Goodbye Too Soon

Goodbye Too Soon

Through blurred tears, I read and promptly deleted the “Your baby is now the size of a lentil!” notification that popped up on my phone as my husband and I silently drove home from the emergency room. We had just experienced our second miscarriage. The agonizing pain and cramping had finally subsided. It was over. I was no longer pregnant. Our baby was gone along with our dreams of finally having a sibling for our 3 ½ year old daughter. Medically, the worst part was over but when the physical pain subsided, the emotional pain took its place. I’m not sure which is worse.

The difficulty of this miscarriage took me by surprise – we had dealt with heartbreaking infertility for 4 years trying every treatment imaginable before our daughter was finally born via IVF. Since her birth in 2012, she has been the light of our lives… our whole world and we have loved every minute of our sweet, beautiful and funny little blessing! Shortly after her 2nd birthday, we tried an embryo transfer using one of the frozen embryos left from our initial IVF process. Right before Christmas we were given the news that there was no heartbeat and I miscarried a few days later. The first miscarriage was heartbreaking, but I seemed to heal and move on fairly quickly.

Over a year (and a handful of unsuccessful “natural” fertility treatments) later, I was giving my daughter a bath one evening when she suddenly started to get sad. I asked her what was wrong and she said, “I want a baby that I can help take care of. One who lives here with me. I just want a baby brother or sister of my own.” With that said, we decided it was time to try another embryo transfer.

After all of the injections, medications and the transfer, I was finally pregnant again! Morning sickness and all! But as I was watching my daughter’s dance class one Wednesday morning, I felt it; that distinct feeling every newly pregnant mother dreads… cramping and blood. A lot of blood. I pulled my daughter out of class and rushed to the clinic where my fears were confirmed. No heartbeat. I was having another miscarriage. Through the deafening silence in the ultrasound room, my daughter grabbed my hand and said, “It’s going to be okay, Mommy.” Her sweet words pulled all my tears to the surface… no one knows how much I cried that day.

It has been a few months now. For some reason the miscarriage itself was so much more painful physically and emotionally the second time around. Slowly the bleeding stopped and my pregnancy levels returned to normal. My husband, family, friends and even my body was moving on but I felt like I was still stuck in that hospital room. Why couldn’t I shake this? I tried to tell myself that people have miscarriages everyday… I wasn’t very far along, I shouldn’t be this sad. I was ashamed and embarrassed at how heartbroken I was not just for my husband and myself but for our daughter who wants a sibling more than anything. I pushed the feelings down and tried to catch up to everyone else who had moved on. I maintained the facade for a while until one day I saw a Mom shopping in Target with her new baby and I suddenly felt like I couldn’t breath. Tears wouldn’t stop pouring down my face and I realized that no matter how much I tried to convince myself otherwise, I wasn’t ok. I finally understood that it hurt so much because it mattered so much and that was ok. Even though I wasn’t very far along, I was still 100% pregnant and I was feeling 100% of the grief of losing that baby.

Awhile later, my husband, daughter and I were riding in the car – my husband said something really funny and I finally laughed. A REAL laugh. From the back seat I heard my daughter say, “Mommy, you laughed! Does that mean your heart is better?” She had understood my sadness enough to notice I hadn’t laughed like that in quite some time. But she also noticed that I was starting to heal. Though there were still down days, my old self was starting to resurface – enough to laugh again. “Yes, sweetheart. My heart is starting to feel better.”

No one talks about miscarriages because no one knows what to say. I get it. But what is worse is that no one talks about what happens after the baby is gone – the hormone imbalance, the weight loss, the weight gain, the cloud of sadness. I feel that not acknowledging miscarriages after they happen can make women feel like they should be ashamed to be sad – particularly if they weren’t very far along. What I learned is that it is okay to talk about what has happened because the reality is there is a piece of our heart that dies with that baby no matter how early we have to say goodbye. There is part of us that will always wonder who that baby would have grown up to be and we need to grieve for them without feeling ashamed.

A few weeks ago, my daughter and I were sitting in the waiting room at our chiropractor’s office when a mother and her teenage daughter walked in and sat across from us. We watched as the daughter leaned her head onto her Mom’s shoulder. They were laughing at something on her phone and chatting about nothing in particular. It was obvious they were best friends. At that moment my daughter and I looked at each other and smiled as if we were both thinking the same thing – that will be us. We were going to be ok. Whether or not our family is ever blessed with another child, her and I have an extraordinary bond that will span a lifetime and that is more than I could ever ask for! I pulled her close, kissed her head and whispered, “I’m so lucky that I get to be your Mom.”

