It was during the morning of Sunday, August 4th, 2019 when I lost someone I’ve never met-again. It felt different than the first time because I’d already been through it, but the pain remained and continues to remain when I am offered a moment to reflect.
I was about 10.5 weeks pregnant when I miscarried who we were hoping to have become our third child, this side of heaven. Technically, it would have been our fourth, given the fact that my first pregnancy was a miscarriage and I have two girls, followed by this recent miscarriage. I wasn’t very surprised because I had been spotting for over a week and it wasn’t getting any lighter, in fact, it had gotten heavier.
The spotting was different than my first miscarriage. It was much lighter at first and not nearly as bright in color. As each day passed, it wasn’t stopping and then eventually it seemed like I had gotten my monthly.
I had an ultrasound for something totally unrelated to my pregnancy at about 5 weeks 5 days. It was to check to see if the cyst that has remained on my left ovary had grown in size since the last time I had it examined. Being that I am an ovarian cancer survivor, this is the only ovary that remains and my cyst needs to be watched somewhat closely to make sure that it is not growing, which would lead doctors to believe that it had become malignant, or cancerous. Praise the Lord, it has NOT grown and I do NOT have to deal with another tumor.
Anyway, it is protocol that any time a woman is pregnant and receiving an abdominal ultrasound for a non-pregnancy related matter, that the baby be viewed to make sure that things are going as planned, no matter how small the baby. Being that I was early on in my pregnancy, the tech told me not be alarmed if we did not see baby, or the fetal sac, on ultrasound. She also told me that a heart beat was most likely out of the picture since I was so early.
As the ultrasound continued, she told me that she was not able to see baby, but that my endometrial lining had thickened and I had a few visible follicles, which are in support of pregnancy. I had taken two positive pregnancy tests before this point and had all my usual symptoms of pregnancy, so I wasn’t worried.
I received a call from my primary provider and OB a few days later, saying that my ultrasound did not show a pregnancy and that she would like me to come in for an HCG test to see that my levels were where they were supposed to be at, to support a pregnancy of my progression.
I also received a call from the gynecological surgeon I’ve been in touch with from Mayo since my cyst was discovered. He had a very different demeanor on the phone. He read the results of the ultrasound and congratulated me on my pregnancy, saying I was very fertile despite everything with my ovarian cancer health history. He said that the cyst had not grown and that I could proceed normally with my pregnancy…that we could revisit any cyst related matters afterward.
My husband and I decided it was not necessary for me to get my HCG levels drawn, as I had taken two positive tests and had all the signs of pregnancy. I decided to side with the tech who told me that it was normal not to see anything on an ultrasound that early on. I would wait until my first OB appointment on August 9th to get anything checked out.
Well, little did I know, I wouldn’t make it to my first OB appointment for this pregnancy. I had my HCG levels drawn last Friday, and they were much lower than they should have been at just over 10 weeks. My OB said that this could be due to three things: 1. I’m not as far along as we were thinking. 2. Ectopic pregnancy (fertilized egg implants in Fallopian tube, ovary or uterus in a way that does not make a continued pregnancy viable. 3. Failed Pregnancy or Miscarriage
Obviously, I liked the sound of number 1 the best, but I knew it wasn’t likely. I also had been told by my provider that for some women, they get what is basically their period for the first few months after getting pregnant, and then it stops and the pregnancy continues like normal. This had never happened in any of my previous pregnancies, so I was doubtful, but still held out hope that this could possibly be what was happening for me.
Unfortunately we lost our baby just 2 days after speaking with my provider about the possibilities over the phone. I was supposed to go in to have my HCG levels checked again the other day to make sure they were going up. At this point, I really don’t see a point in going in to have that done, since I miscarried, but they may want me to come in at a later point to make sure my HCG levels are going down, as they should in cases of miscarriage.
I am grieving and am still so very sad for the little life that was lost. When I miscarried the first time, it was my first pregnancy and I didn’t have any children. This lead to questions like, “Will I ever be able to have children?”
