Understanding and Supporting Pregnancy Loss

 

Recently one of my sisters-in-law lost another pregnancy.

We have chatted and cried for hours on the phone and sent countless emails back and forth. Like most people who experience a form of infertility or pregnancy loss, she feels misunderstood (for lack of a better word) which only adds to the pain of the situation.

Together we came up with the idea of doing a series of posts educating friends and family members (and me!) on how to understand and support pregnancy loss. Since I have never experienced it, I turned to some of my most beloved friends to answer a few questions for us.

Let me introduce them to you.


The is Brooke. She is my sister-in-law. She writes a blog about life over at S + B. She is adorable and I cannot express to you how grateful I am to have her as a sister-in-law. When I asked her to explain her situation to you this is what she said, “We had miscarried previously in October of 2010. So this time we’d been trying to get pregnant since December of 2010, but before the October miscarriage, we’d been trying for about six months.” She just miscarried in March, bless her heart.


This is Kim (aka Sensei or even Kimsey). She is my dear friend, my business partner and my photography teacher. She writes about life and photography over at Kim Orlandini. When I asked her to explain her situation to you this is what she said, “My husband and I had always struggled with our fertility since we were married. I was diagnosed with Endometriosis when I was 19 so it was always a struggle each month when we were let down again with no baby. This particular time we had been trying about 2 years when we became pregnant. We lost baby at just prior to 17 weeks gestation. This is four months of pregnancy.”


This is Laura (aka Mrs. Dub). She is the one who actually set up my blog when I went to visit her in Chicago in 2006. She is one of my oldest and most clever friends, an accomplished writer and a former blogger. When I asked her to explain her situation to you this is what she said, “I discovered I was pregnant in October 2007, just prior to our daughter’s first birthday. From there, the pregnancy proceeded normally until 10 weeks along, when I began to hemorrhage. We thought we had lost the baby but were thrilled to find it was miraculously okay. In the process, doctors discovered a dozen ovarian cysts caused by extreme levels of hormones. From there, my pain, discomfort and strange symptoms persisted, yet the doctors continued to insist the baby would be fine, despite my unusual case. However, at 17 weeks, via an ultrasound and subsequent amniocentesis, it was confirmed that I was experiencing a partial molar pregnancy. (Quick science lesson: A partial molar pregnancy is when an egg receives two sets of chromosomes from the father, usually because two sperm have fertilized the egg. The egg then has 69 chromosomes, instead of the normal 46, which is incompatible with life.)

“At 19 weeks, I developed severe preeclampsia and was encouraged to terminate the pregnancy to preserve my life. Doctors recommended an advanced D&E (dilation & evacuation), but we didn’t feel good about it. In the end, I was induced and had Zella via emergency c-section on February 4, 2008. She lived for mere seconds and weighed less than a pound, but we had the privilege of seeing and holding her after delivery.”

 

Something I learned.

One of the things I learned came from Laura and I wanted to make sure that I started out with it. I sent each of these ladies a little list of questions with this note attached, “Okay, here we go. Just let it all out on these. I am going to ask the questions in the best way that I know how; I pre-apologize if they come off as …anything but loving.”

Laura sent me a message back asking if she could change some of the wording in the questions. “Would you mind if I change the wording of miscarriage to pregnancy loss or infant loss for these questions? One of the sensitive areas for woman who lose pregnancies is miscarriage, because that generally implies you spontaneously lose the baby at the very beginning of a pregnancy (which many do). In my case, I delivered the baby alive at half-term, so miscarriage isn’t medically correct … and while I’m not a total stickler on it, I know some readers will be all over it if they’ve had a similar situation. Is that cool?”

So grateful for friends that teach me. I hope you let your guard down over the next few days, send your defensiveness on vacation and just learn from these women and their experiences.

This will be a series of posts.

 

Physically, what did the loss feel like? You have all had children before, was it a similar pain to that of delivery?

 

Brooke

I had spent most of my pregnancy in Ukraine. I was fourteen weeks along when I felt menstrual cramps and started bleeding heavily. For me it was a three-day process of ER visits, OBGYN visits and ultrasounds. I held up pretty well through most of it until the final ultrasound when the ultrasound tech came in and tearfully told me that I had, indeed, been carrying a baby with no heartbeat. I started to cry then picked up my bag and sprinted out of the office. Gage (our two-year-old) held my face in his lap the whole drive home and played with my hair.

I had to deliver the baby at home instead of getting a D&C. I took a prescribed drug called Misoprostol which induces labor. The nurse had told me (over the phone after confirming that both ultrasounds showed no heartbeat) that I should take the drug ASAP and then within a few hours or so I’d start the process. When I got off the phone with her, I was like, “Alright, I can do this.” She definitely underplayed what happens when you take this drug. I was lying on the couch about an hour and a half after taking the pills when I felt contractions. I stood up to find my mom (my husband was still living overseas), but doubled over and crawled to the bathroom. Fortunately, I had the presence of mind to get into a warm bathtub because I’ve heard that contractions are much less painful in water.

