today marks exactly one year since my miscarriage. It’s been on my heart for a long time to share my miscarriage story because from the moment we found out our baby no longer had a heartbeat, I scoured the internet for information. Prior to my own miscarriage I had just assumed that finding out your baby didn’t have a heartbeat and having a miscarriage were one and the same. My experience was different and that is the reason I wanted to share.
*I will go into detail of the miscarriage in this post so if you are squemish you might want to skip the last portion*
On August 7th I had my first ultrasound and we discovered that I was 7 weeks pregnant. We were surprised to be pregnant again but once the shock wore off we were really excited.
At my first midwife appointment on September 12th the midwife struggled to find a heartbeat, this is a pretty common problem that early on but in that moment I knew that something wasn’t right. I had to wait out the weekend before I could be seen.
I went to a free ultrasound clinic on September 16th to see if they could tell me if my baby still had a heartbeat because we didn’t want to pay out of pocket for a doctor’s visit. At that appointment the ultrasound tech couldn’t find a heartbeat but also tried to give me hope, she said maybe she wasn’t doing it right or maybe the baby’s positioning was weird. One blessing about this appointment is that I got to see my baby and she printed some pictures for me, these are the last images I have of my baby. Because she wasn’t a doctor she couldn’t give me an official diagnosis so she sent me to my OBGYN. I didn’t know it going in there but this was a Christian ministry for women who were considering abortions so after my appointment, with tears in their eyes they explained that it was so hard to see a women who actually wanted their baby and might have lost it. Tracy the manager there gave me some advice that carried me through the dark times that would follow.
“you will never understand why this happened to you and don’t allow that question to spiral you down into grief. None of us know why these things happen. We just have to trust that the Lord is with you through it, you are not alone”
I pulled out of the parking lot and called Gabriel…then it hit. A pain I had never felt before in my life, a cry I had never cried. I couldn’t even see the street in front of me and Gabriel told me to pull over and wait for him. As I sat in my car and sobbed I thought over and over again about every dream I had for this baby…the cute little video we made of telling the kids we were pregnant, the girls in our church that were pregnant alongside me, starting my 3rd Trimester on Christmas Day and starting Spring with a tiny new baby. You see, it’s not just the physical loss of a baby that breaks you…from the moment that you see those little blue lines you have the whole next 9 months of your life planned out and in an instant you realize that none of those dreams will ever come true. We wept together but still held out a little glimmer of hope that maybe our baby was alive. I think we really just didn’t want to face the truth in that moment so holding off for the official word from the doctor seemed like a good idea.
On September 17th Gabriel and I went in for an ultrasound.
She put the wand on my belly.
She clicked a button on the computer to turn on the sound.
A straight line starts to move across the screen. Silence.
She slammed the button and the line disappeared.
This memory moves in slow motion for me, in reality it was all of about 3 seconds but it was 3 seconds that lasted a lifetime. I think in that moment she didn’t want to upset us further, didn’t want to drag it out. But the abruptness of it all felt like a gunshot.
She let me get dressed and left Gabriel and I for a minute. We sobbed.
She came back in to explain our options moving forward. I could go into the hospital to have a D&C or I could wait for the miscarriage to happen naturally. I decided to wait.
She told me to call her back in 2 weeks for a follow up appointment or if I changed my mind and wanted a D&C.
The reason I chose not to have a D&C is that we had already decided to have a home birth like we did for the others and going into the hospital to essentially have the baby removed just didn’t feel like the right choice for me. I also wanted to have something to bury and the hospital wouldn’t allow me to do that.
