October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. I have been struggling with this post idea since the first of the month. Sometimes I don’t know what to say about it. Sometimes I have too much to say. But this is an important topic and it needs to be discussed.
In March of 2012, I saw two pink lines. Adeline was only 5 months old and I was mortified. Superman was just as shocked, but we believe that EVERY life is valuable and we were determined to be happy. I called my doctor and made an appointment five weeks out to confirm and have the ultrasound. Over the next five weeks, we got extremely excited. We picked out names. We told our family and friends. We decided having two so close together would be a blessing even if it were a bit more difficult.
When the day came, we loaded our infant up in the car and drove to the Obgyn’s office. The calendar determined I was 10 weeks and 3 days along. On to the ultrasound we went. When we saw the baby on the monitor, The doctor asked, “Do you feel pregnant?” I thought it was an odd question, but I told him I never really “feel pregnant” when I am. My pregnancies have always been relatively easy.
Then he said it.
“I’m sorry, but there is no heartbeat. The baby is measuring small at 7 weeks. Don’t worry. This happens all the time. We will do a D&C tomorrow to remove the tissue.”
My heart stopped. How could there be no heartbeat? How could he just blurt it out like that with no compassion or thought? Like it didn’t matter. I crumpled into a sobbing heap. All anyone could say is, “I’m so sorry.”
At seven weeks, which is what my baby was measuring, it’s possible to not see a heartbeat, so we felt it was too soon to do a D&C without being absolutely sure. Instead of going through the with it the next morning, I sought a second opinion. After calling 5 different doctors who wouldn’t see me unless I made them my primary physician, I found an amazing doctor who told me to meet him in his office the next morning at 8 AM. He would go in early to see me before his scheduled C-Sections that day. Dr. Chris Sizemore will never know exactly what he did for me. He spent two weeks doing repeated blood tests to check my HCG levels, then even after he was certain, he sent me upstairs to the specialist with the ultrasound that shows blood flow just to be completely sure. Finally, when he had done all he could, he suggested we go through with the D&C. He was compassionate. He was encouraging. He was prayerful. He was exactly what we needed.
I carried a living child in my womb for seven weeks. I carried her (we had genetic testing done, which is a whole other post.) after she passed for 5 weeks. And I’ve now carried her in my heart for over three years. My beautiful Anabel Lee.
The devastation felt by parents who miscarry a child is almost incomprehensible. People don’t know what to say to us, so they say whatever comes to mind, which is usually the worst thing they could say.
“It’s okay. You’ll have more babies.”
That doesn’t replace the baby we lost. This is essentially telling the mother and father their baby didn’t matter. Please, don’t.
“You have two other beautiful babies to focus on.”
All this does is remind me that I don’t have time to grieve the LOSS OF MY CHILD.
“You’ll just have to move on.”
If you want to leave my presence alive, don’t.
And my all-time favorite, said to me by someone who was supposed to be a friend:
“I knew that was going to happen when you got pregnant so soon after the first.”
Please understand this: to people who did not carry this child in their womb, he or she didn’t even seem real yet, but to his/her mother, who held them in her belly, who thought her child was in the safest place in the world, this child was everything. We were their mothers. Our husbands were their fathers. Our kids were their siblings.
If you want to help, ask if you can help with the kids. Or the cleaning. Or the cooking. Pray for us. Then pray some more. Don’t say anything. Just show us the love of God. Let us grieve. It will be a long time before we can talk about it or think about it or believe it.
If you’re currently recovering from the loss of a child, know that I am praying for you. I know that doesn’t sound like much, but eventually you’ll know prayer is what helped you through. God is graceful and merciful. He WILL make something good out of the evil.
If you’re currently loving someone who has lost a child, just BE THERE. Ask them what they need and be it. Do it. Show it.
Love to my loves,