Thursday, October 15, 2015

Ten Things I Learned From Having a Miscarriage

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.  I debated discussing this topic on my blog because it’s so very personal, and it is the single hardest thing that I have ever gone through in my entire life.  And even though I blog to the public, I’m generally a pretty private person.  Especially when it comes to the tough stuff like this.  However, after going back and forth about it for quite some time, I ultimately decided to go ahead and share my feelings with the hope that it can provide some comfort to someone else out there who might be struggling. 

Deep breath.     

June 17, 2010.  The worst day of my entire life to date.   

It was warm and sunny with clear blue skies – a picture perfect late spring day.  I was on cloud nine as I pulled up at my midwife’s office for our twelve week check-up.  My pregnancy had been going fairly smoothly with the exception of some cramping and a little bit of nausea, and I was dying to see that little peanut on the ultra sound and hear its precious heartbeat.  

Brian (fortunately) had met me there, and we were nervous and excited when they called us back to the ultrasound room.   

The ultrasound tech put the wand on my belly, and in five simple words, my whole world came crashing down.  “Lindsay, this pregnancy hasn’t progressed.” 

I was confused.  I didn’t understand what she was telling me.  Surely she wasn’t saying what I thought she was saying.  Right?  If I had miscarried I would know it… right? 

The rest of the appointment was a blur.  I remember them whisking us to a room, my midwife coming in and trying to comfort me, and them leading us to an office to discuss our options.   

“We can make an appointment for your D&C at the hospital first thing Monday morning.”   

Monday was four days away… I was going to have to go all weekend with my precious, lifeless baby still inside of me? 

I begged them to schedule me for the next day (Friday) instead because I knew there was just no way that I could make it through the weekend, and fortunately, by the grace of God, they were able to squeeze me in.   

I remember Brian telling me that I didn’t need to drive myself home after the appointment but I just wanted everything to be normal, so I did, and I don’t remember a thing about it.   

As soon as I got home, I called my parents (who were eagerly awaiting to hear how the appointment went) and I broke the news to them.     

The next morning, Brian and I, along with my parents, arrived at the hospital, bright and early, and I tried to ignore the curious and sympathetic looks from others in the waiting room as I tried to brush away my tears. 

I don’t remember how long the wait was, but eventually they called me back.  The last thing I remember was counting backwards from ten while the anesthesiologist put me under… I think I made it to eight before I was out.   

When I awoke, I was groggy and alone, and it took a couple of minutes for me to remember where I was and why I was there.  I was relieved that it was over and that we could start the process of healing, but I felt a deep void in my heart and in my belly where my sweet baby had been resting peacefully just a few minutes prior.  

The remainder of the day was spent resting on the couch at home and calling each of our close family members and friends to let them know the news.  I told the story over and over, like a robot, like I was reading from a script.  But inside?  I was dying. 

Now some people may have been frightened at the idea of getting pregnant again, but all I wanted, more than anything in this entire universe, was to be pregnant again.  However, my midwife had given me strict orders to wait three full cycles before we started trying again.  I was mortified.  I had to wait three entire months before we could even start trying again? 

And so began the longest stretch of months in my entire life.  Time dragged on slower than it ever had before, and I could have sworn some days that time had stopped completely.  I went through the motions day after day just trying to get through each day, and with each day that passed I got more and more depressed.  There were pregnant women everywhere we went, and I’m not even exaggerating.  They.  Were.  Everywhere.  Not to mention that one of my best friends was already pregnant and gave birth, and another one of my best friends got pregnant during those tedious months.  I couldn’t help but wonder if God was trying to torture me.  Why was I being punished? 

I tried to live a normal life, but I missed my sweet angel baby with every single breath in my lungs and every single beat of my heart.  From the outside, I would suspect that I probably looked like a fairly normal girl, but inside, I was in a state of constant turmoil. 

Was the baby a boy or a girl?  (I just know it was a girl.)  Would she have had dark hair or light hair?  Would she have had Brian’s blue eyes or my green eyes?  Did I do something wrong?  Eat something dangerous?  Sleep wrong?  Was there something that I could have done to prevent all of this from happening?!   

The answer is no.  

It’s not your fault.   

Repeat after me.  It’s not your fault.  You can do every single thing right – stop drinking, stop smoking (I never smoked to begin with), take prenatal vitamins, eat healthy, exercise, get plenty of rest – and you can still miscarry.  Trust me.  I did all of the research before I got pregnant to ensure that I did everything textbook perfect during my pregnancy and it still happened to me.   

