I’ve had this post written for over a year.
I’ve been meaning to share my own experience for two reasons:
1. With the hope that maybe it will help another loss Mama, like so many posts have helped me over the last two years.
2. To raise awareness and to start the conversation. So many women suffer loss in silence. The topic of pregnancy is brought up so much for couples of all ages, but the truth is, no one truly knows. Pregnancy becomes a sensitive subject for those who struggle to get pregnant or who have lost a baby.
I have two babies. One is a sweet little almost eight month old boy who brings so much joy to my life; the other one is my heaven baby.
We lost our first baby at 6 weeks on November 7th, 2016. You never forget a day like that. My HCG levels were under the normal range a week before. I was a little worried, but they just said it was because it was so early along in the pregnancy. So I cautiously believed them. Silly me. On Monday, November 7th, I woke up to some spotting. A brief Doctor’s appointment that morning with an ultrasound schedule for the Friday basically suggested that things could go either way. But I put it all together. I was losing miscarrying my baby.
Over the course of the week, the spotting increased to bleeding and the cramping felt like really awful period cramps. Thursday of that week, I miscarried my baby. By the time of the ultrasound on Friday, there was nothing. Which can be argued as being good because I didn’t need medical interventions of any sort … and my body just naturally let everything go.
I never got to see my baby on an ultrasound, I never got to hear its heartbeat. At six weeks, would there have even been a heartbeat? To me, it is a baby, but what would other people say? My whole heart began to grieve our loss, but these questions also made me feel guilty for being so sad. Some women suffer miscarriages at 12, 16 or 20 weeks. Some mothers have to endure the labour and delivery of a dead baby. Is it foolish of me to feel this way about something so small?
Grief and heartbreak are deep and difficult feelings to grasp. Dealing with the grief and heartbreak of a person you knew, but never got to see, or touch, or hear are just a whole different level of emotions that I’m sure no one knows how to deal with, unless they are faced with it. I didn’t just lose a child, I lost what I thought would have been my first born; I lost hopes and dreams and sweet ways to tell our family at Christmas time. I lost this sweet little real person that I constructed in my mind. Days were spent trying to cope with this new feeling of emptiness, and nights were spent grieving the loss of the baby we almost had. I fell into a sad, lonely, and depressing time in my life. I struggled with every aspect of our loss for three months. Until one day in February, I went to mass and every single thing that was said was exactly what I needed to hear. The readings and Gospel and homily all revolved around putting your trust in God. That was the day that I finally felt at peace with what had happened and let go.
We waited 7 months for our rainbow baby.
You learn a lot when you become a part of this small community of loss Mamas. Having a miscarriage changes the way you experience your next pregnancy (and I assume all other pregnancies as well). I felt like I held my breath for those first 12 weeks until we saw our baby and that little heartbeat on the ultrasound. Part of me wanted to tell family early this time, but another part of me couldn’t bear to witness the people I love so dearly experience the heartache that I endured should something happen. So again, we kept this one to ourselves, until we finally SAW our baby and that teeny tiny flutter on the ultrasound. Even after those 12 weeks, the fear of loss still remains; perhaps it gets further and further away as the weeks go on, but to me, there truly is no “safe zone” until that baby is placed in your arms.
1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. The chances are that someone you know has experienced a pregnancy loss. I know three other Mamas who’ve walked this route before, two of which helped me through my own miscarriage. I know a few more through connecting on social media. If you have experienced a pregnancy loss, you are not alone. You can grieve because regardless of what others say, your pregnancy was real. One day you had a baby, and the next day you didn’t. You can scream and cry and be jealous and angry because since you’ve lost a baby, women around you are announcing their pregnancies, but you still don’t have your rainbow yet. You take all the time you need. These feelings are real. They are valid, and they may only lessen as the years go on. In all truth, they may be brought up all over again in certain situations. The reality is that life simply is not fair and 1 in 4 of us Mamas have had to deal with the very dark and lonely side of trying to start a family.
I have found it so difficult to talk about my experience with others who don’t really understand. People struggle to empathize with Mamas who’ve miscarried and often find words that, although have good intentions, do not give comfort to someone who is grieving in such a way. From my experience, even a simple, “I’m so sorry for your loss” can mean so much. However, I have found comfort in sharing my experience with other Mamas going through loss. Just being able to talk about it is healing in itself.
If you need someone to talk to in any sense, please reach out. To me, to family or friends, or even strangers who’ve been there. When you are ready.
November 7th will come again this year, and again I will mourn the loss of my first baby. I will remember the journey that led me to my rainbow baby and I will snuggle and love him twice as hard in memory of my heaven baby.