It has been nearly one year since I’ve started this blog and I feel like I’ve been lying for the majority of the time we’ve had together. The biggest part of my life this past year, I’ve omitted from my stories, mostly because I’ve lacked the courage to share. I feel like I’ve been lying every day when asked, “How are you doing?” because honestly, the truth hurts too much.
A mother relishes at moments to share about her children and I am no different. I share about our three-year-old weekly, her stories, her quotes and her quirky moments that I manage to catch on camera. Yet, every time I share about our daughter, a part of my heart aches because she’s only one-third of our story. My husband, Brian, and I have three children, M., our blessing on Earth, and two angels waiting for us in Heaven who we have lost through miscarriages. I know that not everyone wants to hear this part of our story, but I feel I am the voice here on Earth for my little ones that I will meet on the other side of eternity. Even though I’ll never hold them in my arms, they hold a huge part of my heart.
Our first loss was in September of 2014 and it crushed us. It still crushes us. I was 10 weeks along, feeling rather pregnant with nausea, fatigue, food aversions and was looking forward to our ultrasound and seeing our little peanut, except we didn’t get to see anything. The ultrasound appointment grew worse by the minute and ended with the technician saying “I’m calling your doctor right now and I suggest you go see her this afternoon. I can’t tell you what I saw.” It was my body, my results, my baby. The medical system was definitely failing me, leaving me in an emotional state that felt inhumane. Immediately I called my doctor’s office and was notified by the receptionist that my doctor was out of the office for two days and if there was anything urgent, I’d be contacted. My phone never rang.
Two long days we waited with fear looming over us as we tried to cling to hope. When I finally got a chance to speak to my doctor, I told her about the horrible ultrasound appointment and that we were already expecting the worst. Our lives changed forever with her reply, “You’re right. Unfortunately, the ultrasound didn’t show a heartbeat. The pregnancy is not viable. I’m so sorry.” It was a missed miscarriage. Something I had never heard of. No bleeding, no cramps…no heartbeat. I was still carrying our baby.
The movies portray a miscarriage as a twenty-second hospital scene and then it’s done. In the dictionary, the word miscarriage is a noun. When you live it, it’s a verb. I was miscarry-ING. It took three weeks with the help of medication for my body to do what it had to, all the while I faked being my usual self at work, at church, and with friends, while I slowly died inside. M. was the only thing keeping us going. I opted for the medication because I was feeling physically ill and with the uncertainty of when the miscarriage would happen naturally, didn’t want to risk the miscarriage becoming toxic. Four little white pills forced my body into labour within thirty minutes of entering my body. My doctor was so gentle in counselling me and made herself available whenever I needed and also told me not to freak out at the requisition for the follow-up ultrasound to ensure that everything had passed. The medical term for a missed miscarriage is “missed spontaneous abortion.” This little life that we had prayed over for many months, even before trying to conceive was medically classified as an abortion. I wasn’t sure how I was going to survive.
In March 2015 we found out we were expecting again and told quite a few people as soon as we found out. We needed the prayer support and knew if anything went wrong this time, we’d need a community around us. While we were happy and excited, there was a but. We knew too much, ignorance really is bliss. On the day I was seven weeks pregnant, I woke up spotting and cramping. I pleaded with God through the tears, “No God, not again, no, no, NO!” Brian came home from work and took me to the hospital. We spent six hours there for the doctor to tell me there was a ninety percent chance I was miscarrying. My blood work showed low hormones and the ultrasound showed a gestational sac that was smaller than seven weeks. I lay there on the exam table as all my hopes and dreams poured out of my eyes. Neither the doctor nor the three nurses had the courage to confirm what we knew was happening. We lost our third child over Easter weekend.
Grief changes people. I am no longer the person I was eight months ago and there’s no going back. My marriage has suffered and my marriage has gained because of our losses. The way that we parent is different and has opened yet another door to emotional transparency with our daughter. We’ve tried to keep her routines consistent during this emotional turmoil and M. has been a huge reason why I’m able to continue on at all.
M: How come you were sad, Mommy?
Me: You know the baby that was inside my tummy? It had to go to Heaven.
M: How come you were crying?
Me: Because I didn’t want it to go. I wanted it to stay longer.
M: Is it gonna cry?
Me: No, there are no tears in Heaven. Everyone is happy.
M: I want to go there.
Me: Me too. We will one day.
Being asked questions like, “Isn’t it about time you had another one?” or “When are you planning on having another one?” has left me completely shattered. In all honesty, it has also left me wanting to punch many people in the face! Miscarriage happens to one in four women. That’s twenty-five percent of REPORTED pregnancies. That is just the statistic for miscarriage. I know many families who have lost their children through stillbirth, infant loss or are battling infertility. When our first miscarriage happened, I searched the internet for blogs, books, websites, anything I could find to read to try and understand what was happening. It really helped to read other women’s stories. Through these stories and by the grace of God, I’m gaining the courage to share my own story.
One of the most painful things is knowing that women and men are suffering their loss in silence. I have found myself crying not only over my own losses but for others, for the heavy hearts of moms and dads that remain invisible. Are you going through a loss right now? Are you wondering how you will ever survive this heartache? Are you feeling torn because you have children here on Earth and children waiting for you in Heaven? Me too. I know this pain you’re experiencing, this torment, and I just want to let you know that you’re not alone. It’s a club that no parent asks to be a part of and if you’re looking for someone to share with, my inbox is always open. I’d love to exchange stories with you.
While many days are still dark, I do live in hope. It’s a conscious decision that I have to make each morning. The hope I cling to is out of this world, heavenly hope. Though it is so difficult to understand our losses, I do believe in a God who hears all my cries, whether in anger or despair. (Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise – Hebrews 10:23)
Thanks for reading through my story. Please feel free to share and be a voice for one in four women. I post to Facebook nearly every day and would love to connect with you there.