I debated about posting this because someone dear to me recently had a miscarriage, but as always, I think it's so important to know you're not alone. This post was written by a beautiful woman who has chosen to remain anonymous. A special thanks to her for sharing her heart on this difficult topic to discuss.
As I stood in the bathroom, hovering near the pregnancy test, I could feel my heart beating in my chest. This would be our 7th month of trying. Seven long months of waiting, wondering. But our wait was over.
It was positive.
My hands shook as I took 3 more tests just to confirm that the first wasn't a dud. All had the same results. Oh my gosh, we were pregnant!
Elation, excited, ecstatic, happy, and thrilled were all too small of words to describe my feelings. We were on cloud nine. We had been trying for 7 months, each month wondering if 'this would be the month.' My husband and I ran out to purchase a gender neutral outfit to mark the special day.
Immediately we told our friends and family closest to us and within a week it seemed like the world knew. Everywhere I looked I saw beautiful pregnant bellies and glowing mamas. My heart would skip a beat anxious for my belly to begin growing. Even at just shy of 8 weeks I already had dreams and ideas for the life growing inside of me. Despite not having a belly yet, my hands were constantly drawn to my tummy. I was in awe of all things baby. We were so excited to find out if I was carrying a baby girl, or a baby boy.
And then it happened. My world came crashing down.
It started as just a couple drops of blood. But it quickly began to gush. And the cramping. Oh, the cramping.
I lost the baby. The one I had been dreaming about, picturing in my head, naming. Gone. Nothing could have prepared me for that moment.
At first I didn't want to tell anyone. I wanted to be in my own sorrow for awhile. But, the calls kept coming; calls of wonderment on how my 8 week appointment went, wondering if we were going to find out if we were having a boy or a girl. I couldn't ignore them forever. My once fluttering heart felt like it had stopped beating.
I asked my husband to call our family and friends. I just didn't want to face them. A few cards and flowers showed up with wonderful well-wishers. But they didn't help take away the pain I was feeling and I couldn't stand putting on a fake smile while they were there. I cursed myself for having shared our exciting news with the world so soon. It just meant that many more people that we had to tell of our devastation. And it was amazing how many people didn't know how to respond at all. After all, the baby inside of me died.
I couldn't believe how long the bleeding continued. It was as if it was mocking me, reminding me of the barrenness of my tummy. The cramps were actually comforting, a true pain that helped my heart feel less. I still continued to see pregnant women everywhere, as if they were screaming at me that were able to carry their babies to term and I couldn't. And the outfit we picked out still sat in the closet, beckoning me to feel the soft fabric, feel the pain, and whispering the evil thoughts that began encroaching; what if I would never be able to have a baby? What if this kept happening? What if something is wrong with my body and I'll never be able to bring a baby to term? Did I do something wrong? What if I hadn't worked out last week? What if I had taken it easier the past few weeks? What if, what if, what if...
Slowly, the bleeding stopped. The pain was too raw to even think about trying again any time soon. And yet, after several months our desire to have a baby took over my fear of another miscarriage. Miscarriage--what a dirty word. Sure 20 to 30 percent of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, but I did not want to be on that end of the statistics again.
Miraculously I actually got pregnant again, right away this time. However, my heart was heavy; would the same thing happen again? My husband and I had originally talked about not sharing the news until we were in the 2nd trimester, but despite the fear, we were also excited and couldn't stand keeping it to ourselves for that long. We decided to tell our close family and friends, but also shared our hesitation with them and asked them to keep it quiet until our first appointment at 8 weeks when we were scheduled to have an internal ultrasound.
From the day we found out to the weeks leading up to the internal I couldn't sleep. I couldn't breathe; it was if my very breathe was being squeezed out of me. Every twinge sent me running to the bathroom. Every cramp made me burst in to tears thinking it was happening again. But the ultrasound came and went. The baby looked good. I felt sick as a dog, but the baby looked good. Hallelujah! However, I still couldn't shake the feeling. I knew the risk was still high until the 2nd trimester and because of that I couldn't allow myself to attach to this baby in the same way. I refused to buy anything baby until the 2nd trimester. I refused to think about names. And I refused to dream about the future.
But the second trimester came and went too. Finally I could allow the excitement to take over. I was pregnant. I was one of those beautiful, glowing, round, protruding bellied, pregnant women and I was finally bursting at the seems with excitement and anticipation. Our true 'wait' was over.
Just an update, a healthy, beautiful baby girl was born. And just a few months later (they thought it would take several months again!) they are now cautiously beginning the journey again as they just found out they're pregnant with baby #2. Congratulations and thank you for sharing your difficult story.
Readers: Hopefully there is someone out there that can find comfort in these words I shared with someone recently: Losing a baby, at any point, even pregnant, is still losing a baby. Despite not being able to hold (in most cases) a baby that dies during pregnancy, the baby is still yours. And the hurt is all the same. And it is important to know you are allowed to hurt, to cry, to grieve. And though you may feel like it at the time, you are not alone. Another thing to hold on to is that one day you will get to meet this baby. It may be a loss now, but eventually, it will be a gain! You will have a child to meet in heaven! If you didn't know before, you will then know if "it" was a he or a she. And you will walk hand in hand sharing all kinds of stories. But for now, allow yourself some time to grieve, and try not to beat yourself up with the 'whys.'
It can be hard for friends and family to know what to say when a baby has died, hard for friends and family to know what to do, to know how or if they should comfort. Suggestions?
© Transparencies of Motherhood 2011