Karen was pregnant with triplets, it looked like none of them were alive at that point. “I just prayed and prayed that one or two of them would still be alive,” Karen said.
Once more, she miscarried. She lost all three. “I did miscarry on my own and it was just a horrible time again… Oh, it is just a scary, hard time. And you’re doing it by yourself, you know?”
Karen was devastated, and she felt alone. She had emotional problems, stress, weakness in her muscles, and the numbness and tingling continued. “I was crushed after I miscarried… It was very, very difficult.”
During this time, Karen would cry and talk to God, trying to sort out what was happening. “I knew I needed God, I knew He still loved me, I knew He was in charge, but yet it was hard,” she said. Her health was declining, and she didn’t feel comfortable going out of the house.
Karen kept her grief to herself. “I didn’t know a lot of people that had miscarriages at that point. Now it’s much more open and common… It was kept more inward, so those were some inner issues that I had to deal with.” This was a different experience than losing a child after birth. “I remember getting a card or two from people with Stephen, because that was public, of course. But with the miscarriages it was pretty much on my own with the grieving. ”
Following the loss of the triplets Karen suffered a long and difficult season and she thought she might not ever become pregnant again. Eventually, Karen had reason to think she was finally pregnant again. “I noticed toward the end of December going into January of ’98, I felt like I might be pregnant again, because my cycle was a little late. And I was excited, but I was so scared. Because I didn’t want the same thing that happened to Stephen, and I didn’t want to miscarry again. So, I was thinking, trust in God.”
Fortunately, this time, Karen had a friend who came alongside her and encouraged her through her pregnancy. “She was pregnant at the time, too. And we would go on walks and we would talk, and she was so dear to me… she just encouraged me… and I am so grateful.”
Eventually, it was time to check on the child’s health. “I ended up going in for an ultrasound, which scared me to pieces because I hadn’t had one done that was ever good,” Karen said. Luckily, for the first time in years, Karen had a positive ultrasound. “I could just cry now. I was laying on that table and they said everything was okay. Its heart was beating, things were developing, things like that.”
Karen delivered a beautiful, healthy baby girl named Katrina. She and her husband were overjoyed. “I just had a hallelujah time of praise to God. Because the baby was born… And it’s a girl!” Katrina grew up healthy and strong, and Karen thanks God for it all.
Karen knows her happy ending isn’t consistent with everyone’s experience. “I know this does not happen to everybody, that you’re allowed to end up having another pregnancy and everything goes well,” Karen said. “And it’s gotta be really hard for those women that it doesn’t happen to. And God showed a lot of grace towards me. And I’m so grateful.”
Carissa Dobson is a junior Professional Writing and Information Design major at Cedarville University.