{Interlude for a Miscarriage}

This week we’re sharing our (baby) stories here on Modern Mrs Darcy. This week is devoted to childbirth, but like so much I talk about here, it’s not just about childbirth: it’s about our hopes and our dreams, our beliefs and our fears. It’s about focusing on what’s truly important. I’ll be sharing a little bit of my own story each day this week. You can read all posts in this series here.

We were so excited when we found out we were pregnant with our third. This was the pregnancy we planned, the only one that happened on our timing.

The first time I was pregnant, the possibility of miscarriage never occurred to me. We were young; we didn’t yet know how much could go wrong.

But since that first innocent pregnancy I’d read the statistic that 1 out of 3 known pregnancies ends in miscarriage, and I’d seen it prove true in my friend’s lives. I was very aware that this was my third pregnancy. I wasn’t overly concerned–we were making plans and talking names–but the statistic lingered in my mind.

At ten weeks, I started spotting. My doctor said not to worry: I’d done the same thing with my second pregnancy.

But the next day I started bleeding, heavily–and the ultrasound showed there was no life in my womb.

My doctor talked me through what would happen, and then gave me a hug before leaving, telling me to take my time to collect myself before I left. I just wanted to get to my car so I could cry by myself.

But first, I had to checkout. The nurse on duty smiled, took my file, and asked when I was due. I couldn’t answer her. I just shook my head, tears brimming in my eyes.

She meant well, I know she did. These things happen for a reason. It’s your body’s way of taking care of things. That baby could have had horrible birth defects. It’s a good thing, really.   

And that may all have been true.

But her intellectual assurances offered no comfort. The child in my womb was small, there were lifetimes of hope bound up in that imperfectly formed body. From the moment those two pink lines emerged on that stick, I’d seen our little family joyously welcome this new baby a thousand times in my mind.

But though the child was still in my womb there was no life, and no hope.

When someone’s hope dies, there are no explanations that satisfy. There are no rationalizations that make hope’s death a good thing.

No, all you can say is I’m sorry.

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21 comments

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  1. My first pregnancy ended in miscarriage at 9 weeks. I was heartbroken. And to make matters even harder, four of my girlfriends were all pregnant at the same time {we were all due within weeks of one another}. I remember it being a very dark and trying time in my life. But now, 5.5 years later, I can say I’m grateful to have walked through that experience so that I can help others through it too.

    • Anne says:

      Sarah, that’s such a hard spot to be in with other friends being pregnant. And I’m so glad that you’re able to walk beside other women going through the same pain.

      I didn’t speak openly about my miscarriage until my friend told me she’d miscarried, but didn’t know anyone else who had. Well, I knew tons of her friends had suffered miscarriages, but she felt all alone because it wasn’t a subject that had ever come up in that group–so she thought it was just her.

  2. Kara Nutt says:

    I lost our first at 7 weeks. We had heard the heart beat the week before.

    You are right, the ONLY thing a woman going through that wants to hear is, “I’m so sorry” and maybe, “I’ll be praying for you”.

    I know now that there was a reason. We had shared with our church family that we were expecting and so they walked through the grief with us. Through my m/c several women in the church finally grieved for the ones they lost many years ago when the advise was to not talk about it and forget it ever happened. One woman had carried hers full term before losing it. The Dr’s advised her family to just act as if nothing had happened and go on with life. She didn’t even get to bury her child…. she finally felt she had a right to grieve.

    • Anne says:

      Kara, I’m so sorry for your loss. That’s beautiful that women who’d never had an opportunity to grieve their own loss were able to do so because of your openness about your own grief.

  3. nicole says:

    I’m sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine walking through that grief, which is often so hidden and leaves you isolated. With each pregnancy I have had, I have been more and more aware of what can go wrong and so more anxious.

    • Anne says:

      Nicole, that’s something I’ve had to fight as well. My the time I had my fourth, it was hard for me to not be overwhelmed by all the possible complications that I’d seen my friends experience. And that’s not even counting all the possible complications I’d read about on the internet.

  4. Evie says:

    I’ve been so much enjoying your birth stories series, and this is such a necessary storyt to tell in the midst of the others. Like many women, I have also had a miscarriage, when I naively assumed nothing could go wrong with my pregnancy. Thank you for sharing. May God continue to work His healing and grace in your life.

    • Anne says:

      Evie, I’m sorry for your loss. My hope is that we’ll all benefit by sharing our stories–thank you for sharing yours.

  5. Sonya says:

    Praying for you loss and that our Lord and Saviour surrounds you with His love and comfort always.
    I too have loved and lost. It took me and my husband 2 years of trying to have our first child. We had so many plans and dreams but the Lord’s plans were much different than ours. I gave birth to a beautiful precious girl at 24 weeks in my pregnancy. Here is a poem my husband wrote a day after she was born.

