You may have noticed that some of my recent (personal) Instagram posts have included the hash tag ‘babyb’ and wondered what it means. #babyb is in remembrance of my tiny 8 week old baby I lost in a miscarriage earlier this year.
Although miscarriages are very common, it seems as though they are rarely openly talked about. It feels as if women aren’t allowed to talk about their miscarriage, that it’s something to be ashamed of, and that they simply can’t even mention they were ever pregnant. I feel as though not talking about the miscarriage or the short-lived pregnancy is the worst possible thing to do. Holding in emotions and feelings only delays the grieving process and inhibits healing. I want women to know it is ok to talk about your miscarriage, it is ok to express your feelings and grief. You don’t have to write a post, but talk with your sisters, mothers or close friends. I want to support and encourage women to share their stories and that is why I am sharing my story now.
(Please note: This post may contain graphic content. Also, I am writing about my personal experience and it is not intended as medical advice.)
I found out I was pregnant just at the start of my 5th week. At the very moment, in disbelief yet total excitement, I yelled out to my husband to come look at the positive pregnancy test with me! We looked at each other, facial expressions saying, “is this real life?!” and began to laugh-cry as we hugged each other. It was definitely one of our best moments yet. We had previously decided this would be the year we have a baby, but weren’t expecting it to happen so quickly (I’ve been off birth control for 5 years and we practiced the rhythm method). In the morning, I woke up with a new sense about a myself, a feeling I have never felt before. A knowingness that this tiny life growing inside me needs my love and care, that I am now a Mother. What a joyful and scary feeling! Over the next 2 weeks I began to plan out the next 9 months, nesting and taking extra time to care for myself. We told our sisters and our mothers about our exciting news too!
It was on Tuesday, the day before the 8 week mark that I began to notice I was having brownish discharge and felt very slight cramps. Having lived most my life with fibroids and endometriosis, this was very minor in comparison to my monthly cycle, so I tried to remain calm…I mean yes, I checked in with my big sister, who is a Mother of 2, and kinda freaked out for a few minutes but I did my best to remain calm and gently go on with my day. I worked night shift that night and when I had to administer a chemotherapy type drug, I asked another RN to do it for me, being sure to take all precautions I could. The brown discharge turned to very light spotting during my shift, so I just continued to send healing vibes to my uterus and tried to stay calm…thinking, this normal, and trying not to let my ICU Nurse mind take over my thoughts.
On Wednesday, I woke up from my day time slumber to light cramping and spotting. I had a bad feeling in my gut, my intuition told me something is not right. I began to get upset and decided I needed to ground myself and get calm again. I went outside to my yard and sat, naked on the Earth, holding my belly. I said out loud, I love you little Baby B and I am so grateful for such an amazing blessing. What is meant to be, will be.
I already had important plans for the evening that I did not want to cancel, so I got myself together and went on with my plans. My little sister picked me up and I told her what I was feeling. Throughout the evening, she checked on me and encouraged me…the cramps got stronger and each time I went to the bathroom the blood was brighter and heavier. The reality that I’m experiencing a miscarriage became clearer and clearer. I was only away from home for 3 hours and thankfully when I got home, my husband was home from work too.
I went into the bathroom and immediately burst into tears as blood now began to run down my legs. I said to my husband, something bad is happening. He told me to not to freak out and try to stay calm, as he was distressed by my cries and standing by to help me. I instinctively felt like I needed to get into the hot shower, so I did. More blood starting pouring out of me and I began to have strong cramps, all throughout my pelvis, from low back to front. My husband got into the shower with me, to offer support and love. I told him, I need to sit down, it’s what my body is telling me to do! He blocked the flow of water from my face and almost as soon as I sat down, stronger, more painful cramps started. My whole body contracted and there was a release of bloody tissue and clots. Intuitively, I grabbed for the larger clots and chunks of tissue. I had the urge to examine them, hold them, give them love. I started saving the pieces in my hands and then in a tiny jar my husband got for me, as if it was my last chance to tell little Baby B that I love them, that I am sorry my womb wasn’t a good home. I felt sad and guilty and angry all at once. As my husband and I held the bloody tissue in our hands, we both broke down in tears, forehead to forehead, right there in the shower as the water ran down our faces and the blood ran down the drain.
