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Our Miscarriage

Our Miscarriage

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I’ve always wanted to be a mom. Most women think about the career they want and how they will do anything to get there, but I’ve always felt more passionate about being a mother than ever being a Project Manager or Recruiter. I worked at Facebook, one of the best companies in the world, and it was never enough for me. Friends would ask me what I want to do with my life and I always told them that I just want to be a mom. Andrew and I both love our niece and nephew so much. From the day we started dating, we knew we wanted to start a family right away.

For the first few months when we didn’t get pregnant, we were still hopeful. But, when we reached month 6, things started to get harder. You start to question whether something is wrong with one of you or both of you or if you are even able to carry a child.  After a year of crying every time I got my period, we finally got what we had been hoping for, a positive pregnancy test.  

We were in Hawaii with our family on vacation when we realized I was 2 days late. I was super tired and irritable the entire trip, so I knew something was off. By the time we had left Kauai, I was five days late. We had been disappointed by pregnancy tests so much over the last year that we were scared to take one, but we decided that I would when we got back to San Francisco.

We got home from the airport at 11 PM, went to Walgreens, and bought the tests. I peed on the stick and within seconds, the stick said pregnant. I didn’t even have time to get up. Andrew hugged me while I was still sitting down and we just cried tears of joy. We were so thankful at the thought of finally becoming parents.

One thing you do when you get pregnant is you start planning and dreaming about this little person growing inside of you. We talked about moving out of the city and getting a jump on preapproval for a house, I pinned car seats and sleep training books, we talked about how we would navigate working and taking care of the baby. We thought planning was part of being responsible. Deep down I felt this nagging fear looming over me. I didn’t know if I was just worried about being a parent or if I was worried about the baby.

A week later, we told our parents. I made the cutest onesies with “grandkid #2” on them. Our families were so excited and texted us every day seeing how I was feeling and sending me photos of new things they had bought for the baby. Andrew’s mom manages a pregnancy clinic in Marin, so she made us an appointment to go get our first ultrasound.

We were excited at the thought of getting to see our baby, but a few days before our appointment- I started spotting.

Everyone talks about how spotting is normal and that it happens to a lot of women during implantation. Although, everything I read on the internet said we were past that point. I sent my mom a text telling her that I was spotting and she told me that a lot of women spot through their entire pregnancy. Andrew’s mom told us that spotting is normal as long as it’s just a little bit and more of a brownish color. I felt like we were in the clear, it was just a little and brown so everything must be fine.

During our first ultrasound, the doctor had trouble seeing the fetus because it was so tiny. We were supposed to be 7 weeks along, but we were only 5 weeks 4 days. That put us about 10 days behind where we were supposed to be. I could feel myself starting to panic. I had read enough to know that 10 days behind is far too many days. We had been tracking my ovulation, so I knew I ovulated about 3 days behind when the average woman ovulates. There is a big difference between 10 days and 3 days. I had a feeling our baby might have stopped growing. However, we could see our baby’s heartbeat, so I was staying positive.

Not more than 2 days later, my spotting became heavier bleeding. It was brown, but we were scared. I put a pad on and tried to go through my normal routine. Everything I had read told me that if you aren’t cramping or seeing red blood, then you’re still okay.

The next day, I went to my morning photo shoot and could feel some pains starting. I have never had period cramps, so I had no idea if it was cramping or not. I continued through my photo shoot and just figured I needed to get home and rest. When I got home, my bleeding was even heavier and I could see some parts were more red and clumpy but mostly brown. I had one more shoot around 3 PM and then Andrew would be home. During my second shoot, I could tell something was wrong. My stomach was hurting so bad, I started to hunch forward to try to stop the pains.

When I got home, I dropped my camera bag at the door, ran to the bathroom, yelled for Andrew to come, and started sobbing on the toilet. There was so much blood. Andrew looked at me and then the blood and immediately started crying. He could tell I was in pain. We were both really scared. He got his phone and called our doctor. She told us she was leaving the office soon but that she would stay to see us.

On the way over the bridge to our doctor, we had the radio on K-Love. The guy on the radio was reciting Joshua 1:9, "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go" and then plays the song “Testify” by NeedtoBreathe. We first listened to this song on our honeymoon. We played it multiple times a day for a week and even more when we got back home. We both looked at each other and knew God was there with us, that He would be here with us through whatever was about to happen.

