A Personal Update
After eagerly waiting to share the responsibilities of parenting for the first time, Phil and I took the first bitter steps on Friday when with our first act as as a father and mother, we each signed burial papers for our 8-week-old child. Ten days earlier, I was excitedly staring at maternity sewing patterns when my body began to change in some pretty terrifying ways. My fears began controlling my mind, and I was unable to think about anything else. I searched for hope, but morbidly wondered if I should be coming to terms with the idea that this pregnancy might be ending sooner than either Phil and I were prepared for.
The week leading up to my miscarriage was the worst part of it all. As much as friends tried to encourage me with hope for a healthy baby, each day I was bleeding more and more, and when the cramping started, I began grieving for the child that hadn’t even developed into a fetus. I searched my heart for the source of my grieving. Was I upset because my plans had been thwarted? Was I being selfish in my feelings? Was I considering God’s plan for my life and Phil’s feelings as much as my own? I tried reminding myself that it was better for this to happen now than to experience complications later on. I remembered that 20% of pregnant women experience similar feelings of loss. But I felt so alone.
Dealing with the unexpected loss of a friend the very same day I began the physically and emotionally painful miscarriage, I was experiencing conflicting and compounding feelings of loss and grief. It was difficult to sort through my feelings on both of these situations, so I just stayed in bed alone for days until finally calling my mom to tell her what we feared was probably happening. She took me to the doctor where they diagnosed an incomplete miscarriage and told me that my body was having difficulty letting go of the dead embryo. During the next few days I would be in for much more pain and bleeding. I didn’t know if I could emotionally deal with this, but what was worrying me even more is that in twenty-four hours I was supposed to be donning a bridesmaid dress and standing up with my best friend for her marriage vows.
Enter a whole new wave of emotional distress. I envisioned myself doubling over and dripping blood at the front of the church, ruining Dani’s perfect wedding day. I felt like I was letting people down and throwing a wrench into the spokes of everyone else’s lives. I guess these feelings aren’t exactly healthy, but I think they are natural for people-pleasers like myself. So, my doctor advised me that if I wanted to move on with my life, the best option would be to have a D&C at the hospital that same day. By 3 o’clock I was laying in a hospital bed, cramping and agitated with the IV in my arm. Phil was by my side, and I think this was the first moment it really hit him that we we losing the baby. I felt worse for him than myself at that moment. For me? I was just relieved that I could quit wondering and questioning every feeling in my body. Dani was finding someone else to wear my bridesmaid dress and assured me that I shouldn’t worry about missing the wedding. I felt like I could finally move on.
But another shock came when the hospital’s doctor warned me that 8% of women who receive D&C procedures develop Ashermna’s and suffer from infertility. I was all ready for this surgery and thought this would be the best way to move on. But infertility? The prospect brought on a a whole new wave of fears. I didn’t know this was a possible outcome. But I went on with the D&C anyway. Now I wonder if this was the right decision or not. But only time will tell.
Before this week, I never knew so many of my family and friends have been grieving privately for their very personal loss. Women don’t talk about miscarriage for many reasons. For me, I don’t think I will be able to phsyically talk about this experience because of the tears that choke my voice- which is why I feel the need to write about it here. I felt so alone during this process. Like there was nobody I could talk to about my fears. And I also felt the pressure to keep this a secret, like there’s some kind of rule that women who have miscarriages ought to keep quiet about it so that nobody around them is made to feel uncomfortable. Many women wait until they make it into their first trimester before even sharing the news of their pregnancy. However, I was so excited, I told a lot of my family and friends when I was around 5 weeks along. This is something I don’t regret doing, as they might not even slightly understand the loss I am feeling if they hadn’t shared in the joy of our pregnancy. And for my healing, I need to let go of feelings of guilt for just resting physically and emotionally. I have withdrawn socially, and always feel this weird guilt when I do that. But knowing that my friends are aware of what is going on makes me feel like I can finally rest without worrying right now.
Today is the calling hours for my friend who took her life last Thursday. I don’t know if I will even be able to go, and this saddens me too. When will I be able to get back to day-to-day life? I’m scared of complicating my recovery and losing the ability to carry children in the future. I’m worried about socially reintegrating after dealing with so much grief in one week.
As far as how Phil and I are doing emotionally, we are very sad, but also hopeful. We believe that God has a plan for our lives and that he will work through whatever comes our way. I told Phil, “We are stronger today than we were yesterday.” I suppose losing friends and children is a part of adult life. I just didn’t think it would start so soon. So, right now I’m just figuring out how to get back to life and reengage with the things and people I love.
I’m hoping that sharing this with you readers will help ease some of my anxiety with feeling the need to do too much too soon. I’m hoping sharing this will help someone else who is dealing with similar loss with suicide and miscarriage. I hope that women who miscarry don’t feel like they have to hide in shame and grieve silently.
Thank you for all of your e-mails and messages. I’m sorry for the loss you have also experienced, and know that sharing our stories will help us grow stronger and move on.