pre-loved//miscarried

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I didn’t mean to tell a lie. Truth is, I was suffering too much to tell anyone what was happening. Tears came fresh when I thought about my situation, so how could I possibly have a conversation about it?

Now I see that my silence perpetuates a societal problem – the last taboo, if you will – and so I’m speaking out.

We were at the appointment early, 7 weeks instead of 8, and so the doctor did an internal ultrasound to show us the heartbeat of our future child.  The baby was too young to produce an audible heartbeat, but we saw the thump thump thumping of the heart on the camera.

A tiny heart was beating inside of me.  A tiny heart created by the person I loved most in the world.  That tiny heart was my favorite heart in the whole world.

The wait for the second ultrasound finally came to an end, and Jon and I were the picture of happiness in the waiting room: we held hands, placed bets on gender, and took I-Phone photos to record the moment.  When I was brought into the office, Jon held squeezed my hand tight and then light and then tight again to convey excitement.

“Congratulations – looks like you’re just about 8 weeks pregnant.”  The sweet nurse roamed the camera over the jelly on my stomach and pointed, “you can see the baby right here.”

Blood and car accidents and needles and boom and bang and oh heavenly father.  No. Please. Oh god. Oh my god.
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“They told me I was 7 weeks at my last appointment – 3 weeks ago.”  My thoughts trailed off and Jon stepped in, confident, “we’re at 10 weeks – maybe even 11.”

The tears came as quickly as the details of what was happening– the baby on the monitor before me, the same baby inside my stomach right now, stopped growing two weeks ago.  2 weeks. 2 weeks. 2 weeks.

I wanted the baby out of me immediately.  I started trembling and my mind went blank and I stared at the ceiling and wished wished wished to disappear and float away and wake up from a bad dream.

In the doctor’s own words, I’d won the reverse lottery, and was 1 of the 1,000 pregnancies that are classified as ‘partial-molar.’

Can you imagine how many things were running through my head at that moment?  Won the reverse lottery?  That’s not something anyone wants to hear, is it?  I’d never won anything, so for my first “win” to come in reverse was unfortunate at very best.

And, perhaps more confusing, what is a molar pregnancy?  Good or bad or something that isn’t wonderful but can be fixed pretty quickly?  Where were we on the scale of fear?
1sendinglove
Luckily Jon stepped in, personifying the stereotype of ‘cool, calm and collected,’ and asked a) what a molar pregnancy was b) how it happened and c) what it meant going forward.  Thank you Jon, and now, over to the doctor.

Checking her watch, the doctor explained that a molar pregnancy occurs when an extra set of paternal chromosomes fertilizes an egg.  Moles can be partial or complete, and mine was partial.  A partial mole means that the extra chromosomes form cysts around the embryo, prevent growth, and eventually cause death.

I started to tremble.  Tears rolled down my eyes.  The pre-loved baby inside of me was dead.  Worse still, the little one had died a little over a week ago.  Jon had been communicating with a ghost when he kissed my stomach at night.  I felt sick thinking about all the times I’d rubbed my belly or talked out-loud to the baby that wasn’t there.

I wanted it out of me immediately and fast as possible and please please please just make this end.  My surgery was scheduled for the following day, Friday the 13th.

My post operation appointment was Monday morning at 10am, so I had approximately 3 days or 72 hours to recover. The weekend left me feeling well-enough to attend on my own, and so I told Jon to go back to work – he’d missed the past couple of days, and I wanted to minimize his stress as much as possible.

Except.
And then.
But I should have known.

How do you categorize levels of horror?  In the past few days, I learned the baby was dead, had surgery to remove the fetus, coped with changing life plans, and struggled to convince my body that I wasn’t pregnant.

Now I was hearing why I needed weekly blood draws to monitor my HcG levels.  I knew that my specific miscarriage, a partial-molar, meant that the baby had been killed by cysts developing over the fetus.  What I didn’t know, until now, was that I was at serious risk of developing trophoblastic cancer from the complication.  Not only had I experienced the loss of a child, but I might also develop cancer?

I asked her to confirm my fears, and she told me to remain calm, ‘the chances of the infection becoming cancerous is small, just 1-2%.”

