Our Miscarriage Story | August 2019
These are the hardest words I’ve ever had to type out. But it’s a story Mitch and I felt like we needed to tell. It’s not how I would ever write my story. But if I didn’t write all of this out, the millions of thoughts that go through my head day to day would just be suppressed—feeling like they don’t matter or like they haven’t been processed fully. And that’s not what this story is. It’s not a story that doesn’t matter. It’s a pain stronger than anything I’ve ever felt in my life. And if it can make just one other person feel like they’re not alone, it’s a story that matters and is worth being told. I don’t tell this story for sympathy (although your prayers are greatly appreciated), I tell it because it helps me process. It helps me fight the tendency to suppress. It helps me accept what has happened and look for a way to keep moving forward. And it helps me share who God is in this season—always good. I would be so honored if you took the time to read it and hear my heart.
June 29, 2019: One of the happiest days of my life. I woke up to take a pregnancy test—truly not thinking I was actually pregnant. I saw that big “YES+” come across the screen and I cried tears of joy. Tears knowing that I finally would get to be a mommy—something I’ve dreamt of for a long time. We started dreaming about March of 2020 and all that would come with it. In the coming weeks we told friends and family members. We cried more tears of joy as people rejoiced in the news with us. It was some of the highest weeks of my life.
July 24, 2019: We went to our first doctors appointment to see and hear our baby. It was the second best day because I saw my sweet angel on a screen and it’s little heart was beating so fast at 148bpm. It was one of the proudest moments of my life. I can’t describe the feeling of knowing there is a little miracle inside of you and knowing that it is living and breathing—that it’s a REAL human. That God was knitting it together in my womb and that it already had unique characteristics and DNA that set it apart. There would never be another child like this one, and it was ours.
August 26, 2019: This day went from what I thought would be another day of celebration to the worst day of my life. I had had all of the symptoms. I had morning sickness, a bump was growing, my body was changing in the best ways. I had no symptoms whatsoever of miscarriage. No bleeding, no cramping, everything always seemed so positive. I was at my 12 week appointment and I had moved on from the idea and anxiety of possibly losing our child. That anxiety was gone because everything felt so right. They put two different handheld ultrasounds on my belly that day and couldn’t find my baby. As my anxiety began to rise and tears began to fall, they reassured me to not worry yet until we did an official ultrasound. We sat in another waiting room to have an official ultrasound and everything began to hit me. My dreams, everything I had been looking forward to for the past three months felt like it was being ripped away from me. In the ultrasound lab she found my baby and began measuring it. Head to toe, thigh to foot, over and over again. Every measurement resulted in 8 weeks 1 day. Every time I saw that on the screen my heart sank a little further. My baby was supposed to be 12 weeks—it had stopped growing a month prior to this appointment. I just kept shaking my head as tears ran down my face and Mitch squeezed my hand harder and harder. This scene plays a thousand times over again in my head every single day. It haunts me. She put the heartbeat doppler on the screen and I yearned to see my baby’s heart beating again. I longed to see that just one more time. But instead all we heard was silence. A silence that I never want to have to experience ever again in my life. We were told that our baby’s heart had stopped beating. I still don’t know if I can fully type out what I felt in that moment. Why didn’t my body tell me this naturally? Why did I carry my baby for a whole month without it living inside of me? Why did I have to go through all of the symptoms of being pregnant only to find out my baby was no longer living? All of these questions raced through my head and came out of my mouth as the doctor tried to console me with comments like “I know this isn’t the appointment you wanted” and “we’ll give you guys a few minutes to process through this.” You see, I had what they call a missed miscarriage. Meaning my baby stopped growing and it’s heart stopped beating, but my body kept progressing as if a living baby was inside of me. The pregnancy hormones were still very present in my body and therefore, my body continued to move forward as if a healthy baby was growing inside of me. Why? I could ask this a thousand times a day. Part of me feels like my body didn’t want to let go of our child either. My body wanted to hold on to it. To help it grow and to keep it safe. The next two days were almost unbearable. So many people reaching out with prayers, love, and support—which we felt. But it never took away any of the pain. We woke up in the middle of the night just sobbing and holding each other wondering how to move on from this. Mitch was my rock. I can’t imagine experiencing this kind of pain with anyone else. I couldn’t. But nothing felt like it was the way it was supposed to be. How do we support one another when it hurts both of us so deeply? It was so evident to us that this isn’t God’s design. That God can not be associated with this kind of pain, brokenness, and suffering. The next day I was given options of how to take our baby out of me. It felt so wrong—but it was a trail of the grief and loss that I had to walk down whether I wanted to or not. I sobbed holding my belly knowing that it was my last few days holding our baby with me. How do we just move on like it was never inside of me?
August 28, 2019: The second worst day of my life. I had to go in for a surgical procedure to remove everything—including our sweet baby. I woke up the morning of my procedure not knowing what to do. It was the last day I woke up carrying our child. I felt like I was waking up a mommy one day, and then having all of that ripped away from me and waking up empty the next. I was losing a part of who I was. How do I function without our baby inside of me? How do I move on from having it with me for the past three months and now having nothing to prove of it? Why do I have to live in this reality of never seeing or holding our child? I wanted to keep it. I wanted it to be safe with me. I felt like a failure wondering why my body wasn’t a safe place for our child. I didn’t even care that I was having to go through surgery. Worrying about myself was not something I could do. All I could think about was my baby. I didn’t care what I had seen on that ultrasound screen. I couldn’t accept the fact that that was my new reality. I went into the procedure crying about the thought of losing my child, and I woke up from the procedure crying thinking about the fact that someone just ripped my child away from me. How do you call yourself a mother when you couldn’t keep someone from ripping your child away from you? Recovering from the procedure just added to the grief. My body now aches where my baby once was. All I’m left with is the remainder of everything my body worked so hard to produce for our baby. A bump without a baby, cramping while my uterus shrinks back to the size it was pre-pregnancy, headaches from my pregnancy hormones plummeting now that the baby is gone, and this idea of “how do you ever move on from this?”
