My Experience With Miscarriage

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Monday marked the two year anniversary of when I lost the baby from my second pregnancy.  I wanted to share these old posts in case it may be helpful to someone going through something similar.

Love,
Erin

Waiting. For Life or for Death
Losing the Baby
Mourning
Joy Through Pain – playlist
Sweet Cameron
The Most Amazing Gift
5 Rules To Go By When Someone You Know Has A Miscarriage
11 Bible Verses For Someone Who Has Had A Miscarriage
We Planted A Tree

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11 Bible Verses For Someone Who Has Had A Miscarriage

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A week or so after the miscarriage, a cute package arrived.  It was from my sister-in-law, Renee.  Inside were some yummy fall treats and a bundle of small purple card-stock rectangles wrapped in a pretty purple ribbon.  I carefully untied the bow to see what was written on the cards.  What I found were eleven hand-written Bible verses.

After reading through them, I placed the cards in various locations around my home.  A few went on my vanity, two on my bedside table, more randomly placed in the kitchen, the bathroom, etc.

I’ve shared this with some people in my life, but not on my blog yet:  The crazy thing about going through the miscarriage was that never, ever, ever in my life have I experienced the kind of closeness with the Holy Spirit that I experienced in the two weeks leading up to the miscarriage and the week following it.  Here’s a short synopsis of what was happening in my life during this time:

-A friend came over to chat.  We talked about how another person we both know claimed that the Holy Spirit was her best friend.  I later pondered this thinking, “How?  I don’t feel like that ever been true for me.”  This conversation kept coming to mind in the days following.

-Pregnancy fatigue got worse.  My mom-in-law stayed with us for a week and then I decided to go back to Colorado with her for another week.  Because of the before mentioned conversation, I decided (not sure where this decision even came from) that while I was in Colorado I was going to become best friends with the Holy Spirit.

-While in Colorado I was too tired and sick to ever read the Bible, but I did have an ongoing dialogue with the Holy Spirit more than ever before.  When I’d lay in bed at night, without my husband to talk to, I poured out my heart to the Holy Spirit and I found that it felt wonderful to do so.  I drew near to Him and in return I felt that He was drawing near to me.

-When I returned home, this closeness remained; enough so that my husband even commented on how he’d been encouraged by my attitude lately and that my faith was inspiring him.  (When your husband says that, know something legit is going on.)

-A week later I started bleeding.  Despite my symptoms, I felt secure.  I felt sure that everything would be okay.  I felt close to God.

-The night of the miscarriage Jon, Cam and I drove to San Fransisco.  Most of the car ride was spent praying and talking.  The last hour of the drive I experienced painful cramping.

-When we got to the hotel, Jon went inside to check in.  While he was inside, my water broke.  There was a problem with our credit card so it took him about fifteen minutes to get the issue resolved.  When he finally returned, we parked and I used one of Cameron’s diapers to keep me from bleeding through my pants on the walk up to the hotel room.

-As soon as I got to the hotel room I went and sat on the toilet.  Almost instantly blood started pouring out.

-The rest of the story you can read here.

-Once we returned home I went through a week of grieving.  But not the despair kind of grieving.  It was more of a deep, peaceful sadness than an angry grief.

Like I’ve mentioned before, I don’t understand why the miscarriage happened.  But all I know is that strangely enough it seemed to me like God prepared me for it.  There have been countless situations in my life where I’ve responded terribly to difficult circumstances.  A miscarriage has the potential to wreck a person.  Yet somehow, promptings from the Holy Spirit lead me to draw near.  I didn’t do anything flashy or religious.  In fact, during this time I mostly laid on the couch because that was all I could manage to do.  I felt weak in every respect, yet the Holy Spirit was truly becoming my best friend.

I saw a quote the other day that said, “You never realize that Jesus is all you need, until Jesus is all you have.”  This was very true for me during this time.

So all that being said, there is a God whose love is strong enough to go into even the darkest of situations and who sits with us in our tragedy and offers us hope and healing.  I think the Bible verses from my sister-in-law are all great reminders of the kind of sweet relationship we can have with God in the midst of incredible pain.

And of course, there is no right or wrong way to go through a miscarriage.  We all do the best we can do.  If you’re someone who felt alone and hopeless after your miscarriage, that is understandable and that is okay.  There’s no shame or guilt for feeling angry at God or upset at what’s happened.  Sometimes it takes us a while to find peace in our hearts and to be open to healing.  But it’s possible.

Whether you’ve experienced a miscarriage or some other kind of trauma or tragedy, I hope these verses point you towards the one who cares for you the most.

