“I had a miscarriage last week.” That’s a sentence you don’t often hear spoken aloud. It’s not offered up around the water cooler or typed into the Facebook status update bar. We don’t put it in our out-of-office messages or announce it on our voicemail greetings. Rather, this sentence is whispered to close friends. It’s texted to the inner circle. It finds its way through dry lips and scratchy voices. It’s a patch of clouds on a sunny day, the world swirling around it in blessed oblivion.
She was the same ultrasound technician who’d given us a sneak peek at our daughter more than three years ago, pineapple bun and shiny sneakers and relentless cheer. “I remember you two! It’s been a long time but I remember you.”
“Yes! That was with our daughter. She’s almost three.” I paused as the smile drained from my voice. “Unfortunately, I don’t think the scan will be a happy one this time.” She just nodded, clearly familiar with unhappy scans. There’s a whole world of people who are familiar with unhappy scans.
I was thankful my body had prepared me. Red streaks and red flags. My body had been warning me in other ways, too. For weeks, my anxiety mounted. It lodged itself inside my chest, part uncertainty and part dread. It drove me to Google worst-case scenarios and miscarriage statistics and questions I knew couldn’t possibly be answered.
So when the ultrasound revealed a pregnancy nearly three weeks behind where it should have been, I was ready for the blow. It was almost a relief to finally take the hit. Waiting is worse than knowing, even when the truth hurts.
I’ve learned so much from this experience. I’ve learned that something incredibly common can still feel unbelievably personal, a pain so specifically assigned to MY heart and my heart only. Even my husband can’t fully understand the loneliness. The hollowness.
I’ve learned that despite knowing I did nothing to deserve this outcome, it still feels like my fault. I still feel embarrassed and humiliated for “failing” at this. Grief is illogical.
I have learned that while it’s sad when pregnancy goes wrong, it’s a miracle when this process of creating life goes RIGHT. And I’ve learned that while this loss was really tough, I can’t imagine how difficult it must be without an existing child to snuggle. In the dark moments, I thought of my daughter’s smile, and songs, and quirky sense of humor. I thought of the way she says, “I missed you!” when I pick her up from daycare each evening. It made the pain so much better. My heart hurts for everyone who has gone through this experience, but especially for people who don’t know if this sad, rainy road will ever lead to a rainbow.
I’ve learned that talking about it helps. We could have kept this to ourselves. I could have not written this blog post. But I benefited immensely from reading and hearing about other people’s losses (especially the words of my brave friends Rachel and Anna), and I firmly believe that living an authentic life means embracing the light AND the shadow. I totally understand that some people might want to grieve a loss privately and would prefer not to talk about it, but telling friends and family what happened has been extremely comforting. I wanted them to know that our little family is grieving. I wanted them to know how much I needed them.
And in opening up about it, I’ve been reminded how much I am loved. The day of the miscarriage, I received calls and texts all day long from close friends and colleagues. My dad rushed to my house all the way from Bloomington just to give me a hug. My mom brought over dinner, and a dear friend sent me a care package with chocolate, bath bombs, and the softest blanket. The tidal wave of love helped to balance out the pain. It helped me feel less alone, every conversation somehow dispersing a bit of the weight until I felt like I could breathe again.
And lastly, I learned that you can experience one of your worst fears and come out the other side. I was terrified about the possibility of having a miscarriage. And guess what? I had a miscarriage. That happened to me, and I survived it. As I kept repeating to myself, “I am strong. I am loved. I will get through this.”
To all my friends, family, and colleagues, thank you for your unconditional love and support. And to anyone who knows this pain, here’s to our strength and here’s to the future.