What Nobody Tells You About Experiencing a Miscarriage
October 20, 2005 at 2:40 a.m. is a day and time I’ll forever remember. I was just about to enter into my fifth month of pregnancy when life as I knew it changed. Over the course of one day, I went from happy and anxious mom-to-be to grieving mother.
I remember absolutely everything about that day. My boyfriend and I spent the day setting up the baby room. We had the crib up with a beautiful Precious Moments doll lying on top, little outfits in greens and yellows hanging in the closet and a car seat sitting by the door waiting patiently to be used. Later that night I had slight cramping, so I decided to take a bath. As I was about to step into the tub, my heart stopped. I knew something was wrong.
We rushed to the hospital, and since it was late at night, we had to wait a few hours for the ultrasound tech to arrive. I remember lying on the hard hospital bed thinking how cold and sterile the room felt. I remember arguing with the ultrasound tech who told me my baby was only measuring at 15 weeks’ gestation when the baby should’ve been measuring at 18 weeks’. My worst nightmare was confirmed when the doctor was called in to take a look.
I remember my boyfriend literally falling to his knees, and all I felt was numb and empty.
Numb is the best way to describe how I felt when family and friends stopped by to offer their condolences, and numb was how I felt weeks later when I watched my boyfriend pack away the baby’s room.
Months later, when my mom came over with a porcelain angel figurine holding a baby in her arms, the dam of emotions finally broke. That was when it hit me that it was really over, and this was all I had to hold onto.
Nobody tells you when you have a miscarriage that the grieving won’t go away overnight. I think most thought I would be back to myself fast. How sad could I be over losing a baby I never met? What people don’t take into account is that I was planning the life of my baby. I had hopes, dreams and wishes for her. Would she have had curly blonde hair and green eyes like me? Or black hair and blue eyes like her father? Would she have been eccentric and quirky like me, or laid back like her father? She had a room, and a name picked out, and it was all gone within a blink of an eye.
Nobody tells you that it’s OK to grieve the loss of a baby you never met, and that it can take years not to hurt as much. I didn’t feel better after days, weeks, months or even three years later when my son was born. The pain was less, but it didn’t go away.
For the longest time, it felt like a punch to the gut when October rolled around. Or when March came (when her birthday should’ve been) and I would think each year, she would’ve been walking, talking, riding a bike or starting preschool by now.
Nobody tells you that the immense pain slowly turns into sadness, and then into memories of what would’ve been. Now nine years later, I don’t think of her as often, and it doesn’t hurt as much. I’ll think of her when I see a child around the same age, and wonder if she would’ve had the same interests. I’ll think of her on Christmas morning when my son is opening his gifts, and on what would’ve been her birthday.
I want all parents who have ever lost a child to miscarriage to know that it’s OK to feel sad and grieve for your baby. He or she was a part of you. There is no time limit to grieving. Your pain is no less because you never met your baby. There will always be something that comes up that reminds you of him or her, and it’s OK to wonder what would’ve been. Miscarriages are painful no matter what stage of pregnancy you’re at, whether it’s six weeks, 10 weeks or 15 weeks along. You lost a child, and I believe there is nothing more painful than that. I also want you to know that as time moves on and you don’t think of them as often, you may feel guilty. It doesn’t mean you’re forgetting them; it just means you’re healing.
It’s taken me nine years to be able to talk about my miscarriage openly. I have a memory box for her that I used to open all the time, but now find myself only looking in once a year. The pain has lessened, but I’ll never forget her because she was mine and was a part of me.