I knew something was amiss. My intense craving for anything covered in tikka masala sauce had disappeared overnight, and my entire body felt…off. I stood in the mirror rubbing my tiny belly whispering, “Please don’t leave me. We can do this. I love you so much.” I was pleading with this little life to stick it out with me, trying my best to hide the panic in my voice from their tiny ears.
After all, tomorrow we would celebrate our first Mother’s Day together.
That same night, I had a dream that my sweet nugget, who was a warm addition to my body, would leave me soon. I shared that heartbreaking dream with my husband, Jamie, and we began to pray for our baby to live while Jamie also tried his best to comfort me. But receiving comfort felt absolutely impossible. I wanted to believe God would answer our prayers but, in my gut, I knew my dream was, in a sense, God’s grace in preparing my heart for what was to come: an unbearable loss.
Even with the undercurrent of worry I seemed to float on. I jumped headfirst into celebrating being a mother to our sweet baby. We gushed about our coming appointment to see our tiny human on a sonogram and speculated about the combination of potential facial and body features. It was honestly a beautiful day to celebrate becoming a first-time momma. By the afternoon the subtle cramping I’d experienced earlier in the day had intensified to an alarming state. I ran to the restroom in the restaurant where we were planning to have brunch and noticed I’d begun to bleed.
I called the nurses’ hotline, which was of no real help other than “…take Tylenol and call us in the morning.” If you’ve ever walked this valley, you know how deep the dagger drives when offered this type of “help.” The dark reality of not being able to stop the bleeding was infuriating and filled me with an immense sense of hopelessness.
We ditched our brunch plans and made our way to Target, but by the time we pulled into the parking lot I was in an incredible amount of pain. While Jamie searched the aisles for pain reliever, my sister accompanied me to the restroom just in case I needed her—and loves, I absolutely ended up needing her.
I was in no way prepared mentally or physically for what followed. Before I could process what was actually happening, our baby was too soon part of our world. And I was officially broken.
I remember walking out of that suffocating restroom, numb and moving in slow motion, to find my husband hurriedly purchasing the Tylenol we thought we’d need.
I remember the look in his eyes when he realized we’d lost our baby.
I remember the fear in his eyes of seeing his wife hallowed out and shattered.
I remember my mom getting our baby.
I remember the fear I felt thinking I was losing my mind because I couldn’t get a single word out of my mouth.
I don’t remember the ride to the hospital, getting admitted, talking to nurses or doctors, or any emotions. I do remember the piercing cry of a baby cracking through my mental fog and “coming to,” sitting on the hospital bed and attempting to answer questions. That’s when I began to cry. Not because I was sad, but because I was grateful. I was grateful that God had given us our sweet baby and we had a chance to celebrate his life. I was grateful he was a part of me, a beautiful manifestation of love between me and my husband. I was grateful that one day I’d get to hold and kiss our baby in Heaven.
We decided to give our angel baby a name after the doctors confirmed I’d had a full miscarriage. We both believed we’d had a boy and so we named him Charlie—our sweet Charlie. Sitting on that stiff bed, surrounded by a sterile room, we cried and told Charlie how much we would miss him and how proud mommy and daddy were to call him our son. I don’t know where your faith lies, but God sat with us on that squeaky bed, in that cold room, and held us tightly as grief and joy wrapped themselves around our hearts.
I can’t say that the days following weren’t full of tears and overwhelming guilt that my body had failed our son and my husband. I was so angry with God for taking our son and breaking our hearts. I was so angry that I still looked pregnant and, at the time, it screamed defective. I was silently angry with the people who made unknowingly insensitive remarks like, “At least you know you can get pregnant.” Or, “What do you think went wrong?”
The experience of miscarriage marks us forever, but it doesn’t mean we have to let our dreams of a family fly away on the wings of our beautiful angel babies. We are warriors. We are vibrant and resilient even when covered in ashes and grief. I can’t guarantee you will never experience miscarriage (again)—we now have two beautiful boys here on earth and a girl angel baby, Ryanne. I can’t guarantee you will always feel brave—we’re trying again and it’s scary to hope for life when loss has been a part of it. Miscarriage is traumatic. I can’t guarantee that the vision you have for the growth of your family will play out exactly the way you see it in your head—life is wonderfully insane that way.
I can promise you, sis, that the disappointment of self you may feel in this moment will fade away and you will love your body again—give yourself time. If you’re telling yourself, “I’ll-never-be-able-to-do-________-again,” I promise you that someday you will be able to do that thing again if you allow yourself the space to walk forward and dream courageously, even while trembling. I promise you are stronger than you realize and, one day, the most broken part of your heart will become a beacon of strength and encouragement for other women and couples walking in the valley of child loss.
Promises for You is a column that gives voice and space to those who have experienced infertility, miscarriage, and child loss at any age. We need open conversations on a continuous basis to dispel shame, give room to grief, and nurture understanding.
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