October is dedicated to those who have miscarried. This is a topic that I had never considered writing about before. Miscarriage is a very personal and heartbreaking experience. There seems to be a value of how much a person is allowed to or expected to hurt based on the amount of time the baby was carried. It’s a private hurt that is hard for others that haven’t experienced it to understand. I’ll share my story of loss in hopes that it reaches another and maybe helps just a bit.
Twenty years ago I was a young expectant mother, 19 when I got pregnant. I was married to the father and we were excited for our first ultrasound. The ultrasound took a long time. We didn’t know it was taking more time than usual because we had nothing to base it on. We were shown our beautiful baby’s hands and her profile. I felt such an utter sense of joy. We were then asked to wait in the waiting room to speak with the doctor. Again, we had no idea that this was not a usual occurrence. We waited for a very long time. Finally we were called back and the doctor had earth shattering news. Our baby girl had a condition called hydrops. She had fluid filling around her organs and had a sac of fluid around her head. The prognosis was not good but he wanted us to get an amniocentesis done to determine the cause. At that moment I heard ringing in my ears and he sounded a bit like the teacher in Snoopy. Then it clicked and I began clinging on to every word he said. I needed to know, needed to understand what was wrong with my baby and what I could do to save her. Was it my fault? Did I so something to her? I wouldn’t even eat chocolate for fear of the caffeine.
Some time later (it was so long ago I am not sure on the time) we went for our test. I was terrified. I hate needles and having a very large needle stuck into my belly was the last thing I wanted to do. I honestly don’t remember much of that, just that we discovered she had Turner’s Syndrome. She only had one chromosome and the type she had meant she only had a .1% chance of making it to birth. My ex husband cried, I remember that. I went numb. I asked questions. What could I do? How did this happen? No, I would not get a DNC, I needed to try to save her. That night I went to see my parents, to tell them. I remember my mom walking out of the kitchen. I had not cried, not for a second. I had to be strong. Then I screamed. I let out the worst sound that had ever escaped my lips. That’s all I could do, scream and sob and be held by my mother. Mom, if you are reading this, I know you are crying with me right now. I love you and that moment will always be a memory of how amazing you are. I don’t know how long that went on, but I pulled it together and got every book I could find on Turner’s Syndrome. At that time there was no internet. We relied on books. I gathered as much information as I could about what was doing this to my baby.
We continued to have prenatal visits and I began to hope. I made my daughters bassinet up at the end of our bed as a sort of hope. The months went by and I became annoyed that the doctors were not telling me what we were going to do if she made it. I was almost 6 months at this point, I was feeling her move. I finally got frustrated and got an appointment at a high risk office. At our first visit the doctor listened for her heartbeat. It wasn’t there. My stomach lurched. He took me to the next room and got me prepped for an ultrasound. His words will be with me forever, To say he had no bedside manner would be an understatement. “Yeah, she’s dead”. I was a 19 year old child who’s world had just been shattered and that’s it? “Yeah she’s dead”!!! Then I was told they would have to induce labor because I wasn’t going into it naturally. Having a dead fetus inside was very hazardous for me. He asked if I wanted to go home and come back tomorrow to start the process. I just wanted her out. I don’t know how else to put it. I needed to do this and do it now.
They wheeled me into a private room and started the process of inducing my labor. I was able to have morphine for the pain, but I had no idea about what to expect. I hadn’t researched labor or knew anything about the stages of labor. I was in and out of it. I remember people, family, coming in and out of the room for my ex husband and I. They played cards, talked in the hall, hugged me, cried. I just sort of laid there, in pain and numb to it all. Finally I remember calling to the nurse that I had to go to the bathroom. She assured me that I didn’t, it was time to push. I am not sure how long I pushed, I don’t think it was long. I was still numb. I was out of it, and my husband told the nurse no, I didn’t need to see the baby. She put her in a sort or connected room in case I changed my mind. I slept. I never did see her, a drugged decision I regret to this day. The wonderful nurses took a picture for me and included it in a care package. I think we left the next day. You forget stuff like that, little details. A nurse hugged me, she said she was so sorry and had a tears in her eyes. They took me down the back so I wouldn’t have to go past the nursery. I am thankful for that.
The following weeks I was numb, sad, angry. I watched a lot of old movies. My ex husband dealt with it by working all the time. I was alone a lot. I remember my mom came over once and started making me dinner. she and my dad had plans with friends. I could hear her in the next room telling my dad over the phone that no she couldn’t come and “yeah, not good”. My dad showed up and they told me to get dressed and they took me out to dinner.
I hated seeing people for the first time after that. They meant well, all had “good advice” to ease my pain. I was young, I could have more. This was Gods way of telling me something. She was in heaven now. She’s an angel. I felt like I was spending my energy making others feel comfortable around me. Well guess what, fuck you,, I wanted my baby. That baby! I actually appreciated the men. They don’t know what to say, so they say nothing. I am thankful for that. Women seemed to have to say something. I know they meant well, but I was just so angry.
I needed to get pregnant as soon as I could after that, and we did. I have since had 4 amazing children with no problems. I have been anxious for every pregnancy though and was adamant that I have my last before I was 35 when risk factors went up.I would like to say that my pain, carrying her until 6 months made it more of a loss for me than someone who carried to 6 weeks. There is no way to measure the sense of loss we have. While time does heal, I can talk about it without crying (except for this post, this was tearful). Losing her left an impression that formed part of who I am. I don’t think my ex husband and I ever recovered from that, relationship wise. While I was finally feeling the loss and grieving, he had already mourned while I was pregnant. To deal with it, he worked and was gone a lot, leaving me alone. I felt abandoned and alone in my grief.
So that is my story, my 20 year old story. I don’t need “I’m sorry’s” at this point. I only hope that this touches someone. To let you know that you are not alone in this pain.