Miscarriage impacts women all over the world on a daily basis. The heartbreak that follows a miscarriage is often hidden as women go about their daily lives pretending nothing ever happened. The thought that “no one knew I was pregnant yet, so I can’t tell them I miscarried” is one that is pervasive among our society.
This is my story of heartbreak and recovery on this journey.
My husband and I are blessed with two amazing boys. In 2011, we became pregnant with a third child. Our joy and excitement cannot fully be described but we were both ecstatic. This joy and happiness quickly changed after our first visit to the doctor. We discovered our baby had attached to my fallopian tube instead of my uterus….an ectopic pregnancy. There was no possibility that the baby would come to term because it could not grow large enough in my fallopian tube. As a woman of faith, my world was rocked beyond belief in that moment and the weeks to come. We wanted to have more children and to avoid surgery so we went the route medically of trying to save my fallopian tube. Unfortunately, this endeavor was unsuccessful and on July 23 after carrying our baby for 10 weeks, my fallopian tube ruptured. Our baby went to heaven and I almost did as well. While sitting at a Fun Fest concert, I had a burst of pain and the pain did not let up. I had experienced some pain during the treatments I had gone through, so I thought it was related. We went home and the pain continued. It was about 3 and a half hours before I realized what had happened. We were trying to get to the car when I passed out. My husband immediately called 911 and I was rushed to the hospital. I was in emergency surgery within an hour and a half. I am thankful that God directed the hands of my OBGYN and my life was saved. Unfortunately, my baby could not be saved. Up until that night, we had only shared what was going on with our immediate family and my coworkers because I had to be out of work. However, emergency surgery led to it being public knowledge that I had an ectopic pregnancy and almost died. It was during this time I began to see the benefits of sharing the loss of a baby with people. I received a great deal of support from my church family, coworkers, and friends. The healing process began.
As a therapist, I know that focusing on the questions of “why me” in circumstances like this are not productive. There was not anything I had done that caused this. I was angry that God took my baby and yet there are thousands of babies in this world who are born to parents who do not love them or want them. I did not understand. To be honest, I still do not understand that but my healing has nothing to do with needing to understand. My healing comes from facing the loss that I had, including lost hopes and dreams for my baby. I created a book that contains cards and letters from loved ones, a poem my niece wrote for me, and letters written to my child expressing the things that we will miss seeing and experiencing with him or her. My anger toward God subsided as I began to sit with Him again seeking His peace and comfort rather than feeling like He owed me something. It hit me one day that God knows the pain I am feeling in a very real and personal way – He chose to give Jesus for us. My faith once again grew and the healing continued.
Two years passed, and my husband and I had resigned ourselves that we would not have another child. Then I found out I was pregnant in July 2013. I had a mix of emotions – fear of another ectopic pregnancy and excitement that we were having another child. We decided that we would wait to share the news because we wanted to tell our boys first and we wanted to ensure that the baby was in my uterus. Our first ultrasound confirmed that the baby was in fact in my uterus and we were filled with relief and excitement. We told our boys and they told everyone they came across. The next day, I miscarried. This time our grief was for our loss and our children’s loss. My heart broke as they cried and asked questions. Again, I made a book filled with cards and sonogram pictures. Again I questioned why. In the process of helping my children come to terms with their grief, I processed my own grief faster. I cried when I needed to. I smiled when I thought of my family members already in heaven rocking my babies and I found comfort in that. We do not talk about the babies on a daily basis but when we do our children say that we have four children, two here and two in heaven.
If you have experienced the loss of a baby, please know that you are not alone. Miscarriage is a very real loss and grief can be overwhelming in these situations. My prayer for you is that you find the course of healing that brings you comfort, acceptance, and peace. I encourage you to reach out to your friends and family. Use your support network. No one will have magic words to take the pain away but they can be present and provide love and support. If you feel stuck, I encourage you to seek out a counselor to help you move forward in the grief process.
Thank you for reading my story. I pray God will use my story to aid in the healing of other women and families who have lost a baby!
By Beth Kitzmiller, PhD, LPC-MHSP, LMFT
Director, Covenant Counseling Center