There are many stages of grief in the aftermath of a miscarriage. But it all starts in many cases with the news, “There’s no heartbeat.” The first time those words are uttered, they kind of ricochet off the inside of a mother’s brain and don’t quite register. Some will burst into tears immediately, others will “turn turtle” and keep everything inside, some will take a little bit longer before the words actually sink in…along with the reality that their baby is dead.
It's still really “odd” to say those words back to back: “baby” and “dead”. They almost seem contradictory.
I received the news at what was supposed to be a happy occasion—the 12-week ultrasound to confirm the development age of the baby and due date. Instead, I—and my husband at the time—heard the words, “I’m sorry. There’s no heartbeat”—although the radiologist didn’t say it immediately. She continued to take measurements to determine the gestational age and then told us.
I was one of those who didn’t burst into tears immediately. I wasn’t in denial. I completely understood the ramifications of what the radiologist had said. I accepted the fact that my system would either flush the baby out on its own, or I would have to arrange for a D&C. I had driven to the appointment and on the way out, my husband asked if I wanted him to drive. Under most circumstances it’s probably not the best time for a person to drive a car…my baby was dead. But I felt that I needed to be in control of something.
Driving had always been a release for me. Something I enjoyed doing. I enjoyed—and needed—the distraction to allow my brain to catch up with the reality of the news.
As it ended up, my body didn’t expel the baby on its own and I had to go with the D&C…a month later (but that’s for another article).
Empty Arms Group Discussion
What was your initial reaction to finding out the news, when did you find out, and what did you do to help yourself cope?