I should write – because it’s what I do. It’s healing for me.
It’s a central part of whatever ministry I want to try to have. Words. I should have words.
But the words aren’t coming easy. I keep playing music, I keep listening. I keep reading.
But I need words. I need a word from my Father. I need to know why this is happening again.
So here it is. We’ve had another miscarriage. And we’re heartbroken.
With our first miscarriage – everything happened at home and very fast. That sweet baby was here and gone before we even had a chance to tell anyone. Home alone, confused at first as to what was even going on, my body did what it needed to do. In the horror of it all, I was hit with a deep sadness, and an incompleteness that I had never known.
Just a couple nights before, I watched videos of people telling their families the incredible news – imagining what it would be like when it was my turn. After 2 years of on-and-off-again trying, I had already been crafting little gifts to give to our parents and siblings. I spent my lunch breaks researching baby reveals, and had it all planned out to tell everyone on Christmas Day. How precious. It would be so wonderful with the family all around, elated for the first grandchild on either side.
But no. On my bathroom floor, the night before my 27th birthday, Brian rushed home to me. There would be no Christmas Day surprise, no August baby, and no growing tummy.
The holidays came and went, with many tears and consoling hugs. Life began to slowly move forward, but not without its triggers and times of darkness.
Then, miraculously, we did get pregnant a few months later. On November 11, 2014, by the grace of God alone, we delivered a healthy baby girl. She rocks our boat in so many ways, but in almost every way, makes our lives better.
Ansley Grace is about to turn 2, and my momma heart has baby fever. So many of our friends and family are having their first or second, and we’re starting to want another. Amazingly, God beat us to it. An incredible surprise pregnancy had us scratching our heads, and looking at each other with nervous smiles. God had intervened and was going to give us a baby April 2017. The pregnancy was confirmed, appointments were scheduled.
But in my uniqueness, I have a uterus that causes trouble sometimes. Around week 6, I started bleeding, so we went in that day. Even though they discovered that the other side of my womb was hemorrhaging, the baby was fine. We heard a heartbeat, and it was so beautiful. They told me to rest, and give it a couple weeks before we came back for another ultrasound.
We began telling family and a few close friends – asking them to pray. And then we waited, and waited some more. I don’t know if hearing that heartbeat and getting those sonogram pictures was a gift from God, or a false hope, but it made me believe that everything would somehow, some way, be okay.
Even in the waiting we were nervous, but expectant of a miracle. I told several people before our last appointment that I was looking forward to a sweet report and an afternoon of celebration.
Brian and I arrived early for our appointment, almost 9 weeks pregnant. In the ultrasound room, something was not right, and our usually sweet sonographer seemed flustered. I honestly thought the machine was messing up – my mind never went to the baby. But then, she interrupted the silence and said: “I’m so sorry, I need to go ahead and tell you that there’s no heartbeat.”
I begin sobbing; awkward, loud, chest-shaking weeping. Brian instantly tries to console and calm me down, but I refuse. My baby has died inside my womb and I didn’t even know it. After a few minutes together in the dimly lit room, I get dressed, and with Brian holding my arm, muster enough composure to move to the next stage.
They solemnly walk us into another room – but this room isn’t for expectant parents, it’s for talking. There is no exam table in here, just ornate leather chairs. Our doctor is kind, with sincere apologies and a listening ear. We ask her what to do now – and she gently discusses our options.
We elect to schedule a D&C. It will be a new experience for me, but I am thankful to have a different option this time around.
In so many ways, this has felt like the longest week of my life. We went in for ultrasound Monday, scheduled the surgery for Thursday, made it to work Tuesday and Wednesday, and now need the weekend to recover.
Having a D&C is like a funeral. First, you have to set the time and day according to schedules, Operating Room availabilities, etc. Then you have to tell people when it’s all happening. You begin taking phone calls from people who are just trying to do their job – but every call is another confirmation of the loss you’ve suffered. Maybe you do something that sounds nice but also totally ridiculous at the same time, like getting a mani/pedi to help you relax and feel even just the tiniest bit pretty.
You make work and childcare arrangements. Then, you think about what to wear – because it might be cold, but you’re going to need something comfortable to slip back on afterwards. You feel like you are not only hemorrhaging tears and blood, but money too, as the hospital calls to confirm insurance and billing information.
The day of, you show up on time and hungry, but you can’t eat. By the time you get back to the OR, 7 people have asked why you are there – and every time you say those 2 letters, it’s another confirmation of the thing you wished had never happened. Nurses, Doctors, Anesthesiologists… they are all nice enough, but they can never give you back the one thing you wanted in the first place: a healthy, living baby.
As the nurses prep for surgery, the Anesthesiologist gently lulls me into a deep sleep as I lay on the operating table, and everyone gets to work.
There’s an interesting sense of energy once the procedure is complete. The drugs helped immensely, and for me, I’m grateful to have no memory of what all occurred in that Operating Room. Even though I know that my womb has been emptied, I felt very little pain.
I have had an amazing support group praying over me. With my momma in town, friends bringing food, and even flowers from my in-laws, there has been an incredible outpouring that has meant so much to me.
Yet there’s a looming cloud, reminding me that real soon, my mom will leave, the food will stop coming, and I will have to get back to daily life. With both a funeral and D&C, it’s very final. The body has been taken, and is now gone from us for the rest of our life on earth. There will be no bedtime snuggles, no 3AM diaper changes, and no Christmas Card photos. Plans we made for the winter and spring look different now. We will have to adjust.
Day 2 of recovery and I’m feeling my physical body mourn in step with my emotions. My empty womb groans at the memory of its inhabitant only days earlier. The pain hurts, but it makes this all the more real.
Miscarriage is something you can’t expect everyone to understand, but it sure is nice when they try. Comments like ‘Well, it’s just God’s plan” and “At least it was early on” made me feel like I was being selfish in my grieving with our first miscarriage – when now, I feel so strongly that we are meant to grieve.
It’s like saying “you only lost your 5 fingers, at least you didn’t lose your whole arm.” What?!? Of course I’m glad I didn’t lose an entire arm, but I LOST MY FINGERS, can I mourn that, please?
Like so many hard times, the hurting don’t need wise words; what we need is a shoulder, and an “I’m sorry. I love you. How can I pray?”
I think part of the reason we are hesitant to open up about miscarriage is the fear of how it will be interpreted. We don’t say much, because we want to appear stoic and strong. We keep this immense disappointment inside, because we don’t want people to judge us for our inability to carry full term, or we don’t want to hear people’s uneducated or unkind remarks.
Admitting miscarriage and infertility means you join a club you never wanted anything to do with. I mean no offense to anyone – but miscarriage was never a label I wanted to wear. I don’t want to have this as part of my testimony. I didn’t go out to be recruited by this organization – but then again, no one did.
I have no idea what the long-term healing will look like this time around. Yesterday I was angry, the day before that I was in pain. Today, I want to deliver a couple baby shower gifts, and put my maternity clothes back in the attic. I don’t want to pretend. I want to very intentionally go through this while being as honest as possible.
The main thing I want from all of this – that it would never be in vain that we have walked through this a second time. I don’t want a single tear to go to waste. I think that’s the only way I’ll feel true peace.
So I keep writing.
And that’s what I’ll do. There’s more to our story than hurt. There’s healing to be had. There’s peace out there for us, and I want to share it.
Our story isn’t over – and God’s not through with us.