[Trigger warning: This essay describes one woman's emotional journey with miscarriage.]
It's pouring rain out today, the weather matches how my heart feels. It's been two months. Two months since it happened and I'm just now able to process what I went through and try to cope with my loss. I had a miscarriage. A missed miscarriage, in fact. Typing and reading those words create a lump in my throat, but I know I need to share my experience so my heart can heal.
My husband and I started trying to conceive and immediately became pregnant. The joy we felt was unimaginable. Just like with our first child, we cried tears of joy and hugged and kissed each other. I couldn't hold in the excitement longer than 24 hours, so we told our parents, siblings, and grandparents the news with our then-18 month-old son dressed in an adorable big brother t-shirt with a smile from ear to ear. I had ordered this outfit with hopeful anticipation and I was excited to dress him up in it. My heart could've burst with joy from it all.
It was still very early so I waited several weeks before my first doctor's appointment and we decided that we would only share with our immediate family "just in case." Seven weeks came and I began spotting. Trying not to panic, I called the doctor who told me it can be normal and it was up to me whether or not I wanted to come in. I chose to make the appointment
However, I had a sinking feeling in my gut. Maybe it was mother's intuition or paranoia, I'm not sure, but I knew something was wrong.
We went in and found the culprit of my bleeding was a small subchorionic tear in my uterus. They assured me that it was common and would most likely correct itself with time. However, my baby was only measuring five and a half weeks. My head spun in confusion. They said there were two possibilities: Either the baby had stopped developing, or I got pregnant later than I thought I did. The doctor said that everything looked perfect, and so he was hopeful for the latter.
I had to wait a week to see if my pregnancy progressed or if it stayed the same. "A week," I thought. "A whole entire week." It felt like an eternity. I ran out of the doctor's office as fast as I could with my sweet husband giving me a comforting squeeze in the elevator. Hot tears were stinging my eyes. I made it to the car. I was in disbelief. I wanted to be positive. I wanted to have hope, but I couldn't find any of those things within me.
A week went and the blood continued, even as I tried to take it easy—per my doctor's orders. But any mom of a toddler knows that taking it easy is actually not possible. Still, I was so thankful for him. His precious face, his melodious laugh, his big hugs. My son was medicine to my heart.
I returned, filled with dread, to the doctor along with my husband. An ultrasound revealed our baby was still measuring the same with no growth. He took us into his office and compassionately explained that I was having a "missed miscarriage." I will always be grateful for his sensitivity and kindness. He gave me the options of how I could move forward. I chose to have a miscarriage in the privacy of our own home. I once again returned to our car with tears spilling down my face and sobs of sadness escaping from my throat. I remember looking at my husband and saying, "…but, I already love them."
That will forever be in my memory. This baby was already a part of me, a part of us, a part of our family. It was such a sad day for us, and one I will never forget.
The thing about a missed miscarriage is you don't know when it's going to happen. Every woman has a different experience and a different story. To me, the waiting and wondering was the worst part.
My miscarriage was a slow process and the physical aspect was manageable. The emotional aspect, however, has been a slow and painful one.
How do you come to terms that you will never hold your baby?
How do you process that you will never meet them, hear their voice, see their face?
How do you accept that a part of your heart is gone?
How do you keep going as you wonder if you did something wrong or could have done something differently?
These thoughts are normal. The emotions and questions are normal. Feel them, mama. Feel. Them. All. Grieve your loss the way you need to. Grieve and let it all out.
As for me? I will miss our baby the rest of my lifetime. I know my husband will, too. I count my blessings and take it one day at a time. My faith has also been a source of strength and comfort that I am so thankful for.
I don't know you, but my mama heart aches for you if you've experienced any type of loss at any stage of your baby's life. Find comfort in knowing you are not alone—there are so many others who understand and will support you. Above all, remember you will get through this, mama, and that you are not alone.