The process took a few hours. I feel like I was very blessed in that I had no sense of time. I didn’t know that it was actually six hours of labor. I thought it was only maybe one or two. My mom sat on the other side of the shower curtain the whole time, letting me squeeze her hand through the contractions. Physically, it was the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced. The contractions were about 45 seconds apart, lasting two minutes. I had to dilate quite a bit and of course I had no epidural or real painkillers. I threw up and my whole body shook and I spiked a fever. But the worst part was that when I’d been in labor with Gage, I’d known that it was all worth it because at the end, I’d have a baby. This time there was nothing at the end of the tunnel but more darkness. It felt terribly wrong and sick and twisted.

My mom helped me breathe through it all and when it was time to push, this makes me cry. She completely took control; even through my sobbing insistence that I didn’t want to and couldn’t do this, she told me that I had to because my other babies needed to come to a healthy womb and this was necessary for me to be healthy. She really saved me and carried me through this – in both an emotional and physical sense.

 

Kim

I had no idea anything was wrong. I had had spotting my entire pregnancy so when I started having a bit more I thought it was stress, or that I needed to slow down a ton. It wasn’t until I woke up early one morning in a puddle of blood. (Nice eh?) I began bawling immediately and knew, just knew. I was shaking so hard, woke up my husband and we sped to the hospital. A very very tough memory. I was cramping just a bit prior to going in for a D&C. (A medical procedure where they put you under and basically suck the baby, and tissue out of the uterus…graphic but true and it still haunts me to this day.) I was three days from having to deliver vaginally. At the time I was certain if I had to deliver vaginally it would have ruined my soul…now? I am haunted by the process of the D&C with a baby at that gestation.

 

Laura

Obviously, Zella’s delivery was closer to a typical birth than a traditional miscarriage. It was very scary because I severely hemorrhaged and had to receive a blood transfusion and emergency C-section to save my life, but it all happened under a doctor’s care and with advance notice of her condition. I also suffered an early miscarriage at home last fall. It was a unique situation where I thought I was pregnant but tested negative and even had a routine period. A few weeks later, I began to bleed and cramp, at which point we discovered I was pregnant. The baby must have embedded outside of the uterus, resulting in low levels of hormones. Physically, it was like having severe menstrual cramps. The pain at times was excruciating, especially since I wasn’t sure what was happening. I bled for a week afterward. Since I didn’t even know I was pregnant, there was no emotional trauma to complicate the situation, but I know from almost miscarrying Zella at 10 weeks that losing a pregnancy at any stage is devastating and can add emotional pain to the very intense physical pain you might be experiencing.

 

Describe your emotional self during this process.

 

Brooke

During the final push, I was a mess. I started freaking out. I felt so many emotions: relief, guilt for feeling relief, terror at what had just happened, love for the baby, fear of seeing the baby, an emptiness that I’d never felt before, and the feeling that I would never be able to get it out of my head. It was one of the saddest things I’ve ever experienced.

 

Kim

After I ‘awoke’ from the surgery I felt a lot of bleeding, I told my nurse I felt I like I was bleeding to death…she told me that was normal…to which I responded, “NO! I really feel like I am dying.” She pulled back the blanket an indeed I was hemorrhaging. I hemorrhaged for 40 minutes before they got it under control. This was the worst physical and emotional pain I had experienced up until that time in my life. I was physically exhausted, literally bruised and beat up, and my heart was shattered. I had to stay overnight in the hospital on the maternity floor. I was so so very sad that entire night, and in disbelief. I was very sad for many, many, many months. I felt like my heart would never heal, that I let this baby down, my family down. I felt like I was broken and worthless. I felt guilty I almost died and left my family. Very strange but very true emotions.

 

Laura

Looking back, I realize how strong I was in the two weeks between finding out our baby wouldn’t survive to delivering her. I empowered myself by finding out what I could do to make my delivery as comfortable and memorable as possible. I had the advantage of preparing myself for her inevitable death. Additionally, the hospital provided additional resources, like a photographer and grief counselor, to make the experience more bearable. Still, it was surreal to walk around feeling the baby’s movements and know she would never come home to us. I felt very disconnected from the world and from other pregnant women. It’s like I had been kicked out of club. Those emotions continued after her death. While I felt a surprising amount of comfort and peace that her purpose on life had been served, I couldn’t help feeling jealous of others who weren’t asked to do the same. Like most people who suffer a loss, I appeared strong on the outside, but inside I was constantly hurting. At first, I would mentally relieve the experience every few minutes, but over time, the memories became more distant and sweet.

 

I once heard someone compare having a miscarriage to putting a batch of cookies in the oven on the wrong rack.

When they don’t turn out, you just throw them out and start over. What’s your reaction to that (because I thought it was pretty horrible!)?

Brooke

So many people (including myself before my miscarriages) don’t seem to understand exactly what happens when a miscarriage occurs. There is an actual living, growing being that dies inside of its mother and has to come out of her. It’s not something you get over in a day or a month or even a year. I had someone in me that had potential to become a living being, outside of my womb and now that potential is gone, at least for now. This is very real. It’s death. It’s serious. It’s not cookies. And the whole, “just try again” thing… it makes me really mad. I’ve heard this analogy as well, from a person who is extremely fertile… in fact, too fertile. For someone who struggles with her fertility, deciding to try to get pregnant is a big decision. You’re essentially telling yourself, “I know this may end in heartbreak. I know it will probably be months until I see a plus sign. Am I ready for this?” But then there are always those fertile people who are like, “Oh, we’re going to get pregnant in April or maybe May.” And then in March they post the Ultrasound pictures on facebook. (I’m not begrudging pregnancy, or posting things on FB). Realize that getting pregnant is not baking. Miscarriage is not the bad batch that you throw out and forget about when the next batch comes out right (sometimes years later, if ever).