Why?  Well, nobody knows exactly why, but in our case, I truly believe that our sweet baby was just not strong enough for the real world, and I think that this was God’s way of protecting us.  He didn’t want us to have to go through life with a sick child, or have to experience a loss once the child was already living outside the womb.   

Who knows if that’s really true, but it sure does give me some comfort to think of it that way. 

Miscarriage is very common.   

People came out of the woodwork to tell us about their miscarriages once they had heard about ours.  I was shocked.  People who I’ve known for a long time, people who I barely know, people who are in their sixties, people who are in their twenties, people who now have healthy children – all came forth to tell us about their experiences with miscarriage.  Apparently it’s really, really common.   

It may not lessen your pain any to have that knowledge, but it was comforting for me to see that so many other people had gone through the hell that I was going through and that they had made it through to the other side.   

You can miscarry and not even realize it.   

Now this one was baffling to me.  I had read all about what to expect during pregnancy for months leading up to mine and never once had I come across this information.  Apparently it’s called a “missed miscarriage.”  Basically, the baby’s heart just stops beating in utero, and your body shows no symptoms or signs of a traditional miscarriage (bleeding, etc.).   

Now, this brings me to another note that I didn’t mention in my story above.  Around the eight week mark in my pregnancy, Brian and I had just landed in Washington DC for vacation, and while we were waiting for our rental car, I started experiencing horrible cramps.  So painful that I had to sit down on my suitcase.  I immediately panicked, thinking that I could be miscarrying, so I found the first available bathroom, positive that I was going to be bleeding, but there was nothing.  And after that, I felt totally fine so I chalked it up to more (really bad) round ligament pain (which I had already had a bunch of) and I let it go (mostly).   

That moment did stay in the back of my mind for the next four weeks until my twelve week check-up where I was told that the baby had stopped growing around eight weeks (just a couple of days after our healthy eight week appointment, and while we were in Washington DC).   

I’m absolutely certain that I miscarried that day in Washington DC while we were waiting to pick up our rental car, but I carried the baby for four more weeks totally oblivious until we were told at our twelve week appointment. 

Although it was shocking, I’m extremely thankful for the way that I miscarried, because I think that it was way less traumatic.  I have since heard horror stories about miscarriage and it was only then that I realized that mine could have been a lot worse. 

Just because you miscarry does not mean that you can’t and won’t have healthy babies. 

Not being able to have children of my own.  My absolute worst fear up until that point in my life.  From the time I was old enough to pick up a baby doll, I knew that I wanted to be a mother.  I treated my baby brothers like my own babies, mothering them, (bossing them around), loving and comforting them, and even changing diapers and caring for my youngest brother.  It’s all I ever wanted in life – to get married to the perfect man and to have babies. 

After my miscarriage I was terrified that it meant that something was wrong with my body’s ability to make babies/grow babies/birth babies.  But you know what?  That simply wasn’t true. 

You will learn patience. 

The waiting.  Oh, the waiting.  It was pure agony.  Time can be so very cruel.   

I watched the time fly by for all of my friends who were having a blast while I couldn’t wish my days away fast enough.  I was grieving the loss of a child who I would never get to meet, but all the while all I could think about was when I could get pregnant again.  It completely consumed me.    

Patience has never been my strong suit.  And that’s putting it nicely.  This right here was God’s way of teaching me patience.  Because you know what?  If and when you finally have babies, you will need it.  Because they will test it every single day.

You will hurt and you will grieve, but even during your darkest moments you will find tiny rays of hope. 

And that’s what you need to cling to.  Don’t let go of it.  The worry that I may never have children of my own completely consumed me.  But some days, there were tiny flickers of thoughts in the back of my head telling me that everything was going to be OK.  And I chose to believe them.  And you know what?  They were right. 

You won’t fear death as much as you used to. 

Of course I have everything to live for here on earth, but one day when it is my time to go, I now have the comfort of knowing that there’s a very special angel waiting for me on the other side.  A precious baby just waiting to be cradled in her mother’s arms for the very first time.  I just know that it will be better than all of the Christmas mornings in my whole lifetime, getting to finally meet her.  And Brian and I have decided that whichever one of us gets there first gets to name her.  :o) 

You will come out stronger.

You will realize exactly what you’re capable of – fighting, enduring, hanging on, weathering the storm.  You are so very strong. 

You will appreciate your future babies that much more. 

During those few months after my miscarriage and all the way up to the day Jacob was born, I was terrified that I may never be able to have children of my own.  I was so distraught.  So on that hot summer night, after 18 grueling hours of labor, when my midwife placed Jacob in my arms, I think I loved him a thousand times more than I would have if I hadn’t experienced a miscarriage.  He was my perfect rainbow baby.  My baby after the storm.  I will be forever thankful for he and Olivia both because they gave me back the hope that I almost lost when I thought I’d never hold a baby of my own in my arms. 