Suddenly, we both went into EMT and RN mode, checking my pulse and assessing my being…identifying whether or not I am loosing too much blood. As we agreed I am completely stable and this is a natural occurrence, we switched off our medical modes and went back to the moment…silently staring at each other, wondering what to do next, as it seemed the process was coming to an end, for now. The grief began to set in, this is a real loss.
Then the thought came to me, Baby B’s remains need to go into Mother Earth and we need to have a ceremony! My husband agreed and quickly went outside to find the perfect spot in our garden. He said, what about with the new baby tomato plants, that way Baby B can nourish the plants and you can watch them grow and enjoy the fruits. I loved his idea, so right then and there we dug a little hole and placed Baby B inside. We lit 3 candles and had a little ceremony. My tears fell into the tiny grave as we covered it up and I placed a heart-shaped rose quartz on top to mark the grave site. Now exhausted and late at night, we both fell asleep.
When I woke up in the morning, a new feeling of emptiness reminded me that it wasn’t just a nightmare, I had really lost the tiny baby I had loved unconditionally for 3 short weeks. I thought about how the ceremony last night was my closure. But now what do I do? As a coping mechanism, I went into Nurse Mode and called my OB, who I hadn’t even told I was pregnant yet. I told the triage nurse the very short version of my story and she didn’t want to confirm my diagnosis, saying it could be normal and I could still be pregnant. I didn’t believe it, but I still followed orders and went into the lab to quickly have my HCG level checked. It was elevated, but far too low for a 7 week pregnancy. I knew what I experienced and what my intuition told me was true, I had a miscarriage. It angered me that the triage nurse couldn’t accept my diagnosis, from one nurse to another, so I regretted even telling her. However, I needed to let that anger and regret go, so I could continue healing.
Over the next couple days, I took it easy…sleeping a lot and wondering if I did something to cause this. I got anxiety when my OB called me a few days later, wanting me to get another HCG level drawn “to see where the pregnancy is at.” This caused me to question my intuition and the grief I was feeling, why would they want to see where the pregnancy is at, didn’t they believe my story…or was I wrong? I began to spiral out in anxiety going over and over these questions in my head. It was when my decreasing HCG level came back that the anxiety went away. I let my OB know how I felt about the whole thing and asked that next time we involve the care and advice of the Midwife. I realized the lesson in all of this…a woman’s intuition is always right and to release the anxiety because it’s ok to trust yourself.
After that, I spent the next few days reflecting and journaling about the whole situation. I allowed myself to feel through my grief, accepting my feelings and acknowledging my emotions. I found peace in tending to my garden, holding the rose quartz heart and talking out loud to Baby B’s spirit and the tomato plants. I was filled with gratitude upon thinking about my miracle of conception. I felt the power and innate wisdom my body holds. I learned to trust the process and to trust my feminine instinctive nature.
Today, I feel relief and healing in sharing my story. My hope is that even just one woman reading my story can feel relief in knowing she is not alone in her grief, no matter what her experience with the miscarriage was like. It doesn’t matter if you were in an ER or at work, home alone or with a loved one, if you even knew you were pregnant or were farther along when you miscarried…what matters is that you know your grief is real and you take time to work through it to find healing and peace. Each of us are unique and have our own journey to Motherhood. Now more than ever, we, as women, need to support and encourage each other…build each other up and love one another. I am continuing to work on my healing, finding balance and peace in taking care of myself and loving my body. I understand my body had her reasons for letting go of Baby B…it wasn’t anything that I did or didn’t do. When the time is right, when my womb is healthy and flourishing once again, Baby B will find the way back to me.