October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. I only know this because four years ago, I miscarried my first pregnancy. Shortly after it happened, I decided to write about it, and I shared it on Facebook. I was so nervous to put our story out there for others to read and for some reason, I’m nervous about sharing it again now. As much as having children has impacted my life, not having a child has been almost equally significant. Here is my miscarriage story:
May 10th was the most exciting day of my life! And no, it was not the day we got married.
May 10th was the day we found out we were expecting our first child! I had a feeling something was going on with my body, so I took an at-home test while A was in the shower. Two minutes later I read the word “pregnant” on the pink, plastic stick and let out a loud gasp as I slid open the door to show him. We looked at each other in pure disbelief. Obviously, we understand the mechanics of how babies are made, yet we were still amazed and could hardly speak.
I needed a second opinion so I visited a doctor that day. He confirmed that I was, in fact, five weeks pregnant. We were happy, nervous, surprised, but most of all we were EXCITED! Children were always in our plan, and we instantly had hopes and visions of what this child would be and all of the things it would accomplish!
We stocked up on baby books, arranged a natural home birth with an amazing midwife, had boy and girl names picked out, and would rub my belly every day in anticipation as we dreamed of our growing family. Bringing a person into the world is the most important job you can ever have, and we were eager to love and raise our first child.
Then came July 1st, one of the worst days of my life. We discovered that we’d miscarried. I would have been 13 weeks pregnant that day. I’d felt that something was wrong and scheduled an appointment with my midwife. She couldn’t find a heartbeat and referred us to a doctor for an ultrasound. The ultrasound showed that the life that was growing inside of me simply ceased to thrive. There was no comforting explanation, no reassurance that we hadn’t done something to harm it. We were simply told that spontaneous things happen, but we were fertile and could try again when we were ready.
The next two days were unbearable. Since we’d chosen the natural route, I opted not to have a D&C and allowed the fetal and placental tissue to pass on its own. I don’t know the exact science behind it, but I can’t imagine the pain that I felt was much different than being in labor. My body had been creating a human life for three months, and it suddenly had to come out earlier than expected. It was like half of my body wanted to save the baby, and the other half wanted to viciously spit it out. My insides were being ripped apart as I gave birth to something that wasn’t living. It was beyond excruciating on all levels.
Aside from what I underwent physically, A and I had to face a roller coaster of emotions. The sadness of losing our baby, the frustration of not knowing why, the guilt that we didn’t protect it, and the fear that it could happen again.
And don’t misunderstand me, I’m not asking for pity. I know that a miscarriage is a sign that a baby isn’t healthy and we’ll have many opportunities for other babies. I mostly want to understand why no one talks about it. I’d heard of people having miscarriages before it happened to us, but they were mentioned in such a passive way that I never thought much of it. I read that nearly 1 in 5 pregnancies ends in a miscarriage. That sounds like a lot to me. Some women who miscarry don’t even realize they were pregnant. For the people who are aware, that’s a lot of babies that don’t make it and a lot of women who aren’t talking about it.
I realize that our experience is not representative of what all families experience, but there has to be some amount of disappointment and grief that can be shared by everyone. I might not have felt our baby kick or even known if it was a boy or a girl, but a miscarriage is a tremendous loss of hope and I don’t want to sit in silence. I want people to know my pain and I want women and families who have firsthand experience with this type of loss to feel supported by someone who can relate. Some people are uncomfortable discussing it or just don’t want to dwell and that’s fine. But a miscarriage is nothing to be ashamed of and you should have an outlet if you need it. I want you to know that you can talk to me if you ever find yourself in this place.
Talking about miscarriages also makes me have a higher appreciation for life. When we do have a baby (or four!), I’ll know that the odds might not have been in her favor and I’ll be that much more thankful for such a beautiful gift. Birth is truly, truly a miracle and life is a blessing.
Through it all, I’m so grateful for the amazing man I chose as my husband. Although he couldn’t feel all of the changes and pain I felt, he’s been by my side. Our marriage has grown stronger as we’ve battled our emotions and heartache. We are staying positive and are determined to try again. Stay tuned; we’ll be sure to share the good news as soon as it comes!
Four years later, the feelings are still fresh. I still think about the child we could’ve had and what our lives would be like now with him or her. It’s still the most difficult experience that my husband and I have shared and it haunted me through both of my subsequent pregnancies. But I can say that it’s given me a different appreciation for my marriage and the beautiful, healthy children we are blessed to have.
I pray that you never have to experience the loss of life or the dissipation of hope in this way, but know that you are not alone and you can at least depend on me to listen to your story and share some of your grief.
And that’s my miscarriage story. On to happier things next time!
Read more stories of loss, overcoming grief, and restoring hope:
Yukon Mama of 4- A Joy Mother of Many, and I’m Thankful
Jason Robert’s Promise- Finally at That Place
Living Richardson- More Than a Number
My Angel Books- My Sister is My Guardian Angel
Twin Rainbow Bubbles- My Why
Crazy Mommy Blog- The Day My World Stopped Turning
All of KP- October 15th
Baby Momma Blogga- The Storm Before the Rainbow