No one ever thinks they’re going to have to say that sentence. Part of that is due to the fact that we don’t talk about it. I don’t think it’s out of shame, at least it wasn’t for me. But rather you’re so deeply hurt you don’t want to even utter the words out loud. When we experienced our miscarriage in January I couldn’t even bring myself to tell my family; I asked my husband to do it. I barely issued a couple texts just letting people know not to ask me about it because I wasn’t ready. It hurt so deeply. And because my body didn’t expel the fetus I had to wait for days knowing that what was within me wasn’t a life any longer but a lost promise. It made it feel that much more bitter that my own body couldn’t recognize this wasn’t meant to be. I felt betrayed by it. Even typing it now I can feel that sense of disgust at my body. How did I not recognize it?
We had waited longer than we had planned to conceive this baby. The bond I shared with my firstborn seemed so great I just couldn’t imagine sharing my heart with another little person. And I honestly didn’t want to. My son was my world and I didn’t want to revolve around anything else but him. Yet after two years and seeing less of a baby and more of a boy I could feel that sense of “baby fever” creeping in. My husband and I had a European cruise through the Adriatic Sea planned for our fifth wedding anniversary and since I had already been on a Panama cruise and a trip to Hawaii while pregnant I didn’t want to also experience this dream vacation in that state. For that reason we postponed trying.
It ended up taking close to four months to get pregnant once we did begin trying, which felt like an eternity since we had already put it off. Yet the timing seemed perfect as I got to share the news with my husband on our actual fifth wedding anniversary and then in turn we announced to our families over the holidays. My husband still has a picture of my son in front of the Christmas tree with his big brother shirt on. I didn’t want to see it after losing the baby and it was deleted as soon as I ran across it.
We didn’t find out about the miscarriage until I was 11 weeks along. We had already shared with almost my entire extended family (it’s a large family) and even some of my coworkers. I couldn’t wait to turn the corner and get the opportunity to leave a job I was already burnt out in to take on the task of stay at home mom. This was my exit plan and I was ready for it. I had even told my direct supervisor at work, going so far as to say I’m not coming back after August when the baby arrives. Yet none of this would come to be as we saw an empty sac when we went in for our first ultrasound. I bluntly said, “so I’m not pregnant,” and the ultrasound tech replied, “no you are there just isn’t a baby.” I couldn’t wrap my brain around that but would learn just a short term later that we had what’s called an anembryonic gestation of blighted ovum. For an unknown reason the embryo just stops developing but the gestational sac continues to.
Yet what I’ve learned through this experience is that it is so much more prevalent than I ever knew. My doctor told me that about one in four pregnancies end in a miscarriage. I knew of at least one person close to me that felt that loss and for selfish reasons I was thankful I wasn’t alone in that. I heavily relied on her yet also felt isolated in my experience. I remember walking into the hospital for the D&C and not even wanting to hold my husband’s hand. I just wanted it done. I wanted to be alone because that’s how I felt.
I heavily relied on the fact that God had a plan bigger than myself. Although I may not be able to grasp the why behind it, I trusted there was a reason I wasn’t meant to know of. My faith carried me through that period of grief. And it also gave me hope that this didn’t have to be the end either. I can celebrate in this now knowing that although January 2019 we suffered the loss of life, come January 2020 we will welcome a new life. We’ll meet our rainbow baby girl, our Elliott Reese. God had a plan when telling us to wait. Elliott means, “Jehovah is God.” Our Jehovah is sharing his light with us when all we saw was darkness before.
If any of you are reading this and hurting from your own sense of loss just know it’s ok to feel sad. It’s ok to feel that loss. It’s ok to have doubts about what will happen in the future. It’s ok to feel alone. But if you want to share your story, if you need a strangers ear, I’m here. Your baby can be acknowledged and shared, even if they got their wings before entering our world.
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