At the beginning of the summer I woke from a dream in which I took a pregnancy test and it was positive. Being a dream, the pregnancy test involved neon lights and a flashing plus sign. And when I woke and took a test in real life, it was positive too.
All summer I carried that baby within me. Peter and I waited a few weeks before we slowly began to share our news and, for a little while, it was a lovely secret that just the two of us knew. All summer, we thought and planned for our family of four. Our baby would arrive shortly after Pearl’s second birthday and I was so excited about that age gap, though nervous at the same time as to how we would work it all out in our two bedroom house. “We’ll figure it out and we’ll learn,” we said, “Just like we did with Pearl.”
This past week I have packed up the maternity clothes I started to pull out. I have crossed pre-natal vitamins off my grocery list. I have stared at the ultrasound pictures stuck on our fridge a dozen times a day because I can’t bear to take them down. I wake up every morning and it hits me again.
When I miscarried for the first time, early in 2014, we told only a few people close to us. The day after I had an ultrasound to confirm the miscarriage, I went to work. I didn’t know how to talk about it and there didn’t seem to be space to share our loss, no matter how real and awful it felt for us. I thought at the time that I only knew two other women who had miscarried. In the time since then, I’ve learned how horrifically common miscarriage is and how many women are living with the memories of babies they never got to meet.
Experiencing a second trimester miscarriage makes this loss all the more public. There’s been no hiding it, nor do I want to hide it. We made our public announcements – we shared on Facebook, we told our co-workers, I shared about pregnancy here. I don’t regret any of that because our baby was real and we were so happy to be waiting for him. It felt impossible at first to have to come back and tell people that our baby is gone. And it has been very, very hard. I have avoided people in grocery line-ups so that I could just buy milk without having to have that conversation. I have cried at the playground telling a neighbourhood mom I don’t know very well. I have had to respond to heartfelt congratulations with the news of one of the worst things that ever happened to me.
But so often the response has been, “It happened to me too.” From nurses at the hospital to close friends to almost strangers, other parents have shared a little of their own stories. (And I take great comfort in the fact that, for none of them, was miscarriage the end of their story.)
Honestly, I am struggling right now and I think I will be for a long time yet. And I think that’s okay but it’s still so hard. I am trying to pray and I am struggling to pray. God feels very quiet and very far away right now. But Romans 8:26 tells us that the Holy Spirit will intercede for us with “groanings too deep for words” and I take comfort in that too. I am trying, too, to remember that God speaks and moves through His church. That His hand and heart are behind each prayer offered on our behalf, each kind e-mail, text, and message I’ve received. Behind the meals brought, the coffees bought, the hugs given. If you are a praying type, please pray for our family. Please pray for me until I can get some prayers out on my own. The Bible tells us that God is loving and merciful and just and that His ways are not our own. I know this to be true at the core of my being but I’m also angry and heartbroken. This is a hard path to walk.
If you read here occasionally for book reviews and whatnot, that’s okay too and I’m glad you’re here. I’ll still be reading books and sharing about them. I am trying to find things in each day to enjoy and be grateful for. Today that includes my beautiful little girl, my loving husband, our little house, and a good book.