Over the summer, I ended up seeing an article that appeared on my newsfeed about the loss a mother experienced with the miscarriage of her child. The featured image that came up was of a tiny and perfectly formed baby in the mother’s hand, which caused some commentators to balk, while others were sad and at the same time amazed by the miracle of life.
I believe it was this article (click here but if you do, viewer discretion advised). Needless to say, the image of the perfectly formed child drew controversy between pro-choicers (who most put down the pro-lifers), and also from some who felt that they should have received more warning from the publication and it should have not been a featured image, as for them the image was too graphic.
But for some mothers, the image of this tiny life brought comfort. For some of these mothers suffered through the pain of miscarriage too, and while they were dealt by their medical providers with what they felt were the cruelties of the medical vocabulary (clump of cells and the like), this article and image validated for them their feelings…they experienced a loss of a tiny human being within their body…a human being that they had hoped would be a part of their lives, and was unable to make it through the birth process.
I did my best to temper between the feelings of both parties…the ones who were comforted by the image and the ones who were not. Some who were not were moms who struggled through the loss of miscarriage too and on the opposite extreme, the images elicited painful feelings for them.
As a mom myself of Gen Z kids, I offered my hugs, prayers and condolences online. I explained I am a mom, but not one who had ever experienced that type of a loss.
But the coincidence was that around the time of that posting and discussion I did not realize that there was a little life growing inside of my belly…a baby that I am heartbreakingly now miscarrying.
I am beyond grateful to have been blessed with two healthy, gorgeous, intelligent, talented and amazing children from my first marriage. These two children and I hold an incredible bond of love, not just from our relationship overall, but also from the experiences we’ve had. As a longtime, divorced mom, I have navigated through the odyssey of life with these two amazing souls, while forging my own way in the world as a mom, journalist and more.
With the drama that the dating world can bring, in July 2015 I remarried. Not to say that my husband and myself didn’t experience our own relationship drama…we did…and we worked through a lot of mess with both of us, I believe, becoming better people on the other side of the storm.
Having a baby was something my husband and I have both discussed and wanted…though admittedly, this little person surprised the both of us. With my first baby, I underwent doses of Clomid monthly. When the doctor told me that he was giving me the last dose and if it didn’t work, he was referring me to a specialist, miraculously, I became pregnant. With my second baby, though I received the prescription for Clomid, I never had to fill it, as I became pregnant without it.
After pondering some mysterious symptoms and shopping one day in August 2016 and having a food craving for half sour pickles (which I bought and consumed…not a food craving either in prior pregnancies), I decided to follow my instincts and purchased a pack of two pregnancy tests to validate what I was experiencing…excessive fatigue (knocking out one night at 7 p.m. for example, and no later than 8:30 most other nights), “growing pains” in my belly, a slightly swelled belly, nausea, vomiting, desire for pickles and other signs.
I took my first test on the morning of August 24, and one could imagine my amazement and excitement as the “plus” sign immediately came up on the test. On August 25, the test results were the same.
Though I don’t want to air some personal stresses I have been dealing with, I believe these stresses have contributed to the death of my baby. I believe he or she was still too tiny to appear on the first ultrasound I was administered on August 26…but two courses of blood work performed the following week showed the strength of my pregnancy.
But, by the end of the first “full” week of September, I started to note I was having some symptoms that did not feel right to me, as well as some “spotting” that began. “Spotting” can also occur in a pregnancy that turns out to be viable and results with a baby’s joyful arrival in full term.
I endured one ultrasound where a “fetal pole” was recognized by the technician…on September 13, the ultrasound age of my baby through my third ultrasound was noted and a fetal pole as well…though they detected no heartbeat.
By this time, I was feeling an utter feeling of sadness, with still an underlying hope that everything would be OK. Except two days later, the “spotting” turned red.
Having never experienced those symptoms in my other two pregnancies, this was traumatizing to me. I had never dealt with a miscarriage before and suddenly, this feeling of loss crossed over me…while reading the Internet I read though from some moms that all could still be OK…some experienced massive blood clots and still had viable pregnancies.
All hope died inside of me though about my baby’s survival on Sept. 20, when I began experiencing atrocious abdominal pains. I was at work when the wave started to come and I could barely stand…but still persisted.
I never experienced contractions in my previous pregnancies. With my first, I was given Pitocin to start contractions…the first dose didn’t work.
“You’re as happy as a clam,” the nurse told me. “That shouldn’t be…there must be something wrong with the mixture,” I remember her saying.
They mixed up another batch of Pitocin, and to no avail, no contractions began. Having broken my water first as well, the only choice was a c-section and my healthy first baby entered the world.
