articles / Pregnancy

Facing pregnancy loss

***Before anyone panics, my little lemon is just fine***

When I miscarried for the first time, I didn’t realize how “normal” it was for miscarriage to happen. A few months before I miscarried a friend of mine had lost a baby.  Other than that, I only knew one other woman that miscarried, but that happened because of illness (it doesn’t make it any easier). As far as multiple miscarriages go, I’d only known one woman that was dealing with this and it was my sweet sister-in-law. After my miscarriage there were several women that I’d known for years that all of the sudden stepped up and said that they’d had miscarriages too. I was shocked. How come I didn’t know this before? Some of the women acted as if it was meant to be a big secret. Some may prefer it that way I suppose, but I don’t think it helps any woman struggling with this.

lossBefore I go any further, here’s a timeline of the past several years for me:

  • After I had Josiah in June 2009, I had the Mirena IUD put in because I was breastfeeding and it was either that or the mini pill.
  • I had problems with cramping the entire time I had the IUD in so I finally took it out in May 2010 and started the progesterone only pill.
  • I found out I was pregnant the first week of August 2010.
  • One week later, at 5 weeks, I started bleeding and miscarried.
  • I never went back on the birth control and spent the next year “trying” and “not trying but not trying not to” and all the while wondering if we were suffering from infertility.
  • Found out I was pregnant at the beginning of July 2011.
  • Started spotting on July 26, but no one was confirming miscarriage. Finally went to the hospital in the middle of the night on July 29 (my birthday) due to excruciating pain. Miscarriage finally confirmed and given pain killers to ease the pain.
  • Still no birth control, but no pregnancy through the end of 2011. Took progesterone for a few weeks to regulate my cycle because it never came back properly after Miscarriage #2. I still was convinced we’d have a normal pregnancy, but I was starting to get a little concerned. Doctor offered for me to take fertility drugs (Clomid) to help with a healthy pregnancy, but we turned it down at the time.
  • March 2012 I was waiting for my period and has some weird spotting. Took a pregnancy test and found out I was pregnant after I’d already started miscarrying. Professionals call this a “chemical pregnancy.” At this point I started to lose hope in the idea of us having another baby.
  • Still no birth control and starting to get frustrated with lack of conception and my inability to carry a baby to term. Started considering other options like adopting once Josiah started Kindergarten.
  • November 2012 I found out I was pregnant. As always, we were completely shocked. My doctor prescribed me progesterone and said that he believe that was my problem. It was working because I had no spotting or bleeding and everything seemed to be good. Went in for my first ultrasound at 10 weeks and saw nothing but a sac. This time was different, a blighted ovum, which means the baby stopped developing super early, but the placenta and sac didn’t get the memo so they kept growing. Doctor was still convinced that progesterone would help me, but nothing would have prevented the blighted ovum because it was a different type of MC.
  • After miscarriage #4 I said I was done. I couldn’t do it anymore — I wouldn’t do it anymore. We decided to adopt. We’d always planned on adopting, but after our kids had gotten older. We figured this was just God’s way of telling us He wanted us to do it sooner.
  • June 9, 2013 I had a few sneaking suspicions but figured I was crazy. Turns out I wasn’t I got a super positive test. I was still nervous, but with the progesterone and A LOT of prayer I didn’t worry about the pregnancy. I’m 14 1/2 weeks now and baby is super healthy.

How did I get through those losses? Before my first miscarriage, when my friend miscarried, I said to myself and to a few other people, “I don’t know how I would handle losing a baby.” That very first loss was so unexpected. It was like getting punched in the stomach when I saw that blood. I knew the minute I saw it what was happening. We’d already told everyone and we were all so excited because Josiah was going to be a big brother (even though he was only a year old when I got pregnant).

After that first loss, I handled it in the best way that I could because I had to have closure. I named my baby. I knew I was going to have a little girl so we went ahead and named her, Rachel Lucille Anne. I think my husband is the only one that knows this, but I even printed a funeral program talking about my baby. I didn’t want to forget and move on…I wanted to remember this baby because even though she wasn’t here anymore and I’d never get to see her I didn’t want to forget about her.

With the second miscarriage we named the baby Jamie because I just wasn’t sure about gender and that’s kind of a unisex name. After the second miscarriage I think I tried to move on too quickly and brush it off because after a few months all I did was yell and cry — at my husband and at my poor toddler. I finally went to counseling — not because I thought something was wrong with me, but because I was just sad and I wanted someone to listen to me without offering advice and without saying anything cliche. I just wanted someone to listen.

tattoo

The tattoo I got after my second miscarriage. Footprints in the sand, “It was then I carried you.”

I prayed a lot during all of these times. I asked God why. I cried out and begged Him to save my babies. I asked Him what purpose could He have in doing this. Looking back, although I’d have preferred some other method, I’ve grown a lot closer to God during these years. It was Job that said the famous phrase (verse), “God gives and God takes away, Blessed be the name of the Lord.” God allows things to happen in peoples lives so they can grow closer to Him. During this time I’ve grown closer to Him and learned to lean on Him with everything, because on my own, I think I would have died — that pain is too much for one person to bear.

If you’re facing one or multiple losses, do what you feel you have to do to get through it. Notice I didn’t say get over it. Even now with a healthy baby on the way, I still mourn for the four babies I have waiting for me in heaven. Write a letter to your baby. Yell at God and ask Him why. You may not get an answer, but let’s be honest — you’re thinking to yourself all of the things you want to say to God and He already hears them so say them out loud. There is no sin in asking why. There is no sin in showing God that you’re angry or upset — God doesn’t expect you to be made of stone. Remember, He’s the one that gave us emotions — we just can’t let them take over our lives. Write a eulogy. Get a tattoo (I have two of them that were gotten after different losses). Do whatever will help you get through because you have to get through it to not feel guilty the next time (if there is one). Either way, life will have to eventually move on and we can’t stay stuck in mourning forever. There is no shame in seeing a counselor and there is no shame in talking to your OB/GYN about a possible hormone imbalance if that sadness stays a little bit too long.

The pain never completely goes away because it’s the same as losing a grandparent or a parent — it’s like learning to live with an amputation. Life will never be the same, but over time it gets a little bit easier.

Deuteronomy 2:3 says, “You have been traveling around this mountain country long enough. Turn northward!” This last spring that’s what I finally heard God say to me. It was clear as day. It was like He said, “Erica, we’ve been dealing with this for way too long. Give it up and give it to Me. I’ve got this.” That’s when we decided to take that first step and fill out adoption papers and that’s when I got pregnant. Now I’m not saying filling out adoption papers or throwing in the towel will result in immediate pregnancy because it may not. But we all have to come to that place where we quit circling around ovulation, OPK kits, pregnancy tests, baby sex, and the tears that come when the period starts or the plus sign doesn’t show up.

Life won’t end because of tragedy. It won’t be immediate either — after all I suffered my first loss in Aug. 2010 and didn’t “turn northward” until March 2013 (that was before my healthy pregnancy so healing can come without a baby even though that’s all we want). Don’t think I’m saying dry it up and move on because it is a process. Just know there is a process and it can and does end with healing. Know that you will get to that point when you know that you can’t go around that mountain any more and all you can do is head north.

 

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5 thoughts on “Facing pregnancy loss

  1. I love this. Thank you so much. I have lost only one, but it was hard. We haven’t been able to get pregnant again since. But I know what you are saying about your life revolving around OPK, timing, etc. We are seeing a fertility dr. to see what’s up, but I have a feeling it is going to come down to just plain, simple trust in God. All of His best to you for you new little one! He is good!

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