Your Story (My Tale of Miscarriage)

Some of you may know (and if you don’t, now you do!) October 15 is Infant & Pregnancy Loss Remembrance Day. For a while I have been wanting to share my own story of pregnancy loss, in hopes that it will speak to someone that has gone through the same or similar situation, and what better time than now?

Before I had a miscarriage, I didn’t think much of it. I had a few friends that had gone through it at various stages, and my heart absolutely ached for them, and yet it still seemed so far off. It was so foreign to me. It felt like I was reading a newspaper article: I read it and sympathized, then when it was all done, life went on. They got over it. Maybe they got pregnant again and started, or continued, building their family. Miscarriage to me was like a speed bump – you slowed down for a second, then kept driving.

Then it happened to me.

Bump Two
Bump two at 7 weeks

It happened to me, to us, and my perspective completely changed. It wasn’t like a speed bump – it was like crashing head-on in to a brick wall. I survived, but emerging from it took a lot of work, support, and help. It didn’t happen in days, a week, or a month. I didn’t “get over” it, but I got through it. I found peace through my friendship with God, and my reliance on him. I clung to the life-giving words in his Book. I bawled. I grieved. For months.

For a long time, I even questioned if I had the right to grieve. I wasn’t that far along in my pregnancy, and the baby didn’t even look like a baby. I wasn’t sure if I could share the same air with my friends that I felt had suffered more, so I hesitated. I brushed off what I felt. I edited my feelings and what I told people when they asked how I was doing. I told them I was “okay”, gave them a half smile and changed the subject. Truthfully, while I felt a strange peace, I also was hurting. So much.

Dear friend, if you are reading this and you feel or have felt the same way, I want to tell you: your grief matters. My grief mattered, and so does yours. There will always be someone that goes through more, loses more, or seems worse off. But loss is still loss, it is a wide spectrum, and we all fall somewhere on it. But we’re all on it.

Bump two at 9 weeks
Bump two at 9 weeks

One day, a while after it happened, I had an urge to write about it. I had not written anything in a long while, perhaps years. But I sat down at our computer, fingers poised on the keyboard, and the words spilled out like I knocked over a glass of milk. After I felt it was done, I felt like the burden was a little less, and the open wound started to scab over.

I had a hard time coming up with a title for it, and I settled on Your Story, as I felt it was my only gift I would ever be able to give that baby.

So, here it is: Your Story.

How should I begin your story? Perhaps in the way you made your way in to our lives: abruptly, with no introduction. On one single day, in the matter of seconds, our lives turned another page and began the next chapter.

On that cold January morning, I sat there with my snowflake-print pyjama pants pooled around my ankles, still half asleep, and waited for this little plastic stick to reveal a mathematic symbol: A ‘plus’ would indicate an addition to our life and my body; a ‘minus’ would mean no change. I carefully placed the stick on the counter and gathered myself, washed my hands, trying so earnestly not to steal a look that would prematurely give me my answer.

I dried my hands. I closed my eyes for a moment, took a breath. Held it. Picked it up. A plus. The addition that would equal the source of the joy, and the change we wanted and longed for.

From that moment, we began to prepare for your arrival. We bought soothers, tiny onesies, and began poring through gigantic baby name books to find a name suitable for you. Dad and I threw around many suggestions, many vetoed by one another. The one name we both liked equally was Charles, and although nothing yet was decided, in my heart you already were our little Charlie. Even in those dawn hours of pregnancy, I felt you were a boy. A spirited, lovable, curious boy that would grow up to be a strong, loving man, full of integrity. I dreamed for your life. 

Weeks wore on and we began to tell those close to us of your presence in our world. Everyone was in love with you already. My belly slowly began to swell and soon enough, I was trying to find creative ways to hide the evidence of you: flowy tops, baggy t-shirts, leggings, and long coats. I felt that, even though no one could tell, I had a sign around my neck that said, PREGNANT! 

Maybe it was the smile I couldn’t wipe off my face.

One day in February it was raining very hard. It was Valentine’s Day. The wipers on our car could barely keep up with the sheets of water dancing around on the windshield. I had an appointment with a doctor to listen to your heartbeat and see how you were going in there, your little home. My heart could hardly contain the excitement of listening to the proof of what we had been expecting.

When I arrived, I laid myself down on the table, butcher paper crinkling beneath my body with each move. The technician put that familiar warm goo on my belly and began to search around on my stomach with the Doppler.

I could hear the sound, like the ocean inside a shell. I waited. I waited a bit more.

I looked at the technician, a furrow in his brow. Then he asked me the most bizarre question that caught me off-guard: Are you sure you’re pregnant?

What? Of course I was sure…how could anyone mistake that? I thought back to January, the plastic stick: the sign of addition. Then later, the nausea. And of course, my little growing belly. Is it possible I imagined it all? Could I have dreamt it?

I turned to I look at the screen that showed the inside of my womb: darkness. Shadows. Empty and hallow, like the shell. The technician saw the obvious confusion in my face and told me not to worry too much. Maybe it was too early to hear anything, or maybe I got my dates wrong. I would need further examination, just to be on the safe side. But his question burdened me.

In the next examination room, I laid down on a second strip of butcher paper, again crinkling beneath my nervous shifting. A new technician bustled her way in. As she continued her exam I propped my head on the back of my arm, eyes focused on the wall beside me.

I counted the chips in the wall and read the flyers hastily taped to it. I listened to the quiet hum of the lights and machines. I tried to be somewhere else.

Still, the sound of a vast, wide, lonely ocean in this tiny little shell filled the sterile room. I felt stranded on that ocean, my raft dismantling beneath me.

