This is a post that I have been putting off writing. I find it very hard to say the words out loud, much less write it out in a post on my wonderful blog, my blog that is usually so happy. But here it goes….
I had a miscarriage on Tuesday, June 8th. I was 11 weeks pregnant.
Yes, I am sad and devastated. Just last week my belly was full of new life. And now? It’s flat and empty. My heart feels pretty much the same way. I have known sadness before…but this is different. I won’t say it’s worse or better than the other sadnesses….just very different.
I am told I will go through different stages of grief. I need to do my research on that so that I know what to expect. Right now…I am numb. I have moments where I am carrying on as normal around here, and then I “remember” that I am no longer pregnant, and it hits me hard.
The first four days Rich took complete care of me. He has been wonderful throughout this whole thing. Even though he was going through his own grief, he made sure I was taken care of all day long. I was pretty much on pain meds for the first 4 days — for cramping, but mostly to keep me in a state where I wasn’t crying constantly. Ahhhh, the meds…..you gotta love ’em. So I was pretty much out of it those first few days. Rich had to make all the phonecalls to family and friends. He was late doing it. Again, because he was going through his own grief, and the last thing he wanted to do was say the words out loud and talk to people about it.
I first noticed something was wrong last Sunday evening. I took a bath, getting ready for bed, and when I was drying off I noticed I was bleeding.
I actually began a post that next day, but I didn’t have the heart to post it. I was afraid that if I posted it….that it would be true. Here is what I wrote:
Something Is Not Right
I have an ultrasound scheduled for tomorrow. At 11 weeks, something is not right. Last night at around 7pm I had some bleeding. The blood was dark brown, not pink or red. And soon after that the back ache started. It would come in waves, about 5 minutes apart. Not a good sign. Today I have had the same back ache and the brown spotting. I feel crampy.
I have never had a miscarriage, and I’ve always considered myself super lucky. All these healthy pregnancies and not one miscarriage? Wow. I have so many friends who have had at least one miscarriage. I know they happen. I know they are fairly common.
Just not common for me.
So…needless to say, I’ve been worried and sad today. And to top it off, today I feel no signs whatsoever of morning sickness. None. Nothing. The familiar “empty stomach” feeling is not here. I have only had two pieces of toast today, and right now it’s 12:10pm…and I feel perfectly fine. No nausea. No need to eat something to feel better. I feel…..nothing. That can’t be a good sign, either.
But…there is nothing I can do about it other than to lie in bed and rest. And wait. I will know what’s going on tomorrow. On the ultrasound screen there will either be a baby with a beating heart — or not. It’s really out of my hands at this point. I am somehow comforted by that thought, knowing that it’s out of my hands. I have to have faith that my body knows what it’s doing. My body has never failed me before. I believe my body knows if something is not right. My body will take care of things.
This is what intellectually I am thinking, and it’s somewhat of a comfort. But emotionally, well…that’s an entirely different thing. Emotionally, I have already dreamed and planned about this baby, this baby #10 that was going to be our family’s Christmas Gift this year. This baby that we have already found names for, boy or girl, we know what its name will be. It will be a loss, for sure, if it doesn’t come to be. I will feel that loss deeply. I am not looking foward to tomorrow’s ultrasound — but yet, I am. I hate not knowing, but yet I don’t want to know. Very strange how you can feel 100% both ways.
I ended up going to the hospital that night at around 9:45. Rich came home from work that afternoon, and we both decided to be seen right away instead of waiting another day. By that time, the blood was no longer brown, but red, and the cramping was getting worse….and I knew. I just knew in my heart that the baby was gone. But I still wanted the ultrasound. I wanted to see the baby. I wanted photos.
By the time we got to the hospital, I was passing small clots. I knew it was happening. Rich and I cried off and on, but mostly I just went through the motions of signing paperwork, answering questions, routine hospital check-in stuff. I wasn’t in much pain. The cramping was mostly in my back, and it was more of a achey feeling. We waited in the private room; me on the gurney in my hospital gown with tags on my arms, and Rich sitting in that one chair in the corner.
When the ultrasound was ready for me, they had to wheel my gurney out the door and down two halls to the ultrasound room. Let me just say that I HATED that. I knew people were looking at me. It was crowded in the ER that night. People were standing everywhere, waiting to be seen. I had a baseball cap on, and so I pulled my hat down over my eyes, sort of in that kid mentality that if I can’t see them, they can’t see me. Other than pulling the sheet up and over my head, this was the only thing I could come up with in order to “hide” from all the stares.
The ultrasound tech was a woman in her mid 50’s. Her name was Faith, and she had a very soft, soothing voice. She spoke very gently to me.
She asked, “So what brings you here tonight? What problem are you having?”
“I am miscarrying,” I said.
Just like that — I said it. I didn’t cry. My voice didn’t even quiver.
She looked at me, smiled and said, “Well…let’s not jump to conclusions. You just never know. Sometimes things like this will turn out to be nothing–“
“Faith,” I interrupted her. “I know in my heart the baby is gone. I’m not expecting to see a heartbeat. I’m really only here for two reasons. One, I need for you to take pictures for me. I don’t have any pictures of this baby, and I really need that. And two, if you could please measure the baby and let me know at what week it happened. I just want to know when it happened.”
Faith was silent for a second. I think I caught her off guard with all that.
Then she smiled at me and said, “Okay, I can do that for you.”
“Thanks.” I said.
