I’m still in a bit of disbelief that this is our experience. It never gets easier, but I’ve grown and gained new understanding through each loss. These are some thoughts I’ve had while going through our most recent loss.
On finding out
From the moment I found out I was pregnant for the fourth time, I felt like I was holding my breath. I was hopeful and happy, but I was also waiting for the other shoe to drop. I wanted to stay positive, but my first thoughts weren’t “we’re having a baby in nine months.” My first thoughts were “I wonder how it will end this time.” This is what so many losses does to you.
Now that it has ended, I feel guilty for having such discouraging thoughts. Even though I wasn’t necessarily expecting to miscarry again, I didn’t know what to expect. We’ve never experienced anything other than pregnancy ending in loss, so I tried to be realistic. There’s really no way to guard yourself, and it’s not helpful to disconnect from your emotions while pregnant after loss. Still, it happens.
Each loss is different. The details never unfold the same way. Even when there are similarities, the impact varies. I’ll always remember specific things about each pregnancy, about each life that was carried. However, after this fourth loss, some of the details are starting to blur together. It takes me longer to distinguish the experiences as I try to recall the specifics. I wonder how it would be possible to honor and remember each individual in the way they deserve if we experience more losses.
So many women have experienced a miscarriage. Almost everyone I talk to has a story of a little one they lost. Sympathy and support are offered by those who can relate, and even by those who can’t. But with each new loss and no living children, there are fewer people in my circle who can relate. Of course people still care about us–our friends and family have always been wonderful in offering comfort and praying for us. Still, there has been a major change in support from our first losses to now. And I can’t blame anyone. What can they do, what can they say? Nothing. And I expect nothing. It’s exhausting to go through the grief again and again. I can’t blame others for opting out, but I do not have that option.
On talking about it
I feel that the way we are perceived is different now. Our story is not only that of the 1 in 4 who experience pregnancy loss–a story that, unfortunately many understand. Now, our story is of the 1 in 100 who experience recurrent pregnancy loss. That story is not so widely understood or acknowledged. That story is more lonely. It’s a story that I’m having a harder time sharing. I often think that I should remain silent, and keep our experiences to ourselves until we can emerge with the happy ending that everyone loves.
I prefer to write about it our experiences, not only because that’s how I best process and communicate what I need to say, but because I can control the conversation. Talking about it spontaneously puts others on the spot. Usually, this results in people saying the wrong thing. I try to ignore the unhelpful, misguided words and embrace the heart of the person.
I relive the worst part of my fourth miscarriage every night. I lay in bed, but it takes so long for me to fall asleep. My husband sleeps next to me, and my thoughts return to November 4th.
I was awakened in the early morning hours by strong, steady cramps. After a trip to the bathroom it became clear what was happening. I went back to bed, but didn’t sleep. I laid there, watching Carl sleep, wondering how I was going to tell him that it was happening again…wondering why I had to be the one to break his heart. He slept, completely unaware of the reality I had already faced. I prayed and hoped that he could feel peace for just a bit longer.
The sun came up, he woke up, but I couldn’t say anything. I couldn’t look at him. He began the morning scroll through social media and told me about a new restaurant in town. Finally, we made eye contact and it was only a matter of seconds before I collapsed into tears. The look on his face is something I see every time I close my eyes. I didn’t have to say a word (although I eventually did)…he knew.
Every night I think of those moments. Throughout the day, that look on his face comes to me. The moments we realized we were losing another baby, they are so sharp this time and I don’t know why. Each time has been haunting in different ways, and I actually think each experience has made it more difficult to cope with these moments of realization.
I’m afraid that we’ll always lose pregnancies. I’m afraid that we’ll never find answers for why this is happening. I’m afraid that we will find answers, but the solution will be incredibly expensive. I’m afraid that I’ll never get to experience a full-term pregnancy or deliver a living baby. (Yes, I know adoption is an option, but so help me if you comment that we can “just adopt”…well, just don’t.) I’m afraid I’ll need major surgery. I’m afraid Carl will resent me. I’m afraid we’ll lose all of our friends as they all go on to have children and we remain stuck in this horrific nightmare loop. I’m afraid people think I’m doing something wrong or that there’s a “reason” or that we would be horrible parents anyways or that we should be focusing on other things (basically I’m worried everyone else is thinking the worst thoughts I’ve already had about myself). I find something new to be afraid of every day.
On what’s next
I have officially been diagnosed with recurrent pregnancy loss. I have a new doctor. We will begin the process of testing in a few weeks. I’m not sure about the details of the tests. I have no idea what to expect. I’m afraid of what the results might be…of where we may need to go from here. But I’m also relieved that we have a doctor who is taking this seriously, rather than dismissing our losses as “bad luck”. We are hopeful for the future, and I’m surprisingly ready to jump into whatever the doctor recommends.