My Heart Goes Out to Nick Carter, His Wife and Their New Baby
Scrolling through the news of the day, I admit that I was pleasantly surprised to see updates from Nick Carter that, after a delay due to minor complications, both his wife and his newborn baby would be heading home. I breathed a sigh of relief not because I know them personally, or because I am one of millions of enduring fans of The Backstreet Boys, but rather because I have been on a very similar rollercoaster ride myself and had been hoping for the best for them since their story first broke.
Much like Nick Carter’s wife, I had endured multiple miscarriages over the years, and resigned myself to the fact that the children I already had would most likely be the only ones I would ever have. I know how it feels to blame yourself, to hate yourself, to mourn so many little lives lost because your body was incapable of carrying them to term. I know how it feels to just not understand why it keeps happening and to lose hope that you might ever have another child, or a child at all.
I also know what it’s like to have a surprise pregnancy following a devastating miscarriage– knowing the timing of this new pregnancy may have only been possible due to your previous loss, compounded by that ever-present fear that you may have to face another miscarriage with this pregnancy as well.
I know what it is like finding out you are pregnant more than halfway through your pregnancy. It’s utter disbelief paired with judgment from others questioning how could you not know. The truth is that if you aren’t expecting to be pregnant it typically comes as a surprise to find out that you are. And if you aren’t expecting to be expecting, you can easily reason away early pregnancy symptoms as other things entirely.
Back in 1999, my now-ex-husband and I were expecting our second son together. We already had a name picked out. Friends and family were eagerly awaiting his arrival. At that point, I had already had multiple miscarriages, but they had always been fairly early on in the pregnancy. I was a little over six months along in this pregnancy, though, and everything looked wonderful, so my fears had subsided. I was hopeful and excited.
Then I developed appendicitis and my appendix almost burst.
When I awoke from my appendectomy, my doctor solemnly informed me that they could no longer detect a fetal heartbeat or any movement whatsoever. I was devastated. Not again. I begged again and again for the doctors to check again for any signs of life, and they patiently kept going through the motions of checking, but to no avail. Not only did I lose my son, but I was so far along that I had to go through the motions of delivery to remove his tiny, lifeless body from my womb. To say that I was heartbroken is a monumental understatement.
After this miscarriage, my doctor and I had a very hard talk where he suggested I may want to come to terms with the fact that I may not be able to have any more children. He pointed out that I had been previously blessed with two other children, which is more than many women who struggle with miscarriages ever get. The rational side of me knew what he was saying was true, but the mother in me wanted to scream, to lash out, to confront him for being so cold and uncaring and dismissive about the little life I just lost. My little son that I’d never get to hold, rock, nurse, sing to sleep, hear laugh, watch grow up and have little babies of his own.
I was still in my twenties and my doctor felt I was too young for a hysterectomy or a tubal ligation, so we discussed alternatives. We decided upon a birth control shot. It was pitched as more reliable than the pill, with the bonus of no longer menstruating. I hated it, but I figured it was my only choice because my body was no longer fit to carry a child. Once every few months, I would return to my doctor for another injection and that would be that.
After time, I began gaining a little weight and brought up this concern at my follow-up appointment for another shot. I was told that everyone gains weight on this form of birth control and reassured that everything was fine. A few short weeks afterwards, however, I began to feel a flurry of little movements, that unmistakable fluttering of a baby inside me.
I rushed back to the doctor and sure enough I was pregnant. Even more surprisingly, I was almost six months along. I remember one nurse incredulously asking me how I could not have known sooner. The truth is that if you are told there is no possibility, believe there is no hope, you often rationalize away early symptoms as other things. I hadn’t had bad morning sickness like in my other successful pregnancies, nor did I have the cravings or the breast tenderness or other symptoms normally associated with pregnancy. I had gained a few pounds but nothing like with my other pregnancies and was not carrying as if I was with child. Until I felt that unmistakable flutter, I had absolutely no idea.
My doctor warned of possible complications due to pregnancy on the shot, and of other problems because this pregnancy was not behaving as a normal pregnancy should. He suggested termination because it might not be safe to try to carry another child to term after my last loss less than a year prior. I wasn’t hearing any of it. I didn’t care if this child was born with “unforeseeable and possibly serious problems” as my doctor put it. This was my baby, alive and moving inside me, and I was not going to give up on him. I had already lost too much.
My now-ex and I were afraid to share the news with family and friends, though, until we knew exactly what was in store. We began scheduling tests to check for possible problems with the pregnancy, planning to tell everyone as soon as we had a full picture. The results came back in early November that everything looked fine with the baby. With Thanksgiving so close, our plans were to break the news that day when everyone was gathered together. When everyone at the table went around taking turns saying what they were thankful for, I planned to say I was thankful that we would be having a healthy baby in a few short months. That was the plan at least. It never came to fruition.
My son had other plans. A week before Thanksgiving, before we had a chance to even tell anyone that we were expecting, I went into premature labor. I wasn’t due until after New Years so I went into an absolute panic thinking I was losing him, too. Not again, not him. By the time I got to the hospital, they couldn’t stop my labor. Ready or not, he was coming. And I prayed with every fiber of my being that he would survive.
He was so tiny but he was strong. The only problem doctors could find was that he had an immature intestine, meaning I would have to help pump his legs to help him potty, a condition babies usually outgrow as they get older and their organs get stronger. We spent extra time in the hospital due to these minor complications and to do a battery of tests just to make sure he was alright. Quite honestly, though, no matter the outcome of those tests, I was just grateful he was here and alive.
My little tiny miracle baby turns 21 this November. He is now the biggest and healthiest of my children, over six feet tall and built like a linebacker. Over two decades later, though, and I still remember the rollercoaster of those days before his conception right up to bringing him home from the hospital. The tears, the fears, the hopelessness, the disbelief, the joy– I remember it all as if it was yesterday.
Reading the news stories about Nick Carter, his wife and baby brought it all back for me full force– the string of miscarriages, the surprise pregnancy, the extra stay at the hospital where you hope and pray with all your might that your baby is okay. I don’t personally know them, but I rooted for them with every fiber of my being and watched apprehensively for updates, hoping that things would turn out well for them as it had for me, because I too had been there. I could imagine what they were going through, as could many other women who have been in similar situations can I’m sure. I was elated to see him announce that his wife and child were doing well and would be heading home. I sympathize and empathize with all the losses they’ve endured up to this point and am so grateful that they, too, were gifted their own little surprise blessing after resigning themselves to the fact that they may never have another child.
Lead image courtesy of Nick Carter’s Instagram and Twitter account.