We found out we were pregnant the day after Thanksgiving. We hadn’t really planned to have a baby yet – I had gone off of birth control the month before due to changes in insurance coverage, but we had been almost careful about contraceptives, so we weren’t really expecting a positive test. I remember it being such a faint line that I sent my husband out to get another box of tests, just to be sure. It being black Friday at 6am (back when black Friday actually started at 6am), this small errand seemed to take a lifetime, but finally he came home with more tests, and they confirmed – we were having a baby! Despite the surprise, we were so excited. Since my family was in town for the holiday, we told them right away, and of course they were ecstatic as well. Several weeks went by, and I told my colleagues the news before Christmas break, since it seemed everything was progressing really well, and I was almost 8 weeks pregnant. The next day, hubby and I went out to do some last-minute shopping, and the bleeding started. At first it was faint and dark, and the OB office told me not to worry. I had an appointment scheduled for the following Monday anyway, so they said as long as the bleeding didn’t get too heavy, I should just wait it out.
There was nothing I could do either way. I was gripped in fear, yet wanted to believe the positive, that so many “normal” pregnant women experienced bleeding and went on to have healthy babies. The cramping started that night, and the bleeding got heavier, and I just knew that we were losing our child. I felt like I was in a whirlwind for the next couple of weeks, where life was going on around me and was so blurry, yet there were these moments of absolute clarity that are saved in my memory like photographs: Sitting on the toilet bawling every time I had to go to the bathroom, so angry at the red reminder that our baby was gone. Calling friends to say we would not attend a Christmas party because I wasn’t feeling well. Getting blood drawn at the OB’s office. Sitting in the ultrasound room waiting for the tech to search, praying for a heartbeat, hearing there was nothing. Nothing. I remember they didn’t give a real answer. They said something about wishing they had blood levels and maybe I had an ectopic pregnancy (I had no idea what that was), and that there was nothing in my uterus. I had to wait two more days for another blood test to confirm that I’d actually had a miscarriage. The numbness, the uncertainty, carried on for two further days, while the world around me celebrated Christmas.
It was Christmas Eve and we were in the middle of my husband’s family gathering when I got the call from a nurse practitioner who used some cold language to tell me my levels had decreased.
“What does that even mean?” I asked.
“Your pregnancy has terminated,” she answered. Wow. Merry Christmas.
“Where do I go from here?” I asked her. Where do I go from here? The pain was so unspeakable. How I could so love a tiny being that I never even saw is the miracle of motherhood. But to say goodbye to this baby was also to say goodbye to the dreams I had.
All the visions of the nursery and bringing baby home in August and being a Mommy and seeing my husband become a Daddy, and all those tiny dreams you dream when you know there’s life inside of you… I had to mourn each one of those losses.
I remember the nurse answering that we could “try again” after I’d had a normal cycle, just to ensure I was “back to normal” and so we could better date the next pregnancy, should it occur. Back to normal…what was that? Try again… like this was shooting a free throw or buying a lottery ticket. We had lost our baby and the world still revolved and no one knew how deeply it hurt. I recall my father-in-law going for a walk as soon as he received the news, because he was grieving in his own way. Yet here I was, hosting Christmas in my home… could I walk it off, too? I remember feeling angry. Angry that he chose to nurse his own pain rather than help me through mine. I recall people saying things. Some were the normal things, like “God just wanted your baby with Him.” Or “Maybe this just wasn’t meant to be.” There were abnormal things, like “This really isn’t a great time to bring a child into the world anyway.” None of these were helpful, as you may imagine. I recall clinging to my family members who had experienced miscarriages of their own, because they were the people who seemed to truly understand the depth of what I was feeling. I would escape my family’s Christmas gathering and cuddle with my older sister, who had lost a baby of her own, and we would just be together. She never said anything trite, but instead shared her story and listened to mine.
This was balm for my soul. I just needed to be able to talk, to be listened to, to have someone tell me my feelings and emotions and grief were normal, and that things would get better.
The nights were the worst. Somehow I could carry on through the days and believe that God was in control and I could feel somewhat normal. But once the lights were out, I would just sit in bed and sob in my husband’s arms. I felt so broken. So alone. So full of grief that my body hurt. But slowly, over time, the grief got more manageable and the hope began to shine through more. I believe in God, and his plan of redemption for mankind. I believe in his faithful love, and I knew that He had never left me. If this pain of mine was part of His bigger plan, if He would somehow use this to make me stronger, or to serve others who were broken over miscarriage, than I was willing to walk this journey with Him.
I was able to get pregnant shortly after my miscarriage. I remember being afraid and somewhat emotionally detached at first. I didn’t want to get my hopes up and I didn’t want to fall in love with this baby too, just in case God decided to take her as well. But this time, things went smoothly and in the following October we brought home our perfect baby girl. Knowing that I could carry a baby to term greatly helped in mending my grief, and it became rather distant over time.
When my daughter was about two years old, we decided to try again for another baby. We were pregnant quickly again, but something just didn’t seem right this time. I’d been spotting for a few days before I even got a positive test, and this line was extremely faint. When I began to bleed more heavily, I can’t say I was entirely surprised, but was again heartbroken and fearful. Why was I prone to miscarriages? How many would I have to endure? I thought I could carry a baby to term…what’s wrong now? So many questions whirling by again, so few answers. It was easier this time, though. I don’t know if I was just used to this grief, or if I hadn’t gotten so attached so quickly, if I was just busy with my toddler, or if I was just more confident in God’s timing and I was assured of His promise to carry me through since I’d seen Him do it the last time. But this time, it was easier. We again got pregnant shortly after, and carried a baby to full term. We have since had our third child with no more problems along the way.
As I sit here and remember, I feel the grief again, but in a different way. It’s not the heavy pain of loss, but more the remembrance of that pain that hurts. I cannot say I can clearly see God’s reason for putting us through our particular journey, but I can say that I am deeply in love with the children that we have, and I know they were hand picked for our family. I cannot say that I am using my pain to help others specifically, except that I’ve been asked to write this down and perhaps someone reading will resonate with my story. And I look forward with longing to the heaven God promises, where He will wipe every tear from our eyes and He will redeem all this pain for His glory.