Thoughts on My Recent Miscarriage
Today is my 40th birthday, and I thought I would be sharing news about my pregnancy. Instead, this is a post about loss, grief, and what comes next.
I started the post above on May 16, 2017. I wrote the following essay on July 4, 2017.
A Tender Scar: Thoughts on Healing from Miscarriage
I recently heard a lecture by blogger and activist Glennon Doyle, and she said, “Writers write from our scars, not our gaping wounds.” These words hit me powerfully because during my pain and suffering the past two months, I wrote copious amounts, trying to wade through my emotions and somehow “get to the other side” of them. Yet, I could share nothing with my friends and family, not even with my husband. I realize now that I made the decision to keep my writing to myself because my wound was too fresh, too wide open, too raw.
And maybe it still is? Yes, I know it is. I’m welling up as I type. I have felt a few moments when the veil of sadness has started to lift. I can again see a light shining within me and ahead of me. But on other days, a fog sits heavy on my heart and mind and I don’t know what to do with my emotions. And so, I am revisiting those journal entries into this essay that I hope helps me to soften the tender scar on my heart and to share some of the insight this painful experience has gifted me.
There is no easy way to share this news: On April 19, 2017, I learned that the baby I had been carrying for nine weeks no longer had a heartbeat.
As soon as I found out I was pregnant for the third time, I had a million and one thoughts, about my pregnancy and upcoming trips with a big belly, about the arrival of a third child and how our lives would change, and about how that baby would grow up and add to the love in our family. I began to prepare for a new little one with love and intense joy. My husband and I shared the news with our six-year-old son and two-year-old daughter on Easter morning before sharing with our families later that day. That was April 16. We basked in congratulations and well wishes for three short days. Then, our joy turned to sadness, confusion, and despair. My grief plummeted me into an emotional chasm, one from which I continue to try to climb out.
The next days were a blur. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I ran errands like a madwoman, trying to occupy myself while ridding the house of maternity clothes and new picture frames I had purchased. Yet every time I entered a store and the salesperson happily wished me a good day, I had to hide my tears and run out of the door as fast as I could, into the safety and solitude of my car where I would cry for prolonged periods.
The day of the D&C I was barely functional. I had thought that once the procedure was over I could at least stop with the medical reminders of what I was missing. That was not the case, however, since I had to have four additional blood draws to ensure that my hCG levels returned to zero.
While the physical aspect of this ordeal went well, in that I had no adverse side effects or complications, the emotional and mental aspects took their toll.
The words the doctor spoke upon reviewing the ultrasound still reverberate in my mind. Sometimes I’m alone driving around, and sometimes I am with my son and daughter and they don’t understand why mommy is crying. My daughter says to me, “Mommy, don’t cry. I want you to be happy,” which triggers another round of tears that I am so sad despite the presence of this precious girl already with me on Earth. I’m trying to train myself to see this experience as the greatest opportunity for spiritual and emotional growth I have ever known. As painful as the emotions are, I know that I am growing and for that I am grateful, even when I feel terrible.
When I share with a female friend that I’ve had a miscarriage, I estimate that 80 percent of them share that they too have had a miscarriage, sometimes multiple. I also have friends who have lost babies in childbirth, infancy, and childhood. I can’t help but think about the strength and fortitude women have to bear these experiences and how we are united in this secret club, secret because too few of us talk openly about the pain.
One morning I was thinking about how I could feel my newborn girl cuddling on my chest (I had a gut intuition she was a girl). The sensation felt very real and yet wasn’t. A few days later, one week after the D&C, I forced myself to go to my kundalini yoga class. I thought I could go and be invisible and perhaps I might feel better. Upon entering the room, the ladies asked me how I was. I started to cry and tell the women what happened. They were so loving and gracious. I managed to do most of the practice through my tears and sniffles. During shavasana, the teacher played one of my favorite songs, accompanied by a guided visualization. I followed along and soon found my soul connected with all the angels and with my baby girl. The sensation is hard to describe. I felt and saw a warm golden sphere and I had a deep knowing that I was connected with their energy. My daughter then told me in a gentle and caring way that she was not ready to come to Earth. She and a chorus of angels told me, “All is well.” A moment later the narrator on the CD said, “All is well.” I had to smile at the glory of the Universe and the God force within me and around me. In that moment, I released my doubt about what happened and why. When I got into my car, it was 11:11 am, another sign from the angels that they were with me still.
This knowing is all I have now when my thoughts go wild and my hormones take over. She wasn’t ready. She wasn’t in the right vessel, a fact that was backed up by the pathology report we received about a month later, which showed that our baby girl had a chromosomal abnormality. I know that I didn’t do anything to cause this loss but I must do something to shake myself out of the despair. I’m applying many tools I’ve learned over the past year and a half. Some days I see a glimpse of the light for which I yearn. Some days I’m back in the fog and even the darkness. I must keep moving myself ahead for the sake of my husband and children, so that we can coalesce once more into a strong and loving family unit, watched over by our very special angel.
Updated March 14, 2018
Her Name is Lucinda
This month marks one year since I learned I was pregnant. My grief continues to transform, and I continue to learn more about myself and the meaning of life each day. I only need to feel my heartbeat and listen to my intuition to feel her and often hear Luci’s reassuring words, telling me that she loves me.
That’s right. Her name was to be Lucinda or Luci for short. I have resisted sharing this until now because I keeping her name private helped me to keep my pain private. Listening to my intuition, however, I could no longer be in resistance to finishing this essay and to sharing this experience and her.
Last fall, we planted a tree in Luci’s honor, a beautiful Forest Pansy Redbud. It will bloom every year in April as a reminder of the short time she spent with us. The thought of watching the tree grow and develop gives me comfort. Sometimes I still close my eyes and feel her on my chest. I feel and smell her so clearly, just as if she were here.
This Easter will be very different from last year. Yet perhaps fittingly, like Easter, it is time for joy to come from great suffering. I am ready to step back into the light, rejoice, and be glad once again. Luci may not be with me physically but she remains in my heart and in my life forever. I am a better mother and a better person for having known her. And now, as always before and hereafter, All is well.