Geez. Where do I even begin.
Nobody talks about miscarriage. Like not REALLY. I mean you see the term “rainbow baby” all over facebook and from that you assume that the couple had an early miscarriage. The details are vague. And every experience is different, based on how far along they were or their previous circumstances.
Baby making is just hard. And that’s not something people told me. When I first got pregnant with Ella (which wasn’t planned, by the way. And I was a real baby cry about it. Obviously, my whining is now one of my biggest regrets.) I had all these feelings of “nobody told me about this!” Nobody told me about pregnant brain or sore nipples or how much blood there is after birth. Nobody told me about the deep loneliness that comes in postpartum or how hard breastfeeding was. And I found myself feeling abandoned by mothers everywhere- like why wasn’t I sat down and told every last detail I needed to know so that I could prepare myself?
Turns out, now that I’m older and understand more- I get it. Every experience is so different and every body reacts differently to what its going through. And these are life-marking experiences- so so personal. It’s almost difficult to share because for some stupid reason shame sneaks in and makes you feel weak.
Ugh. Shame is the worst.
I wanted to share with you today my recent miscarriage story. But before I do, I want to ask you to please be kind with your reactions and responses. I think that most women don’t share their stories because they’re afraid of what other people will say. And during something as devastating and traumatic as miscarriage, your heart is just too tender and raw to hand over to the wolves. And I hate to say it, friend, but you might be a wolf. I want to bravely ask you to take off your judgey pants, your know-it-all hat and your snide-comment-megaphone. Don’t be a wolf today. And further more, stop being a wolf to anyone, ever. Judgement is the pride of the young. It’s ok to NOT have opinions, have all the answers or know what to say. If you don’t know what to say, just don’t say anything- it’s fine. Some things are too hard for words anyway. Instead of reading this trying to decide how you feel about it or trying to jump to conclusions about what Jesus is doing in my life- I’m begging you- please. Just don’t. If that’s you, then this post isn’t really for you. I have plenty of others. Go ahead and stop reading now. I’m writing this for the mamas who have been there, the mamas who have always wondered, and the mamas who will inevitably go through this or have friends who will. I wish no one had to go through this- ever. But I count myself honored to have joined with all the women before me, and those who will sadly come after me, in grieving, healing, and moving forward. If you’ve endured this- you are my hero.
I was exactly 10 weeks pregnant when I started bleeding. This pregnancy had felt different from the beginning. And not two minutes after I got my positive test result, my emotions went from absolutely elated to immediately terrified that I was going to lose him. I didn’t feel the same as I did with my girls. I wasn’t showing as many symptoms at that point and I continued not to. I tried to trust Jesus and push through those fears, declaring life over our baby instead of fear. It hurts to remember those days now. But I’m a fighter. I’m not very patient, and I’m not good at math, but I’m as stubborn as they come and I will fight for my babies until I arrive at heaven’s gates. So I fought through it.
When I first started spotting, my midwife told me to remain calm because sooo many women have spotting or light bleeding in their first trimester. Staying calm is also not my strength. But I laid down for as long as I could and prayed. I asked Jesus to please take charge and heal and bring peace. And I heard Him respond, “Erica, do you trust me?” After a long, silent, deep sigh I said “Yes.”
“I have such good things for you, baby girl.” He responded. Over and over again, “I have such good things for you.”
A few hours later I had a gush of red blood with a clot, a few slight cramps came after. This is a very bad sign. I sent a picture of it to my midwife, Alana (because that woman is selfless and kind and has endured too many obscene pictures of me and my nipples or ladybits. Midwives are the most selfless people I’ve ever met.), and she called me to talk through my circumstances. I rested, the bleeding waned, and I went to bed. Through the night I had some pink, light bleeding. And the next morning it remained. Alana connected me to another midwife who could get me in for an ultrasound. I just needed to know at that point- if we were going to lose our baby or not- the waiting was killing me. We headed off, only to wait for 2 hours in the lobby to hear the news.
While we were in the waiting room I had to pee like a million times. Every time I went, the bleeding seemed to increase. And right before my ultrasound, a big clot came. I knew what that meant. The heaviness weighed me down and I just sat there- placid- not wanting to scare the other pregnant mothers in the room.
Our baby was too small to see with the traditional on-your-tum ultrasound and I knew what that meant. I was 10 weeks along, and that shouldn’t be the case. The technician opted for a trans vaginal ultrasound and then we saw him. Perfectly still. Nothing moving, no little flutter heart beat. His spirit already gone. We were all just quiet as she searched and searched. Our babe measured at 8 weeks. He had been gone for two whole weeks and we never knew. Nathan held my hand and we both blankly stared into the monitor. The only pictures I’ll ever see of my sweet babe- the closest I’ll ever feel to him this side of heaven.
She left the room quietly and I melted into Nathan’s arms. Tears on tears on tears. “How is this my story?” I thought. “This can’t really be happening to us. Damnit, is this really happening to us?”