After hinting at what the previous technician had suspected, that you were gone, she asked me if I wanted to see what was on the screen. I think she expected me to say no, to decline the chance of further heartache. But I had to see you. You were worth the risk of it all.

She turned the screen to face me, and there you were: A tiny little circle, attached to my womb. Clinging to me.

The days that followed were full of silent waiting, and quiet pain. Waiting, because I didn’t know what was next, and there is always pain in waiting. We tried to carry on with our day to day tasks: caring for your brother, making dinner, going grocery shopping. All the while, there was the Cloud of Unknown hovering above me, following my every single move.

Then one day, it was time.

We came home from church and a dull ache began in my belly. Later that day, in the twilight of the evening and when the people of the world were preparing to sit down to dinner and share in a meal, you left me. The pain in my body and the pain in my heart were that of the same, but I was never angry. Not at you, not at God, or even myself. I don’t even know if it was or wasn’t meant to be…it just was. And you just were. And to me, you still are and forever will be.

After a little while, when I was able to think of you and not cry an ocean, I looked up the meaning of the name we chose for you: Charles. It means full grown, a man. I had to catch my breath when I read that. That’s when I knew: you had a name. You would forever be Charlie to me. Even though in this life you only grew to be the form of a beautiful unending little circle, in my mind and in my heart you are my full grown little man.       

pregnancy-infant-loss-remembrance-day

Question: Have you experienced a miscarriage? What helped you get through it?

Images from Flickr, me, babbcenter.org

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15 thoughts on “Your Story (My Tale of Miscarriage)

  1. Beautiful, Brandi-Lee. Made me cry. Like you knew he was your Charlie, I knew my first one was Amelia. I lost her so early it seems silly to know but I knew. Our second loss I knew in my heart was twins. And I knew when we got pregnant with B that he was a boy. Its amazing that moms can just KNOW these things, to connect with someone who isn’t even born, who isn’t even technically a person. I suppose it’s just part of that mother-baby connection science can’t explain.

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    • Thanks Lacey! I was surprised at how I “knew” it was going to be a boy, and that he definitely had a name. I believe naming him and recognizing him as a ‘him’ really helped me get through it. That inexplicable mother-baby connection is pretty amazing isn’t it? XO from two doors down. 🙂

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  2. Hope got me through our miscarriages. Not even the hope of “you’ll have another baby”, or “it’s totally normal” – hope that God had a perfectly mapped out plan for our lives and our children’s lives (those we squeeze daily, and those we said goodbye to early). Pregnancy, motherhood is such a journey. Such a long, long journey. But that hope kept us looking for light in some pretty dark times. Hope the He still cares for us; hope that through all of this, there is a bigger plan; hope that through our story, we can encourage others.
    Thanks so much for sharing your story, B. Truly.

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    • Thanks Frances. I will admit that while I wrote this you guys crossed my mind more than once. Your story has touched me! And I agree, Hope gets us through so much. I found hope in knowing others (like you) went through it too and came out on the other side. xo

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  3. I am so sorry for your loss, for all of our earthly losses. I have had loss. Three losses before I understood what I was losing. And than my one and only baby girl, gone to heaven. And than my 4th Son’s identical twin gone to heaven. Than the loss of my Uterus due to all those losses. I will never pretend to understand loss. I will never pretend to understand someone else’s loss. I have days where I remember, days when I look at my living twin & can see two of him. Days when I see just a glimpse of what my baby girl could have been. Those days are farther and farther apart as time goes on. There are many days that people who mean well say, “5 boys! You were really trying for a girl” or “Are you going to have more?” or “you are so blessed, you should be happy with what you have”. Those days I want to scream in their faces. I had a girl, I had another little boy & I had a Uterus. They are gone now. The peace I have found is only by the Grace of my Lord and Saviour, I feel a healing in my Heart. My heart is still missing pieces and it can still feel empty, but a peaceful and love filled emptiness. Faith. One day I will meet all my babies in the arms of Jesus.

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    • Hi Dana, I am so sorry for your losses. It is so heart breaking. I learned that too when I went through the miscarriage – not to try and understand someone’s pain and journey, not to say empty words, but to just be there. For a mother, every life counts and is remembered. Praying for continued peace for you! Thanks for sharing here. xo

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  4. This is so beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing your Charlie’s story. I lost two babies in 2013–the first we named Noah, a name I believe God put on my heart for him. (Weeks later, we found out from some tests done that he, in fact, was a boy!). We named our second Joy. I can’t wait to meet them one day. 🙂
    Our miscarriages totally derailed me. I was able to walk through them by desperately and honestly clinging to Jesus, allowing myself permission to grieve, receiving love and support from friends, and reading stories like yours which served to validate my pain and give me hope. So thank you again for sharing so vulnerably! You’ve honoured your son beautifully, and have touched many hearts too! Much love to you!

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    • Hi Alisha, thank you so much for your kind words! I’m sorry for your losses. I think that what you said, “allowing myself permission to grieve, receiving love and support from friends…” is so key to healing from something like this. We have to be willing to receive the love those that love us want to pour out on us! Thanks for taking the time to leave a little bit of your story here, I appreciate it so much. xo

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  5. Hi Alisha, thank you so much for your kind words! I’m sorry for your losses. I think that what you said, “allowing myself permission to grieve, receiving love and support from friends…” is so key to healing from something like this. We have to be willing to receive the love those that love us want to pour out on us! Thanks for taking the time to leave a little bit of your story here, I appreciate it so much. xo

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