I looked at her, trembling, and reminded her that the odds of having a molar pregnancy are .006%, “After everything else, 1-2% sounds pretty high to me.”

I’d won the reverse-lottery days before, and if my luck remained, I would need an additional surgery or radiation within a couple months.

Every prayer I’d heard about strength and acceptance ran through my mind.  Keep calm. Remain strong. Hold the tears.  The pain you’re feeling now can’t compare to the joy that is coming.  It will be okay.  One day at a time.  Steady as you go.

And then I remembered the most important question of all, “when can I start trying to get pregnant?”

“You’ll want to wait until your HcG reaches drops to 1-2, and definitely not before six months have passed.  If you get pregnant, your HcG score will be skewed, and it will be impossible to tell if the cancer is spreading.”

Right. Okay. Fine.  I had planned to spend the next 6 months preparing for birth, but in the blink of an eye, I was monitoring my blood levels for cancer instead.

Like I said, thinking about my loss makes the tears come fresh every single time.  Sometimes, however, the hardest thing and the right thing are the same: maybe I need to start a conversation about what happened.

Can we come together to create a culture of understanding and support around miscarriage?  Is it possible?  I think we can, and that’s why I’m here, sharing my story.  

My baby was pre-loved and miscarried, but I’m not alone and neither are you.  My hope is that sharing this story makes someone else feel less alone in their struggle with miscarriage.
2nowandalways
Image of girl holding heart made with clipart from TheInkNest.

49 thoughts on “pre-loved//miscarried

  1. Oh Jen, I’m so so sorry! Thank you for sharing this, though, and starting a conversation about it. Good friends of ours just lost their baby, too, at 8 weeks. It was devastating seeing their excitement come to such an abrupt halt. I searched online to try to understand the medical implication and procedures better, and there were just so many women alone online, sharing their pain at the loss of their baby’s heart-beat, that it made my heart ache.

    • hey erica, my heart goes out to your friend ❤ when it happened, i couldn't find anyone with a similar experience, and brave women sharing their stories on the web provided me with so much comfort. share my story with your friend if it might help xx.

  2. I am so sorry for your loss. And now the continuing pain you have to go through to monitor the cancer possibility.

    You are right though. You are not alone. And I hope you find that sharing your story will help many others who feel/have felt alone during all this.

    Sending prayers and love.

  3. I am proud of you for sharing your story. I remember listening to you tell it from across the table at Caribou. It’s heart wrenching. And unfair. But you have a message and I think you are beyond brave to begin opening up about it. From an infertility standpoint I can say only good has come from me sharing our unfortunate journey.

    • Of course, people like you are the reason I had the strength to do this. I don’t know anyone with a similar experience, but I found so much comfort reading similar stories by bloggers — I knew I had to share my story too. Besides, I think it’s important that we share the ups and downs if we’re going to blog about life, right?

  4. Reblogged this on a simple man of God and commented:
    This story from my wonderful sister-in-law is exactly what I am talking about in my post today, “When Life Roughs You Up”.
    Life is not always easy, and Jesus said (speaking contextually of persecution, but it applies) “in this world you will have [troubles].”
    Yet, it is the next phrase that reminds us of why we have hope: “I have overcome the world!” (John 16:33)
    Please join me in lifting in prayer my sister-in-law, her family, and all those who suffer from the loss of a miscarriage.

  5. You are so strong and so brave. Thank you for sharing your story. YOU are going to make a difference to other people by sharing it. And I hope that many come to you offering support and empathy in a way that lifts you up and brings you comfort.

    Hugs, friend.

  6. Hello,

    Found you through Daniel’s reblog. We suffered an early miscarriage after successful IVF treatment. The Doctors used all sorts of terms that we still don’t understand. As we had a lot of supports following our journey we felt we had to immediately share our news which was difficult as part of us wanted to hold on to it and wallow for awhile. What I’m saying is I know how hard it can be to share something like this, and how there can be times when you wish you hadn’t. But I believe you have done the brave and right thing.

    In the Uk we have a charity called “Saying Goodbye” that is trying to break the silence around miscarriage. I think they are expanding to the US soon. http://www.sayinggoodbye.org

    God Bless

    Nick

    • Thank you for sharing your story- i can definitely relate to the unknown terms and medical jargon that sort of goes right over your head – i didn’t understand what had happened for days… so it goes, right? i hope that you experience healing, and i’ll be praying for you.

