The "M" Word

It was a Tuesday afternoon. I was counting down the days and finally, I was in the chair in the ultrasound room getting ready to see our second baby for the first time. Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” was playing softly over the speakers, I was cold and definitely uncomfortable with my feet up in the stirrups— why does this have to feel so awkward, I thought. I watched as the ultrasound technician began to show us our baby. She looked and prodded and after what felt like forever, eventually said, “I’m so sorry, but I can’t find a heartbeat.” My face became hot and I squinted my eyes while looking at the screen— willing it to show a heartbeat and begging God that this was an oversight. I couldn’t look at my husband, this would be our second loss in a row and although I know that I did nothing to cause it personally, I felt responsible for the pain we both were feeling in the moment.

30 minutes before I was sitting in that room I was dancing down the hallway to my appointment, I was texting my mom and friends that I was at the office and I was talking to my husband about the type of fruit our baby compared to that week. In an instant, this little soul that was a part of me and a part of our family was gone.

When it comes to women and their bodies people don’t like to talk about these private things that women experience— periods, abortions, miscarriages, the list goes on. Miscarriages are hard to talk about because it’s about the little people who we hoped and prayed for, who we loved with our whole hearts that we never even got to meet. From the moment that we got the positive test it was like we were in preparation mode to bring this new little life into our family— already discussing double strollers, where to buy the nursery furniture and what names we liked. I had trained myself to get used to my one cup of coffee a day and I had already gotten used to passing on the glass of wine at dinner for an iced tea. We discussed how great of a big brother our son would be and all of these ideas on how to announce we were having another child.

The thing that is the most disconcerting about miscarriage is that leading up to it there is nothing but plans for the future and in an instant those plans are just gone and all of a sudden you aren’t really pregnant anymore. You are expected to continue to go about your life like things are normal, go to work and the grocery store, make small talk with strangers about the weather, shower, sleep, and rinse and repeat. People have no idea what you’re going through, they have no idea that you want to just scream or cry, or both.  If you’re like me, you’ve made a well-informed decision with your doctor and set up an appointment to say goodbye. Everyone you come into contact with that has read your file gives you the look of empathy and sorrow— these are not easy procedures for them either. You say a prayer, take the anesthesia and after that you try your damnedest to begin to heal in all ways possible.

I share this story not to receive empathy or sorrow— I share this for two very important reasons: First, I’m not the first woman to have a miscarriage, I definitely won’t be the last and I want to put it out in the universe that even though this is an incredibly isolating experience, if you are going through this you are not alone. If there is one thing that I have learned through this it’s that I am surrounded by so many strong women who have this secret held close to their hearts— that they lost a baby, too. And strangely I found comfort in knowing that I was not alone in my experience. Second, I want to honor this baby that was almost ours. We were so close to announcing to the world that we were having another baby and even though we never made it to that point, I still want people to know that he/she existed.

I’d like to think that my first-born child is my sweet ray of sunshine, my baby that I never got to meet is now a twinkling star in the heavens, and one day, we will get our rainbow.