My grief is raw and ongoing and therefore it feels impossible to write about this. But I know myself well and I know that writing is one of the things that I must do in order to heal. When I found out I was pregnant in August, I started a pregnancy journal. Since the 21st of September I haven’t touched that journal. I don’t want to update it with the news that my baby is dead. I thought that maybe I should burn it. Or throw it away. So that I don’t have to read it again and see my hope, my happiness, my mix of emotions at becoming a mom much earlier than I had planned, or even the ultrasound picture I stapled to the inside. Today, actually, was the first day that I had the courage to open it and read through it.
The journal entry that stood out to me the most was from September 10th. I wrote: “we saw the baby! And a heartbeat! I feel so happy it’s indescribable. Seeing that there was something to see on the screen really took a huge amount of weight and fear off of me. And seeing that little heart beating so fast! Oh my goodness. My heart cannot handle it. There is another being with a heartbeat in my body. And I am helping them to grow!”
Reading the words brings a sour taste to my mouth.
My dear friend gifted me a book on miscarriage and it’s been one of the most helpful things to me during this really confusing time. In it, I highlighted this passage: “maybe the only thing worse than carrying a dead baby is finding out you’ve been carrying a dead baby while blissfully unaware” (Adriel Booker, Grace Like Scarlett).
Yeah. That pretty much sums it up for me.
My husband and I found out that the baby no longer had a heartbeat at week nine. However, the fetus had stopped growing really around seven weeks. I had thought I’d prepared for that outcome. I’d waited to feel excitement and joy until recently because I knew that miscarriage was common for first pregnancies. I’d only told my closest friends and family members. I tried not to dream too much about a future with a little Jose and Camille out of caution. However when I heard the midwife tell me, “oh sweetie, I am not seeing a heartbeat anymore,” I was incredibly sad. “Sad seems such a grossly insufficient word here” (Booker). I felt like a best friend had passed. I was barely able to make it home, exploding into violent sobs as Jose ran home to hold me as my heart was breaking.
And there it left me. “Neither pregnant nor unpregnant […] while carrying death in my belly (Booker).
That was two weeks ago. My body still has not initiated the miscarriage. After lots of googling I found out that this is called a missed miscarriage or a silent miscarriage. Where the fetus dies but the body hasn’t processed it yet and so you are left to continue carrying them. I’ve gained weight, my swollen stomach and expanded uterus not fully processing the death. I just had to buy a new pair of pants so I could wear jeans again. The nausea was unbearable so I had to beg for anti-nausea medicine. I have back pain and minor cramps, but no blood yet. I am in a limbo of waiting for the inevitable.
I long for Jesus. I long for everything to be made new. “Nothing I’ve experienced has made me more desperate for the hope of kingdom come than straddling a toilet, bleeding life from my womb. Nothing else has made me beg for God’s deliverance, his day of reckoning, when every tear will be wiped away. I never knew I could cry so much. Or hope so much. Lament–it’s the language of grief tinged with the hope for deliverance” (Booker).
I know he is with me. He was with me when the heart stopped beating. He is with me now as I wait. He will be with me when I have to give birth to a dead fetus, tissue, and blood clots. He will be with me when I have to collect it and hand it over for medical testing. He will be weeping with me.
I know that the tone of this is quite depressing. Maybe angry, maybe numb. I feel a lot of things. But I also feel hope and thankfulness. I know that our God is a good God of love and he is with me through all of my suffering. Jose and I will heal and everything will keep going.
To our child–whoever you are and were going to be–we love you and we are thankful for your brief presence.
Oh, honey. This is one of the bravest pieces you have written, and you are always brave. So many women suffer in silence. The veil of sorrow should be lifted. Hugs.