On July 24th 2017 we found out we were pregnant with our first baby. The cherry on top was an Easter due date. Andrew and I had been trying for a few months so I just cried and cried and cried. I was so happy and thrilled and nervous and happy!!! We both felt like it was going to be a girl and threw around names. We brainstormed ways to share the amazing news with the rest of the family and laughed over our crazy ideas. That night I surprised Andrew with a card and wrote a cute song because I was so in awe of what my body was doing.
Being pregnant is an incredible feeling experience. I felt like I had a candle glowing inside of me every where I went. We couldn’t believe that we had created this little person and were so in awe of the magic of life. What would she look like? What kind of personality would she have? We talked about the different things we could each give and do as parents.
Five days later we woke up early and went for a walk. I started feeling very weird, I remember my stomach begin killng me for no reason. Once we got home I found I was bleeding. I didn’t panic because I’d done some reading and knew bleeding can happen during a normal pregnancy but just in case we called my doctor (who I love). She asked me to come in for some tests but we both wanted Andrew to be there so she scheduled them for later in the day once he got off work.
What followed was the most horrific day of my life. The cramps became so severe I was doubled over and the bleeding just would not stop. Deep down I knew I was losing the baby just like deep down I had known I was pregnant before I took the test. I sat alone in the shower racked with sobs while I watched blood flow down the drain. I didn’t know I could feel so terrified and powerless. My body was betraying me, letting go of what I wanted most. Jetty Rae describes it better than I ever could in this emotional music video about her own miscarriage.
I felt this black panic billowing over me and I tried to run. I put Rhianna’s “Stay” on repeat, I wrote the baby a song, I feverishly painted “I want you to stay” all over my body and I took a photo before we left for the doctors. My first and only maternity photo.
Looking back I realize these were all my attempts to control something I could not, my way of pleading with the universe to please please not push me off this cliff. No one wants a miscarriage in their timeline.
Once we got to the doctors they did a vaginal ultrasound which ruled out an ectopic pregnancy but it was too early to see anything else. They drew blood and we were told to wait until tomorrow for the results. They didn’t know yet one way or the other.
We woke up early the next day both feeling anxious and worried about the test results. We were on a walk outside to calm our nerves when the call finally came from the doctor. I was staring at a pink rosebush when I heard the words “You have had a miscarriage” and the image is now stamped in my mind. I crumpled into Andrew and sobbed.
Grief is a funny thing. It follows no rules, no social convention, and no schedule. It defies expectations, makes spectators uncomfortable, and does not make sense. It is wild. You can ignore it and eat yourself alive or surrender and go crazy. I chose the second option.
I called off work, had uncontrollable melt-downs, and wore sunglasses and headphones whenever I left the house. I wrote my baby poems, painted her pictures, baked her cupcakes and cookies, and created tiny shrines around the house in her honor. Andrew carved her a beautiful Christmas ornament. I made necklaces and and wrote songs for her. I decorated a candle and we lit it any time we wanted to talk to her.
I ordered a Jizo statue off Amazon and knitted a little red cap for him. I shared the sad news with my co-workers and many confided that they too had suffered a miscarriage. I filled a playlist with songs that made me think of my daughter and blared it on long runs with tears running down my cheeks. I refused to drink (alcohol) in case she miraculously decided to come back to me somehow.
Andrew began coding an app to comfort other parents dealing with miscarriage. I threw away the shirt I wore the day it happened because I couldn’t stand to see it in my closet. I couldn’t remember things or make decisions, felt slightly drunk all the time, and slept a lot.
Most miscarriage stories I read seem to end on a victorious note but I can’t give you that. The miscarriage was awful and horrible for us. When I share my story (even now) I often feel this unspoken pressure to spin it with a happy hopeful ending but sadly my life is not a movie and miscarriage is devastating. To say anything else would be deeply dishonest.
What I will say is if you are one of the 1 in 5 women who must walk down this road then know you are not alone. I would also like to share the single regret I have from this entire experience.
I knew I was pregnant for just five days. During that time I told myself to be careful because You Never Know but You Never Know happened and being careful didn’t help. In the words of my wise aunt, “It doesn’t matter how long you had the baby, it matters how much you wanted the baby”. If I am ever lucky enough to carry another child inside of me I won’t be careful. I will love it with everything I am for every single second we get together.
MY COLLECTED RESOURCES (things that helped me)
Small Bump – Ed Sheeran
Thunder – Boys Like Girls
Hear You Me – Jimmy Eat World
Human – Christina Perri
Inside Out – The Chainsmokers
Curl Up and Die – Relient K
Did I Make The Most Of Loving You – Mary Jess
Somewhere Only We Know – Lilly Allen cover
Somethings Not Right – Lilly Allen (both about her own miscarriages)
Not Right Now – Jason Gray
Heavy In Your Arms – Florence and the Machine
Symphony – Clean Bandit
You’ll Be In My Heart – Disney Tarzan Soundtrack