On May 31st, I woke with a much different mindset than I have today. I spent the morning planning our third pregnancy announcement and deciding what our two oldest girls should wear while holding our baby’s 2nd ultrasound picture. I met my husband at the OB’s office and excitedly paid for the Heartbeat Bear. I was thrilled to be able to have such a precious memento for the girls. I almost jumped out of the chair when the ultrasound tech called my name. I remember talking a mile a minute while settling in to see our baby. But as I stared at the screen, my heart sank. Instead of movement, there was a lifeless form. Instead of a rapid heartbeat, there was stillness. My husband’s next words will haunt me for the rest of my life. “Is the baby sleeping?” I knew better, but I could not bring myself to say it. A few minutes later, our doctor confirmed our fears. Our baby, whom I wanted with every fiber of my being, had quietly passed away the week before. My body failed to recognize the situation, so I continued to have pregnancy symptoms through it all.
The next few minutes were filled with tears. Tears from losing our baby, tears from having to be asked how I wanted the Heartbeat Bear purchase to be refunded, tears from learning that due to my previous health issues and how far along the pregnancy was, we had to make a quick decision on how to safely manage the situation, and tears from the realization that our anticipation and excitement of adding to our family were now gone. Plain and simple, our hearts were broken. Next, came the reality that not only had we lost our baby, we also had to break the news to our daughters. They were so excited. They begged for years for us to have one more. The mommy guilt was overwhelming and the days that followed have been difficult.
This post is not to get attention. Trust me, that is the furthest thing from my mind right now. The purpose of this post is two-fold. It is to say thank you to and honor all the people who have opened up about their own pregnancy loss experiences in order to comfort us during this time. Most I never even knew about, and sadly; they have all had the same look while sharing their story. It is the look of grief that will only be relieved when finally reunited with the lost child (or children) in Heaven. I did not understand that look before, but I do now. This post is also to provide comfort to women and families who have gone through, are going through, or will go through pregnancy loss in the future. You are not alone. There are people who understand. They may come from unexpected places. Like a young man from preop whose wife went through the same process or a compassionate nurse who shared her own pregnancy loss and faith story in order to comfort you when you are shaking with fear and sadness. It may be your neighbor, a family member, a friend, or someone you just meet in passing. Be open to their kindness. Also, remember your grief is real. You are allowed to grieve in your own way, and it is a process. (I have had to be told this several times and will probably need to be reminded of it again and again.)
I am going to be honest; the grief has hit me hard. I am struggling with guilt, sadness, shame, anxiety… the whole works. I do not understand why this has happened. I have prayed, called out to God, and shed more tears than I can count. Yet even through the immense sadness, I cling to the knowledge that God was and is with me and his ways are better than my ways. For those affected by miscarriage and infant loss, I leave you with a quote and few verses to help you through your time of need, and I pray that you find comfort and healing. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you need someone to listen to your story or someone to pray for you. My heart is with you.
“Grief, I've learned, is really just love. It's all the love you want to give, but cannot. All of that unspent love gathers in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in the hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go.” – Jamie Anderson
“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
1 Peter 5:6-7
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”