**Content Info: Deals with Miscarriage/Loss and the details of it/bleeding
October is pregnancy and infant loss awareness month.
What many of you may not know is miscarriage, infant loss, and stillbirth happens to 1 in 4 women.
After just getting married in June of this year, I didn’t know that I would be joining their ranks. I had no idea that I would be claiming to be the 1 in 4. But I am. I am owning it and raising my hand, and I want to share my story with you because not only have I found solace in the stories of women that have shared with me, but I want those of you that may have experienced miscarriage to find solace as well; to at least know that you are not alone.
Truth be told, my husband and I were not trying to get pregnant. Kids weren’t really in our radar at the time, even though I’ve known three things in my life: 1) I wanted to be an author, 2) I wanted to marry a wonderful man, and 3) I wanted to be a mom. But we had just moved to Park City, Utah, and we had only spent one month in our new home. Bryce (my Hubby) had a new job that wasn’t what we had thought it was when he had been hired for it, and I was just about to start babysitting two children for a mom here in Park City so we could earn some extra cash while we tried to figure the whole mess of Bryce’s job out.
August 3rd, I woke up, and I found that my period hadn’t started. For some people, this would be considered too much information, but the truth is the truth – I have an incredibly regular menstruation cycle. I start on time, if not a little bit early. So on August 3rd, when I woke up and found that my period hadn’t started whatsoever, I thought something might be up. I tried to stay relaxed the entire morning; I ate breakfast with Bryce and we discussed what our plans would be for the day. But finally, I just couldn’t stand it – I had to know why my period wasn’t showing up.
I went to the bathroom and shut the pocket door behind me and took a pregnancy test. With the pregnancy test I had taken, you have to wait at least two minutes for the proper reading to show up in the window. My heart was pounding in my throat as I struggled to stay calm. I washed my hands, my face, brushed my teeth, washed my face again. I didn’t want to look at the window. I was afraid of what I would find.
If it was positive, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself.
If it was negative, it would feel like a smack to the face because it would mean that my mind had wrongly fantasized about a surprise pregnancy when I should have stayed grounded and told myself that maybe this month I was irregular instead.
I slowly bent down to the floor, where I had laid the pregnancy test, and after taking several deep breaths, I looked down at the window. And my heart stopped.
It was positive.
A rush of emotions swept through me – shock, fear, nerves, excitement, wonder. Jesus Christ, I was going to be a mom. Was I ready? Was Bryce ready? Were we ready? How should I tell him?
I sat on the floor, alternating between pursing my lips together in thought and grinning at the surprise of it all, wondering how I was going to tell Bryce. I rehearsed a few different lines in my head, sorting between which ones I liked and which ones I didn’t. Finally, with heart still stampeding in my chest, I emerged from the bathroom and walked over to where Bryce was working on his laptop on the couch.
I sat down beside him, staying silent for a few minutes before I thought I was going to burst. “Hey,” I said, taking his hand in mine. “I need to ask you a serious question.”
That caught Bryce’s attention, and he looked up from his computer. “Yeah?” It was all I could do to keep a grin from spreading on my face.
“How do you feel about having a baby next Spring?” I couldn’t hide my grin any longer as I beamed at him.
His eyes lit up in excitement, swiftly followed by tears. “You’re pregnant?”
“Yeah, I am,” I confirmed, my own eyes welling up with tears at his joy. Bryce laughed and pulled me in for a kiss, a goofy grin plastered on his face.
Later that day, when he had left to go to an appointment for his job, I went to the library and picked up three pregnancy books. All of you already know how avid of a reader I am, so it only made sense to me to get some books and maybe find some good tips. I was at a loss for whether there were any foods I should or shouldn’t be eating, how much caffeine I should have during the day, and I was hoping I could find some fighting-against-morning-sickness tips since my babysitting job was about to take off.
The rest of the day, Bryce and I were over the moon about our surprise, and we couldn’t wait to tell our family. We even bought a set of three bibs with elephants on them – elephants because of a personal joke/story that both families would understand and because it was significant to Bryce and I – and planned on mailing them to our families since all of my siblings have birthdays in August and Bryce’s mom has a birthday in August as well.
But then, on August 4th, I woke up and found I was spotting. At first, I had no qualms about it. I had read in one of the pregnancy books from the library that spotting can be a really normal occurrence when you get pregnant; it’s only if the bleeding gets heavier, like a normal menstruation cycle, that you should take a little more concern.
Halfway through the morning, the spotting had turned to bleeding like my normal menstruation cycle. Out of worry that comes with the unknown of this entire pregnancy thing, I took another pregnancy test to be sure the baby was okay. The plus sign appeared in the window, but while it was there, it did nothing to calm my growing concern.
I took the test to Bryce to show him. “That’s a plus sign, right? See it?”