I googled how a miscarriage at home usually goes and from what I gathered from the few blogs I read it was going to be like a mini birth, except no reward of a baby in the end. I prepared, ordered supplies and planned for a mini home birth. What followed was two weeks of nothing. No cramping, no bleeding, I had absolutely zero signs of miscarriage. I did have a lot of phantom kicks however, basically it feels exactly like a baby moving inside of you and one particular night I was convinced that maybe everyone was wrong and this baby was still alive. It’s hard to explain without sounding crazy but I absolutely felt movement. After the two weeks was over I called my doctor and asked if there was any way I could wait a little longer, I’d already waited for two weeks and it felt like it would be for nothing if I ended up still having to get a D&C. Over the course of the next few weeks waiting started to get really hard. It was really strange to walk into a room and wonder if anyone knew I was carrying a dead baby inside of me. Most of our friends knew we had a miscarriage but what that means to most people is that the baby is completely gone, not still waiting around to be born. It was so weird. I started to get very anxious during the 3rd week. My uterus had now hardened to a softball and it was like carrying around a brick in my stomach that I was constantly aware of. Over the course of that week I started to have some spotting which got me excited (and then immediately guilty) that this might be over soon. I knew I was coming down to the wire and if I didn’t have the miscarriage soon I would have no choice but to do a D&C. On Tuesday we got memorial tattoos for our kids and the little one we lost. We decided to get arrows for each one of our children and a lone feather falling down because this arrow left the bow so quickly that all that we got to see was the feather. This was extremely healing for me and looking back on it I’m sure played a part in my body finally letting go of this baby.
On October 15th I started cramping at around 6am. I tried to sleep as much as possible because I figured if this was going to be a mini birth, I had a long road ahead. I thought that they would get much worse so I just tried to relax and sleep. At around 6:30am I felt a small pop inside and got up to change the pad and noticed I was bleeding pretty heavy a couple of clots passed at this time in the toilet. I changed my pad and went back to bed. Around 6:45am I went back to the bathroom and a couple more clots passed, I didn’t know what to do because I really didn’t want the baby to fall into the toilet so I tried sitting on a chucks pad but it felt so uncomfortable so I just put a pad on and went back to bed, I had light cramping this whole time. At 7:30am I got up to take my son to the potty and felt something about the size of my palm coming out. It was the placenta. I was in shock when this happened. All I had felt was very light contractions this whole time and I was expecting so much more pain, something more similar to my prior birth experience. But seeing the placenta and knowing that’s usually the last thing to come out took me by surprise. I immediately began looking for the baby and couldn’t find it. I could see the hole in the amniotic sack and the placenta was completely in tact so I knew that everything had come out. In an instant I realized that the baby must have been one of those clots that I passed earlier and it had gone into the toilet. This has been the hardest part of my story to recover from. The whole reason I wanted to do this at home was so that I could bury my baby, and now I wasn’t able to do that. It felt like a nightmare. I had read it in countless other stories from women who carry the guilt of flushing their baby. It wasn’t until about 6 months later that I finally found peace with what happened. And it was actually when I watched those awful planned parenthood videos that came out. In those videos I got to see how tiny and fragile babies of that age are and in that moment I knew that God had been protecting me. My baby had been dead inside of me for 4 weeks and who knows what I would have seen, if I would’ve been able to even see anything. I had to come to a faith and trust to know that the right thing happened for me.
After that there was some light bleeding until 8am but everything, physically was over. There were many more weeks and months of emotionally processing, crying, praying and journaling. One of the most special things that happened during this whole thing was a box that was given to me by a friend that had our babies name engraved on the inside. Inside are the ultrasound pictures, cards from people and little feathers that we collect along the way. Having a place to put all my memories and write little notes has brought so much healing. I am very thankful for my doctor giving me the option to miscarry at home and I know that I made the right choice for me. There was most definitely closure for us in the waiting and trusting my body to know when it was the right time to let go.
A year on and I would say that you never heal. I think about our baby almost daily and nothing could ever replace the child we lost. If you have friends struggling with the loss of miscarriage I would say talk about it. Remember their special days, it means so much to know that other people think about your child too. This terrible situation has made our marriage stronger, Gabriel and I relied on each other at every moment and talked about everything: every guilty thought, every frustration towards the world and every hope for the future. There have been so many other little hope-filled moments along the way and I’ve truly felt like the Lord has led me through this desert step by step, even when I felt like He couldn’t be further away but I will always know that one day I will see my little one again.