You Are Not Alone In Your Grief: The Challenges of Miscarriage
I will never forget those three painful days where the tiny little lives I was carrying slowly started dying in my womb. Each one different yet etched so deeply into my mind I experience the pain all over again just thinking about it. Miscarriage is not a topic woman talk about, yet we need to. I pray this post provides you with courage and comfort as I share my story.
My first loss was unexpected. I never missed my period. It was like clockwork. I remember the grief and uncertainty. I hadn’t taken a test but I just knew. I had felt different for a few weeks. Maybe I wasn’t pregnant at all I reasoned? But, the pain that came passing that child. Oh the pain! Now having delivered three babies and going through two additional labors to remove my babies that had passed. I know. You always know. There is such a sadness that comes with the death of an unborn child. Years you will never get to see their tiny little faces this side of heaven. An empty womb that wanted to shelter them from harm. I had my third and final baby in March of this year. She was our rainbow baby. My first loss was January of 2014 the next loss was May 2018 and the final loss occurred May 2019. My final loss was the most painful as I was furthest along in my pregnancy.
You get to a certain point where you think, okay I’m good now. Things are going to work out and then you feel a twinge of pain. I pleaded with God. Man, alive I pleaded. We were living in Syracuse, New York when my last miscarriage started. I had felt a little off, my husband and I were fighting. I don’t even remember the reason why we were fighting now, but I do remember the kids had swim lessons. My husband and I took the kids to the pool together. I was feeling awful. He wasn't budging on swimming with our son that week- so, in the midst of arguing with my husband I finally just got dressed and accompanied my son into the water. My son was a kicker in his attempts to master swimming. I remember feeling an ache in my abdomen. I was boiling at anger towards my husband’s selfishness by this point as I did my best to protect the tiny human developing from my toddlers aggressive underwater kicks. The cramps intensified through out the night. I used the restroom and saw it. A faint tinge of blood. No Lord, no, no no no. Please God. Not again. I was panicked. My husband was at work at this point and unreachable. I was alone with my thoughts and the pending reality. I can’t describe to you the pain that floods your mind losing a child to miscarriage. I feel like when something is wrong with any of my other children, I can do things to fix it. But not when the baby is in my womb. It’s such a helpless feeling. Thoughts rush through my mind, Did I eat something bad? Did I over do it exercising? Anger seeped through my veins. I told him I didn’t feel well I reasoned thinking back to my son’s swim lessons and the fight with my husband. He should have taken him swimming I bargained, fully knowing the cramps had begun earlier that day.
We want to blame someone for our pain don’t we? As if it makes it better to face if there is someone else we can blame. This wasn’t supposed to happen again God. My husband arrived home and told me we needed to drive to Pennsylvania to pick up a trailer he had purchased. I’m losing a baby I thought! I don’t want to drive to pick up a trailer. This isn’t an ordinary day. He was empathetic, but knew I needed the distraction. The cramping intensified. Why do I have to experience labor as well God? It hurts enough. The three hour drive felt agonizing. I remember debating for a long time to take Tylenol to relieve some of the pain. You can take Tylenol in pregnancy, Dannelle! I know, but I don’t. I do everything I can to not take anything unnecessary just in case it was that one thing that caused my child to die. But at this moment I needed the pain to subside a little. We would return home and I’d pass the baby. I wrapped the tiny thing in a cloth. I didn’t feel right about tossing my child. I grieved with my husband. Oh how I grieved. The weeks that followed were a blur. It had been a hard few months. We found out we were expecting this child shortly after my husband’s mother passed of breast cancer. This little miracle was such a bright spot after the months of sadness watching my mother in law decline. Grief wasn’t unfamiliar to us.
My bleeding continued to the point we went to the emergency room. My nurse was a sweet, jolly woman about to pop with her fourth baby. The irony was painful. The physician’s assistant did a quick ultrasound and noted traces of “tissue” still in my womb. My baby is not just a piece of tissue. Anger boiled up in my heart. For sake of not going into a political debate I believe the Bible when God says He knit us together in our mother’s womb. Found in Psalm 139.
We don’t just suddenly turn into a baby at a certain week. We are created in His image, Genesis 1:27 tells us. This tissue was a part of my baby’s world. Of his or her life. He reminded me to keep monitoring my bleeding as he signed off my official paper work. Termination or loss of pregnancy. His final urging was to get checked as soon as we moved to our next location to make sure everything was gone. But I don’t want it to be gone, I thought. Please Lord maybe there is still life in me. Maybe it’s a twin, I thought. But, soon the bleeding stopped and all traces of life were gone.