  1. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  -Romans 15:13

  2. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  – 2 Corinthians 12:9

  3. The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your love O Lord, endures forever.  – Psalm 138:8

  4. Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truths and teach me, for you are God my Savior and my hope is in you all day long.  – Psalm 25:4-5

  5. Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  – Lamentations 3:22-23

  6. The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made.  – Psalm 145:13

  7. …pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord.  – Lamentations 2:19

  8. Blesses is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.  – Luke 1:45

  9. I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.  – John 16:33

  10. You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry.  – Psalm 10:17

  11. For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, “Do not fear; I will help you!”  – Isaiah 41:13

5 Rules To Go By When Someone You Know Has A Miscarriage

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The first week was hard.  I spent a lot of time on the phone.  I took naps when I needed to and I pretty much only thought about the miscarriage.  It consumed me.

The next week was about trying to get back into my normal routine.  I took Cameron to the park by the beach and I did my best to put on make up.  It was strange to feel okay about starting to move on.

The third week I was back in my normal routine.  I went grocery shopping and prepared some dinners.  This made my husband happy, even though he was fine with my soup-in-a-can dinners and sushi take-out for the past couple weeks anyway.

It’s been three weeks since the miscarriage.  The world is still spinning.  People are still driving to work.  This is both comforting and disturbing.  My heart is healing, but having a miscarriage changed me.  In what way, I’m not completely sure.  I just know that it did.

I’ve been fortunate though because people in my life have been truly supportive.  The best kind of support in times of tragedy looks like kindness from warm people and not like solutions, because there are no good solutions.

Since people often have no idea what to do or say to someone who has just experienced a miscarriage, here are 5 helpful rules to go by (in my opinion, of course)…

5 Rules To Go By:

1) Don’t compare the situation to any other.  

Wrong response: “I know what you mean, when my grandma died…” or “My brother’s wife had a few miscarriages…”  It’s not the appropriate time to share.  Each situation is unique and deserves to be treated as so.  Plus, this takes the focus off the person who experienced a loss and creates a situation where the person now feels obligated to offer condolences to you.

Correct response: “I’m so sorry you’re going through this,” or “I can’t imagine how difficult this must befor you.”  It’s okay to relate to the person if you want by saying, “I had two miscarriages myself.  If you ever want to talk to somebody, I’d love to listen.”  If the person wants to know more about your experiences, they will ask.

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2) Don’t feel the need to explain the ‘why.’

Wrong response: “I’m sure it’s for the better.”  There is no explanation sufficient for explaining why tragedies happen.  Plus, it’s unlikely that you know the reason anyway.

Correct response: “Let me know if you need anything.”  “Can I bring you dinner?”  Or bring flowers or a card.  Just don’t try to explain the why.

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3) Don’t tell someone that their pain is common.

Wrong response: “Lots of people deal with this.”  Even though millions of people may have experienced the same situation, this may be the first time that THIS particular person has had to go through this kind of pain (even if it’s their third miscarriage, it’s still the first time this person has experienced their third miscarriage and each loss is a singular event.  Each time, they lost a different child; a unique member of their family).

Correct response: “I wish you could have been spared this pain,” or “I’ll be praying for you.”

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4) Don’t pretend that nothing has happened

Of course, no person is the same in how they deal with death.  I found myself wanting to talk about it a lot.  For others, it’s the opposite.  I think this is why people feel awkward about saying anything at all when things like this happen.  Nobody wants to be the one to make a difficult situation even worse.  But acting like nothing happened (if you are close to the person) makes the situation more awkward and uncomfortable than it already is.

Correct response: Simply ask the person how they are doing.  If they mention the miscarriage or that things have been hard, it is a sign that they are open to talking about the experience.  If they respond by talking about the weather, their latest activities, etc. then they probably don’t want to bring it up, so you can just let it go too.

Of course, how you respond also depends on your personal relationship with the person and what you already know about them and how they tend to deal with things.  If you’re simply acquaintances, then saying, “I’m so sorry for your loss,” and possibly offering a hug will probably do.

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5) If you feel compelled to carry out an act of kindness, do it.  

After going through this myself, I can say that the small gestures from people mean so much and can be so comforting.

-Two days in a row, a neighbor brought me a plate of fresh, sliced fruit because she said it would be good for my body
-Another neighbor brought me flowers in a cute mason jar, donuts and a card
-A friend from church brought me flowers
-A family member sent me a care package
-Another family member sent me the booties she had been crocheting for the baby (after asking me if those were something that I would like to have).
-A friend sent me a small stuffed animal and a card
-A friend from church brought us dinner
-A few friends offered to watch Cameron so that I could have some time to myself the week following the miscarriage
-A handful of people wrote me kind Facebook messages sharing that they were available to me to be a listening ear if I wanted

Of course, none of these things are required or expected, but each of these things really touched my heart and made me feel so loved.  So if you feel compelled to do something kind, then just do it.