God does have a plan for each of us  

Sometimes His plan isn’t exactly what we’ve always envisioned, but He knows what He’s doing and we just have to trust that it will all work out.  I had said my entire life that if I could plan my dream family that I would want a baby boy first and then a baby girl, because I love the dynamic of a big brother and a little sister.  Maybe this was just God’s way of giving me everything that I always wanted… because you know what?  That’s exactly what I got.   

I had a sweet, healthy baby boy (Jacob) in 2011 followed by a sweet, healthy baby girl (Olivia) in 2014.   

If I hadn’t miscarried, Jacob and Olivia wouldn’t even be here.  And yes, maybe even if things were different, I would still be just as happy, but on the other hand… maybe I wouldn’t.  I now have my dream family… it just took a (very large) bump in the road to get there.

Some days I still feel an overwhelming sense of loss for the little one who I will never get to meet here on Earth, but most days I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude that everything happened the way that it did.  I’m now living out the life that I have always wanted – I have a husband who loves me, two beautiful, smart, and very healthy children who I wouldn’t trade for the world, and one perfect angel watching over me until we are reunited.


  1. Girl, I wish I could give you a big hug right now!! I know all of these emotions all too well. Thank you for sharing, it's such a personal subject but it's good to know you're not alone.

    1. I know you do, Lizzie, and I wish I could hug you, too! And I'm so thankful for you because you were such a huge part in my healing. :o)

  2. This is such an amazing post - thank you so much for sharing!

  3. Such beautiful words. I'm so sorry for the pain you've gone through. I'm sure sharing your story will touch more people than you even know!

  4. A beautiful, honest post. My heart breaks for you having to experience that. It's like nothing else, but it really truly does make you appreciate your babies more. How lucky are they all to have you as their mama <3

  5. This was amazing and it's something that people need to talk about more often. Thanks for sharing. I went through a similar situation...different, but similar...and it hurts. I'm sending you lots of virtual hugs right now.

    1. Thank you, Marie. I'm so sorry for your loss. Virtual hugs right back at you!

  6. This is amazing, Lindsay. I nodded at every single thing, because I know exactly what you went through. Last year, I had a miscarriage as well, it will be a year next month. I went in for my 12 week check up and our baby had stopped growing at around 8 weeks too. Fortunately, my OB/GYN was able to do my D&C the very next morning. It was so hard, I tried to be strong...but it was so hard.

    Our situation was rather odd, since we did IVF to get pregnant. My RE transferred 2 embryos and they both attached and we we're pregnant with twins. Then my HCG dropped one day, we thought we were going to miscarry, and then a couple of days later it more than doubled. We had lost one of the babies but the other one was still growing.

    Such a difficult time, I don't know if we will ever be able to conceive naturally, or if we will ever be able to conceive at all. This was my second miscarriage. My first is what they call a "chemical pregnancy" although it was veryyyyy early, it still hurt.

  7. Sending you all the hugs, sweet friend. This brought me back to August 2014 when I miscarried. It was a Wednesday & we were leaving to go to my sister's house in MN for the state fair. My parents were going up to & we were going to tell everyone together, exactly how we told them about Cash. Instead, we had to call them & tell them we weren't coming. It was the absolute worst time. Thank you for sharing. I know it isn't easy.

  8. I just read this through the link from today's post and had tears in my eyes. I love the perspective you share. I haven't had a MC but had a 'threatened' one with my last pregnancy, and I remember feeling a fear like I never had before in my life. I always love hearing people saying they have an angel waiting for them, because it is so true :-) Just a beautiful post, Lindsay.

    1. Thank you, Mackensey. Yes, it was definitely the worst thing I've been through, and the fear that I may never have children was the part that consumed me the most. Thank you for reading and thank you for your kind words.

  9. This totally spoke to my heart - we experienced the same thing in September and it absolutely broke our hearts. We were back on the "trying" train as soon as we could and are still hoping and praying for a rainbow baby. It still breaks my heart to think about it all. I'm glad you had a happy ending with your two littles <3 Thanks for your post - I've been debating sharing my story and it's good to know we're not all alone.

    1. Oh Kristi, I'm so sorry to hear that you have been going through the same thing. It is so hard and I know that there really aren't many words that I can say to comfort you. Just know that I am praying for you. I hope that you are blessed with that sweet rainbow baby very soon. <3


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