I wasn’t going to write this. This wasn’t going to be that kind of blog. But now I have to…the universe kind of told me so. Buckle in.
This is not a sad story about miscarriage. It’s not full of woe and despair. Instead my worst story is full of hope, and the promise that there’s something so blindingly bitter/sweet on the other side of this pain. This is not my whole story…as I imagine most of us who share this club are apt to do, I’m keeping most of it to myself.
I had a miscarriage. It happened early, it happened quick, it happened painlessly and cleanly. In the twisted world that is losing babies, my experience could be rated one of the best. I knew I was pregnant for one week before I knew that I wasn’t anymore. Let me tell you this: time is not a factor in a miscarriage.
We had tried for no time at all, Bella was barely 1 year old. I tested on a Tuesday, started spotting by the following Tuesday and got a heartbreaking call from my doctor at 6:00pm that next Thursday. “I’m sorry. Your tests have all concluded that you no longer have a viable pregnancy.” I thanked him (no, I couldn’t think of anything better to say) and hung up. And then proceeded to make at least six phone calls to apologize (no, I couldn’t think of anything better to say) that there would be no new baby in October after all.
And here’s the thing. I’m not upset that I had to do that. I like to deal with crises on my own, and this felt very much in my control. And if I hadn’t told them to begin with? What would have changed? Instead my husband would have had to explain to them: yes we were pregnant. no it didn’t make it. no we don’t know why. yes she’s very sad. It felt good, it built me up a little to say, every time, “We will be fine. I’m upset, of course. But we have each other, I’m not scared.”
I spent the days between the spotting and the doctor’s phone call laying on my couch, doing nothing but crying. I wept, I sobbed, I wailed, I curled into a ball and wanted to disappear. I mourned that loss…hard. Isabella would run by me and I would fall apart. Smiles through tears is all that poor girl got out of me for three straight days. And with a phone call, with those few final words from a doctor, POOF. It was done. I had myself a new mission now: get pregnant, again. Fast. As a coping mechanism, I needed to show my body that I was in control, that I could get and stay pregnant on my terms.
It wasn’t until Annika’s delivery that I figured out how untrue that statement really, really is. I was wheeled into OB Triage at 6:55am, and Annika Libby was born at 7:12. It was quite clear to me, from that very moment, that she would do what she would do- despite my protests or attempts to change fate. It was a crazy delivery in which I felt entirely outside myself. But never scared. Anxious, yes. Nervous for certain. But I was not scared.
No. We saved the scared for after. Suffice it to say, for 20 minutes there I straddled a very faint line between recovery from delivery and recovery from emergency surgery. Never was I so thankful for a PIC line.
My miscarriage slowed.me.down. It waited to teach me my lesson until after I had tried to teach my body a lesson first. What I gained from the one I lost is this: life is not a series of planned events. life happens all around those. If it weren’t for losing that baby, I would not have Annika. Annika saved my life. Those are not just pretty words: she literally saved my life as I know it. I could feel myself slipping, in those days before I got to test to see if I was pregnant. I couldn’t communicate, my thoughts were completely consumed with what I would feel like when I saw those two pink lines. And then, when I saw them? I started thinking about the 12 week ultrasound. And then, after the ultrasound, I started thinking about the 20 week ultrasound. And then…….no, I was never in the moment. Never, not once. I missed my entire pregnancy with Annika thinking about my pregnancy with her. That sounds about as weird as it feels to look back on now. And way more shitty.
But I credit Nik with my ability to let my guard down, and really see everything around me, to be part of it. To live my life. TO LIVE MY LIFE. And I guess, if I give credit to her, I thank the one that never made it.
There have been many women I am very close to who have lost babies after I lost mine. And the hands that reached out to me, the stories that they felt free to tell me, the pain they were willing to share, and the small comfort my story could bring to an earth-shattering time in their lives? That is the legacy of a miscarriage. My miscarriage took nothing from me that belonged to me. Instead it gave me so much that I would have never known was so important to me. Real memories with my kids, community in a group of women who’s sorrow I feel when they tell their stories, and a sense of…I don’t know…calm? Maybe that’s the best description I can give you of what I feel when I think of it now. Calm. It’s still a little twinge of pain, mixed with some questions and sense of wonder. But what I’m left with is calm in knowing that my life is full because of it, not in spite of it.