How my miscarriage changed my outlook on life

September 29th marked seven years since I miscarried my second child. The day is still clearly etched in my mind, bound by tissues of unwanted memory. Much in the way early morning dew clings to blades of grass before the sun can fully rise to dry away the mist, I held these scenes close for years, unsure of when or how to let them go.

When I discovered I was carrying, my husband and I had only been trying for a few months. Imagine my delight when I discovered that I was, in fact, pregnant.

With polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, and an awkwardly tilted uterus, bearing children would always prove to be a difficult feat. Having my firstborn back in 2006 was unexpected and challenging -- though my doctor assured me that having other children would be possible, however frustrating.

I was told to be patient with my body — so patient I became.


The day I went in for my first check-up, my doctor deemed me far enough along to do an ultrasound. With my previous health obstacles, it wasn’t only informative, but necessary. I’d had minor cramping in the days prior, which is to be expected with my fickle, unpredictable body. I’ve always been the girl with the mysterious blinding migraines, the multi-month-long menstrual cycles, and GI complications that had me eating less than a newly hatched bird (or I was just plain sick for no reason at all).

Because of my lengthy history, I invited my mother for moral support. Any trip to the doctor was terrifying for me, never knowing what diagnosis would come to fruition next. My daughter, so innocent and excited, was also there so we could all bask in the beauty of this little creation growing inside my belly.


As I recall laying on the tissue paper-covered exam table that crinkled with every breath, I remember the way the ultrasound tech’s movements suddenly felt panicked, then a controlled calm all at once.

It was like a definitive line was drawn between us as her hand grazed every section of my stomach, ripping me from all the dreams I’d made for this baby in an instant. I remember her eyes, and how they dipped away from me. The complete silence with only the whir of the machine filling my thoughts. The sight of my daughter watching the screen to see her brother or sister staring back at her.

Most of all, I remember the way my heart sank when the tech could not answer any questions, but instead guided me into the farthest corner room of the office where no one could hear me cry. No one said a word, and before my doctor ever cracked open the door, I knew — my baby had not survived.


The rest will forever be a blur. I floated outside my body after the insides tightened, smothered me to a pile of ash. I remember seeing the way the doctor’s lips moved slow and steady — but I couldn’t hear the words; not really. Just the tone. The deep, resolute tone of goodbye.

His hand gently patted my shoulders, but I didn’t feel the weight of them, of this event; this loss. Not yet. I couldn’t possibly know just then, in that moment, the enormity of this speck of time or how it would change me in ways I couldn't have prepared for.

The following day, I had surgery to remove the rest of my child, my baby, due to health reasons I didn’t care about at the time. I can’t remember a time when I’d ever felt such vastness within me. It was both a literal and metaphorical loss inside my body and heart, and I had no idea if I’d recover from the agony of it. I’ve long since battled depression and anxiety, but this was a new kind of devastation.

My body had betrayed me. An innocent life I had wanted to meet so badly was taken from my husband, my daughter, ME. It was my fault, I thought. All my fault. I couldn’t figure out how to piece the moments together when all I wanted to do was break apart — maybe forever.


In the weeks directly after that traumatizing event, I somehow managed to find an alternate view of life. Before this loss, I’d taken so much for granted -- my amazing, healthy daughter, a marriage that only strengthened as my husband learned how to be the rock I needed.

I slogged through my days with little direction or gusto when I was surrounded by so much to be grateful for. Part of my grieving process, I learned, meant looking at what I did have; the things in front of me. It wasn’t easy or fast or lacking in frustration or complexity, but day by day, I made an effort — in my baby’s honor — to appreciate what the events had taught me, such as how strong I really am.

I eventually learned the baby would not have survived outside the womb. It was not totally my body’s fault — or my fault. While this isn’t easy to reconcile, it did help in moving forward. In October of the same year, my husband and I renewed our vows. We celebrated our daughter’s 3rd birthday. We began to pick up the pieces. I hadn’t completely healed but learned how to move forward so that the pain didn’t control me.


Over time, we continued trying and hoping and wishing — not knowing if it would ever really happen for us again. And if it did happen, we planned and anticipated what might be another loss. In late December, my doctor and I talked about starting fertility drugs to help the process. It was a road I never wanted to take, but if that was what my body needed, then that was what I would do.

On January 1st, 2011, I had another miscarriage. This time, I was numb in disbelief, tossing away all I'd previously learned through grieving.

Even as I prepared myself, I didn’t understand how it could happen again. Some things in life don’t make sense, won’t make sense. Still, I would not let this new loss break me again. For my daughter’s sake, my husband’s, and honestly, for mine.


After that, I gradually accepted that my body is not fit to carry life (again). As hard as it was, I had to let go of the hope I clung to, or it would rule my thoughts and actions forever.

The funny thing about letting go is, once you do it, there's a new sense of freedom that comes in its place. This is also when the universe cuts in to take back control, to prove I'm right where I'm supposed to be, losses and all; to show me all that hope wasn't for naught.

A few short weeks later, I became pregnant again.

Only this time, he survived.

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