For any woman, having a miscarriage is not easy to deal with. So many thoughts can drive our minds insane with questions of “Why? Could I have done something different? Could I have prevented it? If only I… (Fill in the blank).” Guilt and shame come upon us and let’s not forget embarrassment that our body could not nurture our own child.
For many young married women the possibility of having a miscarriage is not the first thought that we come across in our pregnancy. We think it will be perfect. We get married and when we decide to start our family it will start with no issues.
My husband and I have been married a little over a year and to our surprise got pregnant. Our world took a turn for a path we were not yet planning on taking but we were excited to take the journey and head into a new adventure. Our family was growing! I was given advice to keep the news to my husband and myself until the first trimester passed but how do you hold news like that for 12 weeks? And I’m Cuban! My family and I talk about everything. So here it is: 7 weeks pregnant and I have my miscarriage. Here’s what I did during that first week that helped me overcome with no regrets:
1. I told my family I was pregnant! With full excitement and joy I shared away. The advice that was given to wait after my 1st trimester to make the big announcement I listened to in regards to not posting it on social media and letting EVERYONE know. But to keep it to my husband and myself, nope, couldn’t do it. Looking back I’m so glad I included my family and close friends in the process. They were people I trusted with my heart and were the first ones I came to for prayer. After the miscarriage they became safe places to talk about what I was feeling and help me process.
2. I followed the baby’s growth on an app. I downloaded a pregnancy app that showed me how big the baby was and how it was developing daily. This was amazing for me because I was able to feel connected to not only my baby’s size (which was the size of a blueberry) but also know it’s brain and heart were already developing. The app shared with me the symptoms I should be feeling and what my body was doing. This helped me be aware of my body, what it was doing and kept me bonded to my baby by knowing what step it was on and where I was at.
3. I took a breath and researched before freaking out. I was up at a camp for a week as a counselor when I began feeling cramps followed by blood that looked familiar. It looked like a period. Looking at this over the toilet a wave of emotions came across me. “I need to tell my husband.” “He’s going to be so sad.” “Was I even really pregnant?” “But the symptoms were all there along with the 2 pregnancy tests that shouted out ‘You’re pregnant’ ”. I walked out, took a deep breath and typed in a quick question online: Is bleeding normal in the beginning of a pregnancy? I immediately got all these articles saying that it is common and to check with your OB/GYN. That relaxed me. This is common. Nothing to freak out about.
4. I was open and honest to others about what was happening and LISTENED to what they said. The moment I came back from the bathroom at the campsite I spoke to the camp nurse about my bleeding. By God’s good grace she happened to be a delivery nurse outside of camp and was able to assure me that this stage of a pregnancy is completely out of my hands. So many women think they could of, would of, should of done something different to prevent the miscarriage and, soon after, follow it with guilt toward themselves. Hearing the nurse say ‘it is out of your hands’ and ‘know there is absolutely nothing you can do but continue to check’ gave me peace. This was not in my hands but completely in God’s. It’s His will, not my own. He gave me the joy of carrying this amazing miracle and He can choose to give it to me at another time as well. From then I began to prepare my heart for whatever plan He had and be ready to worship Him if it was not my own plan. One way I did this was practicing thanksgiving during the week we had had so far knowing we were pregnant and how much joy that gave us.
5. I continued to be happy about my pregnancy. I shared with my family and a small group of friends that I had seen bleeding and to keep me in their prayers for God’s will. One of my dearest friends advised me to check in with my midwife the moment I got back from camp and in the meantime celebrate the fact that I was pregnant. Not to lose that joy out of fear. I listened. I would pray over my belly with my husband and continue following the app. The baby had grown to the size of a raspberry. My campers practiced praying and asking God for baby raspberry’s protection and for me to no longer bleed. Children bring so much joy to great news. They kept me going and excited for what I held. I enjoyed this week at camp with reminders of the gift I carried and had never experienced.