 

Kim

I don’t know about you, but even messed up cookies can be pretty delicious. The smell is still amazing even though they may not look very pretty, I would still probably eat them. To compare a baby to a messed up cookie is pretty heart wrenching and makes me sad. I wonder if that person has ever suffered such a loss. Like I said, if you don’t know what to say, don’t say anything, and if you have to, the best words…no matter if baby died a week ago or five years ago, “I am so so so sorry for your loss. This just completely sucks. Let’s go eat a cookie.”

 

Laura

This person is a jerk. Okay, that was rude. That person is an idiot. Still too harsh? The reality is some people, even those who have suffered a loss, are going to say dumb things. Yes, most miscarriages are caused by genetic disorders that are incompatible with life. However, losing a baby is not like baking cookies. Beyond the inevitable devastation and disappointment, many people deal with lingering health problems, subsequent infertility and/or fears for future pregnancies. It’s not a simple event, nor is there a simple solution, medically or emotionally. As a general rule, avoid making analogies, especially stupid ones.

 

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Tomorrow we will learn about the DO’s and DO NOT’s when it comes to supporting a loved one through a horrific experience like those bravely shared above.


Comments

  1. LeMira says

    I have to admit that when I saw that you were doing this series, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. I, too, am in that “crappy club” (as an acquaintance of mine has called it) as I have buried a child born at 22 weeks; and my sister-in-law just experienced the same loss two weeks ago, so it is very fresh on our minds here. I appreciate these women sharing their stories because when you do share your story, the memories and emotions come flooding back, and it’s not always easy to relive it. Thank you, Ladies, for having the courage to share it all.

  2. Shalee says

    Thank you all for posting this. I lost a baby at 16 wks nearly 4 years ago. It’s a tough thing to process and heal from. It was devastating. Reading these stories really helped me realize all the emotions I have felt through the years just might not be completely crazy!!

  3. katy says

    Thank you for doing this! I think that people need to hear this. Also having experienced a pregnancy loss and having gone through adoption there are many similar feelings for adoptive mothers and mothers experiencing a pregnancy loss. A lot of feelings of being misunderstood and a lose of a child that will never be. Don’t try to give advice just give a hug and a listening ear. Thank you Mrs. R!

  4. Sharylann says

    I really appreciate these questions and answers. I struggle with them also though too. I’m stuck in between. My pregnancies don’t make it more than 5 or 6 weeks, so I always feel like I don’t fit into any of the categories. I don’t totally fit with these women because they’ve made it farther and had to give actual birth in some form. I may have had miscarriages but at times I feel like people expect those to be easier. Does that make any sense? Any way to address it?

    • Aubrey says

      I would love to also see a post on early pregnancy loss. I too don’t totally fit with these women, as my pregnancy losses have been anywhere between 6 and 10 weeks.

      • Lindsey says

        Great idea, Aub!

        I know Laura and Brooke have both experienced an early pregnancy loss as well. I will ask them to answer your comment/question here too.

        XO

        • Sharylann says

          Thank you Lindsey! That would be way helpful to those of us who have been there. There was some touching on of it in today’s post which I really appreciated!

      • Silver Strands says

        I’m so sorry for you Aubrey. I’m now a grandmother, but experienced a few miscarriages – most of them very early on. I agree with Brooke – each one is painful. And only those with the same experience can know the pain. My heart goes out to you, Aubrey.

    • brooke says

      i think that the emotional part of pregnancy loss is the worst part, so, yes, what your saying makes total sense to me.

      i don’t know how to address it, except to realize that many people will not understand what you’re going through, but you still need to treat yourself right – rest, heal, take time away from every day life (if that’s what you need), etc. hope that helps, and i’m so so sorry for your losses.

  5. danette says

    Yet another club member. Looking on the outside you would see my 5 beautiful kids and think she doesn’t know what lose is. Yet I do. I have had 3 miscarriages 2 of which were early 2 trimester loses. I also had times when it has taken over a year to get pregnant. Honestly most times I feel lost about how I should feel. I honestly feel like I have lost 3 children. Yet knowing that most people (those not in the club) do not feel the same way makes it hard. The best thing is sharing our stories so that we know that we are not alone.

  6. Keiko says

    This is an incredible post – the bravery of the women who’ve shared their stories, as well as you Lindsey, for posting such candid stories on a subject that is not easy to talk about. While I have never been pg, the thought of m/c terrifies me. And yet, I find a lot of comfort and strength in these stories. I look forward to reading the rest of the series; I just shared this on Twitter and I’ll be posting it on FB as well.

    Really, really well done. Thank you so much for posting and sharing this.

    • Lindsey says

      Thanks, Keiko! Yours is one of my favorite infertility blogs so that means a ton!