  7. I’m so, so sorry to hear about this babe. How horrifying and terribly sad. My heart breaks for you and Jon. 😦 Thank you so much for sharing this with us, however, in hopes that we can be a support system and help you through it.

    Thinking of you!

    -Ashley
    http://lestylorouge.com

  8. Oh sweet friend, my heart goes out to you. I haven’t walked through this personally, but I have walked with several sweet friends and sisters have they been there as well. My heart breaks for each and every one of those lost babies and for the parents and families who had begun to dream about that little growing life. I am so glad you were willing to share this, though. You are brave, Jen. Thank you. Know that I am praying for you today.

  9. I’ve seen a few posts pop up lately about putting a voice to miscarriage. I’m thankful you shared about this. While I have not been in this situation, I know it would be comforting to have someone to speak out about it. Gosh, this just sucks. I’m so sorry.

  10. My heart goes out to you and Jon. I’ve known family members who have experienced this pain, and my heart aches for them. Your baby was well loved no doubt, and is now resting with God. I am so thankful to know a blogger like you who has the sheer braveness in telling this story. You’re leading the way for many others by sharing. And by doing so, I hope comfort and solace reaches you in a way where things start to shine again for you.

    I’m sending virtual positive prayers, thoughts, and hugs your way.

  11. You are so brave for sharing your story. I am so impressed by your constant positivity through reading your blog, and such positivity is so admirable especially considering the trauma you have recently been through! My mother and sister-in-law have both been through miscarriages, and it is wonderful that you are able to share your story so that conversation on this painful subject can be more open. Many prayers and positive thoughts for you, and I’m very sorry for your loss. 😦

  12. Although I can’t possible understand everything that you are needing to go through, I can empathize with some of it. When my wife was pregnant with my son, we were originally going to have twins, but lost one of them early on. It was traumatic and I still find myself thinking about the ‘what ifs’ from time to time.

    Thank you for sharing what I am sure was a difficult story and post to compose. You are a very brave woman, and you most obviously have the best man in the world beside you. I have the utmost respect for you to carry forward with such hope and determination. And to share such a personal and heartfelt story with your readers takes a tremendous amount of courage. Sending the warmest thoughts for both you and Jon.

    • hey dave, thank you for sharing that – i think opening up about loss makes everyone experiencing it feel less alone, and that’s why i wrote this post. it’s not that we need to talk about our grief, but to let others know that it’s not unique, and that painful experiences can be binding (rather than alienating) if we let them. my heart goes out to you and your wife — sending hugs:)

  13. We lost our first child in the first 3 months in just that way. It just stopped growing and died. The Doctor who came in to tell us told us like he was saying the TV was on or the yard needed mowed. “Well the baby has stopped growing and is now dead. We will schedule a DNC as soon as I can get back to the nurses station.” Cold as a fish.

    We were gob smacked. We just crumbled in each others arms an howled with tears. For us our baby died. But for some it was a miscarriage and we would just have to get back on the horse. I know it was even deeper for my wife. You have helped me a bit understand how she might have felt.

    Your right. We need to keep our eyes out and support those who have experienced the same. Others really can’t grasp it.

    • todd- ah! i didn’t include the specifics of the doctor language in my post, but i sure wanted to! we didn’t know what was going on for such a long time, and then when the surgeon told us a d&c was necessary, we asked what that was, and when she explained, i broke down and sobbed – finally the words made sense — and she told me, no joke, that ‘there is a mcdonald’s across the street if you need a big mac and fries.’

      i suppose miscarriage is common enough that it becomes routine for medical professionals, but the ache is so real and raw that we don’t see it that way.

      your wife is lucky to have you, and i’m keeping your story in my heart. thank you for sharing.

  14. I am so sorry to hear this, Jen! The vague post about how your circumstance had a .006% chance of happening was the first blog post of yours I read, and I’ve read every day since. I’ve given thought to what you were talking about a few times, but this is not what I imagined. Sending virtual hugs your way and thinking of you!