I looked over at Rich, and he had tears in his eyes. He grabbed my hand, and the ultrasound began. I turned my head and looked over at the screen. At first she measured my uterus. She said I was measuring at 11 weeks pregnant. Every now and then I could get a glimpse of the baby, but it was from a distance so it looked very small. Then she began scanning the baby up close. The first thing I noticed was that there was no heartbeat. Even though that was what I was expecting, a part of my own heart died when I saw that. This is real, I thought. This is really happening. I didn’t dare look over at Rich, because I knew if I did, I would break down. And I wanted to be strong and look at the baby really well, because this was the first and last time I would ever see this little one. I didn’t want to ruin it with tears. So I kept my eyes on the monitor.
I was amazed at how perfectly formed the baby was. I saw arms, legs, fingers and toes. I saw the face. I saw the spine. I caught myself smiling a couple times. It was my baby, afterall, and I was proud simply because of that. It was a perfectly formed baby … without a beating heart. I guess I was secretly hoping that the baby wouldn’t be formed well, because then that would give a possible reason as to why it passed away. But nope — what I saw was no different than all my other babies on ultrasound. Except that this one wasn’t kicking its legs or moving its arms. This one was so still.
The baby measured at 9.5 weeks gestation. It had passed away a week and a half ago…and I didn’t even know it. When was the exact day and time that it’s heart stopped beating? What was I doing at the time? It bothers me that I didn’t sense something, that my motherly instinct didn’t know something was wrong. My child’s soul went to Heaven …and I wasn’t even aware of it. How is that possible? I thought for sure that mothers just knew things like that, instantly… that we get a feeling of some sort that tells us. But I never did.
When the ultrasound was over, I sat up and got dressed. Everything was so quiet. Rich came over to me, and I leaned my head on his chest …and sobbed. I had been holding back until that moment, wanting to be strong during the entire ultrasound. But now my worst fear had been confirmed, and I cried. I cried hard. And I clung onto Rich, and I said, “I’m sorry…I’m so sorry….”
he looked at me and said, “What?”
and I choked out the words, “I’m sorry….my body….failed.”
It was so hard to get the words out. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. And it was an awful moment for me to say those words out loud, but it’s what I had been thinking. The baby was pefectly formed, so it must have been my body that somehow failed to keep him or her alive.
Rich shook his head and firmly told me “No. Don’t say that. Don’t even think that.”
He cried, and I cried. And he held me. And I was so grateful that he was there to cry with me. God knew what He was doing when he gave babies a mother and a father. We need someone to share joys with, and we especially need someone to share grief with. In moments like these, I seriously do not know what I would do without my husband by my side. Rich said things to me in that ultrasound room that helped me to calm down. His words brought me peace in my heart…and to this day, I can’t remember exactly what he said. But in the end, we don’t really remember the words people say to us — we remember the way they made us feel.
We went back into our little room and waited for the doctor to come. We had already signed out and were ready to go. I just wanted to leave. But the doctor still had to talk to us. When he came in, he told me how sorry he was, that sometimes these things happen….yada yada yada…I don’t really remember all that he had to say. My mind was pretty much numb by that time, and I really just wanted to be at home. It was well past 1:00 am in the morning, and I wanted to go home. He said there was a room upstairs ready for me, if I would like to check in to have a D & C performed. I told him no, that I would rather things happen naturally and avoid having a D & C, if possible.
We got home at around 2am. Rich was exhausted and fell asleep. I don’t really want to go into much detail about the rest of the night, but I’ll just say that the miscarriage was complete by about 4:00am. It did not hurt much. I had pain meds for the cramping. It was not traumatic at all. In fact, it was very peaceful. As hard as that is to believe, it’s true. I prayed a lot that night, during the process, thanking God for this experience. I told God that although this is very painful and heartbreaking, I trusted Him. I know that I will become a better person because of this experience. I believe that someday I will be able to help someone else because I went through this. I have complete faith that good will come from this experience, and I have faith that my little one is in Heaven. I feel comforted by that. I thanked God during the process, and I believe He gave me the grace to get through it on my own, in my own home, with peace in my heart, and without fear. And that is what made it a peaceful experience instead of a traumatic one.
So that’s the story. It’s been five days now and I am feeling good physically. Emotionally….I have my moments. I find that I mostly cry when I’m driving in the car. My eyes are always covered with sunglasses, so no one can tell if I have tears in my eyes. And I usually get sad at night, when all the kids are in bed, when it’s just me alone with my thoughts. Those are the most difficult times for me. For Rich, he’s back at work and it’s hard for him because the news is spreading around the station, so he has guys coming up to him at random times saying how sorry they are…. and that always makes him choke up.
Can I just say that I love my husband EXTRA right now. He’s been so great through all of this. He is grieving with me, but also taking the time to take great care of me. When he’s home, he handles everything around here and let’s me be alone in my room to rest, to grieve, to heal. Then he comes to me and hugs me, and talks to me, and lifts my spirits up. He holds me when I cry. He cries with me at times. Sometimes he just listens. Sometimes he cracks jokes and we both laugh. Laughing feels really good. He has cried a lot these past few days. I usually hate to see him cry, but not in this case. In this case, it feels good to know that someone else misses my baby. To others…this is just a lost pregnancy. But to me and Rich, we lost our child. We never got the chance to know this one, and that really hurts. He is the only other person who feels the loss like I do. And so his tears comfort me.