Im sharing this, not for sympathy or attention, but because the silence makes me crazy. Literally crazy.
Darren and I have had two miscarriages in the past five months. It wasnt something I wanted to discuss, especially not here on the internet. I didnt want to deal with the “im sorry for your loss” and “God has a plan for you, just wait” and “at least you already have kids” and my favorite “at least it was an early loss, that makes it easier”. All the things people say when they want to be encouraging, but for some reason it just makes you mad and upset to hear them. I just didnt want to deal with it. I WANTED to deal with it, to get the dealings over with, do my time and be on the other side, but it just doesnt work that way. There is little time for thinking and processing or time alone at all when you have three small children, a husband, a two jobs and all the other hats moms wear. There is no time for mom to be emotional, the emotions are checked and shoved so life can go on. When you finally do get 5 minutes alone, its that last thing you want to think about. So I have kept it all locked inside these past few months.
The first loss was at 13 weeks and I had it surgically removed. I wanted absolutely nothing to do with the process. I didn’t want to see it. I just wanted it done. We knew after the first sono that things werent quite right. The doctors were hopeful so we remained hopeful as well. Painful progesterone shots and suppositories and pelvic rest and other supplements…and it failed. I handled it all fine until the nurse at the hospital started asking me about burial arrangements and what to do with the “tissue”. Then it hit like a ton of bricks. That was a human life. I went home, I tried to grieve and tried to move on. It faked being fine for the sake of those around me. I wasn’t sure what else to do. I got pregnant again three weeks later. So much excitement! The doctor assured us that the chances of having a normal pregnancy were high. Most people do well. Then the sono. “Well you should be six weeks along. This is only measuring 4 and there is no heartbeat. Maybe we had the date wrong. Come back next week”. Same story next week, the sac grows, but no heartbeat. By the third week we knew we had lost it. A blighted ovum they call it. This means the sac continues to grow, but there is no fetus. Since this one was early, the doctor wanted it to pass naturally. I went home and waited. Two and a half weeks I waited. Wondering if every cramp or hurt was going to start delivery. Worrying about where I would be when it happened. Worrying about what I would do if it happened at work or at church, would every one know? Would it make a mess? While waiting, the pregnancy symptoms continue. Still nauseated, still throwing up, still tired, stomach still growing. I wore big baggie clothes for fear of someone noticing my slightly pudgy belly and asking questions I didn’t want to answer. Monday December 15th at 6:45pm, I delivered that baby. It didn’t look like a baby, it was just a sac and lots of bits of tissue and an terribly large amount of blood and clots, but it would have been my baby. I was not prepared for that sight. I was not prepared to deliver that on my own, with my own hands. Its a sight I will never unsee, and a feeling I will never unfeel, that dead and blood there in the toilet. I was home alone when it happened. I asked Darren to take the kids out, so I could labor and yell if I needed to without the kids being worried. So alone. Soon the family came home and the emotions were checked so life could continue.
No one talks about what happens when you miscarry. I was so naive before all of this. I never considered the physical aspect of miscarriage. The physical ramifications of that loss go on for months. The waiting for the pregnancy to terminate, sometimes for weeks, bleeding, the pain, the hormone changes, the continued pregnancy symptoms even though the fetus is dead, the terrible first cycle after the miscarriage. No one warns you. They just tell you they are sorry and send you home to find out on your own.
I never understood, myself, why a miscarriage was so emotionally hard. I thought all those thought other tell me. “its early” “look at the kids you do have” I never stopped to realize the depth of the loss. Just because I have never held that baby physically in my arms, doesnt mean i didnt hold it so very tightly in my heart. The bond between mother and baby really does start at conception, and its a bond that just cant be explained or reasoned. I can truly say now, until its been you, you just can understand. There is a grief there, an emptiness, that is strange. You find yourself doing and thinking totally irrational things. A bitterness and jealousy towards anyone with a baby. You want to be happy for them. You are really, but you are also mad and jealous, for reasons you cant explain. Its irrational, unfair to the person on the receiving end. I wouldn’t really wish this on anyone. But the thoughts flutter “maybe she will loose her baby too” “why does she get a baby and I don’t” I don’t know where the thoughts come from. I certainly don’t ask for them, but they sneak up and before you know it, you have lost your temper with someone for a totally unnecessary reason. No one talks about these things. There is no outlet, no safe place for discussion of those feelings. Its too taboo. Im told, by a few other moms I met on a facebook support group, that these thoughts and feelings are a normal part of the grieving process. “Give yourself some grace” they say, “time will heal” they say. So I try, to wait for that day when it doesn’t hurt anymore. I keep quiet about these awful thoughts and feeling, shoving them deeper and deeper. My husband listens, when I do open up, but as a man, there are just some things he cant understand. Its a horrible loneliness.
