Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness :: Sarah’s Story

The Loss

The Doppler, you know the one, you hold your breath every time it’s placed on your stomach and reach out into the static to hear the noise – the noise that will let you exhale. Sometimes that noise isn’t there, it doesn’t show up when the ultrasound machine is rolled in either. Because it’s gone, and in one split second the family picture in your head, the beam of joy in your heart, the worries and fears, the little secret you were keeping from the world, it’s gone. You did nothing, they tell you…nothing to cause this. It happens up to 20% of the time. Go in my office, call your husband, I’ll schedule you an appointment for the procedure with another doctor – he’s amazing, a specialist at this.

AT THIS. THIS is a miscarriage. The OB doesn’t even want to say it, the nurses hustling around you with eyes to the ground, they surely don’t want to say it, and you can’t even say it on the phone when you call the ones who love you the most. THIS can happen to anyone – at 4 weeks, at 8 weeks, or like myself, at 14 weeks. It’s the loss of a dream, the blinding reminder just how strong you have to be to get through this mothering thing. Mothering begins the second that test turns positive, or doesn’t – in all honesty. THIS loss, one that is so tiny in actual size but so great in magnitude. It becomes a scarlet letter, the joyful secret you were keeping has now become a deep black wound that everyone is scared to say. I had seen it happen a handful of times, hidden away in the very, very back folds of our minds. I vowed to not let THIS be me. THIS IS PREGNANCY LOSS.

The Grief

I am a strong person. I handle things with grace and humility. I have seen grief, horrid twisted grief, unfold in front of me and seen amazing rise from it’s ashes. I have lived the lonely suffering that only comes after the waves have settled. My mother, my precious amazing mother, left me 2 years ago, weeks after my daughter was born into this world. Cancer. You know, it’s real. I thought I could handle THIS grief – I am a strong person, I was built to withstand. Oh, innocent Sarah. Not THIS. No one was built for loss, grief, and declining pregnancy hormones at the same time. I thought that if I made my loss public, if I kept it from being taboo, that I could beat my grief, and I would be able to heal better…faster. You know, I’m not sure it really mattered. No one wants to share in your grief, especially when they aren’t even comfortable talking about the loss. And we can speed up a lot of things in the world, but grief is not one of them – it’s dark and ugly and you are rewarded after your navigation, not on how fast you plowed through. Hindsight sure is beautiful.

I struggled. Please go back and BOLD and CAP that word in your mind. I didn’t let my expectations to others be known. I learned nothing and grew no where. I fell fast and rose faster, only to dip even lower. I {and I’ve never said this out loud} missed pieces of my precious daughter’s life because I was too consumed with my…myself. I was there, but certainly not paying attention. I tried to cheat my way through grief, and I failed. My only prize – extended grief. LET YOURSELF GRIEVE.

The Survival

I clunked along, longer stretches of ‘being okay.’ The time periods between meltdowns grew longer, and my jealously and angst towards all those clutching their bellies, thanking the heavens it wasn’t them, waned. I somehow poked my head out – probably around the time of my actual due date. Maybe I needed the overwhelming dread of this day to leave my mind, maybe I had just given time…time to do it’s job. I became pregnant shortly after my due date passed, and in those two little pink lines the weight of the world was lifted from my shoulders. I had forgotten what it felt like – to be myself, to live fully as myself without faking.

I’ve spent an entire pregnancy clicking off milestones. Silently willing the doctor to say, “Let’s do an ultrasound just for good measure.” And ticking off days in a way different from those who haven’t walked this loss. On the eve of this new baby, I find myself still checked out a little and semi-unprepared for his arrival. Coping mechanisms? Subconscious protections of my heart?

We know the great variances seen in everyone’s journey through fertility, pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood. Everyone’s story woven with the strength of those that have gone before us. I urge you to find them, find these incredible women that have dug the trenches – and open up to them. Surround yourself with them. If you can’t find them, find me. I’ll help you find them. TALK about THIS. Whatever THIS is. The collection of women I have found through my miscarriage journey is unparalleled…each still holding my hand as we reach our fingers to those just needing to grab hold. I would not be a survivor without them, it is a wonderful thing to be reminded when you are not alone. SEEK OUT YOUR SURVIVAL.

