It’s been 6 years. I still remember that time of my life very clearly and it still kicks me in the gut. But October is the month to talk about it. So I’m going to join the brave souls who are speaking up. I’m going to talk about my miscarriage.
I don’t remember the details of the beginning. Like the day I took the test. I faintly remember that the line was not strong, but it was a line, and I was thrilled. I estimated that I was probably around 6 weeks or so, so I made an appointment at a local clinic since we didn’t have insurance and they’d help with the first ultrasound. That two weeks could not come soon enough.
I had all the same symptoms as my first pregnancy, but much less subtle. I thought I was lucky and I’d have it easy this time. I was smug. But then the big one, the nausea, started to taper off. I was happy it did but it scared me. That was when I first started wondering. But still, I pressed on and counted down until I could see the little bean for myself.
The day came. My husband was running late so we met up at the clinic, me toting our one year old. They had me take a pregnancy test, just to make sure they wouldn’t be doing a free ultrasound for nothing I guess, and it was faint again, but still positive. So into the room I went. I stripped from the waist down and relaxed myself as the doctor inserted the wand, happily chatting and looking for what we were there for. Then she stopped talking. The smile on her face faded, and the hand that was reaching out to turn on the sound stopped and pulled back.
“I’m so sorry, but I’m not detecting a heartbeat.”
The next few minutes she gently told us that the fetus was only measuring at 6.5 weeks and she didn’t know how long it had been since…. She mentioned going to the hospital for a D&C if my body didn’t let it go naturally soon. I didn’t hear most of that. I was too busy trying to breathe and control my heart rate so I didn’t lose it in front of a stranger.
I barely made it out to the car, tears falling as I strapped my son into his carseat. Turning to my husband, I looked him in the eyes and lost it. Full on panic attack in the parking lot of a pregnancy clinic. My husband tried to calm me down for a few minutes, and then said he would meet me at home and he left. He just left. I sat in my car for I don’t know how long crying and thinking that it couldn’t be real, and how my husband just LEFT me there and….
I was a mess.
Turns out my body held on just long enough for me to get that ultrasound picture, and that night, the process started. I couldn’t deny it any longer. I was having a miscarriage. Me. This doesn’t just happen, right!? I must have done something wrong or not done something I should have done or… I didn’t know what to blame or what to think. In my grief, I got more and more angry, and in the end I found somewhere to direct my anger. My husband.
While I was spending every spare second thinking of what might have been, crying my eyes out and longing for answers, my husband just went on. He went to work the next day, the gym a little more often than normal, and went to bed early. He was avoiding me.
The more time went on, the more angry I got with him until I almost hated him. That was our baby, how could he be okay!? We grew further and further apart and neither of us seemed to have any desire to fix it. I don’t know what stage of grief I was at, but at some point I fell into a deep depression. The more I hated my husband for not caring, the more depressed I got, but every time I got a little lower, I started to feel a little less. I was starting to feel everything less. Less angry, less sad, less happy. It was all just fading away and I welcomed it.
Then I finally got the perspective I needed. I overheard my husband on the phone with one of our church pastors, telling him that I was pregnant. I stopped where I was, out of sight, and listened. He told the pastor that we had lost the baby, voice breaking on the word baby, and then he started sobbing. It took him a few minutes to get himself together to finish the conversation and I spent that time in a whirlwind of emotions.
There was anger: How can he talk to the pastor about it but not ME? It happened to both of us! I’m the one who physically lost the baby!
There was confusion: I didn’t think he cared at all, why is he crying now?
There was relief: Maybe I’m not the only one mourning.
And finally, it hit me. He had been mourning the whole time. He was just as broken as I was. But despite the stereotypical manly vs womanly ways of showing grief, we had different childhoods and upbringings and his way of dealing with something that hard, something that could break him, was to turn it off. He needed to not think about it. He needed time to process it without pressure and without guilt. And I had not given him that at all. All I had done was make him the bad guy in a situation where there was no one to blame, and no winners. We both lost something huge, and I got angry because my husband didn’t grieve the same way I did. I felt like the worst person in the world.
So I went in and just sat in his lap and hugged him. We cried together, and I don’t remember if we talked at all, but I felt a change then and I hope he did too. I wasn’t angry anymore. From then on, I took his cue and I didn’t talk about it to him. I knew he needed time, so I let him have it.
And we did talk about it eventually. When he was ready, we talked about whether we thought the baby was a boy or a girl, and agreed we both thought it was a girl. (It was way too soon to tell, and we went with our gut, that’s all.) We gave her a name and I often visited the spot in the backyard where I buried her.
Now, we can almost talk about her without tears. Now we imagine her waiting for us in Heaven, and we have imagined what she would look like today. I think she would have had curly light brown hair like I did as a little girl, blue eyes like her daddy, and the cute little button nose that our next daughter has. Her name is Kaelyn Anne and we will never forget her, even though our time with her was short.
But the message I want to get across specifically is this. Going through a miscarriage is one of the worst things someone could ever experience. Don’t do what I did. Don’t shut out the person in it with you. And remember, people grieve differently. Respect that, both of you, and stick together. Your marriage deserves that. You deserve that. And you are not alone.