Mothering Through Miscarriage

When we first moved to northern New Jersey last October, I worked really hard to network and make new friends for the boys and I. Like, no kidding, I got on The Facebook and searched things like, “Mommy Groups in [my town],” or “[My town] Moms.” My least favorite thing about parenting has always been other parents, because other parents — mothers especially — can be so judgmental. I strive to be the type of mom friend that, instead of saying, “This is the right way to do it…” says “This is how we do it.” We, as in my husband and I. Not implying that there is a right and wrong way, because I really don’t believe there is. Just sharing what works for us. Finding other parents with this mindset has been surprisingly scarce, but thanks to all those late night Facebook-surfing mommy group investigations, I was able to find an incredible group of 6 other mamas that have truly become my closest friends here in NJ.

My #momtribe, as I call them, has been incredible. We ask each other questions without being judged; we look out for each other’s kiddos when we’re out together; we plan preschool classes and field trips and fun events for our 2 and 3 year olds to do together. We celebrate each other’s joys, empathize during each other’s difficult parenting moments, offer suggestions about anything needed, and in recent weeks… mourn each other’s losses. When I found out I was pregnant, I told my #momtribe early. Earlier than I would announce it publicly or even share it with my long-time friends, because these are the mamas I see every week and the ones to ask about the best OB, what hospitals to deliver at, etc. They know my boys and they know my lifestyle. I also told them as soon as I found out I lost our baby. Within the day, they were quick to tell me that they were cooking our meals for the rest of the week and offered love, support, and wonderful food.

Truth: All I wanted to do was shut down when I found out about our loss. And for 24 hours, I pretty much did. Josh took care of our boys while I stayed in bed. My mama friends took care of our meals. The day Josh went back to work, I sat on the floor with Preston and Troy and just cried and cried while Preston came up to hug me and say in his sweet, little voice, “Hi Mommy. Hi. Mommy? Hi Mommy.” I canceled all of our commitments, classes and appointments for the entire week and just stayed home with the boys, working through everything as best I could.

But when you’re a mama, and you have two little humans who completely depend on you while daddy is at work, you have to keep going.

It’s like Dory says, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, what do we do? We swim, swim swim.”

The day it happened was the day before Preston’s third surgery to have tubes put in his ears again. The week it happened was the same week Troy got his first ear infection, ever. Talk about timing, right?

Each day, it became a little easier. The bleeding was nonstop for 2 weeks, but emotionally, I became more accepting and at peace, little by little. Of course it’s all blown to smithereens when I hear a song like “Concrete Angel” with lyrics like “fly to a place where she’s loved” and bawl my eyes out, hoping our angel baby knew he/she was loved. The hormones during this process? Out of control. Like, hella crazy. Like, my emotions have been from zero to sixty within 60 freaking seconds, at least for 2 weeks straight. I think that’s all normal, though? I think it’s part of the process?

I’ve been doing a lot better as the weeks have gone on. With everything going on in our lives right now, it’s almost impossible to slow down and grieve. I start to feel guilty for even needing to grieve when others in our country have suffered so much recently between natural disasters and mass shootings. I am blessed with two beautiful and healthy boys, a hardworking husband, and the ability to be home for all 3 of them. But still, it’s okay to grieve and it’s okay to move forward. This mess has become my message. Me, mine. This may not be the “right” way to do it, but it’s the way I’m doing it.

I Will Carry You

“I will carry you
while your heart beats here”
-Selah

I can count on one hand the three worst experiences of my life. The first, when I was in my early 20s and my parents separated. The second, when I was 25 and Joshua was deployed to Afghanistan; I received the phone call from one of my closest friends that her fiancé’s humvee hit an IED. The third, just two weeks ago, when I lost our baby at 9 weeks pregnant. 

We didn’t plan to have them this close together. I was shocked when I found out I was pregnant. Shocked, terrified, scared, and then excited. Before announcing it to anyone other than a few close family members, we got right back into planning. We had the sleeping arrangements worked out for our two-bedroom townhouse; we had the minivan chosen that we would trade our RAV4 in for. (Yes– minivan! Who would have thought…) We had baby names– two for a girl, two for a boy. I made a small list of the simple baby items we would need. We had our announcement video idea set, and the day to film it was marked on the calendar.  I was feeling all the pregnancy symptoms earlier than with my first two. We were preparing. We were getting ready. 

I knew something wasn’t right when the spotting I’d been experiencing since my 6-week ultrasound didn’t stop. At that 6-week appointment, I saw and heard our sweet baby’s heartbeat. It was a tiny flicker on the screen, a beat of 145 bpm. I measured 6 weeks and 3 days at that appointment. 

But by the end of my 8th week of pregnancy, the spotting had turned bright red. I went in to see my OB at 9 weeks pregnant, and still, she said it could be normal. She sent me for an ultrasound. 

When I went in for the appointment, the ultrasound tech asked if I wanted to see the screen. I told her yes, mentally preparing myself for the worst but still hoping for the best. It sucked being there alone, but Josh was home with the boys and I’m glad they weren’t with us. 

I watched as she marked her measurements, then zoomed in on our baby. I didn’t see the flicker. I saw the shapes of the baby’s eyes and hands, but no heartbeat. Then she turned on the sound and heart rate monitor. It was a flat line. It was silent. 

Up until that point, I’d still been cautiously hopeful, not knowing how I would react if this were the outcome. But then as I stared at that flat line on the monitor, I felt my own heart just ache. And then a slow, stinging sadness took over.

This loss is unlike any I have experienced. It’s such a personal, private loss. It’s the loss of the life inside me. It’s the loss of a future. It’s the loss of a heartbeat. 

I held it together until I was able to get back to my car. I called my doctor before I called Josh because, like me, he likes to have a plan in place and I wanted to know what to tell him. I knew logically what I would have to do if I had lost the baby, that somehow I would have to pass it, but my OB gave me 3 options: 1. Let it pass naturally, 2. Take a pill to make it pass, or 3. Have a D&C surgery to take it out.

Hating every option, I chose the second. I hated that pill. I hated that I had to take it twice because it didn’t “work” the first time. I hated knowing what it was supposed to be doing. I hated the word “tissue” and the phrase “when you pass tissue” even more. But more than that, I hated the idea of surgery and I hated the thought of it being weeks before the “tissue” passed on its own.

I feel guilty for thinking I might feel relieved when it happened, but all I feel is sadness. I feel heartbroken. I feel devastated. 

I’m trying to remind myself that this must be part of God’s plan. There must be a reason that such an unexpected blessing was given to us, and then taken away. I need constant reminding. I still may need a D&C, but I couldn’t make it to my follow-up appointment this week because Troy is sick, so there might be more to come. Hopefully not. 

My heart aches for the mothers I know who have lost their babies before they got to meet them, who I couldn’t be there for because I didn’t understand. 

I understand now. If you’ve been through this or you go through this in the future, I’m here for you. Whether I know you personally or not. Whether we talked yesterday or haven’t talked in years. Whether you want to cry to someone, or just say it out loud to someone. 

I’m so incredibly sad, sorry, and heartbroken. 💔

“I will carry you
all my life”