Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Life After Miscarriage

For anyone out there who has struggled through a miscarriage, this post is for you. My first miscarriage was early (barely 6 weeks), and afterwards, I seemed to recover quickly, and I felt very peaceful. I focused on the word "hope," and Matt and I agreed that if our next daughter was a girl, her middle name would be Hope.

When I became pregnant so quickly again afterwards, I'd say my whole 10 weeks of pregnancy were characterized by hope. I thought this new baby was sent by God to comfort me, so when I started bleeding, I was shocked. The crying I did that day (my birthday) was the worst crying I've done in my life. I've written about this before, but honestly I felt like they were tears of despair. 

As I continued to bleed, but without clots, I clung to hope for five days... until I started bleeding SO much heavier--blood pouring out of me, and I ran to the bathroom saying to Matt, "It's over, it's over, it's over."

This is one of those memories that will stick with me forever. It was so painful--both emotionally and physically.

The bleeding lasted for almost a month, much longer than the bleeding after my first miscarriage. I would tell myself, "You're strong, you can get through this..." At the same time, praying and crying, "God, why are You doing this?" 

The recovery process began once again. But nothing has been quite the same. This miscarriage took me a weak place I've never experienced before. I'd go for days without crying, and then hear a song on the radio, and cry while driving home. Or I told Matt, "I want a baby," and then I'd cry for forever, because I wanted those babies.

There's also a new fear of pregnancy that I've never felt before. And fear of blood. Blood is such a scary sight when it's associated with a tiny life inside you.

There are several truths I've been holding onto this time around that have been very encouraging, even through the emotional struggle.

God knows what is happening. God is the One who is healing my body. God is the One who will enable me to conceive again. God is One who controls whether our next baby will live or die. 

And best of all... God is my Father, and He loves me. He wants only the best for my life, whether or not I understand what He is doing all the time.

Monday, April 4, 2016

My Second Miscarriage Story

This is not the post I was expecting to be writing today. As many of you know, after four healthy pregnancies, I miscarried for the first time in January. I was barely 6 weeks along, and although it was difficult, and many tears were shed on account of our little baby, it was nothing like the miscarriage I just experienced.

After my first miscarriage, I was pregnant again quickly, with a late October due date. It was one of those "I just know I'm pregnant" feelings, and I cried happy tears when I took the pregnancy test. God had blessed again so soon, and I loved the idea of having a baby in October (possibly my favorite time of year). Caroline (our youngest)'s 2nd birthday is in October, and I thought it was going to be so perfect to have two birthdays in the same month. 

I was 9.5 weeks along on my birthday. My mom had come over to bring me my favorite coffee drink (in celebration), and right as she was about to leave, I needed to use the bathroom. As soon as I did so, I saw red blood. It totally caught me off guard. It was the one thing I wasn't expecting--not now, not after I'd already had a miscarriage. Please, Lord, and not on my birthday!

I started crying, and these were not tears like my last miscarriage. It was a raw emotion that I haven't felt for years. It was fear and despair and so much grief at the unknown. Why again? Why so far along?

As I mentioned my story on Instagram, the stories started pouring in. Stories of bleeding during pregnancy, and the babies being fine! Miracle babies--when the moms were sure this baby had died, the doctor continued to hear a heartbeat.

For the next few days, I continued to bleed, but as worrying as it was, I continued to hope that my story would be added to these hosts of others. That the bleeding would stop, and we'd be hearing a heartbeat before we knew it.

I'd been on partial bed rest, trying to sit and rest as much as possible, and I was really feeling pretty well. Sunday morning, I stayed home from church, and that's when the cramping began. The physical pain was on a completely different level than my last miscarriage. I'm not typically a "I'm in pain" sort of person (I prefer to suck it up and keep on going), but this was real pain, like I'd experience in labor. On Sunday night, the bleeding picked up much heavier, and I began losing clots.

Even so, I still was saying to Matt, "I think our baby's going to be ok."

But as soon as I woke up this morning, I felt differently. I was just losing so much blood, and so quickly. I think the miscarriage officially began last night, and it ended this morning. 

I'm certain it will take a while for my body and heart to heal this time around. The process has only just begun.

But for now, I wanted to offer some words of advice on how to respond when someone you know miscarries. Before I miscarried, I had no idea how to respond. I didn't know what miscarriage was like, and I wasn't sure what to say. But now that I've gone through it, and heard a variety of responses to my miscarriages, I know that there is really only one appropriate response.

And that is... I'm sorry. I can't imagine how hard this must be for you. I'm praying for you. Is there any way we can help?

That is all. It's not the time to suggest to the grieving mother that she could've prevented this miscarriage if she wouldn't have had her pregnancies so close together. In fact, any "this is possibly your fault" comments shouldn't even enter the conversation. The mother is already going to be dealing with many of those doubts and fears without anyone critically voicing them. 

No matter how many children a mother has already, she was counting on THIS baby. This next little sibling. Perhaps she was already rolling around baby names in her mind. So yes, of course she values the children she already has, but that doesn't de-value the baby she lost in any way. And losing a baby isn't a sign that she shouldn't have more children. I remember hearing people say this about another mother with multiple children, and it was incredibly insensitive. 

Miscarriage is very painful--both physically and emotionally. A mother finds herself in a place she's never been before, vulnerable and weak and full of emotions she's never before faced. This is the time for friends to show Christ's compassion, and love, and kindness, and to grieve with her for the baby she wanted so much to meet.