Heart Shattered: My Experience with Miscarriage
(Originally posted Wednesday, June 26, 2013. Less than a month after the devastating experience, but I had to write about it in order to help myself move forward in my healing process.)
It’s been a while since I’ve written anything, either in my book or here on my blog. I hardly even remembered what my blog currently looked like. I hardly cared to remember who I was. Who I was is not the same as I now am.
This year, well, the past 4 years, have not been easy. I’ve been on a personal emotional roller coaster filled with more downs than ups. My family keeps my heart intact and holds my head above water, so to speak. They are my greatest treasure. I cherish everything about my children. Nothing takes precedence over them. I would give and do anything for them.
In March we found out we were expecting our 5th baby. We happily kept it a secret which we didn’t plan to share until we could surprise everyone with our first ultrasound picture of our little peanut. Sadly, that didn’t get to happen. In the beginning of June I started spotting one night. I went to the Emergency Room the next day. In the time we were there, I got an ultrasound, but not the way I had hoped. Instead of a joyous occasion at the first glimpse of my little one, instead it was very solemn.
As a mother, my entire mission is to nurture and strengthen my children. I want to uplift them. I want to protect them from every negative influence in my power. No one is ever able to protect their child on the inside.
I saw my baby. Instead of a healthy, happy little heart beat there was none. Instead of cute little limbs moving and kicking, there was no movement. He was just there. Suspended in his dark, quiet tomb.
I would never get to know the perfect little spirit that inhabited that tiny body for only 10 weeks. Nothing could be done because he was already gone.
The doctors speculate that he was already gone two weeks before I even had any indications of complications, for I was supposed to be nearly 13 weeks up to that point. In hindsight, I must have had some indications of other complications, the very sudden cessation of morning sickness, intense back pain, etc. but none of it really mattered. This really was one of those unpreventable situations. According to the ultrasound, there was no placenta. That probably means that in the transition between yolk sac and placental implantation there was a failure. The placenta didn’t implant to the uterine wall like it was supposed to, and baby, my helpless baby, slowly just died. (Doctors always like to say that it is the body’s way of aborting a baby that wasn’t going to turn out right. I think that is an insensitive catch-all way of saying that they don’t have an answer but aren’t content not being able to give one.) No one knows why.
It didn’t matter. Nothing anyone could say mattered. It couldn’t make my heart break any less.
After I received the news, I had to tell my husband who was still anxiously, but hopefully waiting for some good news in our room. And then throughout the evening we had to tell all of our family all of our heart breaking news.
That night I couldn’t stop crying. I cried and I sobbed, as I am sobbing even now as I write this. No one should ever have to experience this kind of heart break. (Sadly, I’m not the first, and I know I won’t be the last.) I couldn’t stop crying until a few hours after we put our 4 other children to bed. I only stopped crying because I was dehydrated and out of tears. My eyes were the size of golf balls, and the only reason I ate anything that night was because I had to put something into my tummy for the double dose of Excedrin that I took to ease the pain of my excruciating grief induced migraine. (The only other time I have ever had a migraine that badly was when I sobbed and cried for days at the premature death of my father when I was 17.)
My husband and I sat on the couch for a couple hours in the solemn silence of our house. We tried to be happy, we talked about anything and everything we could to help stay in control of our broken hearts, attempting and failing to keep all the shattered pieces collected. Finally as we got ready for bed, I burst into hysterical sobs again, and couldn’t be consoled until we had made a bed in the middle of the floor of our children’s bedroom. The only comfort I found was by being surrounded by the peaceful sounds of my older four children happily snoozing away.
Morning came too quickly. I woke up at dawn and paced the dark house in silence with nothing but my aching heart to keep me company. I wasn’t able to go back to sleep until I settled into an arm chair in a different room listening to some downloaded sounds of thunderstorms on my phone as I watched the night turn into day outside my window.
