Miscarriage is a quiet grief that so many women carry around with them. It’s the club that no one ever wants to be a part of, yet so many are forced to be. I used to be the one who would shy away from miscarriage stories because they left me fearful. The sadness was too hard to read about. I understand that my story might not be for everyone, but I decided to tell it for multiple reasons: 1. It is therapeutic for me to re-visit my memories, as horrific as they may be, and put them to words 2. I want to let other women who walk through similar experiences know that they are not alone and 3. I believe life is valuable, at every age, and I hope that my transparency would affirm God’s perfect design and ultimately glorify Him. Even in my sorrow.
I had been looking forward to January 31st all month. I couldn’t wait to see my baby on the ultrasound and find out the gender. I always feel more bonded to my baby once I know the gender. I can call them by name and dream up what they might be like. Were we going to add to our little girl club or were we going to enter into the new territory of boyhood?
We dropped Penny off at school and the rest of us piled into the small ultrasound room, anxiously waiting to hear the news. The ultrasound tech scanned my tummy and within seconds she said “I’m going to do some measuring and then I’ll talk.” I didn’t think much of it. She broke the silence with “you guys, I’m so sorry but I’m not getting a heartbeat.” I thought she was joking. I couldn’t even speak. I thought maybe if we kept searching we would find it. She wiped off my tummy and said the baby was measuring around 16 weeks, I was 19. She left to get my midwife and I sat there in disbelief. I couldn’t even look at Truman or the girls. How could this be? I stared at the equipment, tears rolling down my cheeks, wishing I was alone so I could sob like my inside was. The first thought that popped into my head was “God, why? Am I being punished?” We had gone through so many ups and downs with this pregnancy. We were scared to enter into the newborn stage so quickly, but at the same time we were so in love with this little unexpected life. Was it being taken away because I didn’t appreciate it enough? We heard a heartbeat at 15 weeks! How could this be the ending?–my midwife rushed in, gave me a huge hug and said “I need you to repeat after me. This is not. my. fault” and through my tears I obeyed, yet part of me wasn’t so sure. “You loved this baby so much that you’ve been carrying her for weeks when she was already gone. Your body just isn’t ready to let go.”
That was an understatement. My heart wasn’t either.
I feared what was ahead of me. I felt betrayed by my body. I felt different, knowing there was no longer a live baby inside of me. My midwife explained what needed to happen next and sent us on our way with a packet of grief material and the instruction to decide when we wanted to induce labor. I never anticipated walking out of that doctor’s office with the deepest heartache I had ever known. We rode the elevator in silence, completely overwhelmed by all that had happened. I was living in this nightmare that I just wanted to wake up from. I desperately wanted to rewind to 45 minutes ago when I was cheerfully driving to the doctor’s office, full of hope and excitement.
Truman had to go get Penny from school so he dropped me off with the other girls. I put them in front of a TV show so I could process my new reality. I fell to floor on my knees with my arms catching the edge of our chair and sobbed. I cried the way I wanted to cry as I sat on that ultrasound table in silence…and I prayed. I’ve always wondered how I would react in a tragedy. Your faith is never tested more than when you meet despair. I cried out to God, admitting that I didn’t understand why we were facing this trial. I confirmed what I knew to be true: He did not do this. And He does not punish His children. I knew that He felt my sorrow with me. I knew that because Jesus walked the Earth as a human, he could sympathize with the deep sorrow I was in. I so badly wanted to find peace in that. I begged Him to help me fight the lies that were attacking me from every angle. I begged Him for His peace that surpasses understanding. And through heavy tears and a broken spirit, I begged that His glory would shine through our devastation.
Truman and I sat together and cried for a long time. The past four months had been so exhausting and we felt far beyond our limits. We felt beaten and broken, unsure of how to even take another step. We had come to love this baby that we didn’t even know we wanted, and now we were faced with the unbearable task of meeting our child and saying goodbye.