A couple of weeks ago, I found out I had a miscarriage. What I expected to be a routine 11-week appointment and my very first ultrasound where I would get to see my baby for the first time, see it bounce around on the black and white screen, its little heartbeat aflutter, ended abruptly with the news from my doctor that in fact, my baby had not made it past 9 weeks. The feeling I had in that exact moment is difficult to describe — it was as if the room was expanding, exhaling, to an infinite scale, and then immediately contracting, closing in, the walls so tight around me I could barely breathe. I saw her words — “I’m concerned this is a miscarriage” — spoken to me directly, but I heard them as though echoed from across a long hallway, to the general air around her. Not to me, surely. This couldn’t be happening to me.
But it did happen to me. And I know it has happened to a lot of other women — in fact, after I shared the news with some close friends and family, I suddenly realized two things. Not only am I incredibly loved and supported, but I am not alone in this pain. Yet so many days it feels isolating. The walls breathe out and in again, and I feel so small and then, in an instant, so claustrophobic within a tiny space. I want to cry and yell and feel nothing and then everything all at once. I want to talk to everyone about it, and then no one at the same time. It’s a confusing, almost maddening, time.
I feel like there has been a death in our family, but for someone we barely knew. I barely had a chance to talk to my baby, to feel my belly expanding beyond that uncomfortable “is she pregnant or just eating too many cookies?” phase. The nausea was real, the exhaustion was real, and even my body didn’t know anything was wrong as I sat on that exam table, hearing my doctor echo her words, feeling as though I was about to lose my lunch. I could have felt that way for so many reasons, obviously, but the fact remains that I felt pregnant in every way. And yet, I was not.
The day after I was given the news, my husband and I went back to the doctor for an official ultrasound to confirm everything. It was awkward, because the technician didn’t know why I was having an ultrasound then, so early in my pregnancy, so I had to explain to her in a broken voice that my doctor was concerned I had a miscarriage — again, repeating words I was sure were echoed to a room and I just happened to be in it — and once we were on the same page we all held our collective breath as she rolled the device over my belly and showed us, once again, how there was no heartbeat, there was no movement, the baby was measuring much smaller than it should have been, etc. etc. The waterworks resumed and she held my hand tightly. “I’m so sorry,” she said, like she hasn’t told this to anyone else before. Again, so isolated in a moment that so many have gone through before.
My mom flew up the next evening, and the following morning, I had a D&C. Everyone in the hospital was so kind and sympathetic, and it felt so strange to be wheeled around in a bed or a wheelchair having no physical pain. Of course, my heart was shattered, but no one, not even a doctor, could fix that.
Since then, things have been busy. We’ve had visits with family and friends, and all of them have been more helpful to me both physically and emotionally than I ever could have imagined. Our house is full of flowers, our fridge full of food, and I’ve been reading and re-reading letters and cards sent to me from those who don’t directly understand, and from those who do, and both are full of words that are slowly healing me. These people are my treasures on this earth, and I am grateful.
Of course, my husband and my sweet daughter have been the best medicine of all. I squeeze both of them a little tighter, with a little more love in my heart for them found in a space I didn’t even know was there. I look into my daughter’s big brown eyes and realize more than ever how much of a miracle she is, with all of her chubby fingers and toes, her curly hair and toddler belly. I hold my husband’s hand and I know, like everything else we’ve been through, that we will get through this, too.
I’m writing this because I know how helpful it was for me, even in these two weeks, to read others’ stories of miscarriage and healing. I know that everyone has a different experience, but this is mine and if it can resonate with even one person, I know how that can feel. For me, it feels like I can take a breath again, even when the walls are close in, and slowly, they expand again. Soon, I hope the walls will stay put, and I can move forward and we can try again. We’ll see.
P.S. Posts will soon resume as normal here, I promise you. Look for one later this week or early next week. Until then, much love and cookies. xo