Love and Loss: #ihadamiscarriage
Five years ago, I was just a few weeks away from becoming pregnant with my first baby. We had stopped preventing a few months earlier, and were already referring to our sweet baby-to-be as “Baby Maybe.” It was a sweet season... though every time I saw a negative pregnancy test I was a little bit sad, but I did my best to trust God’s timing. Flash forward to a chilly day in September, and I excitedly woke up to take a home pregnancy test, having felt a little crampy the day before and hoping it was because of the famed “implantation.” The test, however, was negative - so I trashed it and went to work as usual, hoping that just maybe any possible pregnancy was too early to detect.
However, just before I wrapped up work that day, I noticed some spotting and assumed Aunt Flo was on the horizon, so wrapped up this month as another wash in terms of baby-bearing. I grabbed my things from my desk and headed home. I was about halfway to my casa when I saw a salon tucked into Jenks Main Street with an empty parking spot in front that called to me. I knew Jake (my husband who was a first year med student at the time) would be at school studying for a while longer - so I whipped into that parking spot lickety-split and went inside to see if they took walk-ins. Sure enough, there was a stylist in the front with an opening and I promptly sat down and pulled up a picture on Pinterest of a haircut a good 10 inches shorter than my current one. I thought I was being spontaneous because of my fun and go-with-the-flow personality. In reality, it was more like #hellohormones.
Later, I pulled into the med school parking lot and rolled down my window to a very shocked husband who I was picking up for a long-overdue date night. “You cut your hair!” he shouted at me as he neared the car window, with an excited tone. He had always liked my hair short - so was totally supportive of my on-a-whim decision. That night, after sharing the #nonpregnancy news, we forgot about being bummed while we laughed over Irish food at a local pub on Cherry Street. It wasn’t until we got home and Aunt Flo still hadn’t made an appearance that I began to get suspicious. However, I was cautious, so quietly snuck to the bathroom to take another pregnancy test - because I’m one of those girls that is a POAS-aholic. (POAS = Pee-on-a-stick) ;) I placed the stick on the wrapper on the bathroom counter, and headed back out to the living room to wait the appropriate amount of time to check it. And them promptly forgot.
About 10-15 minutes later, I ran back into the bathroom to grab something I needed, and noticed it sitting there on the counter… with two lines. I’m pretty sure I dropped whatever I had come to retrieve and stood there frozen in disbelief for a solid 10 minutes as tears welled up in my eyes.
I came up with an impromptu cute way to tell Jake (because I can’t keep a secret from him for longer than 10 seconds) - and threw my old teddy bear and the baby-themed innards of the diaper-bag-turned-laptop bag I had been using for work (it was on sale and adorable) into a gift bag and brought it out to him as a “surprise gift.” He was a little thrown off - but went with it, and it didn’t take long for him to figure out why in the world I wrapped things we already owned for him. He kissed my belly and we hugged and laughed about my hormone-induced haircut, and spent the evening dancing around the living room, thrilled for the knowledge of the little life growing inside of me.
In the weeks that followed, I journaled daily to “Baby Maybe,” sharing my hopes and dreams and prayers for his/her life. My hand seemed to live cupped tenderly over my lower abdomen as I pictured what it would be like to hold my little one… and Jake and I had lively debates over which name we liked best, and why I was so adamant that our name selection not be in the top 100 baby names. Because #Brittany and the 80s/90s meant I heard my name EVERYWHERE growing up and I just wanted something unique, but still fairly normal, and meaningful for our child. That wasn’t too much to ask right?
Then just before eight weeks, I began experiencing some pregnancy complications that “literally took my breath away,” in the words of my journal from that time. "Fear knocked me in the chest like an NFL linebacker, and I was gasping for air.”
“I found myself in the doctor's office as they drew numerous vials of blood and ran test after test. I did my best to hold it together, all the while spending any spare moment with one hand on my belly telling my little one how much I love him/her, and the other hand praising God with a song that He instinctively placed in my heart the moment I first stepped into the hospital elevator: "I love you Lord, and I lift my voice to worship you. Oh my soul rejoice. Take joy my King in what you hear, may it be a sweet, sweet sound in your ear."
After weeks of numerous ultrasounds that didn’t look hopeful, more complications, bedrest, blood draws that surprisingly showed RISING HCG levels, and a LOT of prayer… We were officially told that our baby didn't have a heartbeat and we were miscarrying. And despite my desire to miscarry at home naturally (something I wanted to help give me closure) - I ended up needing a D&C at 11 weeks as a result of a suspected molar pregnancy. (Which praise the Lord, the pathology results came back normal, and I was declared molar-tissue/cancer-free… and thus was able to conceive our precious Rhys a few months later.)
Throughout that time, I had friends pray Isaiah 26:3 over me ("You keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you."), and surely I began to feel God's perfect peace pass over me.
I was calm and completely-out-of-control.
I had wonderful friends and family surround me in the days following surgery and took it a day at a time in healing and recovering emotionally, physically, and spiritually. ”Steady my Heart" by Kari Jobe was my heart-song during those days… take a listen if you haven't heard it. So beautiful and true.
The people that prayed with us, cried with us, brought meals, sent flowers, and everything else in between were the hands and feet of Jesus in our lives during that time. I never understood before this experience how much something as simple as a ziplock container of soup can mean... but truly, we are both eternally grateful for the love and compassion that was shown to us.
As for our sweet baby, we chose the name Micah - which became the namesake of this little ministry/business of mine. I’ve read several places that it means "who is like God" and "humility" - and I find it so perfect to know that my baby came from such humble beginnings... but will spend every day of his/her life at the feet of the Creator, growing evermore in His image. (It's also nice and gender-neutral, since that will be a big surprise for us someday in Heaven... I always joked I could never be surprised with my baby's gender. Guess the joke's on me.) We still love and remember that life daily, and praise God that Micah is secure in His arms. Never a day will we have to worry about Micah on this earth.. for our little one is already basking in the love of the Heavenly Father, and singing songs to Him daily. (I still pray to dream about that voice often.) Until the day we get to join that sweet little voice in harmony singing Micah’s life hymn "I Love You Lord", we carry Micah’s memory close to our hearts.
"I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living, my baby you'll be."
"Little lives, not little losses."
A while ago, I read a blog on miscarriage that emphasized the phrase “little lives, not little losses” and truly, that statement could not be more true. If you have lost a child… be it to miscarriage, still birth, a tragic diagnosis, or simply a freak accident - please know that your loss is REAL. Your grief is VALID. And there are many who have walked this road before you who long to support and carry you alongside them… whether your loss happened 10 days, 10 months or 10 years ago. You and your precious little one are LOVED my friend.
For more information on bereavement support, visit www.stillbirthday.com <<This is the amazing organization through which I'm beginning my birth and bereavement doula training.
If you know someone who is currently facing infant loss and would like some resources on how to best support them, check out www.hannahshope.us