October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, which is what prompted this post. This was a tough one for me to write, but it has been a long time coming. This is a sensitive topic, and as was my post back in April, might be a trigger for those who have suffered a loss themselves. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns.
It is amazing to me how now, six years later, I still think about it when December 22 comes around. It's one of the first things I think about in the morning. Our family could be celebrating a birthday today. Which is silly, really. Only about 5 percent of women actually deliver on their due date, so why wouldn't I have that thought on December 15th? Or the 26th? But of course, the 22nd is the day I'd circled on my calendar, so it makes sense it's the day that stands out...
[Taken from my journal at the time]:
Thursday, April 9, 2009
...I took a test this morning and I couldn't believe it when I looked at the read out and it said "pregnant". I had to look a second time. I don't know if it's really hit me yet.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
The past couple days I've been worried. I know this is a weird complaint to have, but I'm worried that I'm not feeling more sick. I always thought I'd be so sick when I was pregnant, but so far it hasn't been bad. I'm kind of worried I might have miscarried... plenty of women aren't really sick during their first trimester. I see a doctor on Tuesday for my first appointment and I'm sure I'll feel much better after that...
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Well, today was my first prenatal appointment. The doctor and I thought I'd be around 9 weeks. I measured at 5 weeks. She did an ultrasound and I kept waiting to see the little fetus (Side note here: to this day I can still remember my breath catching in my throat and the heavy, nervous thud of my heart during these moments.)... and nothing. Finally she found the sac, which puts me at around the 5 weeks mark. One of two things could be happening; 1- my cycle was off because I'd just gotten off birth control; or 2- this is "not a viable pregnancy". So I go back in three weeks for another ultrasound. Of course I'm hoping and praying that it's the first... these next three weeks when I'm basically waiting for my body to miscarry or not are going to be awful...
And then, on May 12, 2009, this is all I wrote:
Went to the doctor today. Measured at 8 weeks, 5 days; but no heartbeat.
The second you see a positive result on a pregnancy test you start making plans. You start calculating out how far along you'll be for all the events you have coming up. You start thinking about how you'll tell family and friends. In just a few minutes your life has changed forever.
Well, as the saying goes, expectation is the root of all heartache.
There is a lot more that I could get into with this post. About how it felt to be at that first ultrasound alone when I initially found out something might be wrong.
I could talk about the strong grip of my husband's hand in mine when we went back for my follow-up ultrasound, and how he could see before the doctor had even said anything that our baby was no longer living. I could talk about how I had never seen my husband break down the way he did, before or since.
I could talk about feeling pressured to do a D and C, even though it didn't feel right. About getting a second opinion and finding a new doctor that was a much better fit for me that said I could wait and let my body miscarry naturally if I wanted. About how I then had to wait more than two more weeks to start miscarrying. Two weeks of heartbreak and wondering why my body was holding onto this so tightly.
I could talk about the gut-wrenching fear I had, "what if I can never carry a baby full term?"
I could talk about how it's because of this experience that Proverbs 3:5 will forever be one of my favorite scriptures
Instead, I'll just share my journal entry from October 30, 2009, with you:
The first thing Dr. M said to me was, "look, it's waving at us." I had been so nervous, and when I saw our little squirt wiggling around and moving its arms and legs... I just couldn't believe it. I cried, I was so happy I wish Mike could have been there...
It is amazing to me that almost exactly a year to the day after finding out that our baby had passed, our son was born. I see that as a tender mercy from the Lord, to not think of that time with sadness.
I know that the miscarriage wasn't my "fault", that for whatever reason the body for that baby wasn't strong enough to make it full term.
But every time December 22 comes around, I remember. I remember that I've been pregnant five times.
Every December 22 I remember that each of my children is a much sought-after blessing.
I didn't talk about this for a long time. There was too much pain, and it's not something you bring up in casual conversation; but, as I was sharing all my birth stories last month, it seemed right for me to share this now.
This will be the first time that many friends, and even family members, are learning about this. I'm sorry if that offends you. I'm sorry if your feelings are hurt because you feel like you had the right to know before masses of people that I've never even met. But how do you tell someone about this when it's been months, years, since it happened? "Oh, by the way I never told you this, but..." No.
If you're going through this, I'm not going to try and offer words of comfort, because there aren't any. in my opinion, spouting off statistics of how common miscarriages are is just hurtful, not helpful. To me, when people do that, I feel like they're discrediting the life that was lost. What I will do is offer prayers, and virtual hugs, and share tears. I will offer compassion and a listening ear.
As small as it may seem when compared to your loss, love is what I have to offer.
Labels: baby, pregnancy, thoughts