Thoughts, Musings, & Ramblings of a Catholic Housewife

There Are Worse Things

{Lately, I’ve seen a lot of discussion about miscarriages on a couple internet groups/boards I’m a member of.  Ladies asking about healing after miscarriage or discussing their fears of miscarriage or asking about symptoms of miscarriage.  I keep thinking that I should share more about what happened to our family and how that’s changed my point of view.  Bear in mind, my point of view is very firmly grounded in my faith.  If we had suffered this without our faith, I’m fairly certain that I would not have made it through.}

My husband and I were married in April of 2010 and lost our first pregnancy to miscarriage in September 2010.  We hadn’t even been married six months and our relationship was being tested like nothing else.  Losing a child, whether they are pre-born, still born, juvenile, or an adult can tear a marriage and a family apart.  You tend to go into yourself and mourn.  The world around you goes on but yours stops and you can’t always understand why and how the rest of the world keeps spinning.

Our miscarriage was probably different than others in that we were expecting it.  My endocrinologist sent us to the high risk OB (not my regular OB) for an ultrasound maybe 5 days or so after we’d confirmed (via doctor’s office blood test) we were pregnant.  This was about 2 weeks after we’d had a positive home pregnancy test.  She wanted to get a good idea on just how far along we were.  According to the dating of my last cycle, we could be nearly 12 weeks but the HCG levels in my blood showed that I may be closer to 7 weeks.  I am diabetic and she’d had me admitted to the hospital to figure out my insulin doses (I’d never used insulin before and this was the safest way to figure out my doses and teach me.)  It was a Tuesday morning & we were excited to see our baby for the first time.  We had no idea what we were about to be hit with.

Hospital staff wheeled me down to the OB’s office & we joked about how silly it was because my legs weren’t broken, I was just pregnant.  I got prepped for the ultrasound & the doctor came into the room.  He introduced himself to us, reviewed my chart, lectured me for allowing myself to get pregnant without having my diabetes under perfect control, and then started the ultrasound.  He was very businesslike.  He said, “Here’s the sac, and there’s the baby, and we have a problem.  You’re baby is measuring 9wks 3 days and we should see movement of a heart beating.  There is no heart beat.  This is a missed miscarriage.”  Excuse me?  A what?  How can I be having a missed miscarriage?  I have no symptoms of losing the pregnancy.  I’ve had no cramping or bleeding or spotting.  He must be wrong.  He told us that we could schedule a DNC for that afternoon, if we wanted.  They would dilate my cervix and remove all tissue from my uterus.  Tissue?  TISSUE?  This isn’t tissue.  THIS IS OUR BABY.  I’m sure the look of shock and horror was easy to read on my face & he went on to say that it would be fine for us to just let things progress naturally.  He said that my body would likely take care of everything on its own.  Just over a week and a half later, that is exactly what happened.  I started bleeding, similar to a light – medium flow period, just before noon on a Friday.  I still had no cramping but seeing as we’d had another ultrasound that still showed no heart beat and no growth in baby’s size, I knew what this was.  I went home from work, not knowing exactly how long this process would take.  I bled for 24 hours.  I passed clots larger than anything I’d ever passed before but no baby (I was a little paranoid about my baby’s body being concealed by a large clot and was careful to make sure that I didn’t flush my baby’s body down the toilet).  About 24 hours after the bleeding started I got my first real cramp and with it a rush.  I ran to the bathroom and screamed for my husband.  You’ve seen a woman’s water breaking in the movies?  That sudden gush of liquid just pouring out of them?  That is exactly what this felt like.  I was in the bathtub with (what looked like) a river of blood rushing out of me.  The body of our son, Victor, passed within the first ten minutes.  His body was tiny and perfect.  I remember counting his fingers and toes.  He had ten each.  And his eyes, oh his eyes were the bluest blue I’ve ever seen.  We held our son and we mourned and I bled.  I don’t recall the pain being that bad in the first few minutes.  However, as the miscarriage continued, the contractions increased, plain tissue that was meant to provide nourishment for our son was expelled, and the pain intensified.  I was still bleeding and by this time screaming in massive amounts of pain nearly two and a half hours after Victor’s passing.  I was scared.  I was tired.  I was heart broken.  My husband helped me clean up & dress and then drove me to the emergency room.  By the time a doctor was able to examine me, the pain and the bleeding had stopped.  My body was exhausted, my womb was empty, and my yoga pants were ruined.  I was given a clean bill of health, a Rh shot (I have a neg blood type) and sent home to rest.  We buried our son the following Wednesday.

