Experiencing loss anytime is difficult. As humans we experience grief intensely and there is no way around it. Only through it. At holiday time, it is especially difficult. Not only do you have to go through the season with a heavy heart, sometimes pretending to enjoy yourself for other’s sake and other times forcing yourself to not feel guilty for experiencing a happy moment (a thankful relief) when you feel you should be mourning.
A good friend and confidant recently lost her pregnancy at almost 15 weeks. I wish I could take her pain away, but know I can’t. I wish I knew some magic words to make her feel better, but I don’t. I know that she will carry this with her for the rest of her life. The pain will eventually diminish, but will never go away completely.
When I experienced my own miscarriage a few years ago, I initially wanted to shut down all the world and get off of it for a few days. I slept a lot and cried a lot. Once I got past the initial period, I went into a phase where I wanted resources to tell me the reasons why it happens, and to whom it happens.
I didn’t initially know of many women who had experienced miscarriage -- until I had. I came to find out that women who experience it are like a secret society who all carry the same mother/death badge. That is the only way I can think of how to put it. These are women who have held life in their bellies and had to let it go for one reason or another. These strong women have experienced the immense grief and disappointment that goes along with losing a baby. I had trouble finding resources, so I hope in sharing my story it will help someone who is going through it to know they are not alone.
My experience was at 12 weeks. I had just moved to Kansas from Arizona. I was very excited at all the possibilities that a new life in a new place would hold in store and thrilled to be welcoming a child, making us an official family. I went for my new obstetric patient appointment the week we moved into our new house. It was 2007 and My husband was in New Orleans for work -- two weeks before Hurricane Katrina hit that area.
My appointment seemed to be going normally. I was excited to be almost through the first tri-mester, and the morning sickness was just starting to subside. My new doctor wasn’t available, so the nurse practitioner took my vitals and got out the ultrasound machine to listen to the heartbeat. I had previously only seen the heartbeat on-screen at my 8-week appointment with my former doctor in Scottsdale. At the time, I saw the tiny bean-shaped being that was growing and got a picture of it to carry with me.
But this time, it was not going as planned. The nurse couldn’t find the heartbeat. She dismissed it saying that perhaps we had a jumping bean in there that was hard to track. I remember laughing nervously. She said she would call the sonogram tech and ask her to squeeze me in.
On Wednesday this week I’ll share the rest of the story…
Christine Jeffries is a writer/editor for work and at heart, and will be celebrating Christmas at her family’s home of testosterone with her husband and two sons. She started a women’s group, The Wo-Hoo! Society, in the interests of friendship, networking, and philanthropy. Christine is interested in women’s health and promoting strong women.