How I Became a Mother: A Story of Loss and Love


How I Became a MotherBurlingtonVT Moms Blog is partnering with Vermont Midwives Association to bring you our latest series titled “How I Became a Mother” in honor of Mother’s Day.  Each of us has a unique journey on how we got here…here being in this crazy thing called motherhood.  Some of us have grown our families through adoption, some through donor sperm.  Some of us have struggled with infertility while others of us have needed to rely on faith and science.   Bringing a child into this world is no less than miraculous regardless of how it’s done.  These next two weeks we want to share with you the stories of how we became mothers, to let you know that no two families are born the same.  Join us on this journey as we celebrate Moms!


A Story of Loss and Love

Being a mom is the greatest thing that has happened to me, but becoming a mom was one of the hardest things I’ve ever experienced. There was a time when I wondered if I’d be able to be a mom. As a childhood cancer survivor, I worried that my body was “damaged” and that the treatments I received would make conceiving difficult, but doctors assured me that everything was fine.

When we (finally) took the leap and decided to start trying, I mentally prepared myself that it could take up to a year to get pregnant. My husband likes to say I’m such a Red Sox fan (pre 2004), always expecting the worst and surprised when good things happen. I like to think I’m more of a realist – managing my own expectations.  Of course, with each pregnantless month that passed I was disappointed. I admit, looking back I was a little dramatic. It only took three months to get pregnant.

The pregnancy only lasted 9 weeks. I miscarried. I was devastated. I cried…a lot. I was heartbroken. Miscarriage was not even on my radar. I did not expect it at all. After my body healed, I began to heal emotionally. I wanted to try again as soon as possible.  And, two months after my miscarriage I was holding a second positive pregnancy test.

I almost didn’t believe I got pregnant again so quickly, but this pregnancy was no easier. About 2 weeks after taking the test, I had another miscarriage. I could not believe this was happening again. Why me? What did I do wrong for this to happen twice in a row? I look back now and realize these are natural questions to ask, but they can drive you crazy. As the doctors told me, it was just bad luck. I wanted answers though. Bad luck just means it could happen again (the Red Sox fan talking now).

I felt so alone.

No one I knew closely could relate to how I was feeling. Of course my husband and family were there to listen, but what could they say. No one talks about miscarriage. You only hear the good news because no one wants to share bad news.

Well, two months later I finally had good news to share. I was pregnant…again. For those doing math at home, you are correct – three pregnancies in about 7 months. I guess I’m fertile. 🙂 Of course I was happy, but I was guarded. I wasn’t sure I could handle another miscarriage. I was so afraid to let myself think too far ahead. For me, each week that passed was another week closer to having our first child, but I could not look too far ahead.  I had a hard time really letting myself enjoy the pregnancy. I think it was around week 23 when I felt that my baby was here to stay…just not for the full term of the pregnancy.

Oliver arrived 10 weeks early. Apparently, I was just meant to have a baby in 2012! So going through a miscarriage is emotionally tough, but having a child in the NICU for six weeks, well it’s physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting.


We were lucky though. Oliver came out breathing on his own. I am so grateful for this. During the delivery, the doctors warned me that I wouldn’t be able to hold him because they were going to whisk him away so the NICU team could begin working on him. I was upset, but agreed that we needed  to do what was best for our child. So when he came out sceaming, it was music to my ears. The best part, I was able to hold him for a few moments before handing him off to the NICU team. I get tears every time I think of that moment. It is a moment I will treasure forever. 

Oliver spent the next six weeks in the NICU at Fletcher Allen. Quick shout out to the NICU nurses and doctors. They are amazing people who do amazing work. I was at the hospital every single day, usually from 7am to 5pm. The hardest part of this was the first day I had to leave the hospital…without Oliver. I cried the entire way home and all night. I called the NICU at least twice that evening to see how he was doing. I probably had a reputation in the NICU for being that mom.  I was there for 10 hours a day, and called every night before going to bed and sometimes when I was pumping in the middle of the night. Everyone – nurses, family and friends, kept telling me to take time for myself, but there was no where else I wanted to be.


Before Oliver was born, we decided I would try being a stay at home mom. I say ‘try’ because I never pictured myself as one. I wasn’t sure if I had what it takes. Plus, at the time I was passionate about my field of work, and my career was going in the right direction. But when I got pregnant, my attitude began to change. The idea of being at home to raise my child seemed more appealing. I realize now that I’m fortunate to even have this option.


I’ll probably go back to work full time someday, just not sure when or what I’ll do. For now, I have my dream job. I’m a mom. A mom to a wonderful, happy, healthy and curious little boy. I became a mom the day I found out I was pregnant the first time. There is not a day that goes by I don’t think of the babies we lost, but I’m blessed to wake up every day and be the best mom I can be to Oliver.

How I Became a Mother


Written by Elisa

Elisa bioMy husband, Jon, and I moved here in 2011 from Washington, DC, where I worked as a program manager for the American Society of Hematology (ASH). I have a MPA in health policy and nonprofit management from The George Washington University.  These days, I am a stay at home mom to our son Oliver, but continue to contract with ASH as time allows.

When I’m not chasing Oliver around, I love to spend time working on our home in Charlotte. I have a passion (read: obsession) with interior design. Together, we enjoy spending time outdoors and with our family. We love Vermont and are so grateful that we have been able to make it our home.



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