I was in so much pain walking into the doctor’s office. She told us to come into the ultrasound room so that she could see what was going on. After getting undressed, it was clear from the look on her face and the blood that something was definitely wrong. During the ultrasound, she told us what we both were fearing but knew in our hearts, “You’re having a miscarriage.”

With that, our tears began.

Our doctor stood with us, she explained that the ultrasound showed that there was no longer a fetus and that the birth sac was working its way down my uterus. She explained that this wasn’t happening because of anything I had eaten, stress, or any exercise I had done. It was because of a genetic anomaly that my body had identified and began removing. Essentially, our baby wasn’t healthy and my body was flushing it out knowing that it probably wouldn’t have lasted outside of the womb.

Hearing this was both disturbing and incredible all at the same time. Our bodies are that powerful that they can detect something isn’t right and remove it. At the same time, our body doesn't have empathy. It's not hugging me telling me what is about to happen to me trying to make the process easier. It's just doing its job.

On the way back home after the miscarriage, we were both hysterical. I remember looking out at the ocean through the car window on the bridge and asking God to just let us know everything was going to be okay, for Him to just let us know that someday we would come out of this. Later that night, through our tears, I got up off the bed and opened the blinds. There was the most beautiful sunset over the bridge. In that moment, I knew God was there with us taking care of everything. There is a part in the Bible on a Saturday when Jesus is laying in the tomb that everything feels shattered to God’s people. Their Messiah was just killed in the most brutal way. But God was behind the scenes doing his best work, crafting the most incredible redemption story.

Mourning a miscarriage is strange. That’s the best word to explain it. This little thing, the size of an orange seed has brought you so much joy- it’s become everything to the two of you. But, no matter how small it is, when it gets taken from you, it feels like your world is crashing down around you. You were changing in a wonderful way and now you’re instantly back to your old life. No more thinking about strollers or whether the baby is going to look like you or your husband. There is a baby-shaped hole that follows you around. You’re back to crying in the bathroom. You’re pretty much crying everywhere.

A lot of the pain is just sitting under the surface, just waiting to come bubbling up. People ask you how you’re doing and it takes everything in you to try to answer without bursting into tears. Some of my friends have seen me break and I know they are grieving with me, so it’s okay.

My husband has been my biggest support. He reads to me to try to make sense of things, he prays with me and cries with me when it all gets to be too much.

My doctor said that in miscarriage terms, I’m lucky. I only bled for a week and that we lost our baby before a D&C was necessary. She kept telling us that we can try again right away. They deal with this kind of stuff every day, but I wanted to tell her, “That’s awesome, but we didn’t want to try again! We wanted the baby that was inside of me. We loved that child.” I know we never held him/her or heard the heartbeat, but it’s still an indescribable loss. Not only that, it hurts physically. I was cramping and bleeding a lot still. No longer being pregnant seems like a cruel prank when you’re still in pain and your hormones are raging.

The craziest thing we have learned through this is that miscarriage is common. Roughly 30% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. That’s more than 1 in 4 babies. Once you start the conversation and tell people what’s happened to you, they start sharing how they miscarried or how their mom miscarried 3 times or that their friend had 4 before she had her baby. It’s shocking. It’s one of the hardest things to go through in this life and no one talks about it.

I think that the more we can talk about it, the better we can grieve. We can share stories and tell each other how we got through it. It’s comforting to hear other women’s stories. One of the most meaningful things a friend told me is, “It will get better, I promise.” She had 2 miscarriages before having her beautiful 2-month-old. We need to hear these things. I need to hear stories of people who have been through the same thing and now have healthy babies. That’s why I am brave enough to share our story here. I need to do it for the other families who have been through miscarriages or are going through them who might find some comfort in this story.

It’s important to share with your friends. My best friend sent me a text with this verse, Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted. And he saves those who are crushed in spirit.” I kept repeating it to myself that whole day. A couple of friends sent me the most beautiful flowers. Our families cooked for us or took us out to eat. Other friends asked how we were doing and really cared about the answer. Our friends and family grieving with us have been our saving grace. They have shown us who God is and the work He is doing in us and the people around us through our heartbreak.

One day I hope to be writing about our redemption story, about how God brought us through our miscarriage and how He provided a path for a healthy baby. But until then, I am thankful for my wonderful husband, our amazing family, and our sweet friends. I know you’re all grieving with us and we love you so much for that.

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