"Friendship is born at the moment when one person says to another, 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one'."

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Real Housewives - Miscarriage

I've struggled with writing this post...I've had to walk away from the computer several times in the past couple of days and muster up the strength to come back. How do you talk about it? What do you say? Why talk if it is so darn hard? Well...because. Because it happened and it's a part of us. Because it's important to talk in order to heal. Because it makes our family what it is today. Because so many women experience it. Because no one talks about it. Because maybe it just happened to you or to someone you know. Because maybe if I share our story, others will know they are not alone. So, here it goes. This is me being brave:

I had a miscarriage.
miscarriage.
Such a lonely word.

I will NEVER forget the days...hours...seconds really...that surround the moment we lost our baby. I will never forget the roller coaster of emotions, the disbelief, the utter sadness. I will never forget the tears flowing as I hugged my dear friend in our driveway after returning from the doctor. She pulled up just as we were getting home and excitedly pulled over thinking she'd get to see the ultrasound picture of a little bean and instead I just shook my head and lost it in her arms.

So, here's what happened a little over three years ago: We had a nine week ultrasound scheduled for the Monday after Thanksgiving. We had already told family & friends about the pregnancy since we were seeing everyone in person over the holiday. We waited much longer to share the news about our first baby, Logan. I was feeling a little uneasy about everyone knowing before we saw the doctor. I just wanted to see that little bean on the screen already! The ultrasound tech started the exam and there it was! Our little bean. I was so excited and relieved. Now this was really happening! Dan and I were holding hands and incredibly giddy over what we were seeing. Our joy was quickly interrupted when we noticed how quiet the tech had suddenly become. And then, the words that still ring in my ears, "I'm not finding a heartbeat"..."I can't find the heartbeat"... My head was spinning. I was struggling to accept what she was telling us. How could that be? I can see my baby RIGHT THERE. Check again...PLEASE check again! I had not experienced any pain, cramping, or bleeding in the previous weeks, so I didn't understand. She said the size of the baby was right on for nine weeks and that it must have just happened in the last day or two. With that, we were given some alone time and then shuffled into another office to hear that they had no idea why we lost our baby. The consensus was that my body recognized that there was something biologically wrong and terminated the pregnancy on its own. The doctor started giving me statistics about how common miscarriage is (I know she was trying to make me feel better, but it didn't work). I felt anything but common. I felt empty. I remember walking back through the waiting room of expectant mothers and being hit by a ton a bricks that I was no longer one of them.

So there it is, nine weeks along. Some people have tucked the word only in there... "only nine weeks", but those who have lost a baby know the number doesn't mean a thing. This baby was already a part of us...already a part of our family. We had plans, hopes, and dreams for this baby.

Lost a baby. Lost a piece of my heart. Simple as that.

What happens next is not pleasant at all. Here I am quietly whimpering on the way home with our 11 month old in the backseat and my husband, who is hurting just as much as I am, but has to hold it together for me (because let's face it, the husband often gets the raw end of the deal when grieving the loss of a child). He holds the prescription in his hand. You see, I had technically lost the pregnancy, but not physically. I opted to use drugs at home instead of surgery. I was thinking that I wanted to be at home with my family. The last thing I wanted was to be in a sterile hospital room feeling lonely and scared.

I would never choose that option again. The next two days of my body basically forcing me to "lose the baby" were excruciating. I won't go into further detail except to say that the moment I lost my baby was clear and horrifying and will never leave my brain. I only include this part because if you are ever in this situation, I highly recommend surgery (called D&C: dilation and curettage). No woman should have to go through that. Next it was back to the doctor only to find out that the drugs hadn't fully done their job and I had to take them all over again. After a week of agony, I picked myself up, dusted myself off, and threw a first birthday party for my son. It was the absolute ONLY thing that could have brought me true joy at a time of such sadness. It was wonderful.

I wrote a journal entry a couple months after my miscarriage. Most of it was pretty raw, but here is a bit of how I was feeling at the time:

...the thing that keeps running through my head is that I never got to hold you. NEVER got to hold you. You were our baby and we never got to hold you. I feel so empty. So sad. It feels like a tiny piece of me is missing. You will forever be a part of this family...our little angel.

...I am beginning to hate the phrase everything happens for a reason. It's just what people say when they don't know what to say and every time I hear it I want to scream.

...I am having a REALLY hard time moving past this. Does everyone feel this way? I am not a negative person, but I just can't stop thinking about it. Can't get a positive thought in my head. Bad dreams. Guilt. Shame. Was it something I did...Maybe if I hadn't...

In search of anything that might help me move forward, I bought a book called I Never Held You.

As I continue to heal, I can delight in the loving people I have surrounding me. My amazing husband...He held me together. He knew exactly what I needed. I was curled up in retreat and he led me back to the world with the most delicate touch. He made the phone calls, he brought the blankets and the soup, he told me to keep crying. My friends showed up at the door with meals and hugs and open-ended offers to talk. My family waited for me to get my grounding and supported me every step of the way. My little man, Logan, gave the best sloppy, open-mouthed, toddler kisses a mommy could ask for. I don't know if you're ever completely "healed" after something so heartbreaking. But, I do know that I used to cry every minute, and then every day, and then every week, and now a couple times a year...so it does get better.

5 comments:

  1. Thank you for the post Linds, I know that pain. When I was just 5 weeks with Yala B I started spotting and went in for ultrasound, we were delighted to discover the extra implant bleeding was because there were two little beings in there! So thrilled. We went back for a follow up ultrasound at 9 weeks and the tech casually said, "the baby looks great"....baby? baby? don't you mean babies? "nope ,looks like just one." I was devastated.
    That sadness is deep and lonely.
    A

    ReplyDelete
  2. Linz, thanks for sharing your heart.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Andee: thanks for sharing and Krista: thanks for the message. It always helps me to hear other women's stories. Was hoping maybe I could provide that for someone else. Feeling incredibly loved by all the wonderful women in my life today. :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you for your post, Lindsay! We lost our first pregnancy at 10 weeks, right after Mike left on his first 6-month deployment. I was all by myself in San Diego...it was one of the darkest points of my life. It was so hard, but it also stretched me and forced me to grow and I know I wouldn't the person (or the mom or wife) I am today without going through that experience.

    ReplyDelete
  5. It was heartbreaking to be the friend in the driveway.
    Love the post, love you.
    xo Sarah

    ReplyDelete