The emotional pain of waiting for a miscarriage to happen, knowing it will but unsure of when, is debilitating.  The physical pain of the miscarriage itself is excruciating.  The psychological pain is torture.  I felt like I was floating in nothingness.  I was broken, speechless, and couldn’t understand how the sun kept rising day after day while everything seemed so dark.  Some days were okay and others I felt like I was being held under water, the pain stealing every last little breath, every last little bit of life I had left in me.  I knew that our son was in Heaven and took solace in that.  I made jokes about how having a saint for a son made me a relic.  Knowing our son was alive in Heaven, cradled in the arms of our Blessed Mother, gave me comfort but it also made me angry and sad.  She got to hold my son.  She got to know this precious soul and I did not…at least not yet.  This may sound crazy but there are ups and downs to this whole thing.  I felt honored to know that my son was a little saint.  We didn’t have to do anything, other than bearing a miscarriage, for our son to go to Heaven.  What was so wrong with me that my body couldn’t support him, couldn’t keep him alive on earth?  What was so wrong with me that I couldn’t be a “full” mother?  (I really struggled with viewing myself as a mother and nothing in our society supports the idea that a mother who loses a pregnancy is still a mother.  In fact, there are some who would say “it doesn’t count” because our baby didn’t experience life outside of the womb.)  These were all questions and thoughts that plagued me as time went by.  I tried to remind myself to behave in a manner befitting the mother of a saint.  I wanted to be worthy of such an honor.  My husband and I were drawn closer together.  Nobody quite understood what we’d been through, except us and God.  Even when you meet people who’ve walked this path, it’s different for each of us and while we can empathize with each other – none of us exactly KNOW what the others are suffering with.  We leaned on each other and Him.  We prayed more.  We learned how to communicate about things that most people would shudder to think about, let alone say out loud.  We faced burying a child & we survived.

What I have to say next will likely sound even crazier.  I am not afraid of suffering another miscarriage or burying another child.  Our daughter is less than a week shy of turning six months old.  Our pregnancy with her was pretty awesome and while birth didn’t go as we planned (I’d love to meet someone who’s birth did go exactly as planned and find out their secret) we were blessed with a beautiful, sweet spirited, tiny, healthy girl.  She was baptized at twelve days old.  One of the things I realized after our miscarriage, that really hit home with this pregnancy is this – every parent will suffer for their child(ren).  We suffer through pregnancies that may be very difficult, we suffer through labor & delivery that may be very painful, scary, and even life threatening.  We suffer sleepless nights.  We may suffer through breastfeeding or trying to breastfeed.  We worry about development and proper discipline and what we feed them and how they socialize with others and raising them up in the faith, etc.  As they grow and start to make their own choices, exercising their free will, we will suffer as we watch them fall to temptation and sin.  This may sound callous and may be difficult to understand but there are worse things in this world than miscarriages or early loss.  I used to fear losing a child.  I still get sad sometimes when I think about not being able to know my son in this life.  I greatly cherish the time I’ve been given with my daughter and pray daily for the strength, wisdom, and grace to raise her properly.  I pray that she will make good and holy choices in her life.  I pray that she will be a saint and I know that her big brother is praying for her, too.  I do not fear death – not for myself or my family.  Our children are alive.  Any life that we are blessed to participate in the creation of will live.  Giving birth is not an easy thing and whether these sweet souls are born onto this earth or straight into Heaven, they live!!

Losing the chance to know your child in this life hurts.  It is gut-wrenching and can be torture at times.  Don’t let that fear stop you from enjoying the gifts and blessings you have now.  Don’t let the fear of what might happen tomorrow steal the joy of what you’ve been given now.  Don’t let the pain of that loss prevent you from being open to love & joy.  What’s worse than not getting to spend your earthly life with your babies?  Not getting to spend your eternal life with them.

I’m in the process of learning to look at this world with eternal eyes.  I am pray for and look forward with excited anticipation to the days when my family members are called home from this world and reunited in the next.

 

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