Trigger Warning: At the end of January, I had written a post about loss, because I felt compelled to write about what I wasn’t yet ready to share. But I feel as though I’m ready now, if only because writing has always been a part of the healing process for me. I also know that there are many women who are facing this very same devastation, and I want them to know that they’re not alone. And although I feel peace and healing, this is my way of moving forward. It just feels like time to move on… without ever forgetting. This post deals with miscarriage, however; so if that’s something you’re not ready to read about, please skip this post.
I’ve written this blog post many times, only to hit the delete button and erase it all. I think that I just need to write it. One time…
Honest… Real… Messy.
This time, it’s not about finding the humor or sharing what I’ve learned. It’s just about being honest and open, letting you see a piece of my heart that was broken earlier this year. Because time heals, but there are some hurtful moments that shape us forever. They change the very structure of who we are, because now we’ll see the world through changed eyes.
I don’t want to forget. I also don’t want to pretend it didn’t happen. But I am ready to move on and embrace the healing that comes with time.
So here goes…
I had a miscarriage earlier this year. I had found out – for sure – that I was pregnant on Christmas morning, and it was the best Christmas gift that Nate and I could have been given. (I’d taken a test around the middle of December, but the line was so faint that I didn’t trust the results and had decided to retake it on the holiday). We had really wanted this new addition to our family and to find out – on Christmas Day – felt like a special present from above just for us.
Like most Type A people, I had my entire pregnancy mapped out by New Year’s. I’d signed up for the pregnancy apps again, searched for maternity clothes bargains, and found every excuse possible to wander through the baby section of stores. (Everything looked so tiny and filled me with excitement over bringing another newborn home).
Nate and I imagined Brady playing with his brother or sister. We talked about how we’d have two little ones the following Christmas. I mapped out my teaching schedule and began to organize so that the transition to having a toddler and a newborn would be as smooth as we humanly could make it.
When the spotting started, I tried to brush it off. I’d spotted a little bit when I was pregnant for Brady, so I told myself that this is all it was. It was just how my body reacted to pregnancy… My doctor, on the other hand, took it more seriously and scheduled an ultrasound. The verdict was that the heartbeat was a bit more faint than they would have liked, but maybe I wasn’t as far along as we all thought.
At that point, all I could do was wait. Every single day was one day closer to the second trimester and an added level of security. I kept telling myself that I just needed to get through the first trimester and everything would be fine.
But if I’m to be honest, I knew all along that something was wrong. I had almost known from the very beginning. Something inside of me just kept warning me that things weren’t right. Every day I prayed and prayed and prayed for this little life inside of me that I so badly wanted to meet, but – at the same time – I just prepared myself for what might happen. Although it was light, the bleeding wasn’t stopping. And that terrified me.
Hearing this song by Hillary Scott (which was written after her own personal miscarriage) so greatly reflects my feelings during that time. The way I pleaded and trusted God, knowing that I couldn’t control anything. Just completely trusting that God would bring me and my husband through what was about to happen.
I woke up one morning, late January, and the bleeding was heavy. I knew. I called the doctor’s office and calmly told the nurse that I was miscarrying. Then I hung up the phone and cried.
I’d naively told myself that because I was so early on in the pregnancy, that a miscarriage wouldn’t hurt. But I’d had an ultrasound. I’d heard a heartbeat. I’d planned, and prayed, and fallen in love.
The physical side of the miscarriage was much harder than I had anticipated, and – to only complicate things – my doctor was on vacation when it happened. No one told me what to expect, because no one seemed to know who I was supposed to be talking to. I fell through the cracks, so to speak, and my chart never seemed to be listed with the appropriate information. So every time I was asked to go back for an appointment, bloodwork, or an ultrasound, the receptionist or nurse greeting me would happily ask, “So are we here to see how much baby has grown today?” or “are we confirming a pregnancy today?”
It happened five times. Every single time, I’d look at the woman calmly and say, “I’m here to see if I’ve finished miscarrying.”
The cramping was intensely painful. I was weak from the heavy loss of blood and freaked out that maybe I was losing too much. Should I go to the emergency room? Was this normal? Again, no one was telling me what to expect, and – in the moment – I felt too dazed to ask for answers. In the end, the process book about two weeks, and it wore on me both physically and emotionally.
The emotional side of the miscarriage hit me a million times harder than I could have believed. It didn’t matter that I was still in the early stages. My child had been stolen from me. I truly believe that I have a baby in heaven waiting for me and that one day, I will hold it, and he or she will know just how much their mama misses them. But I so wish that I could have held them here on earth. That I could have told them to their sweet face just how much I loved them. That I could have watched them grow up.
I never understood the pain that comes with miscarriage until I personally faced it. I’ve had so many friends go through it, and I tried to be empathetic, but I just didn’t know. But now I do… And now I know that it rips your heart out and carries a small piece of it to heaven. And I know that there is no such thing as moving on completely, because you will always remember and always love the baby you lost.
I love the saying about how our babies are the only ones who know what our heartbeat sounds like from the inside. And even though my baby was very small, one day he or she will find me in heaven and know me by my heartbeat. And they’ll know that I loved them even though we were never given the chance to meet.
Society almost frowns on talking about miscarriage, and it’s something that so many of us face in private and alone. So I write this to reach out to any other woman going through a miscarriage right now. You’re not alone. I know your pain. I promise it gets easier and that you’ll be able to move on. But you’ll never forget. And sometimes, little things will happen that remind you of the loss that will always be a part of you. But you will heal.
I see you. And so many other women do too. And although we so desperately wanted to meet our babies, we trust that our Father in heaven (the only one who could love them more than us) is holding them close until we can do so ourselves. That fills me with hope… joy… and peace.