Pregnancy loss awareness isn’t just for those that have lost or been challenged, it’s for ALL mothers, friends, sisters, and husbands. I beg of you to recognize the Loss, hold hands during the Grief, and encourage the Survival of your loved ones. They are crying out to you without noise, and they are eager for your ear.

Sarah Baby Bump

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15 Responses to Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness :: Sarah’s Story

  1. Avatar
    Meg O. October 15, 2013 at 9:04 am #

    Sarah, this post is just absolutely amazing. I can’t even imagine the thoughts, feelings, and emotions that come with this terrible territory. You are an amazingly strong woman and I applaud you for being real and raw with this post. I will be praying for you as the end of this pregnancy approaches. And for all of the lovely mamas who have had to go through this. I think it’s wonderful how you encourage others to, as you put it, “seek out your survival”, because community and togetherness will always make you feel less alone no matter the situation.

    • Avatar
      Jessica and Sarah October 17, 2013 at 12:53 pm #

      Thank you thank you! I agree that community and togetherness applies across the board!!

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    Julie October 15, 2013 at 11:10 am #

    Sarah,

    Thank you for posting your story. Your sadness and cautious optimism are so real. How refreshing it is to read something that has not been glossed over and what a tribute to your baby that you cared enough to open yourself and feel – no matter how much it still hurts. I wish you and your sweet girl all the best and will pray as you near the arrival of baby boy.

    Julie

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      Jessica and Sarah October 17, 2013 at 12:54 pm #

      Thanks Julie! It took me awhile to be able to look at what happened in this way- I’m just happy to have the platform to share that!

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    Channing L October 15, 2013 at 12:43 pm #

    Sara I cannot thank you enough for this post. My mom had four miscarriages while I was growing up. I never truly understood the pain she was in and my heart breaks for you, my mom and those out there enduring this. You are an inspiration. Thank you for sharing.

    • Avatar
      Jessica and Sarah October 17, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

      Channing! I am so sorry to hear that about your Mom, my Parents had a 40 week baby stillborn before I was born, I never really “got” it. And now…I can’t even fathom it. I think talking about these things only empowers us!

  4. Avatar
    Kelly October 15, 2013 at 3:36 pm #

    Hi, Sarah,

    I’m a friend of Jessica’s (we taught at Briargrove together) and I saw the link to your post on Jessica’s Facebook page.

    Before my sister had her first child, she, too, experienced a miscarriage. She and her husband had not told anyone they were expecting, so when it happened, they had to tell their families that they were pregnant but lost the pregnancy. I know that was hard for them, and I think you articulated that difficult time so well.

    I recently met a woman who has a blog where women who have lost a child can share their stories and support one another. Let me know if you would like me to connect the two of you.

    Kelly

    • Avatar
      Jessica and Sarah October 17, 2013 at 12:59 pm #

      Hi Kelly! Thank you for sharing about your sister and I’d love the link- thank you!

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    Jana October 15, 2013 at 8:51 pm #

    I am so sorry for your loss! That is heartbreaking. I am proud of you for sharing your story as I know so many people have suffered through losing babies as well.

    • Avatar
      Jessica and Sarah October 17, 2013 at 1:00 pm #

      Thanks Jana! So many people have reached out to me since this happened, mostly to tell me it happened to them as well, I only wish they had felt comfortable enough when it happened to open up and receive support.

      Now get that baby girl of yours moving, the world is ready to meet her!

  6. Avatar
    Tiffanie V October 15, 2013 at 9:49 pm #

    Your words are beautiful! Thanks for sharing your story.

    • Avatar
      Jessica and Sarah October 17, 2013 at 1:02 pm #

      Thank you Tiffanie! I’m going to need you to stop posting pictures of that sweet darling little baby and her adoring brother – it’s making me wish away time until November 13th! 🙂

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    Misty W October 15, 2013 at 10:23 pm #

    Oh Sarah. I LOVE you for sharing this to help others. It’s one of the reasons I think God allows us to go thru hard things….xo.

    • Avatar
      Jessica and Sarah October 17, 2013 at 1:02 pm #

      Thanks Misty! My biggest wish is that my words can help someone feel more “normal” through this process.

  8. Avatar
    Kelly D November 3, 2013 at 9:10 pm #

    Thank you so, so much for sharing your story and being such an inspiration to others. You are incredible, my friend!!!

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