To the Mama attempting to recover from a miscarriage…
1 in 4 women will experience infant loss or a miscarriage in their lifetime.
I am one of those women. And maybe you’ve been there too.
If that’s the case I’m sorry we’re in this club that no one signs up to be a member of. But know, you’re not alone.
Growing up I wasn’t even sure if I wanted kids and I definitely wasn’t one of those little girls who dreamed of being a mom. I was fiercely independent, completely guarded and hiding behind many walls, and knew that I might only be able to depend on myself in this lifetime.
Luckily, God helped soften and open my heart, helped me learn that it was okay to love, forgive, and depend on others, and brought my husband into my life.
We’d been married a few months when we decided we were ready to try for a child and was absolutely elated when we found out that we were pregnant.
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And though we knew we should have waited to share our good news, we let our family know right away.
I remember us being in the car driving to go to dinner and calling my parents with such excitement. I was probably only 5 weeks pregnant but was so happy that we were going to bring life into this world.
When we went to our 8-week ultrasound, we were full of hope, talking about the names of our potential child, excited to hear a heartbeat of the little being that would change our lives forever.
I remember when I first thought something might be wrong. We were talking it up as the ultrasound technician put the cold gel on my belly and began to take pictures. We were asking her questions, dreaming up our future between the two of us.
But her face was stoic.
I couldn’t really read it, but she wasn’t talking back to us. At first, I thought maybe it was just her personality and we were too energetic for her today but, when it continued throughout the exam, I had a feeling something was wrong.
“I’ll be right back”, she calmly said and walked out of the room.
She came back with the doctor who said he wanted to do an internal exam. “You see”, he told us, “you may only be a few weeks pregnant so it might just be too early to find the heartbeat. We just want to take a closer look”.
My heart sunk.
The heaviness of what was to come started to weigh on my heart and my mind began to race.
Does that mean no baby?
I froze at the spot, unable to process or cry or feel anything.
While the doctor did the internal exam, our once loud and joyful room was silent. No one said a word and my husband simply squeezed my hand and I could hear him praying under his breath.
A few minutes later, the doctor gave us the same response as the technician did earlier.
“I’ll be right back”, he said and walked out of the room.
When he came back, my heart sank because I knew the truth.
“I’m sorry but the baby doesn’t have a heartbeat. We don’t know if things will change but for now, we’d like to wait a week and see if you miscarry on your own. If not, we’ll do an operation.”
The sob that had been weighing so heavily on my chest finally left my throat and I knew that this was it. My faith in our future, our hopes for this baby, and what was to be had left me. I sat in my husband’s arms and had no words for what was happening.
When we left the hospital, I called my mom to let her know what had happened and didn’t even know what to say.
“The baby mom, the baby has no heartbeat.”
I had to pull my car over (we had driven separately since my husband had come from work) because I was sobbing uncontrollably at this point.
I tried to explain to her what happened and the worst part, I now had to wait an entire week to see if this baby would live or not. My life was to be put in limbo and I simply had to just wait to miscarry.
I spent the next week in bed. I barely left it, numbed myself in food, and Netflix shows and waited.
Every time I went to the bathroom, I waited to lose the baby.
Every time I walked around, I waited for the baby to leave.
All I had time to do was think about a future for this baby that might never happen.
A week passed and nothing had changed. We went in again to see if there was a heartbeat and again the doctor looked sadly at me and said “I”m sorry, there is no change. We’ll have to schedule you for an operation”.
“Schedule Me?”, I asked him. “We can’t do it today? I’ve been stuck in limbo waiting for my life to change for a week and now I have to wait longer.”
I had come to terms with the fact that we would most likely lose this baby and was ready to end this torture. As cold as it might seem, I needed to start to grieve, I needed to start to open my heart again, I needed to keep going.
The doctor told me I’d have to wait a few more days, go into see my OB/GYN first, and then we’d have the operation.
The next few days were torture as, now that we knew our fate, I had to wait for my operation. I just sat, rubbing my belly, dreaming of what might have been, and cried.
Would I ever be able to have a child?
What did our future hold?
Why did I have to lose this baby?
Days later, I sat numbly in the hospital. My normal jovial demeanor was gone, I barely could smile, and cringed every single time a nurse came by to ask me questions.
Didn’t they see my chart?
Didn’t they know I was suffering?
Why did I have to keep telling them I was here for a D & C to remove the baby that never would see this world? I didn’t realize then that I would have to relive this experience every single time I went to the doctor when they asked me how many pregnancies I’ve had or if I had had any surgeries. That I would forever have to remember the cold hospital room and that feeling of emptiness.
Once the operation was complete and I came out of the anesthetic, it took me weeks to shake this numb feeling.
My faith had been shaking but I knew, if God had meant for me to have a child, He would help it happen.
A month after my miscarriage, my husband lost his job and we knew that this was all a part of the plan. We wouldn’t have been able to afford another child at this point and the stress of unemployment wouldn’t have been healthy for this pregnancy and baby.
We had hope and faith that we’d be able to keep going and try again.
Fast forward almost 8 months later, I had taken a pregnancy test each week in hopes that we’d be able to conceive.
I went to a women’s event at church and in the end, I asked the pastor if we could pray for a baby for our family.
The women laid hands on me and prayed and I felt the Holy Spirit that day in the room. Something felt new and whole.
We were leaving the next day for Mexico for a work vacation and I said to my husband that I wanted to take a test. We typically took them each week and I had just taken one a few days before. But something felt different this time.
Minutes later, I knew God had answered our prayers.
The test was positive.
That entire pregnancy (and with my subsequent one) I was riddled in anxiety about losing the baby. Every time I went to the bathroom, I found myself checking for signs up a miscarry, even up until the day I had my daughter.
I often wonder if women who have never had infant loss go through pregnancy the same way. Fearful and just waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Thankfully, I’ve now been able to have 2 healthy pregnancies and my heart and our family is full.
While I never stop thinking about the future of a baby that didn’t get to see this world, I know that we will be together again in the next.
Every time I see a post about another woman who is suffering my heart goes out to them because I know that, even though our experiences may have been different, I know the feeling of an empty heart that comes from a dream being snatched from you.
So mama, if you’re 1 in 4, if you’re wondering if you’ll be able to ever have a child or will lose another, know you are not alone.
We don’t sign up to be a member of this club but, unfortunately, there are a lot of us. Give yourself permission to heal on your own time, to cry as much as you need, and to know that you didn’t do anything wrong.
I have hope that sharing your story can help another mom start to drive with hers and that there is always a hand to hold in other moms whose baby was taken too soon.
April J Harris says
Cara, thank you so much for sharing this beautiful piece. I am so sorry for what you went through, but so happy for you that your family is now complete. It is wonderful that you are willing to share so openly, and I know it will help so many women who have gone through this loss. It is so lovely to hear that prayer made such a difference. I am a firm believer in the power of the Holy Spirit to change things! I’ll be featuring your post at The Hearth and Soul Link Party this week. Thank you again for sharing!
April: Thank you so much for your kind words! I’m glad to share my message to help others! And thanks so much! <3