I like stories with a beginning, middle and end. I like to wrap stories up into cute little boxes with a bow. That’s what I did with my first draft story here. But some stories, if I’m honest with myself, do not have an ending and cannot be summed up with a positive affirmation. And since I am in service to truth, here is my story as I tell it today.
I’ve experienced 5 miscarriages. The last miscarriage which happened approximately 5 years ago was the hardest. It was the hardest for a few reasons. I decided based on my age of 39 and past miscarriages that this was the last attempt. I grappled with even trying again and prayed many times for a sign to tell me what I should do. I was 5 months into this pregnancy when we found out. My husband and our two girls, who were 6 and 9 at the time, were huddled together in the ultrasound room waiting. I was nervous. I had been nervous not convinced I’d carry to term and not allowing myself to get too attached to the idea of having another child. I can still see the sonographer as he quickly removed the ultrasound head from my belly after just a second there. He hung his head, softly sighed and said, “I’m so sorry”. My husband wept and our girls looked scared for us. I sat up and said, “what do we do now”? I wanted to get on with it being over, to move on. “It is what it is” I kept saying.
Two days later I woke up from my D&C procedure to a lot of medical staff around me. I was losing blood fast and it couldn’t be stopped. My ability to clot blood had literally gone away. I was bleeding out, I was dying. I was told I had disseminating intravascular coagulopathy (DIC). My body had gone into shock, I would later learn, from prolonged exposure to fetal demise. The autopsy documented two surprises to us: male genitalia (blood work at 8 weeks foretold another girl) and fetal death 4 weeks prior. After 5 days in the hospital, receiving many transfusions and undergoing artery embolisation to stop the bleeding, I went home. I just went home….I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. My health overshadowed my grief but as my body inevitably healed and grew stronger I felt numb to life. How do I just go to work, have normal conversations, live life after this all? My husband as well was clearly experiencing PTSD from witnessing his wife close to death and after losing another child. He couldn’t protect me. He was helpless and furthermore, all of the focus was on me. People talk even less about the father after miscarriages.
Up to this time I had the running belief that it was the most important to be strong and resilient. My mother softly remind me that what I needed was to grieve. I promised myself and my family that I would take the time and grieve and I did, very reluctantly. I know why some people do everything in their power to avoid grieving. Grieving means allowing yourself to feel all of the emotions that are so painful like despair, anger and rage, deep disappointment, embarrassment, shame. Shame….this was the toughest for me to feel. I had this painful belief that my body wasn’t strong enough, not good enough to carry these lives to their potential. I felt that there was something inherently wrong with me/my body and so I blamed myself for their deaths. I spent many hours crying on my floor profusely apologizing to these precious lives to which I couldn’t give life. That’s a heavy burden to bear. It’s so painful when I look back on me at that that time. And if I’m being honest this feels like the biggest loss. Above all, I grieve the loss of what I didn’t give myself- acceptance, support, love, forgiveness. This is what I longed for the most and I betrayed myself again and again. That hurts the most.
Through conscious healing practices over a lot of time I have found some peace with my loss. I can, at times, hold the loss and the blessings. This feels like such a gift.And I know now that for me, It’s the conscious act of grieving that heals.
Part of this grieving for me is sharing. Because really, none of this makes sense. There is nothing to be fixed, nothing to be figured out and no one to blame. That is so hard for me to accept. So now, I still grieve in moments that rise up in me, out of nowhere, so it seems. I grieve what I lost and remind myself to let myself feel All of it because that’s what I deeply need – a safe place to weep and release the deep sadness that comes from great loss. That is where my strength is now… allowing the feelings and trusting myself that I can hold all of the feelings and then let them go. And I can share my story with others.
It has always struck me how often when I share my story that others have a story of their own. Miscarriages happen more often than not I’ve come to find out. I see myself in other’s stories, no matter the details, and it reminds me of how we are so intricately connected. Sharing difficult things in witness by others in love and support is so freeing and powerful for me. It also reminds me that all loss is loss. It hurts no matter the details.
I had 5 miscarriages. I had 5 life forces in my womb. I grieve my loss and I am blessed again and again. I want to hold all of that and feel it all. And so my story of healing continues and I continue to wake up to my life.