The Tears and Journey of Infertility and Miscarriage: What infertility and Miscarriage look like...
by Leah Mason-Virgin, RN, IBCLC, FCN (Faith Community Nurse)
Miscarriage is sometimes talked about in vague ways. The mother who is facing an impending miscarriage wants to know what this journey will look like and feel like. While my journey may not look or feel exactly like yours, I want to share my journey to give a picture of what it could be like.
It has been almost 17 years since our miscarriage. My husband and I worked to conceive our precious baby for almost a year. My faith is an integral part of who I am. I read my Bible and prayed. I related to Leah and Hannah from the old testament. I knew those women felt the same longing I did.
I was surprised at the depth of my longing for children with my husband. It was almost a tangible feeling in the air around me as the months grew and I did not conceive.
Brad and I were fairly young, though we had been married for almost 4 years by the time we chose to start trying to have a baby. I had known for years that I have hormone issues and was warned as a young teenager that it might be troublesome to conceive. To this day, I am shocked that my gynecologist told me in a very blunt way at the age of 17 what my prospects were for conception.
My daily prayer was for God to allow me to become pregnant or to change my heart about children or having children from my body.
Brad and I had talked about my fertility prospects before we even married. One of the reasons I love him and fell more in love with him is that he didn't care how we had children. He only wanted to love me and any children that came into our life no matter if the child had our DNA or not.
As we began the process of trying to get pregnant, we considered adoption agencies too.
Again, daily I read and prayed. Daily I poured through the internet on fertility and hormone imbalances.
I would love to say that my faith walk was one of mature trust. I will be very honest—at that age and stage of my life—my faith was shallow. However, this valley time was a time of growth in many areas. God allows us to walk through difficult times to refine and define our spiritual relationship with Him in new and amazing ways. I would like to say that the daily prayers and Bible reading stayed with from that time. I fell away slowly as one does when the distractions of life and immature self-control is not transformed into mature control.
One sunny day, I decided to just see if I might be pregnant that month. After months of charting cycles, temperatures, and cervical changes—yep you read right. That's how infertility is done! You get intimately aware of the body God created for you and that the broken world damaged. I knew exactly how short of a window I had to get pregnant. I started to understand with clarity that the likelihood of us getting pregnant was a very small window of just hours—maybe a day at most.
We were elated at the tiny stick that said we were pregnant after so many months of trying. We had lunch together, we praised God. We shared with family and friends the amazing news that had taken so many, many months to happen. I couldn't stop smiling or sharing my happy news.
One afternoon I saw a bit of blood on the bathroom tissue. I was about 7 weeks pregnant. I remember my breath catching in my lungs. I immediately called my friend who had already had a baby and was a nurse (I had not yet gone to nursing school). My knowledge was so limited in the realm of pregnancy. She encouraged me to remain calm and rest. She explained to call my care provider if it increased in amount.
I went to bed that night with a prayer on my lips. In the morning the blood seemed to increase. I called my care provider and was told to come into the office right away. He performed an internal ultrasound and explained that there was no baby to visualize at this point.
We were crushed. The tears flowed down my cheeks. I didn't blame God—my maturity in my faith to understand that this world is broken and that this is not what my God wanted. The doctor wrote for a blood draw to check my hormone levels. He surmised that my body didn't make enough progesterone to hold onto my baby—he would be proven right by the blood test.
My care provider talked about bleeding and passing large amounts of tissue. He expressed his condolences and encouraged me to call with any questions and to come back next week.
That night I woke with a start and a scream. I had extreme cramping like I had never had in my life. I knew heavy cramps from menstrual issues; this was like nothing I had ever experienced in my entire life. I felt as if my entire uterus was being squeezed and ripped at the same time.
I was on the bathroom toilet with tears rolling down my eyes as my husband held my shoulders and my body pushed blood and tissue out with a fierceness that stole my breath. I shook with emotion and the intensity of this whole body experience.
I do not remember how long that intense moment lasted. I bled for a few more days after. I was completely exhausted physically and emotionally. I had to rest in bed like the aftermath of a deep illness. I held onto one of my dogs and wept and prayed. Every bit of emotion was rolling out of me. I felt depleted of it. Family and friends wept with me.
Some people who have no proper understanding said dismissive things about us losing our baby. I still to this day do not understand how anyone can be dismissive and calloused to the point of saying rude things like—"Well you're young and will have another." Or not even knowing to say at least say: "I'm so sorry for your loss."
It exacerbates the loss when people are dismissive or cold about the heartbreaking, soul crushing loss of a baby—no matter the gestational age.
I needed emotional support and physical support. This was a time that will be a part of me forever. For me that beautiful baby is waiting for me in heaven. She or he was our first. I know that my God holds my child in His loving arms.
It took time, prayer, and the love of my husband to come out of that crushing time. Months later we conceived our first. He is not a replacement. He is precious just as the rest of our children. I know I have 3 children on Earth and one in heaven with my Jesus.
While my journey may not be like everyone else's—some miscarriages require medical intervention and/or ER visits—this is a glimpse into the reality of infertility and miscarriage.
God walks with us through every good, bad, and devastating period of life. He revives the broken hearted. He counts our tears. He holds us in the palm of His hand. He bears us up on His shoulder. He is our strong tower, our shelter in the storm. He weeps with us.
Seek Him and His word daily in the midst of every day life and devastating life. I would rather have God now—then never. This world that is broken and sinful is not our home. Our eternity is with God through our savior and redeemer, Jesus Christ. By His wounds we are healed. Amen!
* Please follow the advice of your midwife/obstetrician/health practitioner for your situation. Gestational age and other factors can impact the advice given for how to handle your miscarriage.