  7. Aubrey says

    The “batch of cookies” comment got my blood boiling. That’s like telling someone who suffers from infertility to “just do IVF” or to “just adopt”. I appreciate these stories being shared, because now I know that I am not alone in the world. I have lost 3 babies at 10 weeks gestation, and each one has been harder than the last. The last one (over a year ago) still weighs on my mind at times and sent me into a downward spiral of depression. I didn’t have anyone who really understood how I was feeling or what I was going through. I appreciate these ladies (and you Lindsey!!) for posting these experiences and sharing that what I felt and have been feeling is normal.

  8. Shannie says

    My sister delivered my nephew still born at 30 weeks last June. It was heartbreaking and I really had no idea what to do or how she was feeling (I haven’t entered the world of reproduction yet). A year and 2 days later, she delivered a healthy baby boy. I think what has surprised me the most is even though she got pregnant again and had healthy baby, it does not in anyway replace the grief of her lost son. It was very helpful to read these stories to understand her experience better.

  9. Katie says

    I have experienced 5 years of infertility and two miscarriages at 6 weeks. I have no living children. I was and still am devastated over my two pregnancy losses. I’ve heard so many people say that miscarriages are “normal” and is “God’s way of thinning out the weak.” It’s so absurd! Those pregnancies were real. I had a baby growing inside of me and now I do not. You don’t get over that. And even at 6 weeks, my miscarriages were physically and emotionally painful. I pray that I will get to hold my babies in heaven someday.

    • brooke says

      katie, i am so sorry. isn’t it funny (not really) how people think comments like that actually HELP?!

      but i do believe that each of our babies are real spirits and we will some day get to be their mommies. thanks for sharing your experience.

    • LeMira says

      “God’s way of thinning out the weak”?!!! That makes my blood boil. Yes, they are babies, human beings. If anyone has seen a baby at 13 weeks (I have as I miscarried then), you know that they are babies. And I agree, it doesn’t matter if you were 5, 6, 22, or 30 weeks, that empty feeling after the baby is gone is still empty, hollow, and it hurts.

  10. kenna says

    this is a great post. i have a few people in mind that i need to send it too.

    they all hit it spot on with their experiences.

    i’ve experienced three early pregnancy losses at 8 weeks, and then my daughter, still birth, at 20 weeks. being in labor for 12 hours to deliver your child only to bury them is excruciating.

    the worst part? we had family members who chastised us for not acknowledging THEIR feelings about the loss. we had just lost our daughter, but they were more concerned with us comforting them for losing a grand daughter, niece, etc.

    to this day i still struggle with it all.

    • Savannah says

      Kenna, I lost relationships with family members because of the same thing. We were unchosen halfway through a pregnancy and all they could talk about was how THEY lost a granddaughter, how they were saddened over the memoreis THEY would never get to make. Not once did they say they were sorry for my loss. That did a lot of damage to me.

  11. Emily says

    Laura’s comment about feeling the baby moving inside her, knowing the baby would never come home, really hit home for me. I lost my baby boy in May. He was born at 37 weeks and lived for 32 minutes. We found out at 19 weeks that he was a dwarf and that he likely had a type of dwarfism that was not survivable. We waited to get his official diagnosis through amniocentesis until I was closer to full term, mostly so we could hang on to some hope. I knew I wanted to carry the pregnancy as long as I could, because as long as he was inside me and I was doing the breathing, he was okay. We wanted to let him live inside me as long as we could. Knowing for sure that he was going to die seemed like it would have made it harder, although now I’m not sure. It was so hard anyway, knowing the most likely outcome but carrying him for four months after we learned of his condition. But we did our best to be strong and to look at the big picture. We made all the memories we could while he was with us.

    I had a c-section at 37 weeks because he (his head especially) was getting so big that it was becoming a danger to me to carry him any longer. He was 10 pounds when he was born. He had short, chubby, beautiful little arms and legs, but everything else about him was big. He’s my little angel boy. He was so wanted and so prayed for. We tried for three years with one early miscarriage before he was finally conceived (it took 5 years with our first), and even though it didn’t turn out how we expected it to, it has been an invaluable experience. He was born 7 weeks ago today, and I still feel sad. But I feel a connection to him and I know he’s not really gone. I know we will be with him again someday.

    Sorry if that’s not what you were going for or if I have shared too much… but reading Laura’s comment, I just related to that feeling so much that I felt compelled to share my story. Losing a baby that is so wanted, at any stage, is so heartbreaking. And even if the parents have a testimony of eternal families and know that they will get to be with that baby again someday, it’s still sad right now. I think the best thing anyone can do is just to express sincere sympathy. Realize that you can’t take the pain away or fix it, and don’t try. Just be a friend and recognize that even though we know there is hope for the future, the present is really hard and really sad and we (at least I) just need someone to be a good friend and show love.

    • Emily says

      In response to my own comment… :)

      I just wanted to clarify what I meant when I said “don’t try” to take the pain of losing a baby away. It sounded kind of harsh when I thought over it, and I don’t mean it that way at all. But, for me, it was exhausting having those conversations over and over, and I felt like I had to validate everyone who got into the theological things with me. I believe those things, and I am so thankful for that knowledge… but it did get exhausting and I was already emotionally exhausted. I hope that makes sense. I know people only want to help, and I have appreciated that. But my suggestion to those who want to help is just to be there for them. Let them know that you know their heart is broken and that you’re there for them in whatever way they need you to be.

