My husband was certain everything was going to be okay. We sat in the examination room waiting on our fertility specialist to come in, and my husband was strong and sure of a good outcome. He offered soft kisses to my hand that he held so gently, trying to encourage and reassure me at the same time.
I was covered by a white paper sheet – like countless times before this. But this time there was more hope than ever before. This time there was a baby.
After a four year long battle of unexplained infertility our third IUI (intra-uterine insemination) was successful and blood work revealed that we were expecting our first baby! It was a dream come true, and even though our doctor had warned us that my blood levels weren’t quite where he wanted them to be, our hearts were hopeful and we reveled in the newness of a realized dream, rewarded faith.
When the bleeding started I panicked. We called my doctor in the middle of the night and he told us to come in first thing the next morning – on a Saturday. Our fertility specialist is three hours away, so we arose early the next morning and journeyed to his office, and for the entire drive I was all fear and nerves.
The ultrasound was inconclusive. And we were sent home to wait out the weekend and recheck blood work on Monday. My husband remained hopeful, but I think in my heart I knew our outcome would be bleak. And when our doctor called us on Monday night he confirmed that our pregnancy was over.
We grieved deeply. We grieved the loss of our baby, a whole lifetime of purpose and importance snuffed out too soon. And we grieved our lost dream of parenthood and expanding our family.
Grieving was hard. It felt like we were alone, even though we knew we weren’t. We knew our close friends and family were grieving with us, for us, but in the darkness of grief you sometimes feel like you’re navigating the shadows by yourself.
As we grieved it became immensely important to us to honor the too-short life of our baby. Our child’s life was short, and the years we’ll face without him or her will be long, and honoring the value of that life, and how important our child is to our family, became a passion that we could not resist.
We commemorated our child’s life by creating a special vase – my husband and I painted it together. Creating something beautiful together was cathartic for us. Neither of us are all that artistic, but we paid attention to every detail, every color and brush stroke as we created a priceless treasure that will commemorate our precious baby. Oh, it was painful. We hated why we were doing it, but we loved that we were doing it. Today that vase sits in our kitchen window, a daily reminder of the precious life taken away too soon.
Finding emotional healing in miscarriage, finding purpose, was hard. Sometimes I wondered why God would answer our prayers, grant our dreams for such a short time – what purpose is there in a life that has not yet lived?
It was important for me to share about our miscarriage. When my heart had healed, just a bit, I created a sort of “memorial” video for our baby, and shared it on our blog. We never named that sweet babe, but we refer to him or her as our “glory baby” – inspired by the song by the same name by WaterMark.
Sometimes when we share our deepest hurts we experience the greatest healing. When we opened up about our pregnancy and subsequent loss, our friends and acquaintances wrapped us up in warm thoughts and prayers. They hurt with us, they grieved for our baby. And knowing that there were dozens, if not hundreds of people grieving our sweet baby brought so much healing to my broken mama heart.
The morning after we received the heartbreaking news from our doctor I spent many hours writing in my journal. Writing is soothing to my soul, and helps me understand my feelings. In those painful moments I wrote a love letter to our babe. Putting into words how much I love that sweet soul helped dignify the precious life I would never know. In a way it connected me with my unborn baby. And in a subtle way it helped reinforce my marriage.
You see, my husband and I grieved very differently. For the first time in our married life my grieving was internal, his was external. When I read the words I’d penned to our sweet babe my husband understood my heart. He saw into the broken, cracked places and was better able to understand my grief.
We read several books that helped us process our pain and offered hope in the midst of darkness. But grieving a miscarriage is a painful, bitter process. I suppose in a way we will always grieve the baby we lost – our glory baby.
This month, as we honor our babies lost too soon, I encourage you to find purpose in your miscarriage. Maybe the purpose is to honor the child your heart loves so much, but your arms will never hold. Or perhaps it is to make your marriage stronger, more resilient. Or maybe you are one of the women who will walk alongside another in the trenches of miscarriage and pregnancy loss. Every purpose is important.
Would you share with us? Will you tell use about your own loss, or offer encouragement to those who are facing the indescribable pain of miscarriage?