I couldn’t believe it was happening again. I couldn’t keep my eyes off of Denver. If I looked at the screen again, I would break down. If I looked at the doctor again, I would break down. The ultrasound I was supposed to take home to start a collection of memories of my beautiful baby was now being printed off to keep in my file. Numb. I felt numb. Somehow, we made it to the car. We shut our car doors and let ourselves grieve for our second angel baby.
I’ve tried to write this blog post for months, and sometimes I feel inspired to get it all out, and sometimes I don’t make it past two sentences before I shut my laptop and decide that it’s not the time.
I would love to start this off by saying a few things. Every miscarriage is different, levels of grief are different, and everyone’s experience is different, and I feel for anyone who has gone through any version of loss. This is me trying to process mine. This blog post might not come out eloquently, but it's real and it's my heart.
OUR MISCARRIAGES //
My pregnancy with Oliver was very normal. We got pregnant quickly and had no complications during the pregnancy or labor. The second time I got pregnant was a total surprise. We got pregnant with our second when Oliver was 7 months old. Ummmm, panic much? I know, I know, I’m aware of where babies come from. My body was a little out of whack after breastfeeding (we'll blame it on that and not Denver's salty moves), and needless to say, we were shocked by it. When I told Denver, he had me lay on the couch and with tears in his eyes, he prayed over my belly. At that point I knew that we could do this. Yes, our lives would be a little crazy, but exciting too! I had found out about this pregnancy very early on, and early on things felt a little off. I didn’t have all of the crazy symptoms I had with Oliver. Sometimes I told myself it’s because every pregnancy is different, and sometimes I had worry in my mama heart. As the weeks went on I started to have back pain. Then one day I saw spotting. I immediately called the doctor and we scheduled a day for me to come in to be checked. I went in for an ultrasound and they found a sac but no detectable baby. They told me I was probably earlier on in the pregnancy than I had thought (you can’t see a baby on an ultrasound until 5 weeks or so). I knew I should be further along than what they were saying, so I was totally ridden with anxiety. In the days to come I was terrified but hoping for the best. One night I went to bed and I had a dream that I had miscarried in the night. I woke up relieved knowing it was just a dream, but then I felt blood between my legs and on the sheets. I ran to the bathroom and painfully miscarried. I came out to see Denver and he knew what had happened. I sat on the floor in front of my smiling son and I just cried. We went to the doctor and they said it was very early on and most likely a blighted ovum (meaning a sac develops but the embryo does not properly develop). While this was a horrible feeling, we got through it.
When Oliver was turning one, we got pregnant again. I was so excited! And this time, everything felt normal. I had horrible morning sickness and just about every symptom in the book. I had no cramps and no bleeding, and we had just been praying and praying over this pregnancy. I started getting anxious as we prepped for our 9 week ultrasound. The ultrasound began, and I looked at the screen. The doctor kept running over my belly again and again. I looked at Denver in panic when we didn’t immediately see our baby with a flash of a beating heart. I knew what to look for and it wasn’t there. They did a more in depth secondary ultra sound, and she said I had a 9-10 week sac but they weren’t seeing a 9 week baby. It was at this point my ears started to ring and I felt Denver squeezing my hand so hard it felt like it could break. He looked like he could pass out and I knew he was feeling everything and trying to contain it to be strong for me. Why was my body doing this?
I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to explain the immediate grief that rushes over you. Denver and I held each other in the car and just cried together. We made it home and I held Oliver in disbelief. Here I have this beautiful child, and I didn’t know if I would ever be able to have another.
In the coming weeks, the doctor suggested a D&C instead of passing naturally this time. Not only was it extremely expensive, it felt so clinical. The doctor suggested that since it was my second, I could go in and have as much past tissue removed as possible. Denver and I agreed. As I prepped for the procedure, I couldn’t face what was happening. I was going through the motions of what I knew had to be done. When I got home to recover, I had to just sit in grief and questions. It’s the weirdest feeling I have ever felt to walk into a building pregnant and walk out empty. A few days after the procedure, the doctor told me that they had collected a lot of tissue and there were traces of the fetus. After finding out how much tissue I had, I was glad that I had done the D&C this time. As far as the pregnancy goes, I still don’t know what went wrong.