    • oh kala, i remember that post! i couldn’t formulate the words to say what had happened – it just hurt too much. now, however, i want people feeling that same pain to feel comforted… and so i had to write it out. hopefully you never know what i’m talking about 🙂

  15. I am so so sorry to hear about this traumatic event. My heart breaks for the loss you experienced. I am not a mom, I’ve never had a miscarriage, I have no idea what you truly went through, but I agree that there is a lot of stigma around the experience. Thank you for sharing your heartbreak. It is so very real, and authenticity is always welcomed, especially when it sheds much-needed light on a serious issue. Hugs to you and your husband.

  16. im very sorry that you or anyone has to be a part of that percentage in women… I can say tell you that it does get better and you CAN go through a pregnancy without any complications. my cousin’s wife has the same thing, and as hard as it was for her she kept trying… and there was one pregnancy that went right. she has a beautiful little girl who is more than perfect. I can’t say I know how hard this must be… but it can get better 🙂

    lots of hugs!
    xo, Brikena

  17. I am so sorry. *Sending hugs, smiles, good thoughts* Thank you for sharing your story. I think that a support group would be a wonderful and helpful thing. The best support comes from people who have been through that particular grief…. I am praying for you.

  18. I’m so sorry that you have had to go through this. I never know how people deal with miscarriage, how do you tell other people about where you are in life, right at that moment? I’ve never been pregnant before, so I don’t know how it feels, but I think your writing about it helps those of us who have not experienced the pain learn a little bit more about how to relate with those who have experienced it. Sending support and love to you and Jon. I hope you feel loved during this difficult time.

  19. I am so sorry, Jen. It’s not something I talk about a lot, but I have been through this (not the exact circumstances) more than once. If you ever need or want to talk, we’ll have coffee…email me at megjbarrett@gmail.com. I am so sorry, and you are in my thoughts.
    Megan

  20. Jen, this just socked me in the gut and I want to give you the biggest hug. I am so sorry this happened to you but am also so proud of you for sharing your story, for starting the conversation. Giving voice to everything you are feeling is such a powerful thing and I know that your words are going to help many people who have had to endure miscarriages, as well as their friends and families.

  21. In tears as I read this. I’m so sorry that you had to go through this. I know that we don’t know one another but my heart just breaks whenever I hear another woman having to deal with such a tragic situation. Thank you for bravely sharing your story. ❤

  22. This breaks my heart for you guys, Jennifer. I can only imagine how much that precious baby was already loved. I pray for health for you, and comfort.

  23. I am so so sorry for your loss, Jennifer. Miscarriages are too common these days, and the pain and heartbreak is still so real. This little baby has certainly reshaped your heart and has given you this heartbreaking but precious and beautiful way to connect with others struggling through this. My prayers are with you, girly. So much love from me to you and your hubby.

  24. I’m so sorry for your loss. My sister-in-law just experienced the same thing and I know how hard it is. Thanks for sharing your story. Miscarriages are far too common and it seems as though they get swept under the rug as a social taboo. It’s important to talk about. My heart is aching for you, hang in there.

  25. Very brave of you to be sharing this. I hope that by sharing, it helps you heal. I am sending you love from a distance, I wish I could give you a hug, or a listening ear, or whatever you need at this moment. I’m sorry for your loss.

  26. My heart is hurting for you, sweet friend. Thank you for sharing your heart, I know it must have been rough! Praying for you and your husband, girl.

  27. Jen, I have been wanting to hear from you and I just came across this…I still remember the excitement you had when you first told me you were pregnant, and I am truly sorry for this. My thoughts/prayers are with you…I am so thankful you have Jon as well, he is a good man and I love that he can be there for you.

  28. Oh, I am so sorry for your loss. A miscarriage is heartbreaking, but it is important that you and others who have gone through similar experiences know that you are not alone. Thank you for being brave and sharing your story with us.

  29. I’m so sorry to hear this Jennifer. You baby has been loved and now you have one more person here praying for the baby, and for you and your husband, and for this awful horrible situation to be over as soon as can be. Sending you lots of hugs.

  30. Oh Jenn, my heart aches for you and Jon. Thank you for sharing your story with us- it takes guts. We’ve had a few family members experience miscarriage recently. Love and prayers coming your way. XO

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