It’s Really Difficult to Write About Miscarriage

The other night we drove by one of our favorite sushi restaurants. Clint said, “Imagine. In just a few months we’ll be in there eating sushi, and you can have your martini. It’s been so long. Almost a year, really.”

Yes, a year. Because I was pregnant last December. I miscarried in March. Then I got pregnant again in April with the girl I’m carrying now. The girl who’s due in January.

I can’t believe how hard it was to write that.

In fact, I meant to write about it last month—October—when the baby we conceived last December was due. For whatever reason, I couldn’t. But I wanted to. For me, for anyone else who’s gone through a miscarriage, and for that little would-be baby we created and couldn’t wait to meet. I wanted to. But I couldn’t.

I’m feeling like maybe I can now. But what to say? That it is common? You know that. I know that. I suppose it helps a little, knowing you’re not alone.

A little.

I didn’t expect it. Why would I? With Roy, everything happened just as it should. Actually, better than “they” say it should, given my advanced maternal age of 37. Clint and I joke that we talked about the possibility of having a kid, then held hands, and bam! I was pregnant. That pregnancy went relatively smoothly, ending in a birth that went pretty much as I’d hoped. Lucky all around.

Pregnancy #2 started out the same way. We had a conversation about trying for another, then we looked at each other, and there I was, pregnant again. We had all the usual worries about money and space and time, but really none about the health of the baby. Of course everything would move forward as before. Deep down, it felt right. Meant to be. Our wedding anniversary is in September, Clint’s birthday in November, mine in December, Roy’s in January. October was the open slot in our run of family celebrations. Now it would be filled by our second child’s birthday. And it would all happen mere months before I turned 40. A meaningless deadline, but still. It felt like the logical conclusion to my 30s. Perfect, even.

I didn’t worry when the doctor couldn’t pick up a heartbeat at eight weeks, either. It was still so early.

I didn’t worry when my morning sickness waned much earlier than it had with Roy. Why go there? I chose instead to feel thankful for being nausea-free.

It was the spotting that got me worrying. Light, but spotting nonetheless. “Common in early pregnancy,” the nurse told me over the phone. “If it gets worse, let us know.”

Within days, the flu descended upon our home with a vengeance. After chili-dog night, no less. It was the first time all three of us had gotten knocked down in such a way, and it was rough. Between the spotting and the throwing up, I decided to see the doctor. My vague “bad feeling” grew after discovering I’d lost a few pounds. The doctor still couldn’t pick up a heartbeat. I was 11 weeks along, with a nuchal scan scheduled the following week. Did I want to wait until then, he asked, or would I rather get an ultrasound now? Just to put my mind at ease.

“Now,” I answered, without hesitation. “Definitely now.”

Clint was at home with Roy, throwing up, as I reclined in that dark room, hopefully inspecting the ultrasound screen, conspicuously lacking movement. The technician remained silent.

“Can you see anything?” I asked.

“There’s no pole,” she said.

“What’s a pole?”

“A baby.”

Development had stopped weeks earlier.

So yes, I know this is common. That These Things Happen. That most likely, there was some sort of chromosomal abnormality and that Nature took its course. Still, we mourned the loss. And the guilt came. Were my workouts too vigorous? What about that decaf tea that apparently wasn’t? Or maybe it was a matter of me taking my pregnant state for granted. Can development stop simply due to under-appreciation?

My head says no. My heart still wonders.

Then, there was waiting for the inevitable. This is an awful time, knowing what is—isn’t?—inside you. Not knowing what to expect. Not knowing when to expect it. This is not something you want to happen during a meeting, or at a restaurant, or at Target. This is not something you want to happen.

It happened the following day, as I was working at home, alone. So quick and painless it didn’t seem right. At first. Then came cramping. And blood. Both worsened considerably as the hours passed. I wanted my body to take care of things naturally. Apparently, my body wasn’t so sure it could handle this on its own.

