Stare. It’s what I do when I’ve sobbed every tear I can muster. I’m too exhausted to cry and too worked up to sleep. So I stare. And I wonder what I could have done differently, what I should have done differently. I wonder if there’s something wrong with me, and then worry that it will happen again. That’s when panic strikes and I can’t breathe. I can’t let my mind go there. I can’t think about the possibility of losing another baby. I’ve already lost two in the last six months.
Miscarriage. I have a hard time saying it out loud. Typing seems easier because there’s no one here to give me pitying glances. So here I am. Typing about my loss because I need to talk about it, but I can’t in real life yet.
We found out just before Thanksgiving that we were going to have our first baby. It seemed fitting at the time to celebrate a pregnancy in a season of thankfulness. That’s how we felt. Thankful. We wanted to start a family. I have several friends who struggle with infertility, so I know it’s quite common for pregnancy to take a long time. But it didn’t for us. We got pregnant right away. For that, we felt thankful.
We told our families at Christmas. This was going to be Eric’s parents’ first grandchild and my parents’ third. There was much celebrating and talks of baby names and baby showers. The family was already making plans to visit at the end of July after the baby was born. There was morning sickness, headaches, and very small bump beginning to form. It was all starting to feel very real. We were going to be parents.
It was the next week that I had the ultrasound. The tech was silent as she maneuvered the device and took pictures. She didn’t even look at us. I could already see on the screen that there was nothing there. We were ushered into the waiting room, then into an examination room where we waited for over an over for a doctor to confirm what we already knew: there was no baby.
I’d had what’s called a blighted ovum. The embryo implants in the uterus but never becomes a fetus. By that time, the body is already in pregnancy-mode and continues to produce pregnancy symptoms. It’s sometimes called a “missed miscarriage” because women typically don’t have symptoms of miscarriage until long after the baby has passed. That’s exactly what happened to me. I had no reason to believe there was anything wrong with my pregnancy. That is, until the silent ultrasound. I was thirteen weeks at that point and fourteen weeks when I finally had to get a D&C.
Eric and I decided we’d try again after his training in April. That would give us time to grieve and give my body time to heal. My sister in law asked if I felt ready emotionally. I told her I didn’t think I’d ever feel ready emotionally. Getting pregnant again doesn’t undo the pain of losing a child. I knew I’d be more scared, more cautious, more anxious the second time around. But I also knew we were ready to be parents.
Again, we got pregnant right away. We were so excited and so relieved, but we didn’t want to get our hopes up. It was still very early. We decided not to tell any family until after I’d been to the doctor and had an ultrasound.
I had blood work done on Saturday and again on Monday. When you’re pregnant, your hormone levels double or triple every couple of days. My levels dropped 75%. I have a doctor appointment today at one, but I already know what he’s going to tell me. I’ve lost another child.
He’ll probably tell me it’s not my fault, that I’m perfectly healthy and there’s nothing I could have done differently. But I won’t believe him because this has happened twice now. It’s happened twice and I can’t accept him telling me that everything is okay, that I’m okay. Because I’m not.
The pain is fresh and washes over me, leaving me gasping for air and grasping at hope that appears just out of reach. It comes in waves that I never see coming. Sometimes it’s a song or a sermon. Sometimes it’s a baby or a pregnant belly. Sometimes it’s my husband. I look at him and know he will be the best dad in the world. He has a big smile and an even bigger heart. He is filled with such love, kindness, patience and an affinity for Legos. He should get to be a dad. He’s meant to be a dad.
I know God is here, but I’m not ready to pray just yet. My only question is “Why?” and there is no answer. So I cry until I can’t cry anymore and trust that God is crying with me. He’ll be there when I’m ready to talk.
I know there are thousands of women who have been in my shoes. Honestly, that doesn’t make me feel any less alone. It doesn’t make my heart ache less or calm the knots in my stomach. It doesn’t help me sleep better or cry less or hope more. This is my grief and I don’t know what to do with it.
So I stare.
And I wonder when it is I’ll breathe again.
Pray for me. Pray for others who can’t pray for themselves just yet.