People have rallied around us. They have visited us, brought us food, loved on us—but it still just feels so unnatural. These visits, meals, and love were supposed to be happening in March because we had our new baby—not because we lost our baby. Life is going to quickly move on. Work will start back, people will forget that this happened, and months will roll on quickly. Life will move on but I will still have to crawl past each date of this pregnancy that I had looked forward to. In two weeks (when I should have been 14 weeks), I was so looking forward to finding out the gender of our baby. At 16-18 weeks I couldn’t wait to feel our baby kick for the very first time inside of me. To feel those sweet flutters and know that it was because my baby was ok. At Thanksgiving I wanted to show off my bump to all of my family and talk about what the future holds. At Christmas I was looking forward to buying and receiving gifts for our baby. I had dreamt of nursery ideas for a boy or a girl. I had looked online at cribs, strollers, car seats, and other items I wanted to put on my registry. I had walked down baby aisle after baby aisle in several stores just touching the clothes and imagining our sweet baby wearing them. And March—I couldn’t wait for March. It felt like it was so far away, but also like it would be here before we knew it. I had planned my business schedule around March. Everything seemed so perfect. On March 11th I couldn’t wait to hold our sweet baby and feel a mother’s love for the very first time. To hear our baby’s cry and know that it was finally a reality—we were parents. I wanted to feel exhausted because I was up in the middle of the night feeding our baby and consoling it back to sleep. I wanted to see it’s little hand wrap around my finger. I wanted it to hear my voice and feel comfort because it knew I was it’s mommy. I wanted to watch every milestone of it’s life. You see, even though we didn’t ever meet our baby, we had made so many memories with it already. All crushed in a matter of a day. All crushed in one sentence: “I’m so sorry, your baby’s heart is not beating.” It’s a feeling I’ll never be able to explain. So even though life will move on—we won’t. We won’t rush this and we won’t suppress or be ashamed of this grief. We have to take grief by the hand and walk down every single path it leads us. There’s no other way to handle this situation.
Here’s what I can say with absolute certainty! I know in the deepest depths of my soul God did not want this to be our story. God blessed us with this child because he wanted us to hold this precious blessing in March—he did NOT rip it away from us as punishment, or to teach us something, or to even “bring good out of it.” God’s plan was not to see our baby die. The enemy wants to whisper that into my ear every single day, but I REFUSE to believe those lies. Do I believe God is already picking up the messy pieces and re-writing our story of redemption? Absolutely! Because that’s who our God is. He takes the situations the enemy means for evil, and He turns them into good. His goodness is unmatched and he takes the brokenness that is sin, and he turns our ashes into beauty. We have hope even when our situation feels hopeless. I know this to be true, and I cling to that now more than I ever have before. I’ve asked God all of the tough questions through this process. I’ve wrestled with Him over this. And that’s ok—God can handle it. He loves us despite our doubts. He fully knows me, yet still chooses to fully love me.
If you have experienced this type of pain, I’m so sorry. I know that’s what everyone says—but I really mean that “sorry” with every ounce of my being. I wouldn’t wish this on my very worst enemy. Know that it doesn’t matter how long you carried your child—you are still and will always be a mama. And your story matters. I know it can sometimes feel like nobody gets what you’re feeling. I’ve felt that a lot throughout this process. But the truth is, so many have endured this same pain. And we have to embrace our stories and lean on one another. So you are not alone and I’m not alone. Your story matters. We would never ask to be in this 1 in 4 sisterhood. But now that we’re here, we have to feel freedom in expressing our grief. Don’t sit in darkness and act like everything is ok. It’s OK not to be OK.
Mamas-to-be or new moms, you don’t have to feel guilty. You should be able to show off your growing bump and the joy you have to bring life into this world. Your story matters too. Does it hurt and do I wish so badly I was doing the same? Yes. But that shouldn’t take away from the joy you should experience. It is odd, but the two can coexist. I can be happy for your sweet baby while still grieving the loss of my own.
If you know someone who is or has gone through this (which you probably do since 1 in 4 pregnancies end this way), and you have never experienced this yourself, you may not know what to say. Here’s my advice to you—you don’t have to know what to say. You don’t have to have an answer or solution to the pain. Simply listening to and loving someone who has gone through this is enough. The truth is, they don’t really know what to say to you either. So just being and not needing to “fix” gives them the freedom to share what they are comfortable with at the time they are comfortable doing so. I can tell you for a fact that statements like, “It will get better”; “You’re young so you have plenty of time”; “At least you know now that you can get pregnant”; “At least you have other children to hold”; and “This will pass quickly and you will be happy” do NOT help. To be honest, it’s hard to feel any of those things in this moment and none of those statements cover up the pain that is present right now.
To my sweet angel baby, I miss you so much. You will forever be a part of me because you made me a mama from the moment I saw those two lines and that “YES+”. I don’t really know what carrying on without you looks like. I feel lost without you—like I lost part of my purpose in life. But you made me the happiest I have ever been for those two and a half months I carried you with me. Hope feels like a foreign concept that is millions of miles away. And sometimes I selfishly wish that I was the one holding you in my arms and not God. But I know God is weeping with me, yet holding your sweet healed body so tightly. I will forever yearn for the day I get to meet you and see you—healed and whole. As tears roll down my face, I vow to never forget you. You will always be my first. Nothing will ever take that away.