The Loss of a Baby, No Matter How Small
It has taken me quite some time to talk about this, I've often tinkered with the idea, but I have been hesitant to share something so personal. Last night as my husband and I wept and prayed together for friends of ours who have suffered loses I decided to finally share this...
Four years ago I had a miscarriage. I was about 6 weeks along, just long enough to know that I was pregnant. I was so excited and since it was almost Father's Day I was going to wait to tell my husband until then, I thought that it would be the perfect gift! My oldest was just over 1 year old and this pregnancy was definitely not planned, if I had carried this baby to term I would have been due just a week or two after our son turned 2, but I was excited anyway and could hardly keep it to myself. I remember it was a Wednesday morning, June 8th to be exact, my husband had just left for school and I had just finished feeding my son breakfast when the pain started. I have endometriosis so I am no stranger to abdominal pain but I knew immediately what that sort of pain meant being pregnant, I knew what was coming.
I hurried to the bathroom...there was so much blood and I was in an incredible amount of pain. As I sat on the toilet I felt a strange urge to push, I did, and a small, marble-sized baby left my body. As I lost him there was a voice in my head that I still remember clearly that said, "There goes your baby." My heart broke into a million pieces in that moment. I remember being unsure as to what to do with my tiny baby, I stared at this little marble as tears streamed down my face. I decided to dispose of it, even if I saved it I'm sure it would have been disposed of anyway. I cleaned up, tried to pull myself together, and opened the bathroom door to see my sweet little 1-year-old standing there. I scooped him up and spent the morning snuggling with him and wiping tears from my face as I silently wept. Later that day I was able to spend time with some of my lady friends and I told them what had happened, one of my friends had had 4 miscarriages and the other had delivered a stillborn baby at 21 weeks...I will never forget the looks on their faces and the tears in their eyes as I told them what happened. I was so grateful to have confided in two women who could truly understand what I was dealing with. Later that afternoon I was able to take a nap with my little guy and when I woke up my dear friends had left me some treats, notes of encouragement and support, and a few articles from our church magazine that had helped them get through their losses. Those articles helped me tremendously (see below), as did the love and support of my friends. It was rather late in the evening when my husband got home from school, my little boy was already in bed, and as soon as my sweetheart walked through the door I burst into tears all over again. He was quick to hold me and ask what was the matter.
In between the tears and sobbing I was able to get the words out, "I had a miscarriage today. ... I was waiting to tell you until Father's Day."
|I use this photo because in my moments of pain I yearn so badly to be hugged by my Savior and I know that that day will come.|
I swear I could feel the pain in his heart as my head was pressed against his chest, he held me tighter and stroked my hair until I stopped crying.
A couple days later I was able to see my OBGYN to make sure that everything was okay. My heart broke just a little more as she walked into the room and I saw her pregnant belly. She explained to me that there was really no explanation for my miscarriage, there are theories of course - my endometriosis could have caused it, the fetus could have been lacking something it needed to grow properly (chromosomal abnormality), etc. - but no solid explanation. I remember her saying to me that now I was part of a silent community of women who had lost babies so early.
Why are we silent? I've thought about this several times over the years and I have several answers to this question:
-We are silent because most people don't think that a six-week-old fetus "counts"...yep, I've actually heard that from more than 1 person
-We are silent because we don't want to be asked, "Are you sure you were even pregnant?"...yep, heard that one too
-We are silent because many people just don't see what the big deal is, "You barely even knew you were pregnant." "It's not like to had to deliver a dead, fully-formed baby." ...yep, I've heard those
-We are silent because there's just not much to do, you don't bury a tiny marble, there's no ceremony, in most cases you haven't even told family members that you were pregnant so no one even knows.
-We are silent because we just move on, we have to.
Now, those questions/statements above...please do not ever say anything of the sort to any one who has suffered a miscarriage, no matter how far along they were. Losing a baby, no matter how early, no matter how small, is painful and heartbreaking. Those of us who lose something so precious so early are caught up in this horrible mental debate:
"Should I be grateful that I lost my baby so early? Before he or she looked like a little baby? Should I be so sad that I never got to hold my baby? ... I never got to hold my baby, I never saw his face, he simply left my body and was lost. I'm grateful that he left so early, I'm grateful that I did not have to suffer the pain of delivering a child that I knew was not alive...but I never got to say goodbye...maybe holding him and seeing him would make it easier...or maybe it would just make it more difficult."
I find myself lost in these thoughts every time a friend of mine suffers the loss of a baby. I have had friends miscarry at 6 weeks, 10 weeks, 16 weeks, 20 weeks, 25 weeks, and every single one of those women has suffered a tremendous amount of heartbreak and pain. Each of those babies was precious to his/her mother, and yes, they all "count".
Let's talk about this for just a second. If you do a little bit of research and some pondering you will learn that when sperm and egg meet and begin to form a human, that combination of cells, that genetic makeup, is unique to that baby. There will never be an identical set of cells formed, that fetus is unique, that baby is just as individual as any other child that ever has been. So, when that fetus is lost so is something, someone, unique and individual. Every woman who loses a baby, no matter how early or how tiny that baby may be, has a right to be hurt, to cry, to feel heartache, they have lost their baby. Every loss, every baby, "counts".
It has been 4 years since my miscarriage and it has taken me this long to talk about it, I am hoping that what I have to say will help someone out there. A few of my friends have suffered losses recently and my heart has broken for them, I have prayed for them, and I have shed a great amount of tears for them. For those of you who have suffered this pain, know that there are so many of us out there who understand your pain, we know what you're going through, we know that there isn't much anyone can say or do to help, but we are still here to offer whatever we can. We can pray for you, we can listen to you, we can offer you our love and support, we are here for you, you are not alone.
|This is one of my favorite go-to photos, I know that there is heavenly help and love for us when we are struggling and I long for the day when I can feel my Savior's arms around me.|
Here are some articles that have helped me greatly, there are many more out there so feel free to keep looking, I promise you will find what you need.
Many have wondered what happens with babies who are lost so soon, I have spent much time pondering this and praying for answers. I know, without any doubt at all, that I will see my sweet baby some day, I know that he is with our Heavenly Father, and I know that we will be reunited, I long for the day that I will get to see my baby's face and will get to hold him. The pain of losing my baby has lessened over time, my heart doesn't ache constantly like it did at first, I don't relive the experience every day, but the memory is always there, the pain is still there, you do not forget something like that...it's difficult to explain, all I can really say is that it does get better with time. For those of you who are suffering, just hold on, don't give up, keep trying, just focus on today and how to make it through today. If you can, pray for help, pray for understanding, and pray for peace. I promise you that you will receive what you are in need of, it may not come immediately but the blessings will come.
We decided to try for another baby a few months later and we were blessed with a beautiful little boy the next summer. I still think of the baby I lost, I wonder about him, I express my feelings in prayer to my Heavenly Father, and I often feel that my child is near and I am incredibly grateful for each tender spiritual experience I have with that sweet spirit. Most of all, I am grateful for what I have been blessed with. I love and adore my amazing family, I am grateful for my wonderful husband, and I am beyond grateful for our two beautiful boys. I am also grateful for the struggles we have had, the hard times and pains of life really have taught us to appreciate all that is good and all that we have blessed with. I hope and pray that each of you that has read this has been able to find some comfort, camaraderie, and peace.