The first week of October has arrived and left. As sit here and type my thoughts out, I realize that I still somehow feeling like it’s still the middle of March and have trouble wrapping my head around all of the past few months’ events. As a mother to three toddlers, I am busy and on my toes every waking second of the day. If I have a quiet moment, I think back over the past weeks. I think back to what we were doing as a family, where we were planning on going together, and what we were dreaming.
I close my eyes, and it’s still the month of March.
Our youngest child just celebrated his first birthday, a milestone. We planned his birthday party and celebrated on a rainy, early March day with our beloved family and friends. We moved out of a three-bedroom house with a giant living room and into a small apartment. My husband celebrated another birthday and we barbecued hamburgers. I was anxiously awaiting wedding season to start photographing all of the beautiful weddings lined up for the year.
Then, I see myself learning we are expecting our fourth child. A sense of fear sets in as I wonder and struggle to know if I am ready to do this again, one more time. I hold the secret to myself for a few days, but then I panic.
I wake up my husband in the middle of his slumber and blurt out, “I’m pregnant.”
He struggles to realize what I’m saying, for he was probably deep within a dream as I remember him snoring. He smiles, and says, “Really?” I say yes, and then share my excitement and fears. We hug and I fall asleep wondering what it will be like having a fourth child.
With three small children to care for, a home to look after, and a business to run, the early weeks of pregnancy seem to have flown by. The first time I was pregnant, it felt like forever to reach milestone marks. By this fourth time, I couldn’t believe how quickly time felt like it was progressing. Suddenly, I was ten weeks pregnant. Every day I battled nausea and struggled to get out of bed. Many times my husband had to swing by and help me with the children by picking up lunch for us. It was tough being a mother to three tiny humans and growing one inside.
At 10 weeks, we eagerly loaded the car and went to see our doctor. We love our doctor, and were excited to begin this journey again and welcome a new sweet little babe. Right before the ultrasound, I looked at my husband and said I hope everything looks okay. The lights were dimmed, we told the children to look at the screen and we waited for a tiny being to flicker on the screen. I saw it immediately, a little shape in my womb. Only it wasn’t flickering. I knew instantly. “There’s the baby, but there is no heartbeat,” our doctor said.
We had a missed miscarriage.
I looked at my husband, then I quickly looked away. I mumbled something and said okay. Afterwards, I remember everything my doctor said but it is all in a haze. I wept a few tears, then wiped them away. We drove back home and I don’t know if I cried. At home, my husband suggested I take some time to myself and rest. I laid down and felt my heart break. He curled beside me and I just wept.
I wept many times of the next few months. We opted to allow the miscarriage to proceed naturally. It was the only choice for me, but it was a very long and very painful one. Our baby had stopped growing at 8 weeks and my body didn’t realize it was no longer pregnant. I felt foolish with the cravings I had in those few days leading up to the doctor’s appointment. I felt foolish in the weeks afterwards.
I was pregnant, but I wasn’t pregnant.
To experience life and death within my body is extraordinarily overwhelming. I am not mad, I never felt angry. I was just sad. I am just sad. It’s unbelievably incredible to become a mother; to grow your children within your womb and deliver them into this physical world. It is heartbreaking to know a child you’ll never meet. A child you’ll never hold. A child you’ll never kiss. To feel love for something unseen. To feel what you cannot feel. What breaks my heart is not having the opportunity to see what that child would become. You see your other children, the very essence of life and wonder what this child could have been.
The months have passed and I struggle with realizing all we have experienced, all we have done, and the gift of life we embrace daily. My mind is still trying to catch up with the reality of time. But I know that I am not alone. Miscarriage happens often, and to many. But it still hurts.
For my fellow women who have lost a child, I hurt with you.
I am humbled at having been bestowed the gift of motherhood upon me again, however brief. God is good, and his love endures forever.