Although this happened over twenty-five years ago, I remember it like it was yesterday. From the time I miscarried, I changed. Life changed. As with any loss, the effect on you is profound and the path your feet walked changes in the blink of an eye.
Here is my story taken from the pages of my book, I Never Held You. It's probably one many of you can relate to. My heart goes out to all who have experienced a miscarriage and please know you are not alone.
When I was four and a half months pregnant, I was filled with feelings of excitement, joy, fear, and wonder. I had been married about a year and a half, and although it was an unplanned pregnancy, an immediate bond formed between my unborn and I. There were days when I would rest my hand on my slightly swollen stomach and smile, thinking of the life inside me. No, we didn't plan this baby, but I was going to give it all the love in the world and then some.
Nothing else mattered. I knew we'd manage.
One day, while my husband, (at the time), was away on business, I noticed a small amount of blood on some toilet paper.Instinct kicked in and said, "This isn't right. Call your doctor." There was no pain, no large amounts of blood-but the feeling that something was wrong was unshakable.
My sister and I ended up at the hospital where they performed an ultrasound. I stared at the monitor while the doctor pointed at an image that I could barely see through my tears. His words will forever ring in my ears: "The fetus is no longer viable." Viable? What did that mean? I could tell by the look on the doctor's face that it wasn't good.
"What does viable mean?" I asked. My heart raced as I awaited what I knew was the answer, but prayed wouldn't be.
"The fetus is no longer alive. The sack around the fetus is broken. We can wait for you to miscarry ..." His words faded as my mind raced. Wait! Miscarry? What? A numbness washed through me. The doctor continued, "I think it would be best if we removed it. It would be very painful and messy to wait for it to abort itself and in the long run, best for you."
For me? What about my baby? God...stop calling it 'a fetus'! I wanted to scream, cry, hit something, and run. I wanted to turn back the hands of time and be anywhere but in that cold, sterile room with a doctor telling me that my baby-not my fetus- was dead.
But, I couldn't change anything. I agreed to the D & C (dilation and curettage), which is when the cervix is dilated and the fetal and placental tissues are scraped or suctioned out. I felt afraid and shocked. I couldn't believe the life inside of me was no longer alive. Just that feeling was beyond explanation. However, something inside triggered me to agree to remove the baby because I figured it would be worse to wait, day after day, for it to abort itself. I knew I couldn't handle that trauma, so I chose another.
I left in a state of disbelief. I couldn't even cry.
When my husband got home the next day, I told him the news. The day after that, I went in for my day surgery.
The doctor told me that upon examining the fetal tissue, he discovered it was "perfectly normal" and that first pregnancy miscarriages were very common. I swear he almost smiled, as if this was no big deal. I was young, and there'd be no problems in getting pregnant again.
Was that supposed to help? They were common? Maybe if I'd been told that there was a concrete reason for my miscarriage, i.e., an abnormality in the chromosomes or an infection that would render my baby ill,I'd have felt it was a blessing. Or, maybe not.
"Wait a few months and you can try again." the doctor said. Try again? Let me get over this!
That was just the beginning of a very long, painful road I was about embark upon. One on which no one understood my grief. Why? Because there was no 'baby' to be seen. There was no real sense of loss for anyone but me. People cared, but more about me than my lost child. The child I carried and loved in my womb for four months. The child I had dreams and plans for. The child I talked to during the day.
The child that was never to be.
Welcome to MiscarriageHelp.com. My name is Ellen DuBois, host of this site, miscarriage survivor, and author of I Never Held You: Miscarriage, Grief, Healing and Recovery. If you or someone you love has suffered a miscarriage, please know you're not alone. Connect with people who understand.
Note: Some people find it difficult to post comments here because it's not very clear how to do it. Just hit the "comment" link under any post. I'll get your comment and respond. If it's easier, please email me. [email protected]