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I have been married to my husband for over 5 years but we have been together for almost 13 years. I’m lucky enough to have married my high school sweetheart. We are new parents to a preemie who is still in the NICU who is working on growing and breathing until she is healthy enough to come home (you can read my journey into motherhood here).
My journey into parenthood wasn’t a typical new mom and dad experience. I didn’t deliver a full term baby, I didn’t hear a baby crying, the new dad didn’t get to cut the umbilical cord, and no crying baby was placed in my arms.
When my twins were delivered 15 weeks early they were rushed to the NICU by a large team of doctors. I didn’t even know if they were going to make it through the night. But they did.
My husband and I stood side by side praying for our little girls to make it another day. To keep fighting and not give up. We lost one of our sweet girls 4 days later. Saying goodbye to our baby after just saying hello was the hardest thing we ever faced together.
Our relationship changed that day as we were grieving the loss of our baby while our other baby was unstable. We were only 4 days into being parents and we felt we had already failed. I thought my marriage was strong before but I was so wrong. It was stronger.
5 things I learned about my marriage after having a baby and losing a baby
We are a team
We needed to make decisions together on the care of our babies. In order to come to those decisions, we needed to listen to both of our concerns and agree on what was best for our daughters.
We knew there would be times that we might not agree with one another but we needed to be respectful and have an open mind. In the end, we listened to the doctors, did our own research, and listened to our concerns and agreed together what was best for both our girls. We did that together, holding hands, as a strong team.
Communication is vital
My husband and I communicate differently. We also grief differently. Just because we both handled the loss of our baby differently doesn’t mean we didn’t openly communicate things.
I’m the type who has to talk about her emotions as it makes me feel better. While my husband prefers to hold his emotions in and stay strong for my sake. Regardless, we talked about our emotions if we needed to. If we were having a bad day or moment we took the time to talk it through with one another.
We just lost our baby while we didn’t know the outcome of our other baby. We needed to go through the grief together.
Romance is important
After the birth and loss of our baby, it was hard to maintain any sense of normalcy. We had two babies and only one survived. We weren’t bringing a baby home for months and yet we were now parents.
New parents who had no clue what they were doing. Our lives went on hold. We didn’t know how to do the everyday tasks we were so used to doing without feeling grief.
We were going through more stress than the average person but we knew, in the beginning, we still needed to make time for one another. Whether it was simply going to a restaurant outside of the hospital and sharing laughs with one another or staying home to watch a movie on the couch together.
Our marriage is strong
We knew for a few months prior to giving birth that there were issues with the pregnancy putting a serious risk on our girl’s lives. At that moment we decided that we wouldn’t let this tear us apart.
We needed one another now more than ever.
Together we had to make difficult decisions and we lost our baby together. I always thought our marriage was perfect but let’s be honest there is no such thing as perfect. I now know that our marriage is solid. We have literally seen each other at our worst.
Instead of pushing one another away due to the grief we held on to one another.
We must be honest with one another
My husband and I have handled the loss of our baby differently. Since we express emotions differently we must be honest with one another on how we are feeling.
Some days are better than others.
If I’m having a bad day I let me husband know how I am feeling. Whether it’s to tell him I need him to listen to me, hold me while I cry, or give me space for the day. Either way, I’m upfront and honest with him about how I feel.
Honesty is something that has always been important to us but now more than ever. We don’t always know what’s going through each other’s mind unless we talk our emotions out.
I learned so much about my marriage after we had a baby and now I know it’s stronger than ever.