The following days involved a lot more emotional reconciling. As I had to come to terms with my loss, I also knew I had to face the biggest part of a “missed miscarriage” as I was sent home to “pass my baby.” (It’s terrible how you get to celebrate the birth of a child, but when your little one has died in womb, you’re suddenly just passing the baby, as if that baby is suddenly nothing more than debris. Medical terminologies can sometimes be so lacking in human sensitivities.)
My mom and sister visited the following evening. We stayed home as a family and did nothing most of Saturday and Sunday. And then my mother said that she would stay with me on Monday so that my husband could go back to work. She stayed and was a joy to be with as she boosted my spirits all of the day. That night I had full blown labor pain and contractions, but decided I was far too exhausted to face it yet, and hoped that I could get some rest between contractions. They subsided around midnight. My mom stayed until Tuesday, thank goodness, because that afternoon is when labor returned.
It didn’t happen easily. When it did, I went through the effects of a full unassisted labor, only much, MUCH worse. My mother, THANK HEAVEN FOR MY MOTHER, was there for all of it. If she had not been, I dare not think of how much worse it could have been. She saved me from fainting multiple times. She helped me search through an unspeakable amount of blood and tissue in search of the remains of my little baby. My husband came home from work and was able to help in some of the ordeal too. The problem was that I lost way too much blood. So much. My mom knows just how much. The doctors didn’t believe me when I tried to tell them. At the end as I tried to finally get out of the bathroom, I really did faint, and my husband basically carried me to my bed where they both tucked me in for the night. My hubby went out and bought me a hamburger. (I was in desperate need of red meat then.) My mom washed me, nursed me, and checked my vitals every two hours through the night.
Early morning came and a full nights rest gave me enough strength to see her off. I had breakfast from the other half of my dinner and went back to sleep for a couple hours. Right about the time we hoped I might be okay, contractions and hemorrhaging began and we still had to get me into the hospital after all. I spent the day in another ER hooked up to an IV and received 2 doses of morphine. That night, a week since my initial spotting, I had an emergency D&C. And, huge shocker, my blood levels were too weak, and they had me stay the night where I then received 2 blood transfusions.
I’m trying to be strong. I’ve been trying and praying for strength throughout the entire experience. When I got home that Thursday, a flood of memories of the recent “war zone” rushed upon me with my returning grief. I’m still learning to cope. Some people may think, “What’s the big deal? It was just a little fetus.” I don’t believe it. As a mother, you come to know your child before he or she is even born, and I believe that little baby did have a spirit at one point, whether I got to know him outside the womb or not. I personally held that perfectly formed little baby and I could see all of his already developed features and I was able to see EXACTLY what he would have looked like, had he been allowed to live a longer life.
I’m still surprised that it happened to me. Me. I know and hear about lots of women who actually do have various risk indicators for complications during pregnancy which have caused or do threaten a miscarriage. I’ve got a best friend who has experienced multiple miscarriages in various stages. I was devastated every time she experienced that loss. Now I know what it felt like physically and, worse, emotionally for me. I’ll never fully recover from this tragedy. Nobody ever gets over that kind of thing, they only get past it. It will take time.
My entire life I have always striven to have and exercise charity, the pure love of Christ, to the best of my abilities. I have frequently prayed that I could empathize, more than just sympathize, when someone else has been going through a difficult trial in their own personal life. I could ask so many questions of “WHY” but I don’t really feel like I need to. I have a testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I have a firm understanding and faith in the Plan of Happiness and that families can be together forever. I know why I am here and what my purposes in this life are. And I have great hope that I can meet my perfect baby boy again some day. He was too perfect for this life and all he needed to fulfill his plan was to receive a body. Now that he was able to do that, I believe he is already with our Savior once again.
This loss has been very personal to me. You probably will not hear me actually speak of it again in person simply because the pain of it is still extremely close to the surface still. But I can say that I truly do feel blessed in the midst of my trials. I feel like this has brought my family closer together and given me a closer relationship with my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ also. He is a god of miracles and He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Rest in peace until we meet again, my little one. Your daddy, siblings, and I love you with all of our hearts.