Let’s just put this out there to start: it’s going to be awkward. I don’t really know what to say and neither do you, so we’re going to go ahead and embrace this little moment of shared not-knowing-what-to-say-ness, okay? I’ll stumble around to find the words, and you don’t worry if you can’t.
I’m not entirely sure I want to talk about this, but apparently I can’t NOT talk about it. I haven’t blogged about *it*, but blogging about anything else has felt trivial. So I just haven’t. I haven’t really talked much about it either, because it was so early, and I hadn’t told anyone, and what kind of announcement is it to say, “I was pregnant”?
“I was pregnant, but now I’m not.” Weird, right?
So I’ve only shared with a few friends, most of whom have experienced pregnancy loss themselves and could empathize with the loss-so-early-it-had-barely-registered emotional confusion.
I had a couple faint positive pregnancy tests in mid-November, a few days apart. The second one was more clear, but still faint.
Falling somewhere between planned and not-planned, this pregnancy certainly didn’t surprise me. (I mean, how much surprise can there be, really? We all know how it works. : ) The timing was interesting, though. I had wanted to run a marathon and get this depression thing figured out before having another baby, because A. Running a marathon pregnant is probably possible, but probably not recommended and B. I had a lot of fear about dealing with post-partum depression again. And so it was funny to me that I got pregnant so soon after checking both those items off my list.
I was still figuring out how I felt about being pregnant–tackling fear and preparing for the coming discomfort and physical challenges. I began to think about how this would affect the next year…if moving overseas works out, how would I feel about traveling with a newborn, or about birthing in another country? My friend Karin moved to Germany this past summer with a newborn and a toddler, and we got to visit them in Munich in October. Her experiences and stories are fresh on my mind.
I had just started considering names–I was leaning toward Lydia for a girl–and thinking about how we would share the news with family and friends.
On Joshua’s birthday, 21 days after conception, I started spotting, then bleeding.
I ran my dates and symptoms by a friend who teaches fertility awareness, and she diagnosed early miscarriage. The psych nurse I’m seeing, who was my midwife during my pregnancy with Katherine, agreed. I had wondered, when the test results were so faint, if that was a possibility.
A low temperature and negative pregnancy test confirmed it was over.
So just as I was getting used to the idea of having to pull out the maternity clothes and alter my spring running plans and starting to get excited, I found myself grappling with none of those things happening after all.
At five weeks of pregnancy, three weeks post-conception, I know the baby barely looked like a baby yet, but I’m so aware that his or her heart had already started beating…that he or she was a genetically unique human being… I tell kids all the time when I’m teaching pro-life workshops that their lives were not accidents or a surprises, that God knew every day He had planned for them before one of them had come to pass.
I guess I’m glad that I wasn’t farther along…from a physical standpoint, that’s much more painful and traumatic to deal with. But at the same time, I wish I had been far enough along to have had a midwife appointment and an ultrasound. That would feel more validating. I wish I had a picture of him or her.
The hormonal drop afterwards was a horrible experience. Beyond “normal” confusion and grief, my emotions were an up-and-down disaster, leaving me crying buckets over even non-related issues. Stabilizing from that has been a relief.
So far I haven’t felt the need to understand “Why?” like I often do. It happened. I’m doing okay. I’m sure I’ll have more emotions to work through in the future, but for now, that’s enough. I am thankful for the amazing support network we have in place to deal with difficult things. I’m thankful for friends who prayed and listened and offered cookie dough and sent flowers.
Little moments have pricked. They always do at holidays, don’t they? We had a special wine we’d been saving for Thanksgiving, a Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and I had been disappointed I wouldn’t end up enjoying any, being pregnant. So drinking wine at Thanksgiving was a reminder.
When I unpacked our Christmas decorations, I came across our little coffee shelf ornament that holds mini personalized mugs for each member of our family. Matthew and I bought it before we had any children, and besides getting our own names, we had picked out several future Miller mugs as well. “Katherine” and “Joshua” went on the shelf in due time for their respective “Baby’s First Christmas”es. In the bubble wrap, I found a “Lydia” mug still waiting. I had forgotten how long I’d had that name in mind.
In re-reading this just now, before I hit “publish,” I realize that in spite of my knowledge of the humanity of the unborn, I’ve depersonalized this. Like my nurse who stumbled on her words and said, “In losing the ba- … er, the pregnancy.” I know she was trying to make it easier. Apparently I’ve been doing that to myself as well.
So I’ll go ahead and say it directly, having learned the hard way that downplaying loss doesn’t really work…it just makes grief worse in the long run. I had a baby growing inside me. And she died.
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