I’ve thought about starting this post countless times, and each time something has stopped me. I’m unsure if I’m hesitant out of fear of being ashamed, anxiety over finally telling people, or simply due to the sadness that still permeates my thoughts every now and then. This post will be a surprise to most everyone who reads it, because we’ve told very few people.
I found out on November 14, 2014 that I was pregnant. And just over a month later on December 26, 2014, I learned the painful fact that I had miscarried.
The initial pregnancy was a complete shock to both of us, and was met with mixed emotions. We hadn’t planned on getting pregnant yet, and now had to face the realization that we were going to be parents a lot sooner than we originally thought. Eventually, we took a deep breath and decided to get excited about bringing a little Thurston into the world. The next few weeks were full of discussions about names, telling family and a handful of friends, and buying diapers when they were on sale at Target.
A couple of days before Christmas, I began to experience a symptom or two that could be associated with a miscarriage, but since I felt completely normal and had no pain, we didn’t worry much. I spoke with my midwife and was reassured that everything was probably fine. However, as time went on, my symptoms increased. On Christmas Day, I woke up with the undeniable feeling that I had miscarried. Call it a mother’s intuition or the Holy Spirit, but I knew what had happened. On the morning of the 26th, we headed for the hospital with heavy hearts. After a few hours, my worst fear came true. The sweet baby should have been almost 11 weeks, but instead was the size of a 6 week old, and had no detectible heart beat. I don’t know if it was because of my gut feeling or simply a coping mechanism, but I left the hospital somewhat numb. I was also relieved to finally have an answer for the symptoms I had experienced for the past few days.
I was planning for a natural birth, so I opted to wait for a natural miscarriage, knowing that I may not have an option in the end. It may sound strange, but I wanted the chance to honor my unborn baby, even in death. I am so thankful for the support from Ike and my family in my decision, and for the amazing resilience and strength of the human body, because I was able to carry through with my plan.
Ike and I prayed about sharing our story, and ultimately decided to because we see it as an opportunity to share of God’s love and character. Losing a child is a terrible thing that no one should ever endure. Many people adhere to the belief that what happened to our baby was part of God’s plan for his or her life, and that the child’s purpose was carried out in the short 6 weeks he or she was here with us. We strongly disagree. We don’t believe that God gave us a precious child, only to cruelly take him or her away a few weeks later. Where is Love in that? We firmly believe that Jesus wept with us as we dealt with losing our first child. We believe that He is broken-hearted for us and for our lost child. We believe that because there is evil in the world, bad things happen. I share our story in hopes that someone finds comfort in it, and comfort in knowing that Jesus is the Giver of life.
UPDATE: I also wanted to share this story because of the unavoidable guilt and shame that women endure when faced with a miscarriage. There are so many questions that inevitably go unanswered. I’ve asked myself if I could’ve taken a better quality prenatal vitamin, if I took showers/baths that were too hot, if I should have stopped drinking coffee altogether, if I was too stressed, etc. In the end, there is most likely no chance that I could have avoided this outcome. Accepting that has helped me to heal.
Miscarriages are hard. They’re physically painful, as well as emotionally and mentally. They’re life changing. They’re full of anxiety and fear and they cause you to doubt yourself and your body. They’re extremely polarizing because it feels almost too personal to share with others. Let’s change that. Opening up about my experience has shown me that miscarriages are more common than one can even imagine. And that doesn’t make mine feel any less sad or significant, but instead, it makes me feel as though it’s a normal part of many women’s lives. And that helps. So I want to continue to be open and honest about my experience, with hopes that someone reads this and is able to feel a little less alone.
If you know someone who is experiencing a miscarriage, I’m sure it can seem daunting to think about how to act around that person. I know it probably seems easiest to avoid the topic and move forward, but I encourage you to reach out to that person and love on them. Let them know that you’re there to listen if they want to talk or if they just want to cry/scream/just sit there. A simple “I’m so sorry for your loss and I’m praying for you” meant the absolute world to me. It felt nice to have my loss acknowledged by others, as silly as that may seem. It meant that it was no longer my heavy secret, and my loss was felt by others.
If after reading this you want to know how you can help, the answer is prayer. Pray that I (and every other woman dealing with a miscarriage) can learn to not be fearful of my next pregnancy, that I don’t allow myself to live in fear of another miscarriage, and that I can learn to trust myself and my body to be able to one day give birth to a beautiful and healthy baby.
Note: Please feel free to share this with anyone that you think it may help.