Our Miscarriage Story
I’m not gonna lie…I’ve been putting off writing this blog post because it hurts to write about. It hurts to intentionally remember. Sometimes it is just easier to forget it ever happened…but how in the world would that be useful or meaningful in helping other women with their losses? It won’t. So I write. I write out of obedience to my calling to write about our stories. If you’ve lost a pregnancy or an infant, you know that October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month, with October 15, specifically, being the day of remembrance worldwide.
The Only Proof You Ever Existed
While writing this post, I opened a photo folder on my computer I hadn’t opened in 8 years. When I opened it, I was shocked and relieved that I did photograph any part of this time. We had already been through an 8 year infertility journey at this point, with “Unexplained Infertility” being the diagnosis. What a cop out diagnosis. After THAT many years of infertility, I can promise you the last thing we were expecting to see were 2 lines on those pregnancy tests, with zero help from a fertility specialist. What an absolute SHOCK and JOY!!! My sister and I are very close, and operate more like best friends. I still remember vividly my sister’s reaction to sharing the news of our pregnancy with her, as she had been one of our biggest prayer warriors. It was the most heartfelt, gut-wrenching, honest experience of my life. I told her I had a surprise for her. I had wrapped up the pregnancy test in tissue paper, and stuck it in a little gift bag. At our next family gathering, I pulled her and my mom (who already knew) aside, in order to share the “gift” with her in a more private setting. As she carefully opened it, she saw the pregnancy test. She was SO confused. Furrowed brows. She knew our story. I watched as her confusion turned into raised eyebrows…as she screamed “YOU?!?!?!” With a nod of yes from me, she kicked her shoes off and screamed “Oh my God!!!!” and just wept. Fell to her knees weeping with joy for us. It was the happiest moment of my life at that point. Those two lines were the beginning of your story, little ones….OUR story of loss, unfortunately.
Those two weeks of knowing I was pregnant were the most exciting! We had shared the news with only our family and closest friends, and hadn’t gone “public” with it yet. We set our appointment with the doctor, we did all the right things. We even calculated a due date…..I kid you not. MOTHER’S DAY the following year. Oh I couldn’t have planned it better myself! How perfect!! I almost felt justified in my long-suffering. Surely the due date would be meaningful after such a long wait! Sunday two weeks later, I knew something was terribly wrong. I was grocery shopping and began cramping horribly. I texted my childhood best friend in Georgia who had given birth 4 times to ask if this was normal. These were far worse than any cramps I had ever had. When I got home, I had the boys unload the groceries while I went and laid down. After a few hours of unrelenting pain, I made Anthony take me to the ER.
We did labwork upon our arrival in the ER and my numbers were dropping rapidly. “Inevitable miscarriage.” The sonographer was horrible to me during this loss experience and could have used a huge does of bedside compassion. She kept moving the wand around (painfully, I might add) and saying, “Well I just don’t see ANYTHING. Are you sure you were even pregnant??” MY GOD, WOMAN, YES. I WAS PREGNANT. After that ultrasound began the bleeding. It ended up on my gown, the bed, everywhere….kind of a mess. What a disaster. To say I was crushed in spirit would be an understatement. I was horrified and devastated. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room, and my entire closest family was in the room with me. My parents, my husband, my sister and her husband. All of us just grieving over this. I never wanted to relive this experience.
My OB required a follow-up the next day, and I ended up passing the fetus (our long-awaited baby) in her office, into the toilet, no less. It was beyond traumatic. I am grateful to God that my mom and my husband were by my side. Those 2 are always there for me no matter what I’ve gone through!! In almost 10 years of marriage I had only seen my husband cry once before this. And he wept with this loss. It was hard on both of us. We decided it would be a good idea to plant a tree to memorialize the short little life of our baby.
We had an outpouring of love from family and friends and coworkers, and ended up taking a few days off work to be together and allow ourselves to feel sad together. Meals were brought to us, and flowers. So many flowers. What an amazing show of love toward us!
Two months later, we found ourselves pregnant again, only to lose that one after just 1 week of knowing. 8 months later, again, this time just a few days after knowing. Each pregnancy was shorter and shorter, and the doctor decided to test my blood to rule out genetic issues or underlying autoimmune issues. This was when we found out that I have a clotting disorder, that within my capillaries I tend to have sticky blood, or clotty blood. APS is the official name of the condition, but it’s biggest symptom is recurrent pregnancy loss. This condition keeps the fetus from getting nutrition once the placenta forms, ultimately killing it. That was when our dreams of pregnancy were ultimately shattered, and we knew that our path to parenthood would have to drastically change.
This was when we regrouped together and made a plan for adopting. I can’t say that I had always felt like we were supposed to adopt, like many couples who adopt say. I feel like we were forced to adopt. That doesn’t mean I think lowly of adoption, I actually think quite highly of it! But at that time in our lives, adoption seemed to be the only way we’d have children together, and that meant grieving some things. No full-term pregnancy. No birth experience. No breastfeeding. There were definitely elements of our path that I had to ultimately work through and come to terms with. Adoption is not easy! But adoption, for us, seemed to be the only way of bringing home a baby. So that is the route we chose.
Looking back, I wouldn’t change our story for anything! Our miscarriages led us to our Jake. And Jake is the very child we had prayed for for so many years. He is the answer to our prayers, and what a joy and an honor it is to be his parents!
Anthony and I took a trip to San Diego when Jake was about 3 years old. We needed the time to ourselves, and San Diego was just a gorgeous place to explore together. On this trip, I decided to get a tattoo as a final remembrance of our 3 lost babies. It brought a lot of closure for me. It is a daily constant reminder of where I’ve been, what I’ve lost, and the strength and fortitude it takes to overcome. It also serves as a springboard to conversations about God and redemption and loss. It tells our story with imagery and God’s story with scripture.
The dandelion represents our years of longing and wishing. The 3 seeds scattered in the wind represent our 3 lost babies.
The scripture reference tells of God’s power and how he turns pain into joy.
“and for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.”
Isaiah 61:3 NIV