So. I could tell you it was horrible. Maybe we should have gone to the hospital. At the point when that decision needed to be made I was teetering on the edge of consciousness and may not have been exercising the best judgement. We didn’t go. And just when both Clint and I knew things could not get any worse, they didn’t. And that was that.

Common. Horrible. But mostly, heartbreaking. An experience that I’m not better for having had. An experience I wouldn’t wish upon anyone. An experience that if you’ve gone through it, I am so sorry. I want to hug you and cry for you and tell you that I understand. Because I do. I know that doesn’t really help much.

I’ll settle for a little.

 

Image: Broken Heart with a Bandage via Shutterstock

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  1. by anti jen

    On November 18, 2011 at 11:16 am

    We’re hugging you right back. And also crying. Thank you for writing that, putting your heart out there for others, and being so brave.

  2. by Joanne

    On November 18, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    You’ve got to talk about it. Write about it. If those of us who have suffered through miscarriages don’t talk with others about it, it perpetutates the common practice of not talking about it, which makes it taboo. It happens to a lot of women and if we don’t talk about it with each other we often suffer alone. Love. Hugs. Peace to you, Roy, Clint, your growing girl, and your angel.

  3. by Kelly

    On November 18, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    Thank you for writing this, Berit. Hugs to you, Clint, and Roy.

  4. by Abbey

    On November 18, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    Thank you for sharing. It is a heart wrenching experience I wish we never would have had to go through. I was pregnant with my son as the month that “that baby” would have been born in. As much as I cherished the growing baby inside of me and as I look at him now, I can’t imagine him not being here, but there is still a sad longing for the one I never knew.

  5. by katie d.

    On November 18, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    I can’t imagine. Many women I know have gone through it, and it takes time to grieve. I imagine if it happened to me (or happens to me) I will always wonder about that little one. I’m so glad that you have had the chance for a third pregnancy.

  6. by LD

    On November 18, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    Thank you for sharing this. I went through almost exact same thing – wonderful experience with my first born, then a miscarriage with the second that really knocked me down for a bit. I had a healthy, beautiful boy in July. So grateful and I know he wouldn’t be here if the other pregnancy had worked out, but I still think about the lost baby. Not sure if that ever goes away.

  7. by Jodi D.

    On November 18, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    I had a miscarriage in Aug. 2002 at 12 weeks and gave birth to my firstborn in April 2004. It wasn’t until I brought Gage home from the hospital that I finally realized what I really lost in 2002. I finally cried and then I wrote a note to the baby I would never meet and placed it inside the pregnancy journal that I had kept for him/her. I hope to meet them in Heaven one day and finally hold baby in my arms, give him/her a kiss and tell him/her that I’ve always loved them. I now have two beautiful boys and cherish every moment with them. But you never forget the one you never met.

  8. by Betsy

    On November 18, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    <>! I’ve already shared my story, I appreciate you sharing your own. It still surprises me how thoughts of our angel babies creep in and just take hold of my head for a couple days at a time.

  9. by Jennifer

    On November 18, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    I am so sorry, Berit and Clint, and Roy. Sending love and hugs and peace and healing.

  10. by MR

    On November 18, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    Thanks for sharing, I lost 6 babies before having a successful pregnancy that resulted in my now 8 month old son and I can say without a doubt that if I hadn’t talked about it and gotten some great support, it could have destroyed me. People didn’t and still don’t understand, it’s a terrible loss and one that holds with a mother and family forever. We have a Christmas ornament on our tree for each angel, this year will be bittersweet to place them since I know even more what we lost since we having our son but the pain isn’t quite so raw now either. He’s brought love back in our hearts. I hope you’re message paves the way for more awareness.

  11. by Eileen

    On November 19, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Berit, I am so sorry that you and Clint had to go through this. Thank you for sharing. I also celebrate that you were able to conceive again so easily. Grief, sadly, is a part of life for us all, and it can help bring us together as part of this human experience. The shadow and the light.
    Love to you all.

