My broken body; a reflection on miscarriage

My journey to motherhood didn’t happen on the timetable I naively assumed it would. In my cute little brain, I thought we’d try for a few months and then POOF! I’d be pregnant and ten months later, I’d be holding a baby in my arms.

Well, it started right. I got pregnant.

We were delighted, giddy, bursting with joy. At eight weeks, after an amazing appointment where we saw the heartbeat for the first time,  I couldn’t contain myself so I told my friends and my boss. Two days later, I started spotting. A few days after that I knew something was very, very wrong.

On July 3, 2006 I went to the doctor with a sense of dread weighing me down.

I’m sorry. There’s no heartbeat.

What? How is that possible? I saw it just a few days ago, I thought as the tears started.

I felt nothing and everything all at the same time. Questions ran rampant through my head. “Did I eat something I wasn’t supposed to?” “Did I forget to take my prenatal vitamins?” I was determined to figure out exactly what I’d done wrong.

But that wasn’t going to happen. I now belonged to a club that so many women are members of but don’t advertise.

I trudged on, grieving for the dream that wasn’t to be.

Then six months later, I found myself pregnant again. Elated, but nervous, I immediately went to the doctor to have to HCG numbers drawn. (The hCG hormone is what tells that you are pregnant. In an early, viable pregnancy, hCG usually doubles every 48-72 hours.) After my second draw, the numbers weren’t where they should be. My OB called it a chemical pregnancy and said that I should be prepared to start bleeding within the next week.

To say I was heartbroken would be an understatement.

What the hell is wrong with me?

As I woman, I felt completely broken. Women are made to have babies. My body was designed for this, yet I couldn’t seem to hang on to them.

I felt lost and empty.

And alone.

You see, everyone around me could empathize. My husband wanted a family just as much as I did, yet because each pregnancy was so short-lived, there wasn’t the same connection to the baby that I had. My mother, my sister, they each looked in on me. My friends were there to comfort and console me.

But I still felt alone. Everyone else’s lives went on, while I still grieved. Every month when my period started, the grief and pain started all over. I’d spend two weeks being hopeful and nervous, then nothing.

My two miscarriages turned into two years of unexplained infertility, two years of pain and heartache that occurred month after month.

As I passed the due date for my first baby the SECOND time, I felt nothing except completely and utterly defective. My body was failing me and I didn’t know what to do. I wanted so desperately to be pregnant, but I was so terrified it would end just like the first two.

Ultimately, I got pregnant and had a baby boy, then a few years later, a little girl. My angel babies are still with me; they live on in my heart. I think of them every February and August and wonder what might have been.

I’m not alone. According to the March of Dimes, more than 500,000 pregnancies each year end in miscarriage (occurring during the first 20 weeks). Yet, it’s often kept hidden in the shadows, not talked about. Having been there, I assume it’s because of the feeling of inadequacy, like we are failing as women.

We aren’t broken. But I understand.

On this day of Remembrance, I wish peace to all of you who are grieving and struggling to deal with this unexplainable loss. My heart is with you.


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