April 24, 2014, in the emergency room, was one of the scariest days of my life. I had all the adrenaline that comes with fighting for my baby’s life (as most moms can attest to-that mama bear instinct is something fierce), but I was helpless in every aspect of the word. It had already been decided for me. I couldn’t wrap my mind around the fact that the heart I had just seen blinking on a screen two days prior, had stopped beating. I realized then, what a true miracle it is to grow a life, and actually end with a baby in your arms. Facts that I once took for granted.
I also realized how much I needed my husband. As independent as I am, he is my rock. Brian saw me in my most vulnerable state, that afternoon in the hospital. He helped me in ways only a husband could, and in ways I didn’t know I needed. He witnessed things I wish he never had (or either of us had), but I was so grateful he was with me.
We agreed more that day than ever before, how blessed we were to have a healthy baby at home. All we wanted was to leave that awful room that had devastating news swirling around in the air, and to be with our baby at home. We slept with Mason that night. Mason had no idea how he saved us. He had no idea how he dried our tears and brought a smile to our red, tear stained faces. He had no idea how heavy my heart was, and how he lifted it.
After months of emotional recovery, seeing others pregnant around me made me smile. As we continued to try to grow our family, I was not blind to the fact that trying for a second baby to join our family, would mean my 4th positive pregnancy test. I had not forgotten. I know I never will. Seeing Mason reminds me what all is at stake with each positive test. I know all that we have to lose, and know that it’s still worth all the risks.
After two miscarriages, we welcomed our rainbow baby, Hudson. When they first laid him on my chest, I wept. It was so surreal to be on the other side of that rocky road. He was finally here, and he was HEALTHY. The two years prior had changed my perspective. It taught me to embrace the aches and pains that go along with pregnancy, and the sleepless nights of a new addition. I became painfully aware that the “luxury” of back aches, labor pains, and sleepless nights are not promised to everyone that wants it. I learned not to take those things for granted.
During my healing process, conversations about the events and my feelings were a slippery slope for friends and family to navigate. There were things people said that unintentionally hurt me, but there were also things that surprisingly helped when I didn’t think anything could. These conversations have taught me how to proceed, and help comfort others experiencing this heartbreaking rollercoaster.
What NOT to say to someone after a miscarriage:
- “Just relax. Don’t dwell. It will eventually happen.” Like that’s possible! Chances are they are very much aware that stress isn’t helpful, but it’s impossible to escape the grieving thoughts at first. Once something is taken away, you realize how much you really wanted it. Everyone’s recovery timeline is different.
- “The timing wasn’t right. Everything happens for a reason.” Although these things are probably very true, they are NOT helpful to hear right after a loss.
- “Do you think it was because you ____?” Fill in the blank with anything, and it’s a dagger to a Mama’s heart. The amount of guilt I felt couldn’t be measured. Even as much as doctors told me repeatedly there was nothing I could have done differently. I hadn’t caused those hearts to stop beating. I know that deep down, but as a mama, the possibilities of what I had done raced through my mind.
- “Maybe it’s a sign you should stop.” This is a very personal decision. Only the couple involved can decide for themselves where to draw that line.
- Any complaint about being pregnant or adjusting to a newborn. Experiencing my losses never made me upset that others were pregnant around me. What upset me, though, was if they took it for granted or complained about it. I know that pregnancy, labor and parenting is difficult, but that’s the last thing I wanted to hear about during my struggle.
Helpful things to say to a friend after a miscarriage:
- “I’m so sorry this happened. I love you and I’m here for you.”
- “There’s nothing I can say to take the hurt away. I’m here to listen, get mad with you, or cry with you.”
- “It’s ok to be mad.”
- Reach out on due dates. I appreciated the ones that didn’t forgotten along with me. I had friends that acknowledged that the first Mother’s Day after my losses was extremely difficult for me to enjoy with a smile. It both surprised me and warmed my heart when people contact me to say they were still thinking about me. They remembered that it wasn’t over for me…
Will it ever be over? I feel healed. We are within weeks of welcoming our third boy into our family. It’s been a long road to get here, but our family is now complete. I’m certain we have the three boys were were meant to have, but I still haven’t forgotten the ones we lost. It still crosses my mind how old those babies would be today. Time does heal, but the hard times taught me to appreciate when we finally got on the other side of the heartache. It’s not something you just forget about, and I’m not sure I want to. It sticks with you. It changes you. I had some dark moments along the way, but remembering the hurt also helps me be even more thankful for the babies I hold now.
As friends, we need to remember that there is no right or wrong way to mourn the loss of a baby. You don’t have to have experienced a miscarriage first hand to be able to help others through the healing process.