- Family and Parenting
Continuing On After A Miscarriage
December 5th, 2015:
I had arrived home with an over-full bladder. I dropped my sacks of groceries on the dining room table and set my nearly 1 year old son on the living room floor to play as I ran to the bathroom to pee. I was 3 days shy of being 3 months pregnant, and unlike my first pregnancy, you could already see my baby bump and my bladder was also feeling the pressure much earlier on this time around. I peed, and peed, and peed. And then I noticed... no, wait, I shouldn't be bleeding! Panic set in and I dialed my Mother, 1,200 miles away in California... "What is happening, Mom? Why am I bleeding?" My mother, having 5 children of her own, was definitely an expert in my book when it came to pregnancies and what was "normal" or what wasn't suppose to happen. A long pause on the phone and I could hear her breath draw in real slow and shallow, "Oh no, baby, oh no. Call your doctor immediately!" I burst into tears, asking her "But what's wrong, why is this happening?" obviously knowing, though, that she wouldn't have any answers for me...
My Husband immediately drove me to the ER. After what seemed like several hours of procedural check-ups and questioning, then blood and urine tests proving that indeed I was pregnant in the first place, they took me down for an ultrasound where they silently looked at my baby. Not a single word was said. But I saw him, and I knew. My baby was no longer with us. He was inside of me, he was there... but he was gone.
Tomorrow was my first son's 1st Birthday, but today I had lost my second baby.
There's so many reasons things can and do go wrong. Sometimes it's just unexplainable. My doctor said it best, "that the body just knows when things aren't quite right." But there's still a part of you that blames yourself - the "what if's" and "why's" start to churn within your agonized mind. "What if I had found out a week earlier that I was pregnant and started on my pre-natal vitamins then?" or "If I had not done that Zumba workout, I must've only been 2 weeks then, would it have made a difference?" and most notably, "Why wasn't I good enough to carry?" and "What's wrong with me!?!" Clearly my thoughts were hysterical exaggerations of the "damage" I'd caused to my unborn baby. I'd done nothing wrong and there was nothing wrong with my body. There was nothing, in my circumstance, that I could have done, or didn't do, to prevent this... it just happened. And it happens to so many of us.
I've read that 3 out of every 10 women experience a miscarriage at some point in their life. That's nearly one-third of us! Yet, why is it so "hush-hush," so taboo to talk about!?! Why do our Mother's turn their heads away pretending it never happened, why do our girlfriend's hesitate and pass the subject with ignorance, why do our churches forbid us to speak about this? Where is the humanity in letting us grieve openly, and loving and comforting us while we do so? Why must we put up a façade? I won't; I won't for you or for my Mother or for your Church or for anyone.
Three long and painful days had passed since the ultrasound revealed my baby had passed away. I had been offered an emergency D&C to "eliminate the fetus." They were concerned that since I was nearly 3 months along, I would not be able to pass naturally. I declined. Part of me wanted to give "birth" to my deceased baby naturally, part of me was completely horrified by the whole idea of a D&C procedure, and part of me just didn't want to let go of my unborn baby. But after 3 days it happened at home naturally. There's nothing but pain and heartache and horror to be felt when you physically lose your baby and he is no longer inside of you. No other words can be said. Deafening heartache, horror and pain.
The loss is a real one, and don't let anyone ever try and minimize it for you. 3 weeks or 3 months or 9 months doesn't make a difference. We've lost our babies and we've lost a part of our hearts with them. We've lost a bit of ourselves. It's a grief that is unexplainable, a loss that has no words to describe. It's beyond understanding, and each of us grieves and deals with it uniquely.
For weeks following my miscarriage, my Husband and I were emotionally and physically unattached. Vacant to and with each other, very dark and cold. It was a bitter, shadowy, painful, very empty period of time. I felt such loss and pain, such a tremendous amount of grief and unexplainable heartache that I had shut myself down, literally locked myself up within my own mind and emotions. I failed to realize that even though my Husband didn't physically go through the pain and loss of "my" unborn baby, he still suffered the loss of OUR unborn baby. I couldn't selfishly sit there and own my miscarriage alone. It was OUR miscarriage, OUR loss, OUR baby, OUR grief and grieving process to be shared together. It wasn't until I opened myself back up, opened myself to my Husband again, and shared with him my pain and my feelings and my grief and heartache, that I was able to... that WE were able to start healing and moving forward in a positive direction.
The healing process is a long one, perhaps never-ending. It's been almost 9 months since my first miscarriage, and just over 2 months ago we passed by his expected due date. I often think of how many weeks old my baby would be as the time passes; how the sun would shine against his silky newborn hair and if he'd have mine or his Father's colors; how his dewy baby skin would feel beneath my fingertips; how comforted he'd feel in my arms as I would nurse him, and how amazing that bond would be. I may have never held my baby, but he was real to me. He was life within me, he was part of me, and during the 3 short months I carried him, I loved and cared and adored him.
We do survive, we will go on. It takes time and patience and acceptance and love. We get through this, we do.