“Yes. It’s faint, but I can see it,” he had reassured me. When I voiced my growing panic to him about my bleeding, he pulled me close and told me that all we knew for sure was that I was pregnant. We could go to the OBGYN in Salt Lake City next week to get confirmation and be sure everything was fine. Eventually, he calmed me down, and I agreed that maybe I was overreacting. Again, I knew nothing about this pregnancy thing. Everything was probably fine. I picked up one of my pregnancy books and started to read through it again.
Looking back on it, I can’t help but marvel at the way God was already preparing my heart for the news. One of the first chapters I turned to in the pregnancy book was on miscarriage. I started to skip over it, thinking to myself, “Well this will never happen to me!”, but something made me stop. I turned back to the chapter and read through it, read through the personal stories shared by multiple women. Then, I tried to banish the stories from my brain so I wouldn’t think about them anymore. I would not have a miscarriage. My baby would be fine.
That night, I went to my first night of babysitting. Bryce dropped me off, promised to pick me up around midnight, when the mom would be back, and then my night was devoted to cooking dinner and making sweets and playing around and watching movies with the kiddos. Their bedtime was set at ten, so I made sure they got in bed, then did the normal clean up that way I wouldn’t leave a mess for when the mom got home.
I settled down with a book, trying to urge myself to read something fun since I still had a little under two hours before the kids’ mom got home. But I couldn’t concentrate. I just felt like something was wrong.
I went to the bathroom to check, unable to hide from my paranoia any longer, and the bleeding was worse than earlier in the day. All of a sudden, I was overwhelmed with tears. The rest of the night I hid in the living room of the house, crying and texting Bryce. And I remember whispering over and over again to God, “My baby better be okay.” Even as I knew that it wasn’t, even as I knew that something wasn’t as it should be.
Bryce picked me up at midnight and tried to ask me questions about how my babysitting night went on the way home, but I was too distracted to pay much attention. When we got home, he got ready for bed and I returned to the bathroom and pulled out a pregnancy test. I had to be sure the baby was okay.
During the two minutes the result took to pull up, I washed my hands, washed my face, brushed my teeth, washed my face again. And all I could think about was looking down at that test. Fear was the only emotion that I had coursing through me this time. I was terrified to look at the little window, because I was hoping that it was going to be a plus sign, and deep down I just knew that it was going to be blank.
I lowered myself to the floor, stared at the glass sliding door of the shower for another few seconds, before I took another deep breath and looked down at the test window.
Shock. Fear. Anger. Anger at God. Anger at myself.
I remember curling into a ball on the bathroom floor and silently sobbing into my knees. I remember thinking that I needed to get up, needed to tell Bryce the news. But I couldn’t bring myself to move. I remember asking myself how I was going to tell my husband that my body rejected our baby.
Bryce called my name, and I couldn’t respond. And then I heard his footsteps as he came down the steps, came to the bathroom door. Fresh tears filled my eyes and I started crying harder because I didn’t want him to see. I didn’t want to face him.
He opened the door, looked down at me, sat down, looked at the test, and then pulled me close. We stayed up until three in the morning crying. Asking ourselves how could this have happened. Wondering where God was in this situation. Didn’t God love us? Didn’t God love our baby?
We put one of the three bibs away. The other we hung on our wall in a picture frame, with the caption: “Our Little Munchkin: 08/04/18.” The other elephant bib went under my pillow, where I could grab it and hold it to my chest whenever I needed. It is still under my pillow to this day, and to be completely honest with you all, I’m not sure when or if it will ever be put anywhere else.
Everyone asks about how miscarriage affects you physically – and don’t get me wrong, it is a very kind, concerned question. But for me, I never struggled with the physical, only with the mental. Everyone deals with grief in their own way, and it’s no exception when facing miscarriage or the loss of an infant. For Bryce, he was in a battle with God for the weeks to come. He could not see how God could have loved us, could have loved our child. He asked God repeatedly why He had taken our baby away. For me, I actually didn’t struggle very long with God – and I’ll explain that better soon. I also didn’t struggle very much with my sense of self-worth or my body afterward, like I know a lot of women do. For me personally, my biggest struggle was both denial and reminiscing about what could have been, which are both very contradictory but still understandable feelings.
Depending on the day, I would either tell myself that the pregnancy tests could never have been positive or I would start to bawl my eyes out because I wouldn’t be going to buy books for the baby with my spending money that month. I would say that, even though I had shown Bryce one of the positive pregnancy tests, it couldn’t have been real; we must have imagined it all along. And then I would sob because I wouldn’t be buying little baby socks later this year or helping Bryce reinvent the space in our tiny house so we could fit a crib or cradle.
However, in the weeks that followed my miscarriage, when Bryce and I were still struggling to come to terms with the truth, one testimony from the miscarriage chapter in the pregnancy book kept coming back to me. It had been written by a Christian woman, and she had stated in her testimony that because you miscarry, because you lose a child, does not mean that God loves you any less. It does not mean that God loved your baby any less. And after battling the first week or two with God over my loss, I started to surrender to the thoughts the woman had shared in the book.
