How miscarrying naturally set me free.
Miscarriage is a loss. Let’s get that straight right from the get go. I am not here to tell anybody how to feel about that loss.
What I am here to do is tell you that you get to decide what that means to you, and more importantly, how you will move forward and live the rest of your life with that loss.
I have miscarried several ways; a couple of ultrasounds that showed no heartbeat early on, a chemical pregnancy (where you take a test that tells you are pregnant, but in fact, you are not), an ectopic pregnancy, (where the embryo has implanted in your Fallopian Tube and will kill you if it’s not removed) and a heartbeat that lights up your life only to flicker out a few weeks later and leave you devastated.
All of them were at different stages, thankfully before the second trimester, and all of them sucked.
Broken dreams, dashed hopes, a lot of well meaning but bullshit advice like, “it just wasn’t meant to be”, and grief. Big, heavy, can’t get out of bed, grief.
The first five miscarriages involved a medical procedures to remove the pregnancy “matter”. You go to sleep pregnant and you wake up bleeding and not pregnant anymore.
Exhausted by the sixth time, not wanting to leave my toddler at home without me and wake up shivering and nauseous from the anesthesia, bewildered and looking for the baby that was gone except I forgot that in my drug induced haze and relive the whole thing all over again, I opted to have the last one naturally.
As I lay in my bed waiting with abdominal pains as bad as contractions, I half expected to see a baby when it was all over.
What I did eventually see, in the toilet hours later, shocked me.
A sac, that felt huge coming out was actually quite small. At nine weeks, it resembled a small water balloon; that someone didn’t fill quite enough. The kind that when you throw it, it just bounces and never really breaks.
I still thought it was our baby. In the toilet of our ensuite. And my first instinct was to fish it out. Except my husband was screaming from our bedroom to flush it down.
I couldn’t. It was our baby after all. How could I just flush it down? Besides, I had to see.
I poked and poked it with a Q-tip, but the membrane wouldn’t break. It just squished and slipped and jostled around. My husband was yelling louder. Four years, five miscarriages and thousands upon thousands of dollars for fertilty treatments had taken a toll. On everything; our relationship, our mental health, our finances and our happiness in general.
And all of a sudden it hit me.
This was not a baby.
This was what could have been, but wasn’t. The baby in my mind, all sweet and soft and alive with a name and a face was not this.
And so I flushed the toilet. And with it all the figments my imagination had conjured up.
I curled up in the fetal position under my duvet and cried. And then I got up and hosted my parents for dinner.
Look, I am not here to tell you when an embryo becomes a baby, or when “life” begins, or when humans get their souls. I don’t fucking know. If you think you do, then you do, because that’s true for you.
All I can tell you is that it set me free. It let me be alive again and get out of bed and live my life instead of swirling in a pool of grief and dead babies.
I saw the movie “Heaven Can Wait” a few years later. A small child dies and comes back and tells about his nameless miscarried sister in heaven who is with her grandfather; and I hated it.
I refuse to believe that I have six nameless, forgotten children growing up in heaven without me. I can’t live with that and I am here to live.
The night before one of my procedures to remove an unviable pregnancy I dreamed I had boy girl twins; Ava and Quinn were their names and they were as real to me in my dream as life itself.
On the drive home the next day, two doves swooped over my van for many miles before disappearing off into the sunset.
I like to think it was their souls, coming to let me know they were okay before saying goodbye. For now. I like to think that the souls of all my lost pregnancies have gone on to incarnate somewhere else, and this gives me peace.
This lets me move on from the grief and the loss and the pain. It lets me live my life and enjoy the children I have and be the mother they need me to be.
I know many people who buy commemorative statues or little figurines with angel wings and birthstones to honor their lost babies. If that’s what you need, do that.
If your baby is an angel, growing up in Heaven then it’s true. If your baby’s soul has moved on to another body, it’s true. If it was just a bunch of cells and you lost the idea of a baby (which is still a loss) then it’s true.
Whatever brings you solace, and helps you move on in this life, in this time, then this is your truth. It is yours, and no one else gets to decide it for you.
Grieve how you need to, commemorate how you want to, share or don’t share, believe it wasn’t meant to be or believe that it was; find whatever is going to make it okay for you and don’t feel the need to explain it to anyone.
This is your experience and your truth. Choose what is true for you so you can come back to life.