THE 'M' WORD
The "M" word
It's a dirty word, probably one of the worst I know. It cuts you deep like a knife that never fully gets pulled out and doubtfully ever will. It's not like being called a mean name or being labeled in a negative way, it's much worse than that. It's heart wrenching because it's true and you can't do anything to change this new label placed on your life. It's like you have been initiated into this exclusive club, one you never wanted to be a part of. One that millions of others have joined against their will. A club where each person in it understands you. They understand your pain, your loss, your discomfort, and yet you still feel completely alone because although they understand, it's still your own discomfort.
This isn't something I wanted, this isn't something any of us want.
Miscarriage is a dirty word. Perhaps one of the worst you could ever label me with..
I remember the moment I started to worry, even though my doctor told me I was fine. It was a Wednesday, I was having light bleeding and cramping but nothing major. I went to work like it was any day while having mini panic attacks every time I went to the restroom.
My doctor's office wouldn't get me in that week to ease my mind so I began to frantically call every OB near me. All of them gave me the same answers, "If you are miscarrying there is nothing you can do." and "We don't have time this week." Both of these answers were not only discouraging but terrifying. I wouldn't accept them.
My doctors office finally got me into a hospital women's clinic to do a sonogram and check for the heart beat two days later. It was a Friday. I was still having light bleeding and cramping. I remember the ultrasound technician wouldn't allow me to look at the machine, she turned it away from me when I asked to look. She wouldn't let me hear the sounds, she put on headphones to listen. When she was done, she didn't say anything except, "Your doctor will be calling you once they look over the ultrasound."
Great, another terrifying waiting game...
I received a call that evening telling me that my baby was fine and everything looked normal. The heartbeat was strong. They couldn't explain the bleeding and cramping but suggested I stay off my feet. What a relief. I instantly bawled tears of joy because I knew I would keep my baby.
That weekend we were moving from Colorado to Virginia but luckily my husband handled everything so all I had to do was drive my car a few hours at a time with a happy toddler in the backseat. It was a Sunday when I began my drive out of Colorado and losing my baby wasn't even a thought in my mind. In fact I was so excited, I was thrilled to see my friends and tell them about our future addition to the family.
I remember being on the phone with my cousin and telling her I needed to go because I was feeling a lot of cramping and should probably stop for a bit. As soon as I hung up with her, I felt extreme pains and that's when it began. I didn't know what to do. I instantly felt fear and tears streaming down my face because I didn't want to believe what I knew was already happening.
I called my mom and she suggested I stop and find a hospital. I was 5 hours outside of Colorado and had no clue where to go or what to do, let alone there was my sweet little Lo in the backseat oblivious to her mama's pain.
I stopped at a gas station. I tried to cover myself with my daughters blanket because I was covered in blood. I tried to hide my face because I didn't want to break down. I knew even a strangers face would make me lose it at any moment, but I lost it anyway. I hid in the bathroom until a mom and her two kids came in. She helped me to find a hospital nearby. It was there I waited for my husband to meet us while the doctors confirmed what I already knew.
That night we stayed in a hotel, in a strange town, in an unfamiliar bed. I cried until there were no more tears, until my eyes couldn't open any longer.
My daughter woke up crying late in the night so I went to pick her up and began to faint and had to toss her to the bed. I went to the bathroom and fell on the ice cold floor, hyperventilating, feeling nothing but loss lying in my own blood, my babies blood, while my husband began to console me once again.
The next day, I woke up and drove to my parents house another 5 hours away. I needed them. I needed anything to make me feel less empty.
I remember not wanting to tell very many people for awhile. I think mostly because I didn't want to see their eyes change when they looked at me. I didn't want my pain to become their worry. The few people I did tell, didn't know what to say. But to my surprise them simply being present was all I needed.
For a long time I couldn't fathom the thought of pregnancy, but all I wanted was a baby. I wanted my baby. It took me quite some time to realize that if I wanted another baby, pregnancy was inevitable. When I found out I was pregnant several months after my miscarriage, it wasn't the same feeling I had with my first baby. I didn't instantly feel bliss and gratitude. This time it was worry and anxiety. This time I was fearful.
I thought that once I made it past the point of my past loss I would feel relief, but I was still always finding that little worry in my mind each day that something may still go wrong. Every little cramp or moment I didn't feel movement I would stop to worry.
My pregnancy was not an easy one either but that's a story for another time.
All I can do is be thankful for my rainbow baby, my sweet Lennon Rose.
I will never understand why I lost my baby. I will never understand why any woman loses her child at any time. But what I do know is that there are a lot of women out there who are going through similar experiences everyday. Women who felt panic and fear just like I did and still often do. My heart is with each and everyone of you. You are not alone.
It pains me to read about other women who have lost their babies so late in pregnancy or after birth. It strikes my heart and all I want to do is cry for them because the pain they must feel is even more immense than my own. I want to take that pain and throw it far away, so far that it can never touch another mother again.
To those of you who have experienced this loss and worse, I am so sorry. I am with you..
To those of you who have been present for others who have experienced this type of loss, thank you. You have no idea how much your presence is appreciated.
This wasn't something I was sure I could share but I realized that I needed those who could understand this experience, just like someone else will need someone to understand them in that horrifying time of grief. To all of you who need someone who can relate, don't hesitate to reach out. I am with you and so are millions of others..
Photography by Parachute Family Photography