6. I tracked my body and the changes. Every time I went to the restroom I watched as the blood flowed. It was not the blood of a miscarriage but looked like a period. I knew what to look for if it were a miscarriage and kept observing my body. It was 4 days of the bleeding. On the fourth day I noticed my breasts were no longer tender or as big as they had gotten (I can usually hold one breast in one hand and as my weeks of pregnancy continued it was fitting in two hands. This my husband enjoyed). Also, I was no longer feeling the push on my bladder from the uterus and actually saw that my stomach was a smaller size. At 4:00 PM on the 4th day of bleeding I felt something plop out. I immediately went to the kitchen for a plastic spoon and plastic cup and pulled out of the toilet what looked to be the size of a raspberry. I knew what this was. I knew what had just happened. This is what I was looking for and hoping would not come out. Instead of breaking down and crying the weirdest thing happened. I looked at what once was the baby growing inside of me with amazement and awe. This was a beautiful creation God made and allowed me to experience. It’s the gift so many women are blessed to have and could never explain or put into words how amazing it is to feel life in your body. I was amazed and looking over my baby with gratitude that I was able to hold it for the 7 weeks I did.
7. I prepared myself with prayer and worship. I think what helped me get to that point was the fact that I was preparing my heart for God’s will and began my morning with prayer and worship. I prayed to God to keep this baby safe and healthy and allow us to have it. Then I finished my prayer with, “Not my will but your will. I mean it Lord. At the end of the day I love you. This would be a gift but I love you. I will not change that if I do not get what I want.” I meditated on those words “I love you.” It helped me remember that a baby is a gift, not a promise but I promised to love Him with all my heart till the day I go home to be with Him.
8. I did not blame myself. There was absolutely nothing I could do. It was out of my hands. This was beyond me and completely in God’s plan and will for both my husband and I. One thing my midwife mentioned that helped me remember the beauty of nature is that a lot of miscarriages occur because of undeveloped cells and the body knows and takes care of itself. I remember hearing about how lightning can strike and burn a tree only to protect it from a wild fire. Things that happen to nature that seem like destruction sometimes are actually to protect it. The same thing applies to the amazing creation of the woman’s body. Our body knows what’s good and what can harm us. It cleans us up and protects us. This miscarriage did not tell me my body was not a good host to a baby but that my body was protecting me and keeping me safe to host the next one, the one God wills for our family’s growth.
9. We cried together and said our goodbyes. As practical as I have been in talking and walking with gratitude and joy over the gift God had given me there was still a loss. My husband decided it would be good to graph a timeline of the pregnancy and mourn the loss of what could have been. We sat together on the couch, cried and shared where are hearts were, what we felt, unmet expectations, and disappointments. We assured each other that this will grow our faith and had nothing to do with our bodies or anything outside of God’s perfect will which we trusted. One regret he almost felt was not waiting 12 weeks to tell others about our pregnancy, mainly because of the embarrassment on having to tell them about our miscarriage. I told him it was the one thing I know I did right. If I had not shared the news I would feel ashamed to share now and would be suffering on my own. I would not want to talk to anyone and the guilt would have drowned me. I now have people who were there during the whole process and it helps me to share and communicate where I am without shame or guilt.
I created a small box and decorated it with seeds on the inside along with raspberry and outside I wrote “Joy”. I named her Joy for that’s what she gave. It was our closure and we buried it behind our lemon tree to watch it one day grow into beautiful purple flowers. We said goodbye and it was good.
10. We discuss our future with excitement on one day starting our family. This is not the end of a story but the beginning of a new chapter. One day we will have our family and God was so good to give us a taste of the joy of our pregnancy. We got to think of what we wanted and what we would need to do to prepare for it. We have something to look forward to and we discuss it in detail now. Our hearts were moved to allow whatever happens in the future without pushing for a baby but not preventing one either. And we’re hopeful. We hope for one day having again that same joy we felt with Joy during that incredible week of pregnancy.