As sad as it is, there is probably someone close to you who has experienced a miscarriage. Known pregnancies end in miscarriages 10-15% of the time (March of Dimes statistic). They don’t come with many signs other than some cramping & bleeding, almost like a period on crack. There are women who have repeat miscarriages, which means they lose two or more babies in a row. These women can STILL have a healthy baby. Others decide the heartbreak was just too much and go on to have babies other ways. I remember when I had my miscarriage I had none of the risk signs. I was 25, healthy, a mother already, with no addictions of any kind. However, I did just get back from Iraq earlier that year after 15 months deployed.
I was embarrassed about my miscarriage so I didn’t let others know as it was happening. I had started dating a man I knew for 2+ years & I wasn’t sure where we were heading. I felt something was odd, as I hadn’t gotten my period yet, so I took a pregnancy test at home & I told this man I was pregnant. He right away said to me that it wasn’t his and he wasn’t ready to be a father. I was heartbroken and right away got very depressed. Here, this guy was dating me, a single mother, and he wasn’t ready to be a father?! Talk about a game…
Anyway, I got a call from him a couple of days later asking me to come into his clinic (he was a medic) for a blood test to confirm the pregnancy. We were still broken up and not talking. I went in, since I knew his doc, and he was the sweetest man ever. His doc actually had a heart to heart with him & convinced him that if I was, in fact, pregnant was running away really what he wanted to do? You see, my oldest son’s father left while I was pregnant & to this day still denies our son (even without a paternity test). I would gladly take that test…in fact, I purchased one that he threw away…but let’s get back to the real story.
The doc asked if I was okay with the father of the baby coming into the room. I wasn’t sure about it, but if he wanted to be a father to this baby it was not my place to deny him that right. He came into the room. He embraced me. He cried. He apologized and said he wanted to make it work. His doc ordered him to go to lunch with me so we could talk about it. He told his doc he would…and then walked me to my car and left me so he could “go back to work.” I was so confused. I didn’t want to tell anyone I was pregnant yet. So, I held the secret in. Just a few days later I was running, like I normally do, and I started spotting. My doctor assured me I was okay and to just take it a little easier. I continued spotting off & on. Then, I was pulling Brigade Staff Duty around 8-9 weeks pregnant and I felt the horrible cramping. I right away went into the bathroom and saw what I’d describe as the period from hell.
So much blood.
So many clots.
So, I’m in a building I don’t know and I’m working with people I don’t know. I called my unit, as I thought I was good friends with a fellow Sergeant there. She LAUGHED at me on the phone. I didn’t know what to do so I just kept telling her I’m pretty sure I’m having a miscarriage. She didn’t believe that I was pregnant. She hung up the phone on me. So, I had to call someone higher up. He right away found her and reamed her out for how she acted. By this time, I couldn’t stop the bleeding and it was all over my uniform. I was so embarrassed and my two runners (lower enlisted Soldiers) told me they would handle things & I needed to go. I was adamant about not leaving them until she showed up. Thankfully, as I was standing outside calling the father of the baby she showed up and I just ran to my car and went right to the hospital.
Now, I understand wanting to support someone going through a miscarriage but I seriously had Commanders, First Sergeants, Sergeants Major, Chaplains, etc. for BOTH of our units in the ER waiting area with me to make sure I was okay. I hadn’t changed my clothes. I was back & forth from the bathroom collecting “samples” of the miscarriage. My Sergeant Major told me that “this stuff happens and you’ll be alright.”
The father of the baby did step up for me that day. He went in and made them put me in a room. By this time, I knew there was no baby. I knew I had lost the baby and I felt I did the baby a disservice by never mentioning that “she” existed before I lost her. We said the baby was a she from the beginning, as it’s just what we felt in our hearts the baby was. So, I’m in the room and of course they have to verify that I did miscarry. My nurse saw the massacre…she knew. The ultrasound tech?! Lemme tell you…this dude comes in and goes “Alright! Are we ready to see your baby?!?!” I just started sobbing. The nurse gave him a “eat shit & die” look…and I knew. She had my back. The baby was nonexistent by this time and my uterus was empty. She was gone.
This was in December, right before Christmas. I hadn’t told my family I was pregnant until I miscarried & even then I just told my Mom. I was embarrassed (Helloooooo baby outta wedlock…and I wanted this baby to survive) and I didn’t know what to do! I was told the drive was not a good idea because I could get blood clots, so I was stuck states away. The baby’s dad kept his plans to visit his family. He became distant…but we had mended things & decided we would make it work. The drive to visit his family was much shorter and the doctor said that would be safe for me if I did it a week after the miscarriage. So, I spent Christmas with my son and wonderful friends and then the next day I drove to visit the father’s family. They knew about the baby. They knew about the miscarriage. They were so loving and sweet, and truly took me in as their own. They didn’t treat me like a reject. It was a wonderful feeling and helped me with the darkness that was overwhelming me.
I’ve since had four healthy, beautiful, and loving children to add to my family. Blessed is the only way I can describe it. Now, my daughters are 9 & 10 and we talk about women’s bodies and how women carry babies and they know I had a miscarriage right before I had them (my 10 year old was conceived the weekend of our miscarried baby’s due date). I wanted to make sure they knew it wasn’t something to be ashamed of and that so many others can empathize with you. Just this year we had Chrissy Teigen have a very public miscarriage/stillbirth of her baby Jack. We had Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, have a miscarriage.
I’ve had many friends lose their babies anywhere from four to forty weeks pregnant. It’s a loss no one can prepare you for. But, we can definitely be there for our friends. When you find out someone has lost their baby mention their baby. Bring them dinner. Celebrate the days they want to celebrate. They know their baby was real. They want you to know their baby IS real.
The baby was real, even if it didn’t develop enough to live outside of the womb.
She was real. We love her. We still talk about her.