    On December 1st we had our little girl,
    Ever since then our lives have been a whirl.
    It was early in the morning at one seventeen,
    One pound, seven ounces – yet a heartbeat was seen.
    The doctor’s report said, “She took two gasps.”
    Her body wasn’t ready – that’s all it would last.
    At twenty-two weeks she wasn’t fully ready,
    Her eyes were still closed – her lungs weren’t steady.
    She was on this earth but a moment – suffered little pain,
    The Lord called her Home – she had everything to gain.
    Deanna Christine is the name we did give,
    We love our little girl, no matter how long she did live.
    When we think of Deanna it causes great pain,
    Our girl is gone – it’s like being hit by a train.
    In one single night our plans all changed.
    It was a funeral that had to be arranged.
    When we called our minister – it wasn’t to express joy.
    We received tonnes of cards – no clothes or toys.
    Her Mom is not able to hold her dear,
    Or help her speak until her voice becomes clear.
    Our little girl will never go to school,
    We don’t have to teach her the rules.
    Her little legs will never run across our lawn,
    We won’t laugh at what she has drawn.
    We don’t have to guide her through life’s trials,
    Her Dad won’t ever walk her down the aisle.
    Our comfort is knowing that God has a plan,
    With the Words of Scripture are we able to stand.
    Even though our faces could be stained with tears,
    We will smile about Deanna throughout the years.
    Life goes on – we have to get up each morn,
    Our minds aren’t ready – our hearts are torn.
    We can go on, in the strength of the Lord,
    With the comfort He has revealed in His Word.
    We are assured that Deanna is not alone,
    She is with her Lord – He has taken her Home.
    Deep down we are happy, not really sad,
    We are proud to be Mom and Dad.
    And to Deanna we will never say good-bye,
    She’ll remain in our hearts until the day we die.

    It has now been 6 years and not a day goes by that I don’t think of her. Only in our lives for a few moments but forever in our hearts. And we rejoice knowing that one day we will be reunited with her. What a day, glorious day that will be!

  6. Missy Rose says:

    You’re right, there’s very little I can think to say besides I’m sorry.

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I think every time a woman is willing to say, “this happened to me,” to helps many women heal.

  7. Judy Gordon Morrow says:

    Oh, dear Anne, I’m so sorry. I didn’t know that we also have this in common, in that my third child died. I was eight months along and as excited about that pregnancy as my first two. As God is faithful to do, He brought amazing good from my loss.
    My sister, Nancy Gordon, and I wrote a book about it, with the most recent and revised version called Silent Cradle: Help and Understanding in Time of Pregnancy Loss. (The original title was called Good Mourning and had the same subtitle.)
    Both versions are out of print, but Nancy and I hope to get the book reprinted, since, unfortunately, the need for it will always exist. I’ve heard from many readers over the years, as to how the book helped them on their journey of grief. I am grateful that my baby’s brief life of just a few heartbeats has brought hope and healing to others.
    I’m praying for all the women who read your post today, that they will be comforted by your honest and heartfelt words. In our book I wrote about what helped and what hurt, and what I learned has so helped me to know how to prayerfully respond when others experience sorrow, especially pregnancy loss. I discovered that miscarriage is the most minimized and least understood loss by those who have never have experienced it.
    Blessings on you and all the women who share this unasked for but strong bond as mothers. Heaven shines brighter for each of us, and I’m so thankful for that precious hope.
    PS Just thought I should add that I highly recommend the book Heaven Is for Real by Todd Burpo, as I believe it will bring many additional comfort.

  8. Alia Joy says:

    I’m a part of those statistics as well. I’ve had two miscarriages out of 5 pregnancies. I don’t think death will ever feel normal or right for us because no matter what peace we receive from God, we were never meant for death. That’s only a result of sin, so we grieve something that is unnatural to us. Something that feels wrong, and although we trust in God and his promise of eternal life, we struggle here. I’m sorry and I’m praying for you are really the only words that make any sense.

  9. As a labor and delivery nurse who has cared for dozens of patients surviving loss, and having had 3 miscarriages myself, I can resonate with you that people grope for words to say, and many have no idea what to say. It is awkward for them and while they mean well, many of their intellectualized reassurances sting long after they were audibly expressed. Your words are wise, and oh so true. We must sit with someone in their grief, shoulder to shoulder, and with our presence share in it. Often with our touch and with shared tears. And the only appropriate words truly are ‘I’m sorry’.

    • Anne says:

      Jacque, I’m so sorry for your loss. I can only imagine the breadth of experience you have as a L&D nurse. Thanks for putting this so well.

  10. I thought about miscarriage with my first pregnancy. I had back surgery in my second trimester, and my thought was that if anything happened to this baby, it would be my fault—my fault for having the surgery, even though it was desperately needed. He was fine—he came through fine. But after that pregnancy, I saw eight miscarriages among five of my friends. I started my second pregnancy with much more trepidation. I’m almost done with this pregnancy, and the baby is fine. But it’s like I have survivor’s guilt. Why those babies and not mine? Why isn’t this part of my story when it’s a part of of so many of my friends’ stories?

  11. Traci says:

    Anne, I am so sorry you had to endure the pain of a miscarriage. After four healthy boys, I experience a miscarriage last year as well. I was 10 weeks along too. It was a very devastating time in my life. All the words in your post are so true. And I don’t think people can truly understand the depth of the loss that is felt unless they have experience a miscarriage themselves.
    “Sorry” is the only word that can be said.
    Thank you for sharing your words.
    Blessings,
    Traci

  12. Erin says:

    Anne,
    I am so sorry for you loss. I’ve been through a miscarriage as well.
    Here were my posts on it, if you care to read.

    http://inthehayes.blogspot.com/2011/06/job-121.html

    http://inthehayes.blogspot.com/2011/07/one-month-later.html

    http://inthehayes.blogspot.com/2011/08/what-name-have-you-given-this-child.html

    I seem to be almost too open about our child’s death, but I have found it has brought women out of the woodwork who have been through the loss as well. We seem to bring each other healing.
    God Bless
    Erin

  13. Charlotte says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I miscarried last month, and though it was a very early miscarriage, it was still a tremendous loss. My whole heart and body hurt, and I’ve been through a very real and legitimate grieving process. The way you told your story shares so much empathy, and it’s so strengthening.

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