I found out I was pregnant on Memorial Day.
My husband and I had been trying to get pregnant since February to no avail. All the ovulation tracker apps, diet tips, and “try this, not that” advice had failed us. Though really, in my mind, I was the one who was failing. Every negative result, every time my cycle started again—my heart ached. I felt weak and powerless and ugly. I felt like with each passing month, I was letting my husband down.
So when I went into the bathroom that late spring evening and saw two pink lines, we were elated. We were ecstatic. We kissed and cried and thanked God for helping us get here. We never thought we’d get “here.”
Up until this point, I had been injecting Heparin shots into my stomach twice a day.
At 20, I was diagnosed with a very rare blood disorder. The shots were the only way to help me have a safe pregnancy. Though it felt like venom coursing through my veins, I wanted to be a mother.
No amount of shots or pain or doctor’s appointments was going to stop me from doing all I could to have a family. So I’d brace myself, pinch some belly fat, and slowly sink the needle into my stomach, squirming and wincing all the while.
The bruises that accumulated on my stomach from the continuous poking and prodding accumulated so quickly and violently that, at times, it was impossible to find a flesh colored piece of skin to continue giving myself the shots. However, my determination never wavered and I would stick that needle on a bruise on top of a bruise on top of a bruise. I just did not care.
When I saw the double lines on that pregnancy test, I felt victorious. All that mess had paid off. I was going to be a mother.
After we came down from our Positive Pregnancy Test High, the following weeks were exciting but nerve-wrecking. We bought baby books and thought about names. We bought “Grandpa” shirts for our dads to give them on Father’s Day. I started pinning everything “baby” in sight on Pinterest.
It felt like my husband and I were the only two people in the world. It was our Honeymoon 2.0. We were blissful and so in love with each other. I had never felt closer to my husband. We had made a tiny little organism!
And that tiny little organism was going to turn into a person– half me, half him! We had hit a milestone, and we were happy.
As we sat in the waiting room for our first prenatal visit, the nausea began to set in. The reality set in. The nerves overtook my psyche, and I was a wreck. What if this didn’t work out? What if the OB didn’t find a heartbeat? I had read enough online articles and chapters in “What To Expect”… to know that things could go wrong.
Things went wrong all the time. I had seen so many things go wrong in my own life. In my husband’s life. So what made this time different? Would we actually catch a break?
The nurse called us back.
My husband held my hand as I was poked and prodded. The doctor was cold and I was uncomfortable. She kept moving her hand, pushing on my stomach. I could see it in her eyes. She was giving it everything she could to try and find a heartbeat. She wanted to tell us that we had a happy, healthy baby.
The room was silent. There was no heartbeat to be heard.
And I was told that I had a missed miscarriage.
A missed miscarriage occurs when a fetus dies, but the body does not recognize the pregnancy loss or expel the pregnancy tissue. As a result, the placenta may still continue to release hormones, so the woman may continue to experience signs of pregnancy.
I was given a lot of options for next steps, and we were sent on our way.
What followed was a blur. The car ride home is a blur. Writhing in pain on the kitchen floor, screaming and wailing, while my husband locked his arms around me is a blur.
I slept for days. I wept uncontrollably. I broke in two.
A few days later, I went to the hospital for a dilation and curettage. Because of my blood disorder, it was too dangerous to expel this miscarriage on my own. After the procedure, I woke up, hazy from the anesthesia, with tears streaming down my face.
A nurse came into my recovery room and brought me Teddy Grahams and apple juice and asked if I wanted to see my husband. I nodded. Jeremiah walked in, meekly and almost shyly. He knew I was a different person now. I knew it too. He kneeled next to me and kissed my hand. I knew his heart was aching and he was mourning the loss of our future too.
Over the next couple of weeks, I was brutally mean to my husband. An icy exterior frosted around my heart, and he was the main victim of the cold. I was in so much pain (physically, emotionally, mentally), and I couldn’t verbalize any of it. Partially because I didn’t want to talk about it, but also because I didn’t even know where to start.
The amazing piece of this mess is that the more I pushed my husband away and built walls, the more he did everything he could to tear them down.
He gave me space when I asked, but he always made sure that I knew he was there. He brought me flowers. He cooked me dinner. He never pressured me to go out or go to church or to even try to be a productive member of society. He let me cope and grieve. He didn’t try to make it all go away. He didn’t try to fix me.
It all happened so fast. So fast that we didn’t even really have time to bond or connect or really feel like this pregnancy was ours. Because of that, the grief felt so different. Almost like we’re not grieving the pregnancy, but the dreams and hopes and promises of what that pregnancy meant for our future.
We lost our future.
I have never been one to believe that everything happens for a reason. Sometimes, things just happen. But this, our miscarriage, this taught me more about building strength in times of strife and unconditional love for a spouse, and persevering through life’s many mishaps than anything else that came before it.
This miscarriage taught me to be gentle with myself and my husband when things get hard. This miscarriage taught me that this is exactly what marriage is about– getting through the hard stuff, drudging through the grief sludge together.
If I could rewrite my story, this would not be a chapter, but since life doesn’t allow us that pleasure, I’ll take what I’ve been given, and I’ll cherish the man that walks along side me.