  12. Sierra Kilpatrick says

    Thank you for posting this. I lost a baby 12/1/08 at 11 weeks and 2/14/10 at 5 weeks. Not as far a long as some of these ladies (which I’m sure is much more difficult) but I still know that any loss hurts. Thank you for thinking of those that have lost little ones way too early. I admire these women for their strength.

    • Silver Strands says

      Sierra, I’ve experienced losing babies at different stages, and I believe the pain is equally excruciating. Don’t minimize your own grief. I’m so sorry for you.

  13. Lechelle says

    Brooke, Kim, and Laura, thank you so much for sharing your stories. And thank you Lindsey for posting them and dedicating this week to them.

    Brooke I especially related to your story. I know this is a weird thing to thank you for, but thank you for sharing some of the physical details of your loss. It was so much like my own experiences with both of my losses, and just as far along as yours each time. My doctor also underplayed what was going to happen. Not ever having carried a child to term I didn’t know how to describe what was happening, to me I thought they were contractions and real labor, but to family and friends they assumed it would be a “heavy period” (oh yeah, and a dead baby). And then no one really told me what to do with the body. Because they were born earlier than 17 weeks there weren’t really any rules, we were just told to “dispose” of them any way we wanted to. I agonized for hours wondering what to do. Finally we snuck into an old private cemetery late at night and buried my son under a tree where we knew nothing could disturb him. 7 months later when we came across the same dilemma with his sister we buried her next to him. Did they tell you what to do with your child’s body? Reading your story and how similar it was to mine brings me reassurance that my experience was real and does not need to be downplayed, thank you

    sending each of you love and hugs

    • brooke says

      hi lechelle, i really loved reading your experience. i thought it was really strange that my doctor didn’t say anything about what to do with the body. i really wish he (my doctor) and the nurses that i talked to would have been more candid about what was going to happen and what i should be prepared for. frankly, it was all terrifying and i was not at all expecting everything. oh yeah, and the whole “heavy period” thing (which my nurse described labor as) is a total lie. i hope that the more we speak up about what has happened, the more other women will be prepared or at least have more of an idea of what to expect.

      thanks for sharing your story, and i really hope that you know how brave you are. please keep in touch and let me know how everything turns out, my email is brookredfern{at}gmail.com

      • Lechelle says

        Thanks Brooke, I’ll be e-mailing you. I am happy to say that now I am the mother of darling Boston, my 14 month old son through adoption, and I am now 31 weeks pregnant with another boy and the last six weeks have been complication-free!

    • Silver Strands says

      What a sweet thing Lechelle – that you and your husband buried your babies properly. I wish I would have had that thought with my miscarraiges. Thanks for sharing.

  14. tiptoepreggo says

    Thank you so, so much for sharing this. I have lost 2 babies early in pregnancy (around 7 weeks both times). I bawled reading these women’s stories because they are my story. I am now 7 weeks pregnant and hopeful and scared and anxious…

  15. Jenn says

    I really appreciate this blog post. I have a lot of family and friends who don’t get how tough it is. We have been dealing with infertility for over 8 years and have lost 4 babies. We still don’t have any babies at home and will start our adoption journey the end of this summer.

  16. Ashley says

    Oh, how my heart hurts for these mothers. Thank you for bravely sharing your stories. A couple of weeks ago a lady I visit teach lost her second pregnancy in six months, both in her second trimester. I want to be supportive and helpful, but I’ve felt at a loss as to what I should do or say. This is really helpful, and I hope I can be more sensitive to all of my loved ones who have or will experience this.

  17. Laura says

    Thank you for posting this. I miscarried three times before I became pregnant with my daughter. My heart is just in pain for these Mothers! I feel like the pain really never goes away, you just learn how to deal with it and suppress it. Those feelings come back…sometimes full force when I hear stories like this or sometimes they surface at unexpected (and embarrassing) times. The fear that it will happen again also stays. Thank you and love to these Mothers who shared their experiences and true raw feelings.

    I will be linking to this from my blog.

  18. Kindle says

    Thank you all so much for sharing. Your stories really resonate with my own experiences and as much as I’d never wish this on anyone else, it is comforting to know I am l not alone. I have experienced 5 losses, two of which were late in the second trimester. Each time it happens the devastation is lessened, or perhaps my heart is just getting stronger, less easy to break. I still have moments when the reality hits me and my eyes well up, but overall I am able to be happy and feel peace about it. The feelings that I struggle with currently are that it’s hard to know where we fit in in the infertility world. Sometimes I wish that I could have been diagnosed with sure infertility, been able to mourn that loss, and move forward. Recurrent pregnancy loss means the hope, the “what if’s”, and the resulting grief is borne over and over again with each loss. The thought of being pregnant again haunts me and it’s enough to turn me into a mess of tears, so contradictory to the feelings associated with infertility! I am fearful of the opportunity most infertile people would give anything to have. Also, people say dumb things associated with infertility all the time, but when you’ve experienced pregnancies it’s like they won’t let it go! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve repeatedly been told to just keep trying. People want to tell you that, “my mom had 9 miscarriages and then had 4 healthy babies”. The reality is that with each recurrent miscarriage the chances of delivering a healthy baby actually decrease. Anyway, I’m starting to rant. I truly have peace and understanding of our circumstances. We are working on our 2nd adoption and I am so happy and thankful this is our path. I guess I just wish that others in our lives saw it as an equally awesome path to parenthood as getting pregnant is. Thanks for opening a dialogue about this Lindsey, it’s been therapeutic! ;-)