  12. by Angie

    On November 21, 2011 at 10:53 am

    Thank you for being brave enough to share…I went through this with my first pregnancy. I totally agree with the guilt part…i felt like I had been doing everything perfect, and my husband & I both being young and healthy, we just took it for granted that for us, pregnancy would result in a healthy baby. Hard lesson to learn, one that no one should ever have to! Hugs to you and all of our angels:)

  13. by Stefanie

    On November 21, 2011 at 10:53 am

    Thanks for posting this. I’m so sorry for your loss – and I know nothing makes it easier, but I’m so glad you are sharing it for others that are feeling alone and going through the same thing. It seems that sharing is some of the best therapy.

  14. by Rachel

    On November 21, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    Thank you for sharing such a difficult and heartbreaking story with us. I’m so sorry for your loss. Sharing this will help others face their experience without feeling so alone.

    Congrats on your baby girl!

    Rachel

  15. by Lisa

    On November 21, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story. My husband and I lost our first baby earlier this year as he was stillborn. There is not a day that goes by without me wondering what I did wrong since he was so perfect and beautiful. We will never know thereson why, but reading and hearing others’ stories makes it a little easier to deal with our loss.

  16. by Lindsay

    On November 22, 2011 at 8:13 am

    Thank you for writing this. My husband and I lost our first baby in August 2009. I will never forget the feelings of why me? what did I do to cause this? Even though I know it wasn’t anything I did, but like you my heart still wonders. However, I became pregnant again 3 months later. I now have a 16 1/2 month old little boy, Wyatt. He brings so much joy and laughter to my life.
    Congratulations on your new bundle of joy!

  17. by Stephanie's Mommy Brain

    On November 22, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    It happened to me, too. Babies 1-3 conceived and birthed without a hitch. Then came #4. A week after the little test showed positive I started spotting and 48 hours later there was no doubt as to what was happening. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. The grief of what should have been isn’t pretty. But life goes on. A couple of months later I was pregnant again and had no problems with that pregnancy. I wouldn’t have my little Sam if I hadn’t miscarried. But I’m just selfish enough to want both of them.

  18. by Lori

    On November 26, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    Wow…your story is mine I got pregnant in Dec when I was 37 and miscarried in Feb. I am still trying to get pregnant but my b/f wants to wait. We have been together a year and I have no kids. I am still not sure if we should be together.

  19. by Trisha

    On November 29, 2011 at 9:50 am

    Thank you for sharing this. It is very hard to talk about this subject and even more than 3 years later I have a hard time. I was 20 weeks pregnant with my first and went in for an ultrasound. It was supposed to be the happy day when we finally found out if we would have a girl or a boy. However, the ultrasound tech couldn’t find a heart beat and started asking questions like when was the last time you felt the baby move? When was the last time you saw the doctor? I knew it was bad. The doctor confirmed my fears. I wish I had been able to go home and deal with this quietly at by myself, but because I was so far along I had to go to the hospital and have labor induced and actually deliver the baby that I knew was already gone. It was tragic and breaks my heart today. To anyone who has gone through this, I wish I had answers for the why and how, but all I know is that three years later, I still cry and nothing makes it any easier.

  20. by Jill Cordes

    On November 29, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    Wow Berit. Thanks for sharing. We’re almost at the finish line now with happy, healthy babies growing in our bellies. Hugs.

  21. [...] Miscarriage is hard to write about, but this blogger does a pretty darn good job. — Parents [...]

  22. by Berit Thorkelson

    On December 3, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    Just want to say how much I appreciate the comments that keep coming in on this post — difficult for me to write; and even difficult for me to read now. I am thankful for every bit of support and shed tears to every single one of your miscarriage stories. Ongoing love & hugs to all.

  23. by Molly

    On December 4, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    Oh, Berit, I’m so sorry. Now I’m wondering if I said anything insensitive to you at Aki’s shower, when we talked afterward! If so, I’m sorry! :(

  24. by Berit Thorkelson

    On December 4, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    no worries, Molly! I was actually happily pregnant then anyway.