I guarantee it will be appreciated and probably needed.

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Funny Boy

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I showed Cameron the little stuffed monkey I received in the mail yesterday. I said, “Cameron, this is a monkey.  Her name is Baby Sister.  What do you think about that?” He looked up at me, looked back at the monkey, got a big smile on his face and said, “Ewwwwww!” Then he grabbed the monkey out of my hands and threw it off the bed and onto the floor.

I love him.

It made me laugh, picturing him meeting a real baby sister in the hospital and responding with, “Ewwww!”

I’m grateful that somehow my twenty-month-old son is able to infuse this situation with some humor.  He doesn’t know what’s happened.  He just knows that our normal routine has been replaced by him getting to spend many mornings at a some friend’s houses, which he loves.

Right now, Cameron brings me hope.  He truly is the perfect addition to our family.  He came at a time that was unexpected, yet perfect.  My heart aches because I want so badly for him to have a sibling to play with.  Even if I got pregnant tomorrow, it would be a year and a half until his sibling would be mobile and any fun to him.  These are the things that are hard to think on.

But through all of this, my trust in the Lord has only deepened.  I’m quite a long way off from being a modern day Job, but the day after the miscarriage I remember thinking of Job and then saying to myself, “It’s gonna take a whole hell of a lot more than this to make me turn on my God.”

It seems that everyone goes through tragedy.  Some go through it with shallow sentiments of, “Everything will be okay,” and “Time heals all wounds,” and others, like myself, get to go through it will the unchanging, everlasting Word of God and the fierce love and comfort of the Holy Spirit.  Truly, I am not a victim, I am blessed.

Grieving is such a strange process.  It seems that each day I am unaware of what lies ahead.  Sometimes I feel normal and happy.  Other times, for no apparent reason I feel drained and immobile.  I’m just trying to take it all as it comes.

The Bible says that God makes all things work together for the good of those who love him.  I believe this with all my heart and I feel it in my bones that this situation is an opportunity to see God live up to this in a big way.

And again, I’m grateful for Cameron who gets funnier and weirder and more Kidwell-ish each day.

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The Most Amazing Gift

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I received a special gift in the mail today.

It came from a girl I only interacted with a few times, about five years ago.

We’ve recently become friends through Facebook.

Sadly, she’s also experienced a miscarriage.

Written in the card:  “Years ago, a tradition was started between my friends to send a sweet stuffed animal after the loss of a little one, in memory of their life – no matter how long or short.”

The card said more too.  All things that were comforting and sweet.

At first the gift made me feel sad – well, because a lot of things make me feel sad right now – but then it brought me an ocean of hope.  Somehow, this little smiling monkey is just what my heart needed today.

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My heart will hold onto hope until I am holding my own sweet, smiling little monkey in my arms someday.

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Mourning

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How do I begin again?

The last month was grueling.

The thought of starting over; another first trimester – it’s daunting.  Terrifying.

Lord, HOW?!?

My heart feels young and vulnerable.  Is anyone ever really mature enough to deal with death?

I feel like I need a hug.

The Spirit of the Lord hovers over me and within me.  He keeps pulling my eyes upward; towards my Savior on the cross who bore all my pain.

I want to be pregnant again soon, but my heart can’t bear the trying.

I can’t handle the ovulation tests and the tracking of my cycle.  I can’t do that again.  My heart might implode.  I might break.

The maid passed over our room because Cameron was napping.  So the dirty towels are still on the tile bathroom floor, pushed into the corner so I can’t see the red stains.  The plastic trash bag that holds the remains of baby is still tied up, waiting to be discarded of.  I feel I might be sick every time I step into the bathroom.

I’m grateful this happened in a hotel room and not in my own home.  Tomorrow we will leave this room and I won’t have to come back.  But the images of the tub and the blood keep vividly jumping into my mind while I’m trying to read a storybook to my son.  How does one move on?  How do you remember, but not feel the twist of the knife in your stomach every time a thought passes through?  I don’t know.  I’ve never done this before.

For never even meeting this person, they sure have wrecked me.  The peace that flowed the first night has been replaced with an uncontrollable supply of tears that keeps building up behind my eyes.  It burns, and my eyes are raw from cheap hotel tissues.

The Lord makes everything beautiful in it’s time (site Ecclesiastes), but right now, tis a time to mourn.

Losing The Baby

**By sharing my experience I am in no way trying to be morbid or make any reader uncomfortable.  Somehow, writing about my experience helps me to grieve and to heal.  So I’m sharing what happened, as I experienced it.  I know that miscarriages are very seldom spoke about and oftentimes women feel ashamed, but it is a real part of life and so we should embrace the life that we had and mourn it properly when it’s gone.  Also, for me personally, this is easier than reliving the experience over and over with each person I tell.  Please read only if you are comfortable doing so.