  19. Lacey says

    Four years ago I found out that i was carring twins at my 17 week ultrasound. Within a few minutes we found out the one had passed on. It was one of the worst days in my life. It changed everything for me. It made my preganancy so complicated and I had a 2 1/2 year old girl who we had also had a rough time getting into this world. It was very hard because I couldn’t deliver this baby. I had many thoughts running through my head. I prayed with everything I had and put all the faith that I had in our surviving twin. I thought please dont take them both, I can not do it! The dr told me the baby that passed away would be reabsorbed into my body. To our surprise I deliverd both twins at 29 weeks. I never got to see our baby that passed away in the womb who we named “Ella”. The dr.’s and staff were so surprised that she was delivered pink and had 10 toes and was just as big as her twin sister Ava. It was a very complicated situation. To this day, I regret not being able to say goodbye to her. Ava the surviving twin was fighting for her life. After 6 weeks of spending every moment with her she was welcomed home to be with her sister and heavenly father. I learned so much from these experiences. I learned how critcal it is to grieve. I feel like I never had the chance to grieve Ella’s death because everything was so critical for Ava. I struggle with this to this day. Through it all I have learned to love deeper and have more compassion and to really MORN with those that morn and rejoice with every miracle. I am not perfect and it has taken some time. I have been bitter, hurt and betrayed. But if I had to say one thing it would be that people just don’t understand. Sometimes they mean the best but don’t know what to say. Be open and educate them. Tell them how you feel but try not to be offended. I always tell people I would rather you say the wrong thing then to say nothing at all…. I hated when people avoided me. The silence was way worse than the akward things people would say.

    I know that I have two angels waiting in heaven for my return. Oh how wonderful it will be. On their first birthday we got news that we would be adopting a little boy shortly. I know they had a huge part in bringing our other two children into our family through adoption. It brings a smile to my face thinking about them up there working out all the details. Not to say it was easy. It wasn’t at all. There were many dark days. I will never move on, I will move forward….they will always be a part of our family.

    WOW This is VERY long. Sorry. I have many resources if anyone wants you can email me.

  20. danette says

    I know I have already posted and this is going to be long.

    I just need to know if anyone else feels this way.

    So I first miscarried when I was 19 it was my very first pregnancy. Shortly after coming home from the doctor where the miscarriage was confirmed I was 10 weeks. I was sitting on the couch and this voice came to me and said “Mommy I am coming in May.” Sure enough I had a little boy that following May after the miscarriage we tried for about 6 months. I believe that my son Caleb was that child I miscarried. Only because it was a blighted ovum and a baby never grew.

    Fast forward 5 years and I have my 2nd miscarriage at 15 weeks. The whole time I am trying to get pregnant after the 2nd miscarriage which was a year I kept thinking that the next child was to be the one I miscarried. Until I got pregnant and once I was pregnant I knew that it was not the same child. That the child I miscarried at 15 weeks was all that baby needed and that I will see that child again. Same with the 3rd miscarriage that happened at 14 weeks.

    I remember delivering my 2nd miscarriage and looking at this baby and thinking that the baby was perfect tiny but perfect. She (I think it was a girl) had finger nails she was perfect.

    Here is my problem, my in laws believe that your child is not yours because the baby never took a breath of life. If angers me.

    The thing is is that in the LDS church the thing that is suppose to get us through the grief is knowing that we are eternal families and that we will be together forever. This is hard for me because I am not sure 100 percent about miscarriages. I want to believe that those babies I have lost are up in heaven waiting but because of others opinion I am not sure.

    I just know that the grief has been really hard and at time most times the grief was done alone. There is so much more to miscarrying than that of grief. Grief to most that should be done with in a matter of weeks. I had someone once say that to me that it has been long enough get over it.

    One more thing is that my last miscarriage was hard in so many ways but it was a spiritual battle for me. Satan was always around. I found no peace at the Temple it was hard. But I beat Satan with the Lords help and I survived but it was not easy .

    Anyways I don’t want to start a debate about when the spirit enters the body, because no matter what one believe’s we are all or have grieved. We need to be there for one another.

    Sorry this is so scattered.

    • Lechelle says

      Danette I am so sorry for your losses. I’m sorry your in-laws have been insensitive to your pain and made it worse by sharing their opinions, when their opinions on this aren’t the ones that matter. As for LDS doctrine on the subject, different general authorities have voiced different opinions on when the spirit enters, but none have made clear that their opinion was church doctrine and so none should be taken as such. What matters is how you feel about it and how that helps you heal, what matters is the Lord will make everything right in the end.
      I’m sorry this has been such a spiritual struggle for you. I’m praying His peace will be with you. HUGS

    • Emily says

      You may have already seen this in your searching for answers on this topic, but I knew this quote existed, so I wanted to share. It is from Joseph Fielding Smith in regards to stillbirth.

