Being both an educator and a woman who lost her baby is mentally exhausting. I anticipated being out from the end of January through the remainder of the school year. Leave was granted and plans were made. Life changed November 30. Not only did I deliver my daughter, Aaliyah, still, but I needed to return to work mid-February. I returned to teaching children, all day long, after I had just lost my own.
Part of being an educator is teaching children how to love and respect themselves and each other- how to create goals, accept and grow from mistakes and realize that if something doesn’t turn out the way you want it to it’s okay, just try again. All of a sudden the phrase “practice what you preach” is almost impossible. I will always make an attempt, but when I think about the fact that I should be at home taking care of my child but instead I’m in a classroom taking care of other’s people’s children, it’s hard to keep going.
While in the classroom you can’t help but think of the milestones your own child would be making in one. Yet here you are, no child, but needing to help other children reach theirs. I became an elementary teacher because I love children, challenging them and expanding their ideas- my love for teaching is still present but it’s changed so much.
Every job needs resources for mother’s after pregnancy or baby loss. Reentering work after such a trauma can be triggering and, as an educator, adding children to the equation can make it much more difficult. I encourage conversations among women in education who have experienced loss to lean on one another during those dark days, of which there are many. We all know how strong our teacher networks can be - as teachers we also need to have a strong community as it relates to pregnancy loss. Remember, you are not alone and this tribe will have your back during your darkest and most challenging moments. We push forward for our children and will no longer accept the screaming silence around our losses.
I had a hard time conceiving and we decided to try to adopt. The day we were going to have our house inspection I found out I was pregnant. We were over the moon.
Throughout the pregnancy I had bleeding and clots, but my OB said it was normal. He finally put me on bed rest. My paperwork from insurance was back tracked so I couldn’t go back to work for some time afterwards.
Spring Break came and went and I returned to work being 21 weeks at this point. That Tuesday I thought something was wrong as all day; I did not have to urinate. I made myself go and saw pink when I wiped. I was worried and called my doctor he said I might’ve irritated the uterus. That night I felt a pop and now I know my water broke. The bed was soaked. I called the OB again and he opened early to see me. He looked at me and said, “Your fear is confirmed, your water broke and I have to induce labor or you can risk becoming septic. The fetus still has a heartbeat.” I couldn’t do it and he sent me to a high risk doctor. The high risk doctor told me to go home and my body would tell me when I was ready to deliver.
I made it until Friday and began to run a fever and have contractions. We rushed to the emergency room and I delivered my baby boy the next morning. March 24, 2012. I went back to work 2 weeks later. Nobody said anything about my loss. Not flowers. Nothing. It was like my pregnancy nor son ever existed. I knew that I could no longer work there. I have not been able to conceive since then. We will be moving forward with IVF in the hopes of finally becoming parents.
December 2019 I was struggling with depression and anxiety. I thought Spring Break 2020 would bring some relief. I was a little shocked to find out we were expecting baby #3 after we gave away all our items. But surprisingly, hubs and I were elated.
I carried that babe during quarantine, exploring what it was like to be pregnant during the beginning of COVID and was working from home like everyone else. On the last day of school 2020, I went to my 12-week appointment to discover our baby no longer had a heartbeat. I was devastated and was scheduled for a D&C the following Monday.
While I was recovering from that, I got the call from my admin that I'd be reporting back to work next week (I am a 12-month employee.) I went back to work the following Monday, still in mourning and cramping from the D&C. Halfway through the day, the AP that works directly over me let me know she was most likely getting reassigned to a new school. It was a promotion for her, but for me it meant doing both of our jobs all summer long.
In June, most day cares and summer camps were still closed so I had no child care for my other two children. I told my principal the tight spot I was in but was essentially forced to take vacation time so that I could "work from home" while using my vacation time, simply to make schedules for my school while having childcare for my own kids.
I told my principal of my loss and my childcare situation but still had to keep it going most of the summer. When I did go back to campus, I was gutted to find that the principal's secretary changed the code to the copier to the last day of school. For everyone else, it's just a day. But to me, it was the day I had to say goodbye. To this day, every time I have to make a stupid copy or scan anything in the mail room, I have to enter the day my baby died as a code to get a stupid piece of paper.
