Perspective is a funny thing.  There is no way to predict how the pain of now will translate into joy in the future.

When Matt and I lost our first baby to a late first trimester miscarriage, it was – by far – the worst thing that had ever happened to me.  I didn’t know where to turn or what to think.  I had no markers or guideposts to cling to in such grief.  The pain was so constant and overwhelming that it seemed certain that others could look at me and see the hole left by the end of my pregnancy.  Lost expectations choked me daily and clinging to the fragile hope of a second pregnancy did nothing to ease the drag of days.

Matt tried to help me. He held me as I sobbed. He drove me to the surgery and held my hand through the IV and the cramps and the pain.  He let me talk and talk and talk about our disappointment and my grief and my fears that I would never be able to have a baby. That this would be my experience of motherhood.

I have a strong belief in doing.  I don’t sit passively and let anything happen to me and I refused to let grief happen to me.  If nothing else, I would be an active participant in distracting my own thoughts.  I researched miscarriages and fertility.  I comforted myself with the statistics that said that miscarriage was common and a couple able to conceive so easily had a high chance of eventually carrying a baby to term.  I applied for a new job overseas because – dammit – if I couldn’t be a mother, I would have the dream career that I wanted. I wouldn’t sit still and hope for something out of my control to change my life.  And, I researched adoption.  Matt and I had talked about adopting often before we decided to try and have a baby. We had always felt open to different ways of building a family.  I applied to volunteer at a small orphanage in the mountains outside of Port au Prince, Haiti.  Just to see, I told Matt, for information and so that we can start to understand the process.

Months past.  I got the job and we began the arduous process of relocating our lives overseas for the second time in our marriage, but I didn’t get the baby.  Despite our best efforts, the pregnancy tests I took so hopefully “three days before the start of my period!” stayed resolutely negative.  Each one took its own little chip out of my hopes.  At Christmas time, I heard final word that they had room for me to travel to Haiti and work at the orphanage for four weeks in January.

I kissed Matt, promised, futilely, not to give my heart and soul away to orphaned children half a hemisphere away and left ridiculously early on a freezing cold January morning. After a long night on the gritty airport floor in Miami, I arrived in the oppressive, tropical heat of Haiti, drove the rutted, mountain rode to the orphanage compound and promptly gave my slightly battered heart and soul away to orphaned children who now sat in my lap, clamored for my attention, slept in my arms and filled my days and my thoughts.  Grief lost the battle for my consciousness to industry and giggles and dirty diapers and an exhausting routine with “my” eight children to love.

I flew home changed.  I wanted to be a mother through adoption.  I was already a mother a second time. I missed my period in Haiti.

Eighteen months, reams of paperwork, several ultrasounds, an endless labor, endless waiting and hoping and filing and an exhausting series of flights across the country later, I held my fourteen-month-old daughter and my twelve-month-old son together in my arms for the first time.

I thought it that day and still think it now when I watch my six-year-old “twins” play and laugh and fight and giggle.

Just maybe, losing a baby was the best thing that ever happened to me.

About the writer

Stacey Conner is raising four kids and a Great Dane with her husband, Matt, in the Pacific Northwest. She regrets the Great Dane, the rest are keepers. She writes about life’s joys and sorrows, big and small, at Any Mommy Out There.


grownandflown 3 years ago

Stacey, your story is amazing and wonderful and the photograph of your children tells a triumphant, happy story. I had multiple miscarriages after our first child was born. With the help of modern medicine I became pregnant and had a baby girl when our son was five. I never took pregnancy or motherhood for granted after this stage in my life and feel fortunate to have my family.

Lady Jennie 3 years ago

Love you Stacey – I’m so glad you’re my friend.

Amy 3 years ago

Thank you for your story. My husband and I tried for years, went through numerous fertility treatments, and I never became pregnant. I did not experience a miscarriage, but the disappointment, fear, humiliation, anger, and despair grew with each period every month. I finally accepted that I would never conceive, grieved, moved past it, and we started the adoption process. We now have two beautiful and spirited girls. Even though infertility leaves a scar on you, I would do it all over again for our two children. They are worth the pain. It helped me become a better mother (even though I need a break from time to time!!).

Ash 3 years ago

Wow! Love this story. I see so many holding on to past miscarriages even after they go on to have families. I too see my miscarriage as a positive, if I hadn’t had it, I would have a different child than the one I became pregnant with some months later. Of course my miscarriage happened early on, I would probably feel different if it had happened later in the pregnancy, but I am thankful for it now. It showed me that I was ready for this adventure and set me on the path to my child.

J.D. 3 years ago

I think ultra-early pregnancy tests are horrible and I wish they were pulled off the market. A huge number of successful fertilizations spontaneously abort before the woman even knows she’s pregnant. Now, with the test, a woman’s disappointment turns from “Darn, not pregnant again this month” when she gets her period to probably greater grief because “I lost a BABY”. If I wanted to have a kid I wouldn’t take a home test.

