My husband and I lost our first baby in a miscarriage.
In September- I stood numbly hugging my crying husband in a room with an ultrasound machine and two large monitors displaying a still image of our child- still and quiet without a heartbeat. Only a few moments before the ultrasound technician had whispered apologies and told me I could get dressed- that she would bring us to our doctor to talk about our options. My first pregnancy miscarried before I could even hear my baby’s heartbeat.
I carried our tiny little child for eight weeks- the doctor said it measured 7 weeks old but had no heartbeat. She informed me softly that I had miscarried. She gently, but forcefully told me that it wasn’t my fault- that there was nothing I could have done. I just nodded numbly. She then told me what I would experience next- something incredibly similar to labor. She would give me meds that would help my body finish the process- the process of losing my baby.
I didn’t start crying until the door to the doctor’s office shut behind me- and I desperately suppressed my sobs with shaking breaths until I got to our car and the door was shut behind me. I didn’t want to mourn in front of eyes that didn’t know. My husband held me tightly as I sobbed.
I suppose that is what marriage is all about. I was able to hold him tightly in comfort while he cried in the ultrasound room. He was able to hold me in return while I sobbed in our car.
In August, after a little over seven years of marriage, I had found out I was pregnant. Completely and utterly shocked, I had ungracefully called my husband while he drove into work early and blurted it out over the phone. I was pregnant. I could hear him trying to process what I said and I repeated myself several times before he started laughing. Through his laughter, he commented on how unromantic my approach to telling him was.
We were going to be parents. He was going to be a dad. Our baby would be due in the spring.
I was tired and nauseous for three weeks straight- then I started getting light cramps. Nothing major- but my innate anxiety got the best of me and I was a nervous wreck. Everyone told me comforting stories of similar experiences and told me I was fine. Then three days before my first doctor’s appointment, I saw some blood… and something deep down inside my heart told me something was wrong.
The doctor told us that ten percent of pregnancies miscarry. She told me that many women feel alone and broken- but that we are not alone. My husband looked shocked at the number and asked why that number wasn’t more well known? Why don’t we talk about it more?
Because telling people hurts. Telling people makes it feel all the more real. The idea of uttering the words out loud felt like an impossible task… I could barely type up the words in a text responding to my mother who knew we had gone to the doctor for an ultrasound. My mom’s subsequent frantic phone call was one of the most painful conversations of my life- but as I sobbed with my mother into the phone something eased in my heart.
I was not alone. My husband was hurting. My mother was hurting. My aunt came over and held me as she told me of the moment she heard the same news and experienced the same pain. My friends hugged us and sent us flowers and brought us food.
My husband held me tightly that night. He told me through tears that I didn’t deserve what happened to me. I had spent the past eight hours in horrific, labor-like pains. He had held me throughout the day as I breathed through cramps that ripped the breath from my lungs and made it painful to move.
It wasn’t about what I deserved I told him though. I would have endured so much more pain for our tiny child that we would never meet. A small part of me feared the pain ending- of having nothing else to sacrifice for my child.
I wept in our bed- and whispered aloud prayers to God that He would tell my child that I loved them all the while I felt my husband’s tears in my hair as his heart pounded against my cheek. The next morning I stood in my shower- letting my tears mix with the water until I had no more tears to shed and pruned skin.
Through the hugs and flowers and tears- I felt God’s grief. His creation is a beautiful cycle of life and death. I don’t believe that my God took my baby away from me. I don’t believe that my God is punishing me. He knew my pain and existed with me in the breaking of my heart and the pain in my body. I heard His whispers that He knew my tiny child- that my baby was His child.
Today marks two weeks since my husband and I learned I had miscarried our baby. I still feel numb sometimes. I still cry sometimes. But I’ve smiled since then too. I’ve sat through long meetings where no one in the room knew. I’ve been hugged by too many people to count now. I inked my skin to mark the presence of a child I’ll never hold.
The night we found out- we named our baby Emerson as we held each other in bed. I still struggle to think of our baby by name though. As healing as it was to name our baby- it still makes my heart ache to whisper the name in my mind.
Sometimes the narrative breaks you and you have to put yourself back together. You’ll need the people who love you. You’ll need to cry. You’ll need someone to hold you. You’ll need to pull from deep within yourself. You’ll have to figure out how to be alone again. You’ll need silence and you’ll need commotion. You’ll need a lot of time and you’ll need patience.
Sometimes the narrative breaks you… but it is not the end of the story. I promise.
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