I winced through the pain, and every time I had a contraction, a wave of blood filled the tub. Patrick held my hand (in between dry heaving into the bathroom sink), and after a half hour of the most pain I’ve ever experienced in my life, I said “it’s coming.” And I pushed out a small fluid-filled amniotic sac with a tiny embryo inside. The pain stopped all at once. We could breathe.
We didn’t know it could happen this way. I didn’t know you could go through the pain of childbirth with a miscarriage.
I didn’t know how I felt about being 31 and not knowing that this completely natural thing thousands of women go through every single day was physically possible.
How is my body’s natural way of flushing out a baby that wasn’t going to thrive, and the pain involved, something I had never heard of before?
Even as we had researched our options online, nothing had led us to believe that not immediately having a D&C could leave us in this position. I feel my doctor could have better served me by preparing me for the worse-case scenario, not the best case.
I dried off, tossed on a robe, and scooped up the amniotic sac in my hands. I placed it in a tiny gold jewelry box of my daughter’s. It was the best thing I could find at 1 a.m. Somehow it felt to me like a gold encrusted shrine wouldn’t have sufficed for this poor little baby. Biased mother, you know.
It rained that night. Patrick and I found an area in our garden in the backyard. He grabbed a shovel and started digging as the rain fell on us. It was serene and quiet out, and I was thankful to have his support and kindness there by my side.
Watching a father-to-be dig a hole and then place a golden box into the dirt — something I thought was going to be our child we would raise for the rest of our lives — was one of the hardest things I have experienced in this lifetime. I was glad it was over.
The next day, I woke up tired, defeated, and sick to my stomach because, although the hard part was over, I still had to admit to the world what had happened.
I like to keep a positive attitude on social media, but I couldn’t ignore this. So I trudged over to the computer and laid it all out:
“It’s with a heavy, heavy heart that I share this. Although it’s not the preferred platform, you have all been so wonderfully supportive in sharing our happiness. I thought we were in the clear at 12 weeks, but unfortunately our little one didn’t make it past that. Thank you so much for the kindness, the love and support, and the thoughts and prayers. It means the world to us.”
The thing I was mortifyingly embarrassed to admit and dreaded putting out there quickly became my saving grace. Love surrounded us. The support and the uplifting messages poured in. We didn’t feel alone.
Friends and acquaintances from high school and college and all walks of life, husbands of wives who had gone through it themselves, women who had braved the dreaded bathtub scene all reached out to send their love. It felt so good to talk about it. I know a lot of people suffer in silence.
An estimated 1 in 6 pregnancies end in miscarriage. There are up to a million cases in the United States alone per year.
For me, learning these statistics and knowing how common miscarriage is hugely helped me with the grieving process. I know we all grieve differently, some publicly and some privately, but the support and stories that have been shared with me since publicly announcing my miscarriage have made me feel less alone.
I wonder how more prepared I would have been in making a decision about my D&C had I been able to find more detailed information from women who had been through this.
That’s why it’s been heavy on my heart to share my personal experience. As real and painful and horrifying as it was, I’ve decided not to sugarcoat it for a second. Because if I’d known what a miscarriage could really be like, I would have been more prepared for what happened to me that night.
For those of you who have gone through or are going through a miscarriage, know that I’m grieving with you and surrounding you with my love. Know that it’s more than OK to talk about, and there are millions of women just like you. You are not alone.