I remember the feelings of shock, awe, excitement and fear that flowed through my brain when I looked down at that pregnancy test and saw two lines instead of one. Carl and I had been married a mere 3 months, and weren’t trying to get pregnant. I was in the first semester of my senior year of college. The only reason I had even taken a test was that my breasts were so tender it hurt to wear a bra, and it hurt to go braless. I remember sitting there, just staring for several seconds before calling in Carl, who promptly went and bought a digital test, just so we could be sure.
I did all the common things. I bought maternity clothes at six weeks pregnant, convinced I already needed them. I picked out my stroller and car seat. I began browsing name websites. We tried to keep it to ourselves, but before we knew it, it had leaked all over campus.
I called my OB/GYN and scheduled an appointment for Thanksgiving week, thinking how cool it would be to have an ultrasound picture to show off to our families. A week before my 10 week appointment, however, my life changed forever.
I started having dark brown spotting once a day, at around 7pm. I Googled it, and was informed that it’s normal, and to only worry if I saw bright red blood. Five days later, I had bright red blood.
I think I knew all along. Poor Carl was still so hopeful, but when we did go in for that first ultrasound, and the technician said “There’s your baby….” then trailed off, as if her sentence wasn’t finished, I wasn’t shocked. I already knew that we wouldn’t be welcoming a baby in June. I already knew that all my fears from suffering from PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) were coming true.
The next month is a blur. Somehow I got through Thanksgiving, finished my finals, and performed a week of Feast of Christmas (a Broadway style musical production our college put on). I miscarried quietly on December 1st. On December 10th I held my tiny little 5 day old nephew and cried. I turned my pregnancy blog into a miscarriage blog, and became obsessed with reading other losses.
I had nothing to show for my pregnancy. Nothing to show for my Peanut. For that little life that lived in me for 8 weeks, and who I carried for close to 12. I felt so empty.
A few days before Christmas, a member of my family quietly gave me a blanket that she had begun knitting when she found out I was pregnant. When I miscarried, she bound it off. The result was a blanket that looked unfinished, and that has become one of my greatest treasures.
I now have a 19-month old little girl who is the light of my life. She’s only 6 months younger than her sibling would have been, and I’ve come to the realization that I would never have had her unless I had lost her big brother or sister…. but I still feel the loss of my first sweet babe.
I have such a heart for the mothers who have lost a pregnancy, or had a stillborn baby. As I watched my Facebook feed, I slowly began seeing that I truly wasn’t alone. I suddenly noticed numerous friends and family members going through exactly what I had went through. And I wanted to help.
In February of this year, I founded Rows for Remembrance Ministry. Rows for Remembrance was created to minister to mothers and fathers who are sometimes forgotten in traditional ministry. Some parents never hold a baby in their arms, but forever hold them in their hearts. This ministry is designed to bring them a way of remembering their little ones, no matter how short the time they were carried with them.
Rows for Remembrance strives to bring hope to families who feel like their world is crashing around them. We also strive to provide a lasting memory as a comfort to the families we call our Angel Families. We provide a hand-crocheted or hand-knitted blanket to each family, with rows equal to the time they were pregnant. Each blanket is unique to the child, and is done specifically with that child in mind.
I have a child to hold in my arms, but so many mothers don’t. I’m overjoyed to be able to provide them with whatever comfort I can.
If you would like to apply for a blanket, or would like to donate to this ministry, I’ve provided the links. Be sure to look us up on Facebook as well! If you have any questions, please feel free to ask them here!
Shaina is from the hills of eastern KY. She is married to her high school sweetheart, Carl and mom to a 19 month baby girl, praying for God’s timing for baby #2! She blogs at The Diva’s Mom.