Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Reality of Miscarriage

I have to warn you, this post is more for me than for anyone. I also have to warn you, my TV shows are once again behind my thoughts. If any of you watch Army Wives, you know that Roxy miscarried on tonight's episode. I'd like to take you through the episode from the perspective of a woman who knows her pain, who can be thrown back into that pain with one simple reminder. My head and my heart need to process the rush of feelings this episode brought me. I hope you don't mind....

It all starts out normally, as most pregnancies do. Then she is bleeding. Then she is in the hospital, telling her husband that there was no heartbeat. Then she is being wheeled out, and you can see in her eyes that whatever is going on around her, she is not taking it in. She is in shock.

I remember that shock. I remember being wheeled out, no longer a whole woman. My babies were literally ripped from my body. There was a vacuum involved, and they actually scraped what was left of my children out of my body. Make no mistake: this was not just a physical process. My heart felt as though it was also vacuumed, scraped, and left to bleed. As I was wheeled out, all I could think of was: when I got here, my baby was safely tucked in body, now where is he? After my first miscarriage, as I was being wheeled out to the curb, broken and empty, I actually watched a new mommy being wheeled out, baby in arms, and I watched her place her new baby safely in the car seat. Where was my baby?

And then there is a scene as Roxy's husband, Trevor, asks for advice from a friend, who is also a psychologist. He doesn't know what to do, he's lost as to how to support his grieving wife, all the while denying his own grief. He says, "You know one minute everything is fine, and then the next you get a phone call. I was just really looking forward to meeting our kid." Roxy then goes on to tell her friend that she is so worried about Trevor...he wanted this baby so much, after all. "I feel so bad. He really wanted this baby," she says.

I can remember telling Jason I was pregnant for the second time, after one miscarriage, 1.5 years of trying, tests, surgeries, sperm samples, invasive procedures. He picked me up, spun me around and we cried. He went with me to appointments and saw our baby's beautiful heartbeat, twice. The smile on his face lit up the exam room. And then one day, there was a phone call. From 75 miles away, I called him to tell him his second baby had also died. He really wanted this baby. He was really looking forward to meeting our kid. So was I.

Later in the episode, Trevor has to tell Roxy that they actually didn't get the housing upgrade they were looking forward to. Because Roxy was pregnant, they were going to be a family with three children, therefore needing more they weren't.

We have expectations when we get pregnant. As hard as we infertiles try not to, we begin to dream. I thought about my growing belly. I thought about the nursery I would create. I thought about the June timeframe, when my best friend would give birth to her baby, and I would finally be able to celebrate whole-heartedly because I would soon, too, have my long-awaited joy. I even imagined our "joint" baby shower that work would surely throw for us. I imagined maternity leave. I thought about life as a stay at home mommy to this gift I had been given. I had a different life in my dreams than what I am currently living. Those expectations I once had are now nasty reminders of what is not happening in my life right now. All the things I was looking forward to are gone. My days are full of the "same old." The second miscarriage happened almost exactly five months ago. Others have moved on. Some days are ok for me, too. Other days, I remember that my life is not what I hoped it would be. My belly is flat, and empty. I did not get a "dual" baby shower with my best friend. She had one all on her own, and I couldn't even attend...for many reasons. I will not be on maternity leave in about 2 months, happily bonding with my baby. I just go into work, day after day after day, thinking about how it could have been so different. Miscarriage goes on and on, especially for those of us who can't just hop in bed and be pregnant a couple of months later. The pain may fade, but it has no end.

The episode ends with a teaser for next week's episode. In it, Roxy's friend is announcing her unexpected pregnancy, trying to be sensitive, telling Roxy quietly and when they are alone. And I can see the pain in Roxy's face as she tries to take in this information, swallow the intense pain that has taken over her chest, and react in a "socially appropriate way."

Just when you think you can move on, to another episode, life hits you in the gut and the air rushes out of you again. The pain of miscarriage, of the loss of a child, never ever leaves you. This is the Reality of Miscarriage. I live it every day.


  1. Faith, you wrote this perfectly. Some have no idea the pain and "what if" thoughts we live by daily. I can't wait for you to have that beautiful baby in your arms. You are going to be an amaxing mother. ps I love the nursery.

  2. Faith its a little funny. Im betting we have next to nothing in common except having gone through infertility and pregnancy loss. But thats enough. Because most people will just never understand everything that is taken away, and how you do feel scraped out and die a little bit inside. Sadly, we each know pretty much exactly how the other feels. I know that your lovely adopted baby will never take away the pain that you have gone through, although finally being a mother will provide a glorious distraction. You will always miss your lost children. I feel lucky to have the support of such a joyful woman, youre hopeful where Im jaded and its slowly been seeping in and inspiring me. I know what its like to get the wind knocked out of your sail when you least expect it. I want you to know that its ok for the grief to still be raw.


  3. Faith, beautifully written as always. I, too, know that pain and would be celebrating my baby's first birthday in June. I think about her all the time. The sad thing is that I can remember that day in the ultrasound room when the nurse said, "I'll be right back. I'm going to get the doctor." I knew it and started sobbing. I can clearly remember waking up from anesthesia sobbing because I dreamt I was holding my baby girl, not getting my insides scraped out. Yet, I can barely remember what it was like to pee on that stick and finally get a positive.

    As for television, Grey's Anatomy last week was the worst for me. I was hysterical and couldn't control it. My poor husband didn't know what to do. At least it's being talked about a bit more, so people know to be a little more sensitive around us "infertiles."

  4. LOVE IT! Though you may have written it for yourself, this post is amazing for all of us women who grieve the loss of our children that most people don't recognize as significant.

    I think I'm going to start watching Army Wives. I need to see my reality reflected in the media. Not just the "we start ttc and boom, BFP, now watch my belly grow and hold my happy and healthy baby at the end of 40 weeks" that has been the norm for WAY too long.