I have three beautiful kids and I love them with my life! I am thankful for them. I am a richly blessed woman. But having previous children, doesnt make loss all Ok. I cant just ignore the two that could have been simply because I already have three. I wish it was so easy. I still have to grieve the children I lost. Its not something that can be brushed aside. So many dont understand this. I know I didnt until now. “Why cant you just be thankful for what you have?!” I am, so thankful, so blessed, but im still missing what could have been. As soon as you see that positive pregnancy test, you start planning and thinking and loving that baby. Will it be a boy or girl? How will we arrange the bedrooms? What will it look like? You start dreamins of tiny little socks and smelling baby breath. And then, its gone. Those hopes, dreams, plans….all gone. Then there are the questions, anxieties, insecurities. Can I even get sustain a pregnancy? Why after three kids do I have trouble now? Is it my diet? Lack of sleep? Because Im still nursing Emma? too much activity? Not enough activity? Will my husband still love me even if Im broken? How can I risk being intimate with my husband, I might get pregnant and lose it again? Do I even want to take this risk again? So many questions with no solid answers. Too much to handle at times.
I thought I had handled it all well until recently. Recently, those shoved emotions come flooding out from places I didnt know existed, in ways that are not usual for me and dont make any sense. It makes me anxious and unsure. I have never struggled with anxiety like this. I sit and I shake and don’t even know why. I cry and cant stop and don’t know why. I have certainly never been unsure. I always see what I want and get it. I wonder and question why God is putting me through this! Did I sin? Is there a lesson Im just not learning? Why God? God must have a plan right?! Normally I am the first one to look for the silver lining and talk about rejoicing through trials….eating my own words is tough right now. To add to all of this, both of these losses caused me some severe bleeding and the cause is unknown. It may be related to the losses. Now we have to find out what’s wrong. Lots of testing in my future. There’s alot of extreme drama and issues with family, that I dont care to discuss, but that are certainly extreme and very hard to handle. This adds to the stress and makes it even harder to properly cope because there is just so much. Too much to properly process.
The more I think about it and the longer I keep all this quiet, the stronger I feel that it should be talked about. 1 out of every 4 pregnancies results in miscarriage. That statistic is a big deal. 25%! HUGE. There is no reason for this to be a subject that cant be discussed. No reason for silence. I have decided to go to counseling. I have needed it for years. Long history of family issues and loss of support systems, abuse and manipulation. I came in to this already so broken. There is no shame in asking for help. I tell my patients that all the time! Seeking professional guidance is a good thing, a sign of self awareness, that is the first step to healing. So hard to follow my own advice. So, Im putting it all out there, hoping all of this rambling helps someone out there cope and hoping it helps me move through this grief. Maybe through my hurt, someone will feel comforted.
Its time to let it all go. All of it. All the many, many things that have been pulling me down for years. Im letting go of trying to please people. Im letting go of trying to earn love. That love just will never come from some. I am working on realizing that I can “fix” everything and everyone. I have tried so hard for so long to be strong, for everyone. Always level headed, always the voice of reason. Never loosing my cool. Always coming to the rescue when someone was in crisis. Always biting my tongue for fear of upsetting someone around me. Never thinking of myself or my family first. Always giving to others but never investing in myself and being content with no one investing in me. My love tank has ben bone dry for a very long time, because I allowed it to be. I have made huge strides towards “wellness” in the past two years. But these miscarriages have set me back. Far back. The lack of love and understanding by those closest to me has hurt so very, very bad. But its time to let it go.
Through all these years, my husband has been by my side, trying desperately to love me, even in all my crazy. I have kept him at arms length, fearful that I might get too attached and hurt again. I have always had this fear that someday he would get fed up and leave. Never has he threatened that. Such an irrational but real fear. I have realized lately,dealing with all of this, that his love is deep. There may be times when he hurts me, he is human. But its time to let him in, all the way in and take that risk.
So I am asking you all, to stand by me in prayer. Prayers for strength, courage, grace and healing. I hope to come out on the other side of all of this more wise and loving than how I went in. Thanks for taking the time to read and to listen.