After the doctor nonchalantly told us that we were having a miscarriage, we left that dark room. The technicians and nurses whispered “We’re so sorry” as we passed by. And I bolted out the door, avoiding eye contact with the further along pregnant women in the waiting room. Their beautiful bellies, their families excited to see those babes, my soon to be empty womb. It was too much to bear.
The next few hours are a sad blur of tears. We told Ella that our baby went to see Jesus early. She hesitantly asked questions and said it felt a little sad. “Yeah, baby girl, it’s sad. But He’s with Jesus now. And Jesus is just the best, isn’t He?” I squeaked out, trying not to burst into sobs. She smiled and nodded and asked if she could have a snack. Our resilient girl. How I love her.
I eventually worked up the nerve to call Alana to ask her what I should expect. No one talks about miscarriage, remember? No one had told me that it can be just like labor or that you might see your lifeless babe slip from your womb. She said she would text me details to look for and just said, “Tell me how you’re feeling.” And the tears and sobs burst out of me in deep tones.
“I feel like… damnit.” I told her. “I just loved him so much already.” The details of our conversation run together in my mind now, but I told her everything. The ugly, selfish thoughts, the holy moments, somehow laced with cuss words and praise at the same time. By the end we were both laughing about her screaming children in the background because we’re both mamas. We know. And as I hung up the phone, my contractions began. It was as if just talking with her and releasing all my feelings allowed my body to enter into to its great release.
I had contractions for a couple of hours. They got to the point where I couldn’t talk through them- if you’ve had a natural birth before you know what I’m talking about. I was on my feet, cleaning and moving, trying to allow the process to come and complete itself as best as I knew how. I was putting away some laundry when- out of nowhere- I heard Jesus whisper to me, “I’m holding your baby, Erica. It’s a boy. He can’t wait to meet you. I’ll keep him safe until then.”
I collapsed in the hallway, sobbing. A boy. We’ve always wanted a boy.
I went to the bathroom, flushing before I sat down. Our toilet has been semi-clogged for months, and with all my bleeding the poor thing couldn’t keep up. It was somehow continually flushing when I felt my sweet babe slip out of me. I instantly looked down but saw nothing- he was already gone. At the time I didn’t know that that was him, but now I know that it was. And my heart will be forever sad that I didn’t get to hold him- just one time. I never thought I’d feel that way- but I did. I do. Just once, I wish I could have touched his sweet face.
My contractions died down, I took some tylenol and I drank some wine. We laid on the couch and then I drugged myself to sleep. In the middle of the night I had a vision of our sweet boy. He ran up to me, smiling, in his brand new body. “Mama! I’m having so much fun up here! I’m having so much fun with Jesus!” and then he took Jesus’s hand and skipped away. My boy. Skipping through fields where he will never see pain or feel fear- ever. Skipping with Jesus. My Judah. The next morning I felt some pressure and right after I pooped my placenta slipped out. My sweet husband fished it out of our toilet and we sobbed. The process was done.
BFF took my girls for the day so that we could process together. We put my stack of positive pregnancy tests in a jar and wrote notes to our sweet boy. We’ve always liked the name Judah. We sat together, heaving deep sobs and somehow I mustered up the strength to pour his placenta into that jar and close it up. I held it and sobbed the way only a broken mama can. We buried it under our sunflowers in our backyard- it felt like the best place for his memory to rest. Beautiful sunnies shining down on him year after year.
We came inside, took a shower and stared blankly as we talked through our thoughts. “I don’t know if my heart is heavy or if I’m dead inside.” I told Nathan. “Same.” he replied. And that’s where we still are. Teetering on despair and hope. Longing for the day he will greet us at the gates.
“So mom,” Ella asked, “will I see this baby in heaven?”
“Yeah, babe, definitely.”
“But like how will I know what he looks like? Or it could be a girl.”
“Yeah. We really think he’s a boy. And I have a feeling that he’ll come up to you in heaven and tell you who he is. He might even get to show you around up there.”
“I’d like that.” she said as she smiled, and her shoulders rose to her ears. “I’d like that a lot.”
August 9th, 2018. That day was a hard day. The 10th was absolutely the hardest day I’ve had to fight through. Each day since- hard. Waves of emotions, sudden sobs. Days laced with laughter and tears, each day feeling more and more like our life will go on.
And one day, I will close my eyes for the last time on this earth. I will feel sad as I say goodbye to the loved ones I’ve known, but my heart will flutter as I remember who will greet me at the gates. I will open my eyes in my new body, and that’s when I’ll see him- my Judah. Maybe he’ll run up to me, or I to him, I don’t care. I will hold him and kiss his face and stare into his bright blue eyes as I hear his voice for the first time. He’ll take my hand and show me to the place Jesus has prepared for me. My sweet babe, showing me around our forever home. Jesus will smile as He watches us meet, and that day- that day is what I live for this day. The day that I get to go Home. The day that I get to hug my King and meet my sweet boy. That day I will long for each day down here. The day that all the wrongs will be made right. When there is no more death or sickness or tears or pain.
That day, sweet boy, I just can’t wait.
To read my follow up to this post, click here.