      “…there is no information given by revelation in regard to the status of stillborn children. However, I will express my personal opinion that we should have hope that these little ones will receive a resurrection and then belong to us.”

      I found it here: http://lds.org/ensign/1987/09/i-have-a-question?lang=eng

      And although he doesn’t mention miscarriage (apparently), I believe it still applies. I don’t know if that eases your mind at all, as it’s still uncertain, but I hope it at least offers hope. It does for me.

      I wish there was more revealed truth on this, but maybe that’s part of what this kind of trial is about. Having to have faith in God’s plan for us and our families, even though we don’t understand sometimes. ((hugs))

    • LeMira says

      I’m so sorry for your losses and your grief. A friend gave me a book titled “Gone Too Soon” that has many quotes from prophets and scriptures. It covers pregnancy and infant loss at all stages and grief. I found some very insightful and comforting messages there that helped me deal with my grief and concerns about my miscarriage at 13 weeks as well as my premature daughter at 22 weeks who was a live birth.

  21. Kelli says

    It has been four years since my second miscarriage (I am also not a fan of that terminology). As I read each of the different stories shared here I find I have tears running down my face, for each of you and for myself. Time has definitely helped to temper the debilitating grief I have felt but even though I feel like I am in a really good place now at times I still revisit those emotions and feelings. Because my losses were so heartbreaking and so dear to my heart I often found it was difficult to share how I was feeling with others because I couldn’t bear for them to misunderstand me or discount the depth of grief I felt. I was very angry and bitter for a long time too which many didn’t/couldn’t understand. It is comforting to know that although the circumstances of each of our losses are so different that we are not alone. I cried for each of you today.

  22. Ruth says

    I know this blog post is about what not to say, and I think that’s great. I had many inappropriate things said to me when I lost my baby (early 2nd trimester). But I want to put it out there that what you’ve experienced should at least be acknowledged. After we lost our baby my husbands family acted as if the pregnancy had never even occurred. The pregnancy and the loss was never mentioned, ever. We received no words of sympathy. This angered me more for my husband’s feelings then anything. This was his family ignoring the most painful experience he’d ever gone through and not a single, “Son, I’m sorry for your loss” was spoken. How could anyone, especially family, be so insensitive? (To add to the confusion, his father is the bishop of his ward!).

    For years this was a sore spot with me and at one point I even brought it up with my mother-in-law seeking a resolution and got nothing. I then resolved to never bring it up again and I worked through my own process of forgiving them so that it wouldn’t fester in me any longer. Thank God for the atonement.

    Losing our little ones is never easy (at any gestation) and it’s hard to know what to say. But please don’t ignore it. Embrace the parents in a sincere hug and simply say, “I’m so sorry for your loss”.

    • Lindsey says

      Thanks, Ruth! I think you are exactly right. I am going to work on this a little more too.

      I think you will love tomorrow’s post. It is all about the DO’s and DO NOT’s when it comes to supporting our loved ones through these trials. :)

  23. Denalee @ Silver Strands says

    Thank you so much, Lindsey, for asking these ladies to share. One of my losses was the last time I was pregnant. There were twins, but somewhat early in the pregnancy, one “stopped growing and was absorbed” (the way the medical team consoled me). I carried the other full term and delivered a beautiful little girl. But I still had lost a baby. I grieved alone because no one, really – NO ONE – could understand my pain. After all, I was still pregnant. ALL pregnancy loss is painful. Anyway, that was 14 years ago, and it still makes me cry. Being with my daughter through her latest loss was both healing and painful. It brought me to the point of confronting some of my feelings that had been glossed over for years, and helped me to begin to deal with them. And her experience also helped give meaning to my losses … this might be a really crazy thought, but the thought came to me that if the only reason for me to experience my losses was so that I could help my daughter through hers, it was worth it.

  24. Katie says

    What an inspired idea to do these posts. When we lost our baby at 9 weeks (after being told and coming to peace with the fact that we would never be pregnant) I was devastated to say the least. It felt like a cruel joke to have finally “gotten over” my desire to carry a child only to have the opportunity given and taken away within the same month. I too heard many insensitive comments, despite the good intentions behind them.

    In our case, we were blessed to hear the heartbeat twice during the 4 weeks that we knew about the pregnancy and those are memories I will always treasure. It was also further proof to me that I was carrying a PERSON, not simply a fetus. I heard that little heart beat twice. That heart belonged to somone, a real person–MY little person. One moment there was a living, breathing person inside of me and the next I was passing that person in the form of blood clots and having to flush “it” down the toilet. That’s not natural and it’s not something you just get over. In fact I had very vivid nightmares for months afterwards, seeing myself as a monster or a murderer for having to “dispose” of my child like that. It’s a significant, real trauma and should be treated as such.

    I remember one day during the midst of my grief, crying to my SIL (who has lost 5 babies between 13-20 weeks) that I didn’t know how to get past the pain. It seemed too much to conquer. Her simple words have been an inspiration to me countless times since then. She said, “I know it’s hard but you’ve got to go through it to get through it.” Basically she was saying feel whatever you feel, whenever you feel it, however you feel it. Don’t fight it and don’t let other people make you feel like you don’t have a right to your feelings, otherwise you’ll be stuck in your grief forever and that’s no way to honor the life you once carried.