The school year brought much more heartache with a new superintendent, virtual learning, angry parents, budget issues, and a ton of other heartache, including my new AP and our social worker BOTH being pregnant with TWINS with offices on either side of me. Thankfully most co-workers were sympathetic, and my principal now knows how hard I worked to keep our program at our school going during the AP change and the maternity leave of the new AP. But the copier code remains.
...And now this school year is ending. The worst school year ever for so many reasons, including a tragedy for two teachers at my school that will eventually make the news. And I just want my baby to be remembered. I'm still on meds and in counseling for my anxiety and depression. And I'm making huge strides and optimistic about the next school year and the stability I see ahead. But at the same time I'm also terrified I'll relive this trauma at the end of every school year, long after the copier code is changed.
It was very easy for me to get pregnant the first time with my son. It only took the first month and I had kind of a rough pregnancy so much that it made me want to wait before trying for a second.
We started when he was almost two and it took us a year to get pregnant again. I lost that pregnancy at 5 weeks. I've never experienced a miscarriage like this and no one else I know has. I go to a midwifery so they wanted me to lose it naturally and it took 10 days. In media it always shows that being this big bloodbath that maybe lasts an hour and it's traumatizing but no one warns you for it taking two weeks.
They say to capitalize on the baby hormones and try again right away so I did and now I am miscarrying again. I work at a charter school, we don't have enough substitutes. It's a pandemic - it's all hands-on deck. Everyone is overworked and it feels selfish to take time to mourn.
In my first miscarriage I lost quite a bit in the work bathroom and would take breaks to go cry in the corner. My first thought when I started bleeding the day before the last day of school was at least I wouldn't have to get a substitute or burden my friends with my body's failing.
I plant a fruit tree to mourn the baby I have only held inside my body and my biggest fear is owning an orchard.
I got pregnant with my first child very quickly. Pretty easy pregnancy, though I had some bleeding that put me on bedrest for a week early on.
We waited a few years and got pregnant again, fairly quickly. I had made sure to tell the nurse in my building as soon as I knew, just like I had done the first time. I went to a high risk practice and he had me come in right away for blood work.
Two weeks later I went to work on a Monday. I went to the bathroom and saw blood - a decent sized clot. I immediately went to the nurse and asked what it meant. She looked at me and just said, "Oh I'm so sorry." And hugged me. I was so confused. I knew what she meant but thought she had to be wrong. I ran in to my principal, who also knew, and she asked how I was feeling and I lost it. She called my husband, he picked me up and my doc told me to rest and come in the next day. That appointment confirmed I was no longer pregnant. He told us, "This was a fluke. You can try again after your next period." We did and - boom - pregnant again. Again, the doctor had me come in immediately. Bloodwork looked good. Ultrasound. All good. Heard the heartbeat at 7 weeks. Told our almost 3 year old and bought him a big boy bed.
Two weeks later, no heartbeat. Dr said, "We'll try again next week." For a week, I Googled: "heartbeat then no heartbeat," "how early can you hear a heartbeat," "is 7 weeks too early to hear a heartbeat." I was taking progesterone and I looked like I was 12 weeks pregnant. I talked myself in to, "Everything is fine!" Needless to say, it wasn't.
So, at 9 weeks, we went back and were told that the baby was no longer. I don't remember why but he told me that he didn't want me to do a D&C at that point. I think he expected my body to do what it needed to do. So for the next 3 weeks I waited.
Finally the bleeding started. I expected it to be like the last time, but on the first day of school I finished the day with cramps. I remember texting my husband and telling him, "These are bad. I need a 3rd Advil when I get home." By dinnertime I couldn't stand up straight. The cramping came in waves. I believe my body went in to labor. I was bleeding so much I went through 2 overnight pads in 30 minutes. The pain was excruciating. The practice told me to go to the ER. They were ready for me and got me hooked up to morphine right away. I stayed overnight. The attending gyno checked me and said I was going to pass the clot soon. They gave me a suppository of some medicine and we went home. I put in for two personal days so no one would ask me where I'd been (our contract prohibits HR from asking for proof, etc for personal days).
On Monday I returned to school like nothing happened. No one knew where I'd been or why I'd missed the first 2 days of school. I was very nervous to try again, but we did once we got clearance from the doctor. We got pregnant right away. I cried from fear when I saw the 2 lines on the test. But that pregnancy stuck and our daughter was born in 2016.