I wouldn’t see a doctor for another month. My initial appointment brought on additional stress as the physician noted a lump in my breast. The bleeding had stopped, but the reason for why I was losing babies was not known. I was here for bleeding God not potential breast cancer I pleaded in my heart. I was raw with emotional fatigue. I would undergo a few more tests. Why do major tests never come back rapidly? The waiting and unknowing is almost more painful than the actual issue that may need dealt with. We received another set of orders to move. We would be going home to Idaho in a few days. Home what a beautiful thought. It had been a while since we were home. I needed a change of scenery. I was at my final appointment now. My husband and older children were in the waiting room with me. If I had breast cancer, I wasn’t facing the news alone. The physician came back in. Her face seemed hopeful. Well, that’s reassuring I thought. Then her nurse came in smiling. She motioned to the physician a symbol of an X. Confused I looked at the doctor. My blood results indicated I was pregnant. Not only did I not have breast cancer, but I was expecting again. WHAT!?! I was so confused. Overwhelmed and happy all at once. The physician went on to explain the lump she felt was more than likely a change in my body from the growing baby. Panic set in. I explained to her how I couldn’t go through this again. I looked at my husband equally shocked at this moment. When in the world were we even intimate? I asked if this could be a twin after all. Doubtful the physician stated. Why was I losing these babies I questioned? She looked over my blood work again and told me she wanted to order one more panel to check one final thing. When the results came back it indicated my progesterone levels were dangerously low. She explained to me how progesterone is what keeps the baby attached to the lining of the womb. Without it babies become unattached and die. That hit me like a ton of bricks. I was incredibly grateful to know, but wish I could have stopped the others from passing. Sometimes we never know why things happen the way they do. I’m confident questions like this will be answered in time.
She set me up on a series of medications to bring my levels back up. I would go on to deliver our second daughter March 2020. I have since learned this is a very common issue among moms who have experienced miscarriage. I am not sure why it’s not automatically screened. If you are newly pregnant please request it at your next appointment. It requires a special blood draw.
Miscarriage carries a grief that is almost shameful. Sometimes people grieve alongside you other times they make it worse. I remember feeling absolutely shock over my first loss and having a nurse friend tell me I probably wasn’t pregnant to begin with that she had a miscarriage as well and it was no big deal. My other favorite- babies that die were never really babies to begin with there was something wrong genetically and they would have died eventually. This last phrase I received on two different loses both from moms with children! At the very least have empathy for the one going through the loss. Especially if you have not experienced a miscarriage. We never know someone’s journey. The struggle they may have faced getting pregnant to begin with then the roller coaster of events leading up to that point. Please avoid any type of “expertise” that may cause a mom to hurt more. If you have been the recipient of such words, I pray forgiveness and healing over you.
Your baby is just as precious as the ones that go on to live years here on earth. The process of loss and grief are still the same. You have dreams and ambitions for that child just like any other. Share your story! I’m not sure why but it’s almost like there is a secret club for women that have experienced miscarriage. No one talks about it, no one wants to be in it either and we all grieve in silence. It’s the worst possible support group!
When I lost my last baby, I looked desperately for some type of relief online. I saw some support groups with in the hospital context, but they were more geared toward the loss of a baby who was still born.
Surely there were other women going through the pain I felt. There is a sense of comfort in knowing others know what you are going through. I found one thing from a lady in Russia! ONE! So please share your story.
I have friends that have large families and have lost babies, friends that have one child and have lost multiple babies, friends that can’t carry any child and have adopted. YOUR story matters. Share it.
Miscarriage also overlaps into abortion. There is so much pain and division on this topic of babies. Where the rights are drawn and not drawn. That is not my goal for today. My goal for today is to provide you with some comfort. If you are one that has had an abortion please know regardless of the circumstances that led you through that decision, you are still loved and so is your child. There is a different sense of loss moms experience that have gone through an abortion. I cannot relate to this type of grief, but know it often involves a lot of pain, guilt and remorse. More often than not, decisions out of our control and others opinions play a part in the process and for that I am sorry.
I believe God is a God of redemption. A God of healing and forgiveness. There is nothing too big or small He cannot mend in our lives. If you are reading this and at any point just feel hopeless at the feat of raising a baby please reach out. There is always hope. You can email me directly and I will do everything I can to provide you with resources to help you and your child. I know this was a bit heavier of a devotional thought, but one needed.
The average time it takes to grieve loss is up to five years. You will experience the various stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance throughout. You may cycle in an out of each stage. That is normal. Each person is different and that’s okay. Find things that help you cope in a healthy way.
The book/movie Heaven is For Real really brought encouragement to my heart. Based on a true story a little boy dies during an operation and experiences heaven in ways he was never taught. At one point he talks to his mom about meeting a little girl that looked like her without a name. The mom automatically is shocked as she lost a baby prior to her son. She had never told him about the loss of her baby. He also talks about meeting his dad’s grandfather Pops - again never hearing or knowing anything about this man. It gave me a lot of comfort in my losses knowing I’ll see them again.
My final thoughts on coping with the loss of your child come from God’s Word. We serve a God who is near to the broken hearted (Psalm 34:18) He’s not off doing something better. He is there for you. He grieves for those He loves (John 11:35), He has compassion and empathy (Luke 7:13; Matthew 15:32; Matthew 9:36) When everyone else doesn’t seem to understand what you are experiencing know that Jesus does. He has good plans in store for you (Jeremiah 29:11) This one in particular feels hard to believe when you are in the midst of your grief, but there is always hope. If you need prayer, to share your story or have additional Bible verses please share or email us.