    Thank you for providing a forum for people to talk about such a painful and isolating trial. I’m sure it will help many women in their healing process.

    • Holly says

      Thanks for posting this comment. I had a pregnancy loss 5 years ago at 8 weeks while alone in the bathroom of the radiologist’s office. (I had started bleeding 2 days earlier on my 30th birthday and was there to get an ultrasound.)
      I searched the internet for comfort, and could find little to nothing on the absolute horror of having to flush your pregnancy down the toilet. I suppose because it’s so unpleasant to talk about it no one does, but it is very common in early pregnancy loss. I, for one, found it to be a horrifying experience and would have loved to commiserate with others who had experienced the same thing.
      I have had 2 more successful pregnancies since my miscarriage, and we are now a happy family of six!
      Still, my miscarriage was the single saddest experience of my life, because for me it was pure sadness. Not mixed with frustration, anger, or embarrassment. Just sadness for the life that had passed through me.

  25. Katie says

    One more thought. In reading through most of the comments, I noticed how many people felt the need to justify their loss because they were “only ___ weeks along.” I think it is sad that the culture and mindset is such that we aren’t allowed to own our experiences just as they are, with no explanation or defense. I hope these posts will show that a loss is a loss no matter how early (doesn’t that remind you of a Dr. Suess quote :)) and although other people may have “had it harder” every person’s experience is hard in its own unique way and should be treated with sensitivity, love and compassion. Okay, stepping off my soapbox now :)

  26. Marisa says

    I’ve never personally experienced a pregnancy loss. I’m one of those super annoying fertile people who can plan what month they want to get pregnant in (please feel free to throw rocks at me). But I helped my sister through a rather devastating situation. She had an early miscarriage of her third child. This was awful enough, but then the placental tissue kept growing in her uterus like she was still pregnant. It’s a type of cancer (that I couldn’t hope to spell) that is so rare that only one person in the world a year gets it (I told her take those 1 in 6 billion odds to Vegas, but alas…). She went through chemotherapy and multiple D&Cs only to be told the only way to save her life was to opt for a radical hysterectomy at the age of 32. So, she suffered a pregnancy loss, battled cancer, and lost all her fertility at a young age. It has been devastating to watch my only sister, and best friend, cope with all of this. When I became pregnant with my 3rd, I have never felt more guilt in my whole life, but she was happy for me and even had a front-row seat in the delivery room. It’s been 6 years so with time things have gotten better. But she and her husband wanted a large family and that was taken away from them for no reason at all. Life is so unfair and it sucks.

    I cried reading this post. My good friend suffered a pregnancy loss at the beginning of the year much like Brooke’s. She was so unprepared for the physical pain. Why don’t nurses and doctors explain that to their patients?! I directed her toward this series hoping that these posts will help her.

  27. Lacy says

    Thank you SO much for having these amazing ladies share their experiences and trials. I found out being 10 weeks along that my baby didn’t have a heartbeat and honestly didn’t know much about the process of a “miscarriage”. After reading these ladies experiences though, (namely Brooks) I think it might be a good idea to add that not everyone “miscarries” this way when they take Misoprostal. Though its the honest truth, after reading her post that would terrify me to have to go through that process! (my dr gave me the option, D & C or Miso, I went with the Miso). My experience was NOT like hers. I was given other meds for nausea and pain and honestly slept ALL DAY and when I woke I only felt mild cramping. I didn’t pass my baby after 6 hours either, I think my baby passed a week later. (In fact, many women don’t even know when their babies pass (depending on gestation age). Each of these ladies are amazing for sharing their experiences and advice and I’m sure they will the be “help” to many who read this and unfortunately have to go through this process, as many others have.

  28. Josie says

    LInds,

    So I’m a little slow getting here, but I’m here. I am loving all of this. Kind of partial to Laura’s advice, but whatever.

    Love you!

  29. Robin says

    Thanks for focusing on pregnancy loss. For the past two years I have felt so lonely. After two miscarriages (at 10 weeks and 12 weeks), and both time taking medicine at home to induce labor, and still no children, I have just felt very alone in all of this. There are many resources regarding infertility but not very many for pregnancy loss and the sadness that comes with it.

  30. Jenny says

    I too love these posts.

    I experienced a partial molar pregnancy a month ago. The baby hadn’t developed past six weeks, but we didn’t know anything was wrong until my ultrasound at 11 weeks. One of the difficult things I’ve encountered is that because it was a molar pregnancy, I haven’t found a good way to describe it. It wasn’t a miscarriage. It wasn’t infant loss. I lost a pregnancy and now also have cancer concerns on top of everything. It’s been nothing like Marisa’s sister’s experience, but it does seem to add another layer of complication to things. Especially since the people around me, while supportive, don’t acknowledge the sadness of pregnancy loss, just the fear of major health problems.

    My heart goes out to all of you. Even in my position, I can’t imagine what you’ve been through. Laboring while you’re husband is in Ukraine or trying to find a place to bury your tiny baby or any of the other struggles mentioned.