To the moms & dads reading this that have lost a child: I see you, I feel you, & my heart aches right alongside yours. From the very bottom of my broken & hurting heart to yours, I’m so so so very sorry. I truly believe our beloved, sweet, precious, & perfect babies are keeping each other safe & warm & happy by healthily & gleefully playing on heaven’s wondrous & magical playground with our very good & loving God.
I, too, am all too familiar with the grief and pain and sorrow and sadness of the devastation miscarriage brings. March is right around the corner. I can’t help but think of our very first baby. March is a wonderful month of amazing celebrations in my family: Hope’s birthday, mom’s birthday, Sue’s birthday, Jean’s birthday, & Joy’s birthday. It’s bittersweet, as it is also the anniversary of when we had to say goodbye to baby number one.
Was catching up with a friend and I asked him how many children he wanted to have with his fiancée. I asked this fully aware that him and his beloved fiance had suffered a miscarriage a few years before. He mentioned wanting two & her wanting to have 4. He began to share his story of their first baby & how baby had not made it. I told him I was sorry. He shook his head, as if he was shaking away the pain and said, “It happens all the time. It’s common. We were only in the 1st trimester.” I saw his eyes get a bit teary. I, too, felt my eyes becoming filled with tears when remembering our 1st baby. I don’t think the pain will ever subside. I’ll never get over it.
I shook my head and looked into those big brown eyes and said, “It DOES NOT matter how far along you were or weren’t, if it happened in the first trimester or the last, if it is common or not, the pain is real and it hurts and I’m very sorry.” & I walked away to collect myself.
Many women suffer from miscarriage. Many suffer in absolute silence. It’s become this pushed down thing we don’t talk about much. I hear these words all too often when referring to miscarriage: common,all too often, or normal.
I call bullshit because having a miscarriage sucks and it blows and the pain is unexplainable and it’s not something that we can just push down, walk away from, or write off as something that just happens.
There was a living and breathing baby in there and we were excited and preparing and decorating and visualizing and planning for our future. & when you find out baby is no longer living, it’s as if you were hit in the face with a brick. & it is not the mom that only hurts, it is also her loved ones.
All too often, we push away, numb, or stuff our pain and we write it off as unimportant. Or someone close to us acts as if our loss is not a big deal. It’s huge. Losing a baby is painful, horrible, awful, devastating, disappointing. You’re left heartbroken, broken spirited, sad, lost, and lifeless.
50% of women will have a miscarriage.
That means, 1 in 2 pregnancies will end in miscarriage.
& many will never ever tell you they even had a miscarriage, as many women, and their loved ones, suffer sadly in silence.
WHAT not TO SAY & WHAT not to DO:
😦 telling them a story of a ‘worser loss’ in which a friend lost a child upon delivery or further along than you (loss is loss & pain is pain- meet them where they are)
😦 “What can I do to help?” (do not give them extra work)
😦 “Get over it.”
😦 “It’s time to move on.”
😦 “These things happen. Everybody dies. It’s the cycle of life.”
😦 “It’s common.”
😦 “It happens all the time.”
😦 “Good thing it happened early on in your pregnancy.”
😦 “God was taking care of it, as there must have been something wrong.”
😦 “It happened for a reason.”
😦 sending a text
😦 “Something must have been genetically wrong.”
😦 “You’ll get pregnant again.”
😦 pushing them to be positive & pushing them to see the bright side
WHAT to DO AND WHAT to do:
🙂 “I love you,” “I’m here for you,” “Thinking of you”
🙂 offer to babysit
🙂 leave a voicemail (include, “you do not have to call me back.”)
🙂 “I’m sorry”
🙂 send flowers or a card
🙂 send a simple in remembrance gift (ex: origami owl necklace)
🙂 “I will pray for you and your family during this difficult time.”
🙂 “May I bring dinner for you, tonight?”
🙂 “I dropped a gift off on your front step.”
🙂 “I’m so sorry for your pain.”
🙂 “My heart aches for you.”
🙂 “I’m here for you.”
🙂 meet them with empathy by sharing your own personal experience or that of a loved one
🙂 sit with them & really listen
🙂 allow them to vent, cry, be angry, be sad, & to feel whatever makes sense for them
🙂 let them speak their truth without interrupting
I remember it as if it were yesterday. It was March of 2011. I was 7 weeks along. I was standing in front of the closet trying to figure out what jeans I could squeeze my already growing body into. Dare I try to get into my skinny jeans?!