  25. by Kabo

    On December 5, 2011 at 7:38 am

    I lost a baby boy on the 14th August 2011. It is still really tough because I could be cradling that baby right now. At 24 weeks nobody knew why it happened and was also told its nature taking its cause. Well tough!!
    I held that boy in my arms as he passed on and yes it was a live birth. And I still dont know if I will ever forget him but I know how much I still miss him and wish he had lived longer than an hour and actually more years.
    It was even tougher to go back home and tell his 3.5 year old brother that your baby brother is not there anymore.
    I hope though it will be less painful with time. It has left me paranoid and at 6 weeks pregnant, I am scared of being excited. I am just waiting it out and hoping it works out this time.

    Berit, thanks for having the guts to talk about it. And after all the comments, it really feels like I am not alone

    Regards

    KayBee

  26. by Kelly

    On December 6, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    Thank you. It is difficult, but thank you for writing. There is not enough good writing on the subject, and a month later, I’m still processing the fact that my first pregnancy is over.

  27. by Kayt

    On December 7, 2011 at 11:05 am

    Thank you for writing this. I have a son who will be three this month, and he was massively unplanned. I actually was quite unhappy I was pregnant up until the moment I held him in my arms and fell in love. My husband and I started trying for our second this summer, and I was hysterically happy when I had the second pink line in early October. I told my parents, my boss (whose wife is pregnant with their second), my in-laws… I felt this this pregnancy was going to be redemption. I would cherish every little flutter and stretch mark and kick. I was going to do it right this time. I went in for my eight week appointment, and my midwife asked me if I was sure the test was positive. After three excruciating weeks of progesterone and HGC tests, we determined I had a blighted ovum. They told me I could either do nothing, take methotrexate, or have a D&C. I opted for the D&C and spent Vetran’s Day at the outpatient center.

    I’m still hurting. A lot. Since I had my miscarriage, three people I know have given birth, and five (FIVE!) people have announced pregnancies, bringing it to twelve people I know who are pregnant. But you know what? I’m glad I told as many people as I did. If I hadn’t, my boss wouldn’t have been as supportive of me. My coworker might have freaked out when I held her newborn for ten minutes and cried. And my in laws might not have understood why I was sad and snippy with them. It’s hard, and it hurts, but I feel like a bit of information with people you trust gives you a community of family to help you through it.

    I can hardly wait for my turn to have my second, and I’m so so excited for you to have yours! Congrats again, and thank you for sharing your story.

  28. by Berit Thorkelson

    On December 7, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Huge hugs, KayBee, Kelly & Kayt. I appreciate your comments and take all your experiences to heart.

    I know what you mean about being too scared to be excited, KayBee. I was the same way with my girl, who I’ve now been carrying for almost 33 weeks. Sending you prayers/good vibes for your child’s healthy continued growth.

    Kayt, I like your point about the benefits of having shared. What a great attitude & good to remember.

    Love & best of luck to you all moving forward in your own strong-lady ways.

  29. by A.

    On January 18, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    When I first read this post back in November, I forwarded it along to a friend who had a miscarriage, hoping to provide some comfort. Little did I know I would be back myself to read it again after suffering my own. I read it with completely different eyes this time, that’s for sure.

    Thank you for sharing your story.

  30. by Berit Thorkelson

    On January 18, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    I am so sorry to hear that, A. No matter how long its been since I’ve written this, I get teary with each new story that shows up in the comments. Glad I could provide even a sliver comfort. Sincerely wishing you love & healing.

  31. by thoughtsappear

    On August 22, 2012 at 9:33 am

    As difficult as it must have been to write, I’m glad you did. I recently had a miscarriage. Your post helped me. Thank you.

  32. by Berit Thorkelson

    On June 20, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    I still go back and read this now and again. Spend some time with the experience, just to see where I’m at “today.” I think about all who’ve commented here, and those who haven’t, too. Sending out love to you all.