I don’t know about you. I don’t know whether those of you reading this believe in God, but I want to share with you what changed in my life when I started looking to God as a loving Father and not as my enemy.
God is Love. It’s stated throughout the Bible numerous times, and He proves it with His Son, Jesus, in the New Testament. And I realized that if God is Love, and if God is for us and not against us, then He was hurting too. If God is Love, He is not some almighty punisher that took our baby away because we did something wrong. If God is Love, He loves Bryce and I so much, no matter what.
If God is Love, He loved our baby more than we ever could have, more than we will ever know.
And instead of fighting God and blaming Him, I started to ask Him these questions: “What do You want us to learn from this? What do You want us to take from this situation? What do You want to show us?”
Guys, I’m not a perfect Christian. I don’t have all the answers, and neither do I pretend to when it comes to the Almighty. But I do want you to know that when I started asking those questions, God poured so much love and understanding on me.
I don’t know if these are the correct answers. And these answers won’t be correct for all of you, and you may not even agree with them. But these are the answers I felt God giving me peace with, that He still gives me peace with on the days I struggle.
1) Bryce and I were struggling for money, trying to figure this whole job thing out. And for some hindsight for all of you reading this, Bryce and I actually decided he needed to quit that job and find a new one. From mid to late August until a week ago, Bryce didn’t have a full-time source of income because we were waiting for God to open a new door. Seeing that hindsight now makes me realize that now only would Bryce have not been able to enjoy my pregnancy, but him stressing out would have caused me to stress out too, and that might have caused further, more serious complications for our baby.
2) While miscarriage and the loss of an infant hurt beyond measure and we grieve for a long time, sometimes even the rest of our lives, over the baby we’ve lost, we now have a story to tell. Miscarriage affects 1 in every 4 women, and yet nobody really talks about it. I have a story that I can share with the public, share with all of you, to maybe remind you of God’s never ending love and never ending grace, or even just to let those of you that are silently hurting know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I am here. There are so many other women here that understand your pain and your grief, and sisters, we want to hold your hands and cry with you. It may be a community only slowly emerging, slowly coming forward to share their stories, but the miscarriage and infant loss community is still a community. We are here for you. And even though I have experienced so much grief, even though I still experience so much grief on my hard days, I am thankful that God is helping me be brave enough to share my story and hopefully help others.
3) This one may sound like a bit of a cliche, but this is a reason I feel very strongly about. Looking back (even just a few short months), I don’t feel like Bryce and I were ready to have kids. We had just gotten married and moved to a location far from any of our family, and Bryce had a new job and I was getting a new job. Our marriage was going through so many tests with all of the new things we were having to embrace and get used to. Some of them we’re still not used to! But we’re working on those things. I have always wanted to be a mom, always. I grew up in a large family and both of my jobs before I got married were babysitting, and now my job in Park City is also babysitting. I love children and I cannot wait to start my own family. And while I do wish that there hadn’t been complications, that my baby would be okay and safe in my body, there is a peace that comes with thinking that Bryce and I just weren’t ready yet. But in saying that, there is also a comfort and a peace in knowing that, someday in the future, God will let Bryce and I feel ready and we will have kiddos of our very own.
In sharing my personal thoughts with you and how I’ve come to accept my miscarriage journey, I want to add that just because I have a peace with these reasons that I feel God has shown me does not mean that I never have bad days. When you lose a child, I don’t think you ever really stop grieving.
I had an OBGYN appointment earlier this month, just another checkup so the doctor could be sure I’m still feeling and doing okay. I cried into my husband’s shoulder later because that should have been the OBGYN appointment where we went for our first ultrasound and got a due date.
This December will be around the time we would have figured out the gender of our baby.
Next April or May, if I’m remembering my dates correctly, would probably have been around the time our baby would have been born.
In having my reasons and my peace, I still ache for the loss of my baby, and that is 100% okay. I, nor any of you reading this that have gone through a miscarriage or loss of an infant, should not feel guilty for still having my bad days, for still grieving. Grief is a natural part of life, and it takes different people different amounts of time to work through it. As I write this, I feel such an immense relief at being able to share my story, excitement at how God may use this post to help those that are reading it and hurting, but I still cry.
I still cry because “Our Little Munchkin” was very real and very, very loved.
Sisters who are grieving, sisters who are the 1 in 4, please never think that you are alone.
I am here, and I see you and I love you.
And while it may not feel like it at first, and it may not feel like it for a very long time, I promise you – from the very bottom of my heart – that God loves you, your family, and your baby too.
If you would like prayer or just someone to talk to about your experience, feel free to comment below or go to my contact page and shoot me a message. I would love to be that friend that prayers for you or is the listening ear you need.