This week I will be focusing on miscarriage and loss as I think it is so important to talk about these issues rather than just pretend they don’t happen. As I have had personal experience with miscarriage I thought I would start by sharing the story of my journey through miscarriage and fears of infertility.
We had been married for around 18 months when we starting thinking about the right time for us to start a family. Tim was studying full–time at Bible College and I was working full-time so we knew it may be financially difficult but we also knew that we did not want finances to dictate when we started our family. We could not see any real reason not to start trying so we decided to go for it. I had started taking the pill a few months before we were married and stopped a few months before we were ready to start trying in the hope that it would be of my system by the time we were ready.
We tried the first month and my period returned which we guessed was pretty normal, then the second and the third with no success. In hindsight three months is not very long but during this time my friends seems to “accidentally” fall pregnant and here was I still waiting.
To our absolute delight I was little late the fourth month and a pregnancy test confirmed (with a very faint line) that we were pregnant. We were over the moon with excitement. We went to the doctor that afternoon to confirm the pregnancy and came home and told all our families and some friends the exciting news. That was the Sunday afternoon and I headed off to work on Monday with a big smile on my face and excited plans in my heart for this little person which was growing inside me. On the Wednesday I was at work and went to the toilet to find a slight amount of spotting and my heart sank. I read every book and looked up the internet to see what it might mean but nothing could tell me whether my baby would be ok. The spotting increased and I also had an ultrasound (where the people were super rude to me asking why I was even there so early) which showed no evidence of a pregnancy. It later turned into a miscarriage which was also confirmed by blood test results.
We were heartbroken, our baby was only a few days over 5 weeks old and we had only known for 5 days but we had already invested into this pregnancy and to us it was more than a collection of cells it was our baby. I remember just laying on the bed crying, wondering why it happened. Was there something wrong with my body? Did I do something wrong? So many thoughts went through my head but the hardest part was knowing that our little person had died and we were no closer to holding a baby in our arms. We also found telling our friends and family difficult and we got a range of different responses. One of the worst was someone telling me that “if we hadn’t been so on the ball with it, we might not have even known”. That comment hurt me because it made me feel like I had no right to grieve as it was so early, that I should not have even known I was pregnant. Other unhelpful comments were those which dismissed the pain I was feeling such as “it was probably for the best”, “there was obviously something wrong”. I just wanted people to say it really sucks doesn’t it and give me a hug.
Another four long months passed and my cycles were confusing and I was not sure what was going on. We tried using an ovulation kit but later found a website called fertility friend where I could determine my ovulation by taking my temperature and recording other signs. I did find this helpful (when I was not obsessing over it) and it was able to tell me (without the need for a pregnancy test) that I was pregnant again. We went to the doctor as I was already spotting a little bit and a blood test again confirmed that we had miscarried again.
After this happening twice at a similar stage, I began to become more convinced that something was wrong. Would we ever be able to carry a baby to term? I convinced the doctor to send us to a fertility specialist who gave us both tests and everything came up clear and he said to us that we were likely to look back in a few years and have lots of little people running around. He was a wonderful doctor and we felt comforted by the fact that there was no obvious reason why it was happening.
We continued trying for just over three months with no success. It was coming up to a year since we started trying and we were both exhausted from the trying, the waiting and the disappointment. I remember it was the day after Mother’s Day in 2008. I thought I may be pregnant but we had not been taking temps so it was hard to tell. I did a test and it came back negative so I was again feeling the disappointment of another month passing. I went to work that day feeling pretty low. Part way through the day a girl I sat next two pulled her chair in closer and told me that she needed to tell me something. She knew we very having trouble conceiving but knew she had to tell me that she was 9 week pregnant before it became public. I know she found it hard to say and I appreciated her being concerned for me but it was still hard to hear. That night I came home and told Tim how hard my day was while he was caring for me and comforting me the phone rang. It was his sister, she was calling to tell us they had fallen pregnant (She also struggled to tell us as she knew how hard it would be and was very considerate and caring towards us). I was so happy for them but I was also devastated it just seemed so unfair. They had not even been trying and had been blessed with a baby and we a year later were still waiting and still feeling the pain of two miscarriages. I was at my lowest point ever. I wondered if life was worth living. I was angry with God and knew that his plan may not been for me to have children and I hated the idea of that.
A couple of days later my period still had not arrived and so we decided to get a blood test which amazingly confirmed there was a little person inside me. It was an easy pregnancy as I was not sick and had no other issues but the whole time I was so fearful that something would go wrong. We did have some spotting at six weeks but it came to nothing and in January 2009 after a super long but absolutely amazing labour our beautiful Emily was born.
|Our Emily..worth the wait|
We will never forget the pain we felt following our miscarriages as I do believe that there are two little souls hanging out with Jesus until we are united again. I look forward to meeting them and thanking them for even the tiny amount of time they spend with me. Sometimes I feel like it was silly to be so upset by miscarriages that occurred so early but I wrote this post to say that it is painful no matter what stage it occurs as the desire to have children is there, as is the pain of knowing that you will never hold that child in your arms (and potentially may never have a child at all).
I wish I had never experienced miscarriage but I know that God has used me so many times to talk to and comfort others who are experiencing infertility and loss. It has also opened my eyes for the need to be praying for these people. For the past two years I have been praying almost daily for a couple (along with a list of others) who were struggling for six years to fall pregnant. What a joy it was to hear recently that they are in the second trimester and everything is going wonderfully. God heard the many people praying for them and blessed them with a child. However sadly, sometimes despite faithful prayers and hopeful Christian couples wanting to have children it may not be in God’s plan which I can only imagine would be heartbreaking.
I hope that by sharing my story I have been able to help someone reading this who has struggled with miscarriage. Please also share this post other others who may benefit from reading it. If you yourself have not suffered a miscarriage then be thankful but also be mindful of what you say to those who have. Acknowledge their pain, let them talk about it and be careful with your words.
Deb from Aspiring Mum also has experienced miscarriage and the loss of a baby. Her post on her experience also gives some really good ideas on caring for people. It is worth checking out.
Please also read my upcoming guest post from Amanda Axelby author of Grief and Grace: A Journey through Pregnancy Loss