Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘pregnancy loss’

Come and Gone (A Miscarriage Remembrance)

I realized, late in the day, that today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. I want to send a big virtual hug to all of the families that are hurting, today and every day, because of babies lost to miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss. It brings back memories for me of our first miscarriage, a pregnancy conceived in this month in 2012. This is the first October since then that I’ve held my baby boy. Every day, I feel grateful for him and how he has made our family feel whole. Most days, though, I still think about those lost pregnancies, and I feel so much empathy for families who are suffering and waiting for a baby. It’s really, really hard.

Today, I dug back to find this little piece of writing and thought I’d finally share it. I wrote this after my D&C procedure on January 4, 2013. By then, we had known that the pregnancy wasn’t viable for two weeks, and the D&C was needed to finally end the pregnancy. (I wrote more about this miscarriage here and here.) It’s a very strange feeling to be carrying around a non-viable pregnancy for a so long, but it is even stranger to wake up from general anesthesia and feel such complete emptiness.

Come and Gone

Little one, you are gone this morning. All that remains of you is a feeling and a memory, and what I write on this page.

You were conceived in late October, in a cozy state park cabin rented in the off-season. The next morning there was snow on the ground, and the world looked brand new.

You were unexpected fatigue and sore breasts. You were two little blue lines on a pregnancy test, and then another just to be sure. You were the good news we shared.

You were my nausea and aversion to cheese, mushrooms, and leafy greens. You were the return of my linea nigra, stretching from belly button down to groin.

You were my July baby. You were visions of long walks on perfect summer days, of blankets laid out in the grass. We would lie down together to watch leaves wave from tree branches and the clouds drift by above.

You were so real.

But on the ultrasound, you were a smudge of grey without form or movement. You were the doctor’s furrowed brow and the tear on your daddy’s cheek.

You were a clump of cells, inside a set of membranes, in my body that didn’t realize you were already gone. Your heart might never have beat at all. You were already the most you would ever be.

You were an expanse of possibility inside of me that then shriveled away. You were a dream, unraveled to a wisp of thread. I will keep it just the same, wrapped in the more substantive fabric of our lives.

You were a life that was part of my life for a time. Your handful of cells held some of me and some of your father. You were made of our fathers and mothers and theirs before them.

You were a love not proportional to your size, so big it took us off guard. Only in losing you did we see how much of our hearts you had filled.

You have come, and you have gone. You were not quite right for this world. You were our miscarriage.

########################

A science note, because I can’t help it: At the time that I wrote this, I’m not sure if I knew that fetal cells can remain in a mother’s blood and tissues after pregnancy, even one that is lost. So, I guess the first two lines of the piece above aren’t quite accurate. I probably still carry cells from my lost pregnancies in my body, and they may even be part of BabyM as well. That’s a wonderful thought, actually. 

Hopeful for the New Year

I, for one, am not sad to see 2013 go. It’s been a rough year for me. I haven’t been blogging about it – haven’t been blogging about much of anything, actually – and I think it is time for an update.IMG_5374 2013 started with a miscarriage in progress, finally ending with a D&C on January 4. I grieved that lost pregnancy openly on this blog. It was therapeutic for me to blog about it and to feel support from women who had had similar experiences, or at least had empathy for the magnitude of love and hope that comes with a pregnancy. I started to feel better. I was confident that I would be pregnant again soon, and that was the obvious way to fill the gaping hole in my heart.

In the spring, I watched seedlings poke through wet dirt. Our neighborhood burst with color and new life, and I felt hopeful. But as the days grew longer and hotter, I felt sadder and sadder.  I still wasn’t pregnant. My previous due date came and went, now just another day, but such a heavy one for me. Cee and I sorted through newborn clothes in our hot attic, not for a new baby for our family, but to lend to a friend. Cee asked to keep a few onesies for her baby doll. I showed her how to fasten the snaps and then sent her downstairs so I could cry.

In August, I had another miscarriage, this time very early. Then, another one in October, early again (and thankfully spontaneous) but far enough out that I let myself think ahead to another summer due date. That one really crushed me. I know miscarriage is common, and it’s easy to chalk the first up to bad luck. But by the third time around, I had really lost faith in my body. It has failed, repeatedly, to do one of the things I feel it was always meant to do. I’ve always wanted children, and the family that I have, for which I am exceedingly grateful every day, doesn’t feel complete. There’s still a gaping hole here, and it’s only gotten bigger.

Meanwhile, Cee turned three in November. I know my sadness has affected her, and it’s affected my parenting, because my emotional reserve is just plain depleted. I am working hard at being enough for her and at assuring her that she is enough for me. (And she is. She really is. I’ve come to terms with that, most days anyway.) Read more

Pregnancy Lost

It has been a hard couple of weeks for me, even with all the warmth and joy of the holidays. On December 21, 10 weeks into pregnancy (as yet unannounced here), we watched as my OB scanned my uterus. We saw the dark gestational sac and a small clump of embryonic tissue. There was no heartbeat, and the embryo measured at about 5 weeks. It hadn’t developed beyond that. This pregnancy would not be ending with a baby.

I’m a very cautious person when it comes to celebrating pregnancy. I didn’t really relax into my pregnancy with Cee until I saw the normal fetus at our 20-week ultrasound. I have had several close friends suffer the loss of miscarriage (and go on to have beautiful, healthy babies, I will add). I know that among clinically recognizable pregnancies (not counting the 30-50% of conceptions that never implant), about 15-20% will not survive. Even as I shared our pregnancy news with our close family and friends, I reminded them of this fact.

Although a part of me was prepared for this outcome, there was really no way that I could prepare myself for how it would feel. I have a profound sense of losing something important. Tiny as it may have been, it was part of me and part of Husband, and it was growing inside of me, if only for a short time. The wonder of pregnancy has been replaced with the vision of that ultrasound: the gestational sac a gaping dark hole, what remains of the embryo little more than a smear. Empty, dead, inevitably transient.

This is the grief of pregnancy loss, something so many of us must face as we try to build our families. What it speaks to, more than anything, is the power of a parent’s love, even for an embryo whose heart never beats. For many parents, it is the struggle to conceive, and after that, it is the fragility of human life. And even as our healthy babies become children and our love grows beyond the bounds of what we thought was possible, we know we are vulnerable to loss. It is the reason that it felt unbearable to be a mother on the day of the Newtown school shooting. This is family. This miscarriage, it is a small loss, but it still sure hurts. Read more