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I lost my baby on the fourth floor of the Hilton Hotel.  The bathroom was pure white so the blood looked like red paint splattered on a blank canvas.

My husband remained at my side, speaking gentle things through his eyes.  He didn’t need to say much.

I was not prepared for a miscarriage to hurt so bad.  It hadn’t really crossed my mind that at about three months along, miscarrying is like experiencing a short labor.  The labor lasted about five hours from start to finish, three of which were excruciating.

I switched between the toilet and the bathtub.  Draining the bathtub water every ten minutes or so when it would turn a greenish, brownish, red color.

It felt like a scene from a horror movie; sitting in a bathtub quickly filling of my own blood.  Just wanting it all to be over.

Contractions rolled in like waves and I wondered what the people in the next room over were thinking about the woman crying out so late at night.

Eventually I passed the placenta, which I held in my hand for a few moments just because it was hard to let go.  I wondered if the baby would still be in tact or if it would have mostly dissolved like the midwife said might happen.

We had been advised to not go to the hospital unless I was bleeding so much that I felt dizzy or my heart was racing.  So the whole thing took place in the Hilton bathroom.  Just us two.  We felt close to each other.

When the contractions had finally subsided, I drained the bath water for a final time, but just sat there.  As the intensity of just getting through the pain subsided, the reality started to sink in.  The baby was gone.  I never got to see it.  Just pieces of what looked like could be part of it as they flowed out into the bathwater.

We looked at each other as if to say, “What now?”

We felt strangely comforted even though it seemed like we should both be sobbing.  I always imagined a miscarriage being a hysterical event, but really it was strangely peaceful once it was all over.  The Lord felt near and we just felt raw.  Our hearts were sad, but our confidence about the Lord’s goodness and his goodwill towards our family remained strong, so we just decided to be together in the moment and acknowledge that this was something we wished would have turned out differently.

I took a shower to wash off all the dried blood and Jon poured two glasses of wine.  Out of celebration for our child’s life, and out of mourning, we toasted to our child.  It felt right to honor the life in that way.

Eventually Jon fell asleep and I found myself still awake, sitting up in bed, eating the complimentary bag of popcorn in our hotel room and watching old episodes of Full House on late night TV.  Somehow watching my favorite childhood show made me feel safe.  I felt like my eight year old self, remembering feeling similar when my cat had died, even though the comparison seemed ridiculous.  As an eight year old, a cat is everything.  At twenty-seven, there’s nothing worse than losing a baby, except for losing a child for which you’ve known longer or a spouse – at least that’s what I’d imagine.

Just before the sun came up I decided I could sleep.

When I woke up, I read a verse in Psalm 34:18 which says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted,” and indeed He is.

We are heartbroken that we never got to see our child’s face or hold them in our arms.  We don’t understand the ‘why’ behind it all.  But we know that whenever it’s time for us to have another baby, we will embrace it and love it with all our hearts.  We held our sweet Cameron a bit tighter when we hugged him this morning.

Thank you for all the support and prayers over the past few days.  We’ve felt so loved.

LOVE,
Erin

Waiting. For Life or for Death.

Blood.

There was blood.

Not a lot of it, but it was still blood.

I watched it drip into the toilet water and sink to the bottom, resting against the cold, white ceramic bowl.

I stared at it.

Waiting.

Watching.

Holding my breath.

As if at any moment, the rest of my insides might come pouring out, turning the clear water to a pool of dark red.

Each drip represented precious time spent on the couch over the past month.  My child’s life source, that my body had worked so hard to create, just spilling out, being wasted.

I wanted to run.  But where to?

Instead I crawled into bed.  I laid there like a statue, as if remaining still would somehow make this all go away.

I thanked the Holy Spirit for being with me and I asked the Father to please protect my child.  He knew how much I wanted this child.  How it was in my heart to care for it as long as I lived.

I took a drink of water.

No one close to me had ever died before.  I wondered if my first real brush with death would be that of my own child.  Wondered what it would feel like when someone inside of you dies.  Wondered if I’d actually see my own child, the size of a peach now, plop into the toilet water and sink to the bottom with the rest of the blood.

I shook my head as if shaking these thoughts away, rolled over and started looking at happy pictures on Instagram.

For the moment, I had a healthy baby inside of me.  I’d felt it kick just an hour ago.  That was a good sign.

But the doctors couldn’t tell me anything.  “It could go either way,” they said.

In that moment, there reality of God sunk in in a new way.  In moments of life or death, He is the only one who has the final say.  He is the only one worth talking to.  The only one with any real control or power.

I took a Benadryl and some ibuprofen hoping to secure a good night’s sleep.

Then I waited.  Because waiting is the only thing you can do.