With my second after that experience, I opted for a scheduled c-section, so once again, never experienced true contractions.
With a fairly high pain threshold, I tolerated the pain, though it was excruciating. By the time I arrived home and with having to retrieve my oldest child from soccer practice, I told my husband to meet me outside of our home with his vehicle and I sat on the grass until he was able to open his car. After coming home, I immediately went to bed and hit the fetal position. I could barely stand the excruciating pain in my abdomen.
Not knowing what to do next, I called the doctor’s office. He told me to either take Tylenol, or if the pain was so bad, to head to the emergency room. Tylenol numbed some of the pain that night, but the next day I contacted my gastroenterologist, to request something stronger that I might need overnight, since I am unable to take Motrin opposite the Tylenol…with Tylenol causing health issues after a particular dose.
I have been dealing with the side effects of miscarriage with pain and bleeding ever since and continuing as I write this.
Not only can I relate to the physical pain now of a miscarriage, which I will say is excruciating at times, but also the emotional anguish of the death of a baby, and now can understand what those mothers I “met” on the article were contending with.
Again, this here article is not to get into the technicalities of the “would have,” “should have,” or “could haves,” for my situation now or anyone else who has experienced it. I am not here to give or receive a lecture or advice. My mission is to explain and comfort…and raise awareness about what it’s like to deal with the death of a baby who never makes it to our world.
The purpose of this is to recognize that I understand the hurt that others have gone through with this. And also as a writer, my job at times is to be an advocate and to raise awareness.
It’s no accident that a post came across my feed from another mom that I know with a picture that hit my heart the instant I saw it…and that’s the featured image of this post. In fact, it came across from two moms that I know who continue to grieve their children who never made it into the world.
I never knew until a few days ago that October has been designated as Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month. But now I do know and I’m sharing it.
The pink and blue ribbon spoke to my soul with the words, “To my family, I mattered.”
To me, my little one…who was due to make his or her appearance around May 1, 2017, mattered to me. In early September, suddenly, my clothing didn’t fit right, as my belly, which had already been a little swelled, already started to “pop.” And now as time has marched on and my blood results dropped from over 80,000 measurement of pregnancy hormones to about 746, little by little, that belly has gone away. To experience this has not only physically hurt and has caused me pain to walk and sit up…but emotionally has been upsetting.
The Facebook Page PMCL (Pregnancy, Miscarriage and Child Loss) Awareness, has showed me that none of the couples who are experiencing this horrendous loss are alone. And our babies are not forgotten.
In the meantime, I am sharing the page (click here) for anyone who may need the comfort and understanding of what it is like to lose a baby.
Please click here to see the accompanying webpage as well.
This post is also for anyone who might like to know how to comfort someone who has lost a baby, whether through miscarriage, stillbirth, or the baby’s death after they have entered the world.
I also would like to validate those who continue to grieve your baby’s loss. There is no timeline to grief. I hug you and pray for you, whether you loss of your baby started 50 minute ago or took place 50 years ago. I know your pain is always there. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Recently, I can tell you something that didn’t comfort me, was a person close to me that I confided in to tell them what I experienced, and their only words of “wisdom” was that they experienced it too, they saw their miscarried baby in the toilet, and what I’m experiencing is because of “hormones.”
That kind of an answer is insensitive, self-centered and cruel.
But what I have appreciated are the hugs that I have received from some, and the messages of understanding and sympathies…just telling me that they are “there.” Those words of comfort have helped to heal my heart in ways that those who have told me, may never know…and I am forever grateful to you for these words.
It may take me years to understand this tragedy and at that time, I may look back and recognize why. Could there be a rainbow baby (a baby born following a miscarriage) in my future? Could I, as a writer, become a voice for moms whose hearts have been broken by the losses of our children? Through my own pain and tears, am I destined to help someone else who is experiencing this pain?
I’m not sure yet…but for now I plan to take the time to heal, grieve and let this little person know that he or she will always be loved and remembered in my heart and never forgotten. I can tell you right now that writing this post has hurt my heart a lot…but I feel it will also help to heal my heart in some ways…and I hope to bring a sense of peace to others who may be reading this.
Please, if you’re going to do one random act of kindness today, virtually hug, or hug in person, someone you know who has gone through this devastating loss. If you’d like to wait until the official day, October 15 is the official day that recognizes Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month.
And if you are the mom of babies who have continued to grow healthfully, hug them even closer today…because you are blessed. I thank God for my two beautiful children who are here. My heart breaks for moms, through my first experience of this miscarriage, who have lived through numerous miscarriages. I can’t even imagine the depth of their physical and emotional pain.