For me, writing has always been the tether between my heart and my Creator. It’s always served two main purposes: It guides me and makes me feel less alone, and it helps me feel purposeful in this life. Any time I’ve gone through difficulty in my life, I’ve picked up a pen and found solace on the page.
Now is no different — except maybe that I’m using a screen as well as a page.
As I type this, I am grieving and falling apart emotionally. And rather than try to hold myself together and unravel behind closed doors, I’d like to share this journey with anyone willing to take it with me. I think it’s important for me – to heal and process through creativity and truth – and I also think it’s important for our culture to lift the silence that surrounds ‘taboo’ topics.
With all that said, I have had a late miscarriage.
Or, rather, I am having a late miscarriage. I’m not quite sure what the correct verbage is for the reality that I’m in. Where my baby has died but I am still carrying her. But I’ll get to that in a moment.
First, let me tell you how excited we were to be hapai with our second baby.
Ben and I were excited for our children to be about 3.5 years apart, and for Isaac to be able to understand what was happening and be a part of it all. Isaac was the first person we told, and his response was, “I’m gonna be a big brudder!!”. Every day he would kiss my belly and say, “Good morning baby” or “Good night baby”. He told everyone – including his preschool teachers – that Mommy had a baby in her belly and that he was going to be a big brother, and he would make raspberries on my tummy to “make the baby laugh”.
We named the baby as a family – Hokuao – which translates to morning star, because our sunrise walks were so special, and it completed our family system. We envisioned life with a new, snuggly baby come early February and talked about how much Isaac was going to teach her. [Side note: we never found out for sure the sex of the baby – we all just believe it to have been a girl.]
For me, this pregnancy was stressful from the beginning. We conceived very quickly, and although we were ready, it was a surprise that it happened so fast. I was leaving an incredibly stressful job, starting a new one, dealing with family drama, horrible OB practitioners, and chasing a preschooler. I was so sick and fatigued from the start, and it didn’t let up until the very end (it’s still not completely over). Nonetheless, I chalked it up to every pregnancy being different and kept on trucking. I started feeling movements from the baby at about 14 weeks, and my uterus grew larger every day.
On a Thursday, at about 17 weeks, I went for a chiropractic adjustment and left feeling different. From that point on I couldn’t feel any movements from the baby. I thought it might just be that the chiropractor had created more space, which made it harder to feel baby. Or that what I was feeling up until then had been gas or something.
But by the following Monday I still hadn’t felt anything. I was also feeling much more energetic on my walks, which I thought was strange. I told Ben that I worried so much about this pregnancy and that I felt like I was having anxiety around it all. I told him one night that I thought the baby might be dead inside me and my body just didn’t know how to expel it. He massaged my feet and I went to bed, hoping that our visit the next day would calm my worries.
When our OB laid the doppler on my enlarged uterus and didn’t hear anything, my heart sunk. As soon as he placed the ultrasound wand on my abdomen, I knew. It was confirmation of my greatest fear. What my intuition had already known.
Perfect little stacked vertebrae
Ben had never seen an ultrasound before (we didn’t have a need for one with Isaac). We waited, and I had to will myself to keep breathing. Finally the doctor said, “I’m sorry, I’m taking my time because I haven’t seen a heartbeat yet.”
“I know,” I said.
Ben was pale. While I knew, on a deep level, he didn’t. What was confirmation for me was shocking news for him. I don’t think I can ever unsee the sight of our sweet baby’s passive outline.
Another OB came in and gave a second opinion. “I am so sorry,” she said.
Today I would have been 18 weeks, but according to the ultrasound, baby stopped growing somewhere around 15.5 to 16 weeks. Being so far along means that I have a couple of options: use drugs to induce ‘natural’ labor or fly to Oahu for a D+E.
It was a hard decision, and I plan to discuss my thoughts on it soon, but not now. We have chosen the D+E route, but because I live on a neighbor island, I do not have first choice when it comes to procedures that need to happen on Oahu. That means that I must wait – with my dead baby inside my pregnant body – until the end of next week for my procedure.
Which brings me full circle. Do you see now why I feel the need to write through this process? I cannot escape my reality; I need to move through it. I feel like a grave site. And I have so much guilt and grief and sorrow that I just don’t know where to place. So I’ll put it on the page. This is the best way I know how to heal.
I understand fully why many people don’t discuss their miscarriages, and I think they are all warrior women. But for me, I need to speak my truth in order to heal and be able to live in this body, and be okay with myself every day. I have also found such invaluable strength from the women I have spoken to with stories like mine, and I hope that I can offer some solace to someone, in some way, as well.
I’ll finish this entry with my reality in this moment:
I go to Costco for trash bags and organic berries and shit-I-have-no-idea-why-I-came-here. I am visibly pregnant – 18 weeks or so; I still have pregnancy brain, and pregnancy hormones flowing through my veins. I try my best to ignore anyone who might recognize me and swerve past all the pregnant women to hide in the refrigerated section. And while I stand there deciding on a type of mushroom, I naturally place my hand on my womb and internally say I love you baby, the way I have for four months now. I realize what I’ve done and think, I miss you. I try my best not to cry as I almost pummel into a 70-year-old man with tears running down my cheeks. Fuck, I must look like a lunatic. I sure feel like one.