Before I miscarried I never knew/thought about these things:
- The physical pain and bleeding lasts for weeks.
- Your hormones don’t just shut off. You still have HCG hormones, meaning you still FEEL all the rough nausea and pregnancy symptoms until your body gets a clue and your levels decrease. Pregnancy nausea with no baby is just a horrible feeling.
- The world carries on while you are crushed inside.
- Just because someone has kids, doesn’t mean they haven’t gone through issues.
- Mother's Day feels simultaneously amazing and devastating (and a million thank yous to someone who stopped me on Mother's Day and saw pain in my eyes and coached me on how to be in the moment for the child I have on this earth).
WHAT HAS HAPPENED SINCE //
Going through a second one was much worse than the first, simply because the hopeless thoughts come pouring it. Do I want to try again just to go through all this another time? Will I ever be able to have kids? Was Oliver a beautiful one-time blessing? When do I try again? Will I ever feel normal again? And the mother-load of all questions -- Why?
It’s been 7 months since this loss and I’m going to be really honest about what it’s been like since.
I have good days, and bad days.
Sometimes it feels appropriate to excuse myself from social media and the world of baby bumps.
Sometimes I’m incredibly optimistic and happy for other people’s successful pregnancies.
Sometimes I wake up Denver at 3 in the morning and ask him if he thinks we’ll ever be able to have more kids, and he just holds me. Sometimes I don’t think about it at all.
Sometimes I’ll look at Oliver and want to reverse time to cherish all the moments I don’t know if I’ll get to have again.
Sometimes I want to shout out my pain to the world.
Sometimes I don't want anyone to know, because afterward everyone looks at you differently.
Sometimes I feel like I'm not strong enough to handle all the pain and the constant reminders of feeling like my body has failed me.
Sometimes I wish people knew that I still love pregnancy and newborn babies, and I still want to celebrate those joys with them.
Sometimes I just sit in thankfulness that I even had the opportunity to have Oliver (I often think about those that can't have any at all).
If you’ve felt the experience of loss, you’ve probably felt these things and more. Not all of that is easy to admit, but it’s real.
MOVING FORWARD //
Through all this pain and these questions, Denver and I know these things for sure.
God’s timing is PERFECT.
He has NEVER left our side.
He’s a good Father.
This is an experience that has changed me.
Simple days seem sweeter. I see pregnancies as nothing short of a miracle. The things of this world aren’t at the forefront of my mind. And I have never loved my husband and son more.
If i'm being completely transparent, I'm absolutely terrified to try again. But I would be lying if I said my heart didn't ache to have more children. It's a desire for us to grow a family, we just don't have answers about the future. It's impossible to understand, and it's something I try and take day by day.
This will always be painful to me, but this world isn’t about me. This life is all about God’s plan. There’s a bigger picture at work here, and all I can do is pray that God reveals His great plan for me and my family. This year has been pivotal in my faith. All I can say is that my heart feels changed. I feel different. That doesn’t mean that sometimes I don’t have breakdowns about the possibility of not having more children, but it means that I’m not blaming God. And I trust Him.
If you’ve had this experience (many have had much worse than my account), know that there are many going through things right along with you. Know that I’ve felt the sting when someone asks if you’re going to grow your family. Or the guilt you feel for being angry sometimes. Or the broken heart you feel in the middle of the night when everyone else is peacefully sleeping. Know that through it all, you are never alone and that it’s okay to grieve.
This is a hard topic to speak about, so all I ask is that there is sensitivity surrounding this issue. It opens a lot of wounds just writing all this, but I finally felt like it was time to tell our family’s story. I don’t know the best way to navigate this situation or if there even is one. We’re just taking it one day at a time, and I’m always here to chat if you’re struggling.
God is faithful.