My Miscarriage Story
I have been pregnant 5 times.
My first was textbook perfect. I got pregnant on the first try, had a life-changing but uncomplicated homebirth, and made copious sweet milk that my son eagerly slurped.
When Samuel was 2, I found myself once again easily pregnant. At my 12-week appointment, I laid on the table in anticipation of hearing my baby’s galloping heartbeat. My midwife patiently swept the Doppler back and forth across my naked belly as the minutes ticked by. Silence and anxiety filled the room as I waited for answers.
It turned out that the baby – so still and tiny on the ultrasound that followed – had stopped growing at 8 weeks. My body revealed no signs of loss. (In medical terms, this is called a “missed miscarriage”.) My eager womb hugged my baby close, unwilling to let go. Two days later, my uterus was scraped and suctioned and my pregnancy erased.
As a midwife myself, I knew that first trimester losses were fairly common, occurring in 1 in of every 4-5 pregnancies. I was devastated but determined to try again soon. I cried and took long walks while autumn leaves, blazing with color, swirled around me. ‘At least I have Samuel’ I reminded myself over and over. I hugged and kissed him so many times I lost count. I said goodbye to my baby and named her Naomi.
6 months later I was easily pregnant once more. Doing my best to stay positive, my trust rattled but not obliterated, I navigated 10 nasty weeks of nausea and went for my 12-week check-up. Again, the Doppler transmitted nothing but my own intestinal gurgles. This baby too had stopped growing around 8 weeks. Once again my body had given me no warning.
And this time my howls filled the office.
It took a year and a half before I was brave enough to try again. I drank gag-worthy herbal teas and prayed. Hard. It couldn’t happen again, could it? Statistically, it is quite rare to have three consecutive losses; only 1-2% of women go on to have a third. No longer innocent, I went in at 8 weeks and this time there was a heartbeat! However, my progesterone was low and the OB looked uncertain. I started on supplementation and my levels came up quickly.
When I returned a week later the tiny flutter was gone.
I was healthy. I ate organic foods, did yoga and thought positively. I was a good person. Was it bad karma? Did these babies have weird genetic abnormalities? Was it because my husband was ill with Lyme disease? I entertained every possibility, crazed for the answer to my biggest question: WHY?
I was brought to my knees with grief. My head bowed low, hands outstretched, I held my raw shredded heart for God to see. ‘Look what you did!’ I yelled. ‘How could you?’ and ‘Help me!’ I begged and writhed and prayed until there was nothing left.
The humbling truth washed over me: I have no control. A greater mystery was at work. And there was nothing to do but accept.
With an official diagnosis of “recurrent pregnancy loss” (defined as 3 consecutive losses), my insurance finally agreed to pay for a work-up. After many tests, the OB gave me a clean bill of health. “There’s nothing wrong with you”, she said.
I took the matter in my own hands and found an acupuncturist highly skilled in fertility. “I have hope for you,” she said, eyes smiling. She believed in me when I couldn’t for myself. I drove 2-hours round trip every week for almost 2 years to see her.
For most of that time, I had one foot in the door and one foot out. I was terrified of having another loss. I tried convincing myself that Samuel was enough, that I should be grateful for what I have. The fear was insurmountable. I didn’t believe I’d be ok if I had to go through it again; I would break once and for all.
But my heart kept whispering.
The deeper truth was that my mama love felt incomplete. I wanted a baby. ‘Want’ doesn’t do it justice: it was primal.
But damn it! I wanted it to go away. It was too hard, too scary. I tried so hard to let it go but desire is stubborn. It keeps tugging on your heart until you answer.
I swung back and forth between trust and terror on a daily basis. Between deep acceptance and stifling attachment. Between lonely victimhood and soul-soaked faith and love.
Out of necessity, my self-compassion became impeccable. I loved every inch of my tender heart because it hurt so much not to. I didn’t like the fear but I loved it anyway too.
Months and months passed. The risk of not trying one last time – and never knowing if a baby could’ve been – now was far scarier than the possibility of another loss. I didn’t want to die wondering “what if?…”.
My calling to have a baby was sacred. There was no guarantee, and the future cloudy with uncertainty. But staying stuck in fear was so painful, so my brave heart chose love.
I wish I could remember the exact moment I said yes. I wish I could bottle it like a magic draught so I’d never lose hope again. I wish I could pass it around the world and we’d all be brave and no dreams would ever be left behind. It took years and then happened in an instant.
Saying yes healed my heart.
Three months later – on New Years Day – I held a positive pregnancy test in my hand.
As I write, my miracle baby, now 2.5 years old, sleeps next to me. I breathe in his sweet smell.
To my three 3 tiny spirit babies: I feel you around me. I feel you in me, your DNA pulsing in my blood. Why you didn’t stay, I’ll never know. But this I do: you cracked me open.
And God rains down on me in the most perfect way.