Nina 3 years ago

Thank you for sharing this story, Stacey. I just forwarded it someone going through a hard time after miscarriage. Beautiful post.

Crystal 3 years ago

Beautiful post and a GORGEOUS family! I believe all things happen for a reason. I also suffered a miscarriage and believe it was through that loss that I now have my little girl. Not a replacement, but a tiny miracle in some way. :)

jasbeeray 3 years ago

Lovely family. I too had an awful.experience but mine was to discontinue the pregnancy. It was my first. I.was my 9th week and we couldn’t detect a heartbeat. My sack was growing, everything was like a normal pregnancy but there was no heartbeat. I.wanted to hold on to what i had in me but it was wrong. The worst thing was when I had to walk into the labour ward deliver but to terminate my.pregnancy. :(

Janet Dubac 3 years ago

Thank you for sharing your feelings. I can’t even imagine the pain that you’ve been through. You are a strong woman and I admire you so much for that. Thank you for sharing your story and for showing your beautiful kids to us.

Lauren 3 years ago

The older I get, the more I believe that what’s meant to be, will be. Perhaps it’s just a coping mechanism, but I’ll take it. :)

Kim 3 years ago

Your writing gives me chills each and every time! Your family is perfect.

Jane 3 years ago

Beautiful. Just beautiful.

Michelle Mossey 3 years ago

What a lovely post and what a great attitude! Sometimes when we experience something so painful, in our grief, it is hard to believe we will ever be happy again. I am so happy for you, your hubby and your sweet, beautiful children. People who adopt have the biggest hearts. :0)

Mama and the City 3 years ago

Such a lovely story. And that picture is pure perfection.

Shanan 3 years ago

Your children are beautiful!

Kristin Shaw (Two Cannoli) 3 years ago

I love your outlook, Stacey! Beautiful post.

Anita @ Losing Austin 3 years ago

Gorgeous, just gorgeous.

Kristen Mae at Abandoning Pretense 3 years ago

What a heart-wrenching story! I’m so happy for you that you were able to find happiness. Everything about this is just beautiful. xoxo

Mary 3 years ago

Your children are beautiful and such an awesome picture. Your daughter sucked me in with her beautiful eyes and smile!

Amanda 3 years ago

Thank you so much for sharing. The emotional pain from a miscarriage is horrible. I’m glad you have been able to make such a beautiful family.

Crystal Newman 3 years ago

Thank you for this story. I also had a miscarriage, but was never able to have my own child so I dealt with the sorrows of that knowledge for years (still do sometimes). My first marriage ended, and I ended up meeting someone new, a man with three children who had a “mother” who had abandoned them. I had always thought my miscarriage was the worst thing to ever happen to me too. But now I think my inability to have my own child has led me to this. Being a mother to these three kids has been my blessing. I feel if I had had my own child, my life would have taken a very different path.

    anymommy 3 years ago

    I’m so glad you found the good in life as well, and I’m really sorry. Miscarriage is so very painful, a life long grief.

MomChalant 3 years ago

I love love love reading adoption stories! It makes me so happy. If I had more money, I would adopt in a heartbeat. I think it’s such a beautiful process to accept a child that isn’t your own and then raise them as your own. It is such a blessing to the family and the child that gets adopted! You are an amazing woman.

    Mommygem 3 years ago

    Having witnessed many adoptions, (5 siblings, 2 nieces, a nephew and 4 cousins) and having been on both sides of those adoptions. (My sister who is adopted, placed her son for adoption with my sister in law), The statement, To accept a child that isn’t yours, rubs the wrong way. My 5 siblings had a place in my parents heart before they were ever placed with our family, They were ours before we knew them. My Nephew was my sister in laws son, the MOMENT my sister met her, and her husband. There was NEVER a moment when those children were not a part of their Mother and Father’s hearts. I’m not trying to be offensive and I understand your meaning but I’m sure mother’s and father’s who have adopted would agree with me that stating that their child isn’t theirs is a bit offensive.

      MomChalant 3 years ago

      I never intended to be offensive, so please accept my apologies for that. You’re right and I should have worded it differently.

        anymommy 3 years ago

        I think people have different perspectives on this, depending on their experiences. Having experienced a second adoption in which we failed to bond as a family and went through a very, very difficult period of adjustment and acceptance, I understood your meaning. I get the objection expressed above because of course my daughter is “my own”, but I did not find that it was instant or that she was mine in my heart before I even met her. It took time. Anyway, I know your words were warmly meant and your apology is very gracious. -stacey

Debbie 3 years ago

Thank you Stacy for sharing your story. We never know or can understand at times why things happen. But when we have patients sooner or later we get our answer and the puzzle is put together. That is what life is all about.

Watching those puzzle pieces all come together. Thanks again for sharing

Lynn from For Love or Funny 3 years ago

I love the picture of your children. They were definitely meant to be yours.


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