The Heart Stuff: Miscarriage, a Sad but Natural Part of Life

Life has so many twists and turns. If anything, the path isn’t linear, and sometimes less clear than I’d like it to be. Many of you know I was sick with nausea most of my pregnancy with Gio (now 6 1/2 years old!). I also suffered with severe postpartum depression and was unable to nurse. This trifecta made me join the “one and done club.” I was completely convinced I didn’t want another kid, and that pregnancy amnesia was an old wives tale (how could you forget so much pain and suffering?!). But…my heart changed last August when Gio entered kindergarten. I can’t pinpoint the exact thing or moment, but like the Grinch my heart began to grow and I realized i had room for another baby in my heart and life. My husband, Matt, was quite surprised by this change. I’m pretty sure he thought I’d change my mind again, but we decided to give it the old college try and see if we could give Gio a sibling (which Gio was asking about for some time).

Well, I’m not sure if it’s age, or time, or just life being surprising, but it wasn’t as easy to get pregnant the second time around. In fact, it was downright hard. Per the doctors “everything was fine” but each month my cycle left me further from a baby, and it was certainly stressful on my marriage and taking a toll on my self-esteem. Almost a year in, after several tests and troubleshooting and hoping and dreaming, we attempted a Clomid round….and it worked. I was certainly not expecting it to work on the first go, and that first faint pink line had me hopeful. I also half thought the Clomid was still in my system and that had affected the test (Google said this was possible, so you know, it messed with my mind a little bit). A few more days, a few more pregnancy tests, and I was convinced this could be the real thing. Blood work confirmed and a few weeks later morning sickness set-in. So Thank You Universe, I was finally pregnant again!

In my work as a prenatal and postnatal yoga teacher I am unfortunately aware miscarriage is a sad part of life, and the doctor also set-up expectations that 1:4 pregnancies end in the first trimester. I was certainly worried that I could miscarry, but things seemed to progress “normally” for 3 months. It wasn’t until I went in for my 12-week ultrasound, where I was expecting to hear another heartbeat and see something that more closely resembled a baby than a ball of cells, that the doctor said it wasn’t viable any longer. When I close my eyes I can still see the sad look on her face and feel my heart drop all over again. Apparently the embryo stopped growing several weeks before, but I had obviously no idea. I was finding it somewhat difficult to spiritually connect to the baby in the weeks prior, but I also felt very sick which everyone says is a good sign. A few days before receiving the sad news my acupuncturist confirmed a strong “prenatal heart-beat” for me which certainly gave me hope that all was progressing well. I had been doing reiki and chiropractic and acupuncture and yoga and meditation and all the self-care that I could to support myself and the pregnancy (albeit maybe working a little too much).

So there I sat in my OB’s office on Friday, receiving the information all by myself that there was no baby. I think what caught me the most off-guard was that the reality I was experiencing was completely opposite the truth. I felt pregnant but I wasn’t. I was expecting to hear and see the heartbeat but there wasn’t one. My heart and body and mind and life was preparing for a baby to come in early February and that wasn’t going to happen. I am still struggling with the existential question, “How do I stay spiritual when I’m so angry at God and the Universe?” And, “How do I have faith when I’m completely distrustful in my body’s ability to get and stay pregnant?” Above all I’m struggling most with the loss of the dream of what could’ve been. And that really just makes each day since Friday feel like another lonely day (I’ve been playing the Ben Harper song on repeat),.

Friday was a day of sad news and also a day of decisions: How to move forward from here. Waiting for my body to miscarry on it’s own wasn’t really an option as I am teaching a kids yoga camp this week and on vacation next week. Timing sucks, right? Choosing to have a procedure to remove the cells felt like something I could control - some semblance of power and choice in an otherwise completely vulnerable position. Matt was across country for work, and my parents were also out of town, but my sister and her boyfriend and a family friend stepped up to support me. Gio was quickly in good hands Friday night, and my rides to and from the hospital were arranged. So weird to think that Friday morning I was planning to create a New Mom Rising pregnancy announcement email and send it to you all, “New Mom Rising Welcoming a New Baby!” Well, by 8pm Friday night I was home, very not-pregnant, and knew this email would have to go out instead.

Way harder than writing this announcement, though, was telling Gio there wasn’t going to be a baby anymore. He handled it really well, asked a few smart questions, and then said the most beautiful thing: “Well, at least you have me. That’s pretty lucky.” An he’s 100% right. We are so lucky and blessed. But in this moment I still feel sad and alone and completely angry.

In-spite of being angry that I lost this pregnancy, I still deeply want to believe everything happens for a reason. When I was at the hospital Friday afternoon, prepping for the D&C, I received one piece of information I really needed to hear, and from an unlikely source. I’m not sure how or why, but the nurse felt comfortable sharing that she is also an energy worker (obviously right up by alley) and that most miscarriages like this occur because the baby’s spirit gets “afraid”. As a highly sensitive and intuitive person I know being a human and living in this physical world isn’t easy. According to this enlightened nurse the miscarriage is the baby’s sign of being scared. But she also said the baby’s spirit stays with the parents and will most likely come back again when the timing’s right. So what I’m hoping, with all of my heart and being, is that my baby’s spirit will stay with me and decide to come to this earth and be in my life. Maybe it just needs a little more time to get comfortable with the idea of earth and it will make it here the next time around.

A silver-lining, if I will, is definitely how many women have come forth and shared their own loss with me. Miscarriage is such a normal, although painful, part of life. I have talked to many women over the last few days who have shared their own loss in order to help me heal. And that is what this letter is all about. Sharing with others to heal in community. If my experience can help one mama deal with her own loss then I know it isn’t in vain. The experiences around miscarriages are different, but the feelings of loss are the same. Some of us have miscarried alone at home. Some in public places. Some at 6 weeks and some at several months. I have a close family member who lost a pregnancy at 7 months along. Some of us have had a few miscarriages between beautiful babies. Some have chosen to adopt. And for some, like me, it’s left to be known how the story ends. I don’t want this to be my final chapter, and although I’m mistrustful of my body and the Universe at this point in time, I know there’s still a glimmer of hope in my heart that I can achieve and sustain pregnancy and add another life to our beautiful family.

But as for today, well, it’s just another lonely day.

“yesterday seems like a life ago
cause the one I love
today I hardly know
you I held so close in my heart oh dear
grow further from me
with every fallen tear

it wouldn't have worked out any way
so now it's just another lonely day
further along we just may
but for now it's just another lonely day”

(Ben Harper, Another Lonely Day)