Suddenly, I had a piercing pain, a shooting pain across my tummy. Something in my gut, mama instinct, said that something was not quite right. I ignored it and went about my evening, as I was headed to my friend Julie’s house.
The following week was our 8 week appointment. Brian and I were so excited to go for the 2nd time to see our itty bitty baby, our miracle, via ultrasound.
I remember what I was wearing, the doctor’s face, the tears, the smells, & the coldness of the metal table. I laid down and the tech applied warm jelly to my tummy. Brian held my hand. The tech searched for a heart beat. It was as if she was looking, desperately, to find a slight glimmer of hope. Nothing.
She stepped out for a moment, excusing herself. I knew something was wrong. She asked a doctor to come in and take a look at our ultra sound. Tears streamed down both their faces as they looked at my worried face & said, “There is no heartbeat. I’m sorry.”
Uncontrollable crying ensued. I lost my baby. I lost our baby. I searched my mind for an explanation. Had I worked out too hard? Eaten the wrong foods? Had too much caffeine? How did this happen? What would he or she have looked like? Red hair? Daddy’s eyes? Mama’s lips? How much would he or she have weighed? Skinny like Brian or chunky baby like mama?
So many questions and zero answers. It’s beyond hard. There is no explanation. None. They have all these statistics and people say it happens for a reason, that it’s genetic, but that doesn’t make it any easier or any less hard. It doesn’t matter how far along you are, it is tragic no matter how you look at it.
I was asked if I wanted to let my body take course or if I wanted a doctor to go in and remove baby. I opted for the surgery. It is called a D & C. When I signed in, I noticed the paperwork. They call it a ‘missed abortion.’ Ummmmm, no, that makes no sense to me, but you fucking sign the paperwork because you just want it to be over as fast as humanly possible. I kept running my fingers over my tummy. Oh I was going to miss my slightly inflated belly. People complain about their growing tummies, but I loved every single second of being pregnant.
The surgery was quick and painless, physically. It was emotionally draining. I was flat affect and just wanted to hide under my covers. I remember being a little bit sore. I remember going to the bathroom and there being a teeny tiny red ball of cells in the toilet. They had forgotten to remove that little mass. The pain started all over again. I climbed back into bed and hid from the world.
I had given up hope that we could get pregnant again. I was scared to even try. I was emotionally spent after surgery. I lost our baby. Was I not eating healthy foods? Sleeping on the right side? Was I not being careful enough? Did I do something to cause this to happen? The doctors tell you no, but you keep wondering what you could’ve done to have caused it. There is nothing and perhaps that is what makes is so hard. There is no why or answer or cause and effect to point to. It’s a struggle.
Brian said when we got pregnant again and if it was a girl, we should name her Hope. Brian’s favorite movie of all time is Shawshank Redemption. The movie carries a beautiful message:
“Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, & no good thing ever dies.” (The Shawshank Redemption)
I carried that with me, that hope, that drive, and that determination to try, again. We waited a few months as the doctor had directed. We tried. I kept an candle next to our bed that had the word HOPE on it. Perhaps it was my lucky charm.
Very shortly after trying, we found out we were pregnant, again. We were ecstatic and cautious. I was sure not to work out this time, not to eat anything that was on the ‘do not eat’ list. I slept on the right side. I stopped doing hot yoga & I kept my stress level way down.
I had a perfect pregnancy. It was the most beautiful experience of my life. I loved being pregnant, every second of it, even up to the 41st week.I always looked at my pregnancy as a gift, a miracle, & a 2nd chance.
So my HOPE to have another baby became a dream come true, our dream came true. On March 6, 2012, we welcomed Hope Elizabeth Rosella into the world. She is our everything, our light, & our very reason for living and breathing. Every step, every giggle, every laugh out loud, every day, every smile, every snuggle, every cuddle, & every wet kiss is a beautiful blessing from above. We are grateful. We are blessed. We are thankful. Babies are the best blessings of all.
We went on to have a beautiful baby boy on July 18, 2014. We named him James Thomas Rosella. Oh how I love our Sweet Baby James. He is our everything, our light, and our very reason for living and breathing.
There is not a single day that goes by that I do not think of our first baby. I know we will be reunited again. Until I see you again, precious one, may you find solace and peace and comfort and love and kindness and gentleness in the arms of our Lord.
Mommy and daddy love you to the moon and back.