A miscarriage is a birth. It just has a different outcome. I heard this saying a few months ago and it deeply resonated with me.
Back in October 2018, we were thrilled to see a positive pregnancy test. We had planned for a third child as our youngest was 14 months at the time and were excited for this new chapter. However, our happiness was short lived. At 6 weeks pregnant, I began to bleed, and instantly knew something was wrong… We were losing our baby. It was heartbreaking, it was traumatic, it sucked in every. single. way. What do you do? Where do you go when this happens?
I felt incredibly lost, uneducated and alone. I remember on my way home from the doctor’s office, having to fuel my car, and thinking how twisted this experience was. I was losing our baby and life around me was oblivious to it. What was my next step? Did I have to go to the hospital? Will anyone take me seriously?
What felt right to me, was to go home, get under the covers, and let the tears flow.
My husband and I hadn’t shared the news of our pregnancy with anyone, nor did we share the news of our loss. It was easier for us to grieve and process the loss without the noise around us. I wasn’t ready for the feedback, I wasn’t ready for the “at least you have two healthy boys” or the “it just wasn’t meant to be”. I needed time.
Fast forward to this past January. The pregnancy test read positive. This time it felt right. I felt pregnant even before I took the test. We were beyond excited for our little rainbow baby (a term for babies born after a miscarriage). Like before, we waited to share the news of our pregnancy until we confirmed it was viable. I felt so anxious waiting for that appointment. I was battling nausea and fatigue while starting a business, being a wife and a mom.
At 10 weeks, we finally saw our baby’s heartbeat on the ultrasound. We were so relieved! The anxiety and the fear I had been carrying all those weeks finally slipped away. We proudly took our dating scan photo home, and shared the news with friends, family and colleagues. This time I could plan for the arrival, I could take out my maternity clothes and look forward to the pregnancy milestones.
Our next appointment wasn’t scheduled for another six weeks, which is normal procedure. Six weeks felt like a long time for me, it felt like so much could change in six weeks… but the chances I’d miscarry again were slim... right?
It was a Friday morning in late April, two days short of reaching 16 weeks gestation. I’d been having brown discharge for a few days and wanted reassurance that everything was okay. So I called the obstetrics unit and they told me I could come in late morning. I just had this gut feeling. I’d been telling my husband for weeks that all I wanted was to hear the baby’s heartbeat again. On Friday I knew why I longed so hard for that soothing sound.
As I laid on the bed with my maternity jeans rolled down and my little belly popping out, two nurses desperately tried to find it. Nothing. I desperately just wanted that noise to come through the monitor, but my heart knew it wouldn’t. The doctor (whom was a blessing), calmly and gently asked to do a scan to confirm. As I laid on a different bed, in a different room, I looked at the screen as she started her test. My eyes instantly flooded with tears as I saw our baby peacefully resting in the same position as our photo pinned on our refrigerator at home. Except this time, there was no wiggling, this time, there was no heartbeat.
Our World was shattered a second time around. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t stop the tears, I couldn’t talk. It hurt so f*cking much. I had to tell my husband who’d been waiting impatiently for my call. When I finally sat down, and took a deep breath, I called him. Hello? Hello? I heard him say. But words couldn’t come out of my mouth. I just let out a huge cry. He instantly knew. I could hear the sadness and heartbreak on the other end. I couldn’t process it. I couldn’t process that all the plans we had made around this third child, were no longer. I couldn’t process that this child was no longer joining our family. I couldn’t process that once more, I was postpartum without my rainbow baby.
As I waited for an ultrasound, I just felt numb. My eyes were puffy, there was no trace of makeup on my face, and I felt empty and broken. I tried to keep it together while engaging with the receptionist and the ultrasound technician, but all I wanted to do was crawl in my bed and cry. It was confirmed that our baby stopped growing at 10 weeks. Exactly the same size from when we first caught a glimpse of him a few weeks prior.
I drove home with blurred vision.
Climbed in bed, and cried a river… Again.
That night, I had a conversation with my body and our baby. After 6 weeks of holding on, it was time for us both to let go. I was going to be okay, my body was going to heal and my heart would glue back together, eventually.
My husband and I spent the weekend grieving without sharing the news of our loss with anyone. If I had to live this pregnancy loss publicly this second time, I wanted a few days to grieve and process before having to physically articulate it to others. My boys held on to me so tight the whole weekend, intuitively knowing something was wrong.
Sunday night, I miscarried at home naturally (Please note that my options were discussed in details prior to this, with the doctor). Only this time, it was emotionally harder. Only this time it was real labor. Only this time I haemorrhaged.
Today, I am physically healed from our visit to the hospital but physiologically, I am still postpartum. Emotionally, I am still healing and I think these two pregnancy losses will always be engraved in my heart.
Again, miscarriage is a birth. It just has a different outcome.
Here I am again, for a fourth time, honouring my postpartum body. Except, I don’t have a newborn sleeping on my chest, I don’t have the sleepless nights, or the soft cries of hunger that keep me hours on end feeding on my sofa or the scent of baby in the air.
My hormones are adjusting to this new reality, my emotions are raw, my body is still swollen and healing. It’s postpartum, but it’s just different.
Honouring this postpartum season for a fourth time, with the reality that our rainbow baby is yet to physically join us, is really hard. But I know my mind, body and heart deserve this season of healing.
I’m now able to reflect on our journey and find gratitude amongst the fogginess.
Here’s what this journey has allowed me to be grateful for:
I am grateful for my body.
For the continuous cycle of life you allow me to grow and birth.
I am grateful for our boys.
For your innocence, for teaching me to slow down, and for your precious hearts.
I am grateful for my husband.
For your love and for giving me the space to grieve and feel.
I am grateful for our two little angels.
For giving me hope through this process of growing our family. For the honour of carrying your souls for as long as I was able too.
Lastly, to those who’ve suffered a pregnancy loss, my heart is with you.
On the days where you feel empty, my heart is with you.
On the days wondering what could have been, my heart is with you.
When everyone around you have moved on, my heart is with you.
When a rush of tears come running down, my heart is with you.
When you put your maternity clothes away, my heart is with you.
When your due date has come and gone, my heart is with you.
Whether your pregnancy was wanted or not, whether you were 7 weeks along, or 36 weeks along, please know that your feelings matter. You do not have to justify yourself.
Nothing prepares us for a pregnancy loss. Although you may not have held your baby in your arms, you’ve held that baby in your heart… and that matters.