7 Responses to Goodbye Too Soon

  1. Cassie May 20, 2016 at 2:32 pm #

    Thank you for sharing this. I’m very sorry for your loss as I can understand it firsthand. I had a miscarriage when we tried to get pregnant with our second child. We had shared the news that we were expecting with our family on Christmas day when I was around 8 weeks, and then a few weeks later it all happened. The worst thing I’ve ever experienced physically and emotionally–I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. As difficult as it all was for me, I was open about my experience. I’m glad that I was because support came to me from unexpected places. So many women I encountered told me that they had gone through the same loss, including friends and coworkers that I had no idea about. It was nice to know that I was not alone and that there was hope.

  2. Sherry Kovaleski May 20, 2016 at 11:18 pm #

    Your sister, Kelly, posted this on Facebook and I felt compelled to respond. I had 2 miscarriages and for me the first hit hardest. I felt so silly crying uncontrollably in my Dr.’s office over the loss of a baby that wasn’t even 8 weeks along. She stopped everything, hugged me for a long time and said something along these lines….It doesn’t matter how far along you are when you loose a child. Once you know you’re pregnant, you know that child and see its entire life. You see how they will fit into and change your family. You see your child with its grandparents and on family vacations. You yourself crying at her High School graduation…..that gave me permission to grieve and helped the healing. Thank you for sharing. Sharing helps others.

  3. Julie A. Wilson May 21, 2016 at 7:57 am #

    Wonderful words-thank you for so elegantly putting them to paper! I had 5- ranging from just shy of 12 weeks to a s little as the home pregnancy test saying yes this week to not being by the time I got the prescription of Levonox shots. Each loss I tried to dismiss telling myself I was ok. After the 5th I told myself “no more” and had a hysterectomy. It wasn’t until my recovery from my hysterectomy that I finally emotionally broke. I tried to bury the emotional and physical pain of the losses deeper with everyone I had. It was hard to find comfort with Doctors saying ” it’s okay, just try again” and ” miscarriages happen all the time” to the well meaning public “it wasn’t meant to be” and “at least you weren’t that far along”. I felt I wasn’t allowed to grieve outwardly or even inwardly-so I buried my emotions and grief until I sought counseling when it all resurfaced after surgery. Knowing what I know today-each of these beautiful babies of mine would have been better acknowledge-they deserved that and so did I. Today I am a Mother of one beautiful Earthly child and 5 beautiful Heavenly children.

  4. Kathleen May 22, 2016 at 8:57 pm #

    It’s amazing how quickly you make room in your heart and your life for a child and it is heartbreaking when that life ceases to exist. I had a miscarriage, then had a baby, then three more miscarriages, then a pregnancy with preeclampsia and a difficult delivery which resulted in a heathy baby, and a husband who understandably said we should never do this again. Then out of the blue I was pregnant again and doctors said I had a 70% chance of a miscarriage. It’s hard to live through those days when you are just waiting for a sign that the pregnancy is failing. It’s lonely when your friends act like it’s not that big of a loss. It’s isolating when your sister-in-law, who has struggled to conceive, says the miscarriage doesn’t matter because “at least I knew I could get pregnant.” There is heartbreak all around. And then there is that never failing hope. We were lucky. That pregnancy was uneventful . Our daughter arrived and she actually slept 6 hours her first night home. I think she knew she was just lucky to be here. I feel for all of you who have walked this path and am grateful that today there are venues like this where we can share our grief and support each other. Good luck and have faith.

  5. Lucas Van Heuklom February 1, 2017 at 7:47 am #

    I’m so sorry for your loss Amy, Derek and Emma. I can’t imagine what you’ve gone through/are going through, but this post was written so well, it helped me understand a little more and made me feel it. You guys are awesome!

  6. C. Kenney February 27, 2017 at 9:27 pm #

    Thank you for taking the stigma out this all to often common tragedy that many women and their families endure day in and day our. I too suffered miscarriages – a total of 6 of them. It is the definitely the worst pain in the world- from a psychological stand point. I am very fortunate that after 3 mc in a row, my 4th pregnancy was a healthy baby girl. Then, 3 more mc in a row, – and I told my husband I would try one last time… decided to try one last time. Luckily my 8th pregnancy ended up a healthy baby boy. I know it’s extemely difficult to hold on to hope after suffering miscarriages –but for us, it worked. Best of luck to you if you decide to keep trying… Take Care!

  7. liz June 29, 2017 at 8:58 pm #

    Thank you for sharing this. Pregnancy loss has been such a taboo topic it seems, until recently, and posts like this help anyone who has been touched by this experience. From the parents who are in the middle of the storm that don’t know how to navigate through the trial to friends who are on the outskirts and don’t know how to offer comfort, it’s good to get this topic out there. I had two uneventful births and then a miscarriage and then a difficult pregnancy that resulted in the premature birth of my daughter at 21 weeks. It was amazing at how many stories came out of the woodwork of women losing their babies. It was comforting hearing other’s accounts. Still it brings an uncomfortableness and 2 years after Rena people shy away from wanting to talk about her, which brings on another kind of hurt. I’m sorry for your lost,your but thank you for getting people talking and listening. It helps turn a difficult situation into a somewhat better one.

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