I also didn’t have much to distract me from my thoughts. I was married, had a dog, and had just started a new job, but nothing other than that. I was very depressed for at least 2 months and no one but close family and maybe 2 friends knew that I had even had a miscarriage until about 4 months later. We didn’t know how to really let anyone know, given that not really anyone knew I was pregnant when it happened. There were also many women in my life who became pregnant one after the other just after I miscarried, and it really stung. I was happy for them, but watching their bellies grow only reminded me of what could have been.
Thankfully, I was able to conceive our first born, Taya Grace just 5 months after my first miscarriage and it was such a blessing to hold her in my arms after waiting for what felt like an eternity. About 2 years and 2 months later, we were blessed with our little Maggie Rose. These girls are so precious to us and are two of our greatest blessings.
It is hard to understand, outside of medical reasons, why miscarriage happens. It just seems that it is too tragic of an event that no woman should ever have to go through. It leads to questions like, “Why does God allow this to happen?” I really don’t know, but I do know that we live in a fallen world, ever since Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden.
I also know that despite what God may have allowed to happen; He is still so very faithful to me and to our family. I will never stop loving Him, even when sometimes I feel anger about what has been allowed to happen.
I am writing through tears now. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to meet my two miscarried children in heaven, because I don’t know if it works that way. The Bible is not specific about these matters. I like to think that someday I might though, and that He holds these tiny little miracles in His mighty hands when they pass from the womb.
Something else that has made my miscarriages hard is that we have always longed for a little boy to join our family. In each of these pregnancies I have lost, I felt the least nauseas and had way less vomiting or none at all compared to my pregnancies with my girls. This leads me to believe that it is because the pregnancy was not as strong, thus my symptoms were less, or that they could have been little boys. We love our girls so much and would not have it any other way, it just doesn’t lessen the pain-knowing that we could have possibly had a little boy join our family.
We don’t know exactly what will be next for us, as all the planning in the world does not mean your life will turn out that way. We do know that God has placed a desire for more children in our hearts, and fulfilling that desire may look a little different for our family, and has the possibility of turning out more beautiful than we could have imagined, with God’s grace.
Despite the rain, we will continue to look toward the horizon and know that God sees the whole puzzle, even when we can only see the pieces, broken or otherwise.
I will write just one word of caution to any who might be reading. This is just a reminder to be gentle with your words to any woman, friend, acquaintance, or family member who has ever experienced a miscarriage.
It really is almost just like losing a loved one you’ve known your whole life. While the reality is that you’ve never met this little person as a live human being, you’ve imagined him or her. You’ve made room in your heart and your mind for him or her. You may have begun picturing what your baby will look like, begun choosing the baby’s name, or thought of making vehicle changes, housing or room arranging changes, etc. This little person had a life, for a few days, a few weeks, or a few months. This miraculous little blessing may have had the chance to have a beating heart if the baby made it past the earliest stages of pregnancy.
So please, refrain from saying things that begin with “At least….” or anything of that nature. You may mean well, but really, the best advice I have to offer when speaking to someone about their miscarriage, is that you just listen if they are willing to talk to you about it. Even saying something like, “I’m so sorry. I cannot imagine what that feels like. I will be praying for you and your family,” is much better than trying to dismiss what happened or try to make light of the situation, no matter how uncomfortable you may be in the conversation.
If you have experienced a miscarriage yourself and feel led to encourage someone else who has miscarried, by all means, please do so. It has been so comforting to me when a woman who has been through a similar experience, has reached out and written me a letter, or just let me talk to her about how it has affected me. It is a great comfort to know you are not alone in your experience or sadness.
Miscarriage can be a “taboo” topic, but it really happens more than people realize. It’s just not talked about as much because it’s hard to talk about. The last statistic I’ve read is that 1 in 3 women experience miscarriage, or 30 percent. That’s a lot. While tragic, it does happen and is happening. Let’s not make talking about it something that seems out of reach for a woman who is grieving, often in many cases, in isolation.
A sincere thank you to any and all who have come alongside us during yet another unexpected valley. Your hearts of love and service toward us have not been taken for granted. You make life’s unpleasant burdens seem a little lighter and remind us that the body of Christ will be known by their love.
With love and gratitude,
Anna, Matt, Taya, and Maggie Brubaker