Bliss to brokenness in the blink of an eye
My husband and I are very blessed to be expecting twins currently, but there’s a reason why we get sick-to-our-stomach-nervous before every ultrasound. You see, ultrasounds haven’t always been a joyous occasion for us.
On January 23rd, 2014 my husband and I drove to my doctor’s office for our 8-week ultrasound. We were expecting our first child and we were ecstatic after struggling with infertility.
We had experienced our first ultrasound just two weeks earlier when I was 6 weeks pregnant. Everything seemed to go well during the 6-week ultrasound — we got to see our baby and hear its heartbeat, we fell in love with our little one immediately.
We arrived for our 8-week appointment full of joy and we were eager to see the baby’s progress. Earlier that morning, as we got ready to leave our house we had a debate about cloth diapers and briefly pondered when we should start preparing the nursery.
I laid back on the ultrasound table and my doctor silently scanned the ultrasound screen for a few minutes before she said, “The baby looks smaller than it should….” She measured the size of the baby and told us that the baby had not grown since our 6-week appointment. My heart plummeted into my stomach as I sensed that something was wrong. After quietly shifting the view on the ultrasound screen several times, my doctor said something that I’ll never forget, “I’m so sorry hon…I can’t find a heartbeat….”
The rest of the appointment was a blur, almost an out of body experience. The doctor reassured us that we didn’t do anything wrong and that sometimes miscarriages are nature’s way of ending pregnancies that would have had complications. My husband and I were devastated, sobbing, and overwhelmed with emotions: confusion, shock, disbelief, sadness, anger, and resentment. As if to rub salt in the wound, we were instructed to go to the hospital down the street immediately to have my blood drawn so my miscarriage could be confirmed.
Until that day my life had been transformed by the joy of pregnancy and the vision of our family’s future. But when the doctor uttered the horrible news that day my inner joy vanished in the blink of an eye and was replaced by painful emptiness.
Upon sharing the bad news with immediate family, both of our moms drove two hours to our house, without hesitation, and stayed with us for over a week. Their love and support during that time was priceless. And of course, when it rains, it pours — during that week a hose on our washing machine froze and busted, spewing water into our kitchen, our furnace stopped working (in the middle of winter), and I accidentally melted my husband’s birthday cake which I had spent hours making (my poor husband’s birthday was 11 days after the ultrasound).
I stayed home from work the week following our ultrasound appointment to heal emotionally and physically. Not really knowing what to expect, I was extremely nervous about the physical aspect of the miscarriage. I started bleeding lightly the day after the ultrasound. Two days after the ultrasound I started having severe cramps and I passed some very large blood clots that night (about the size of a ping pong ball). This was a heartbreaking experience, seeing with my own eyes that I was physically losing my baby. My bleeding continued for almost a week and gradually got lighter.
I had to return to my doctor’s office for a follow-up ultrasound on January 30th which was a very somber event. My doctor confirmed that my body had passed everything naturally, no surgery needed. She also informed us that the miscarriage should not affect our chances for a successful pregnancy in the future and that we could try to conceive again in about two months if we were ready.
The faith factor
Initially, I was very confused and angry with God regarding my miscarriage. It was difficult for me to trust that this experience was part of His plan.
I’m typically a pretty optimistic, happy-go-lucky type of person but my miscarriage had sent me spiraling into a very dark place emotionally. About a week after the 8-week ultrasound I reached a mental and emotional fork in the road. I realized that I could either continue drowning in pain, depression, and anger or I could take another path.
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.” (Robert Frost)
I chose another path and submitted myself to God, putting my trust in His plans for me. I’ll never forget the day that I literally fell to my knees, alone inside my house, and poured my heart and soul out to God while I sobbed. I confessed to God that I was confused, hurt, and angry with Him, but that I was also ready to set my emotions and uncertainties aside and put my trust in Him. In return, I was getting a message from God, loud and clear, that I needed to make a major change in my life.
The soul search
I was forced to do a lot of soul-searching and re-evaluate my life and priorities in a very short amount of time. My whole world had been turned upside down but reality continued around me as if nothing had happened.
At the time of my miscarriage, I was in my 5th year of teaching high school agricultural science. Agricultural Education is a rewarding career that makes a positive impact in young people’s lives, but it’s also a very demanding career. My career had been my #1 priority for five years and as a result, I had to sacrifice other areas of my life. It was time for me to step away from teaching so I could heal emotionally and spiritually, sort out my priorities, and allow the students to find a teacher who was in the right state of mind to lead them. So, with the support of my husband and my faith in God I resigned from my teaching position.
Stepping away from my career was a scary and difficult decision that I did not take lightly. Looking back now, I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to start a new beginning of healing and self-discovery which eventually resulted in me joining the software company that my husband co-founded in a marketing role which I love.
My miscarriage had a profound impact on my mental and physical health. My self-esteem plunged to an all-time low because I felt incompetent as a woman. I continued to gain weight due to residual pregnancy hormones, stress, and my lack of confidence which prevented me from exercising.
My husband and I were afraid to try to conceive another baby out of fear that we would have another miscarriage — it took us nearly 3 years to work up the courage to try again.
It was also emotionally painful for me to spend time with women who were pregnant or had young kids for quite some time — especially when I observed them complaining about parenthood and taking their kids for granted.
Tips for healing
It didn’t happen overnight, but I eventually I found ways to cope with my miscarriage.
- Take some “me time” if possible to reflect, process, and journal about your experience
- Communicate with your spouse, you’ve both suffered a tremendous loss and need each other’s support (husbands often feel helpless in this situation because they aren’t experiencing the physical aspects of miscarriage like their wife)
- Dive into some therapeutic and confidence boosting hobbies. Art therapy (via Sketchbook Skool), crafting, baking, and exercising with my husband were my hobbies of choice.
- Confide in others, you’ll be surprised how many people can relate to your experience. You’re not alone. “Studies reveal that anywhere from 10-25% of all clinically recognized pregnancies will end in miscarriage.” (American Pregnancy Association)
- Resist the pressure to rush into trying to conceive again immediately if you’re not ready, wait until the time is right for you and your spouse
- Keep your faith! Click on the image below to download the Bible verses and quotes that helped me maintain my faith during that difficult time.