Psalm 34:18 – “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
It’s taken me so long to be comfortable with publishing our miscarriage story. But if I believe everything happens for a reason (and I do) our story needs to be shared and public if it’s going to positively impact someone. Anyone. Just one person.
It’s something you never, ever want to think about, much less experience. You never think it’s going to happen to you. You’ve known people that have gone through it and you truly, truly feel for them, but you’ll never know how they feel, unless you’ve felt it yourself. I’d love to forget what it feels like. But to forget would be to forget the life, however how short, I held inside me. We want our baby to be loved, remembered, cherished and celebrated.
Something you need to know about me: I’m an emotional person. I feel things very deeply, very quickly. When I love, I’m all in. Roots grow very quickly, and they go down deep. When it comes to my family and my children, it can only be described as a mother’s love, which you’d never truly understand unless you’re a mother. (Or a father.)
We believe that life begins at conception, when sperm meets egg. It had a soul and we fully, wholeheartedly believe that. There’s so much daydreaming and planning that can happen the second you see those two lines. Just so much. Our family will never know what that life could have been like with that baby. I’ll never feel it’s soft skin, breathe in it’s sweet scent, hear it’s laughter or hear the pitter-patter of it’s toes on the floor. Max will never know what his life could have been like with that sibling. I’ll never know what the gender was. I’ll never see it grow up and it’ll never be in any of our family pictures.
I found out we were expecting our second child at the beginning of 2017. Mitch was out of town for work but he was coming home that day. Being the impatient person I am, I took the test before he got home. I set it down on the counter. I put a waffle down in the toaster for Max, let Mabry outside, refilled the food bowls and went back into the bathroom to check. And there it was. A faint, second pink line. It was faint, but it was there. Pregnant. I dropped to my knees in our closet and praised God for this life. It’s entire life flashed in my mind. Being pregnant again, birth, introducing Max, birthdays, kissing booboos, sibling rivalries, first crushes, graduation, college, marriage, grandkids. It all flashed so fast but was permanently etched into me. I immediately called my dear friend, Liz Cook. I knew she was awake that early in the morning. I needed to tell someone and after all, she’d be the one to document it coming into the world. I checked to see when the due date would be. December 2nd, 2017.
My dear friend, Sarah Newman, came over that afternoon. We were going to meet a bunch of photographer girlfriends for lunch at Chipotle. We said our hellos and made small talk, but again, I’m impatient. I asked her what she was doing at the beginning of December and watched her process. It didn’t take long. She grabbed me in a hug that only Sarah could give, put her hand on my stomach and said, ‘it has a soooooooul!’ I’ll never forget her reaction.
We met all the girls for lunch. I loved seeing their faces. I wanted to tell them so badly but of course, I needed to tell Mitch first. He was driving in and met us there. My friend, Sarah Mullins, has a baby boy and Mitch held both him and Max in his arms. My heart swelled. I knew this would be our future very soon and the daydreams kept coming.
When we got home that afternoon, I told him. I sat him down on the couch and gave him the test. He was shocked. We both were. We couldn’t believe we were about to do it all again. It took a couple days to sink in, but pretty soon we were talking about getting a bigger vehicle and where a second crib would go. We even talked baby names. When he left for work, he would kiss the 3 of us.
Mitch’s sister, Meagan, came to visit and we told her. She was excited and had daydreams with us. That evening, I felt some serious cramps, but they were everywhere and only lasted for a few seconds. High and low. I truly thought it was just heartburn and that my dinner didn’t agree with me. I didn’t think anything of it.
Then, I started to spot. I knew it was normal to lightly spot during the first trimester, so I tried to control my thoughts. Meagan, Max and I ran some errands. We went to Michaels and Target. I let myself go through the baby clothes and glance at the girl stuff. Maybe it would be a girl this time? When we got home, I noticed that the color changed and the flow increased. I texted Sarah and she told me to call the doctor. I did and they told me to come in for blood work. By that point, I was completely freaking out. I knew what that much blood meant. But I clung to hope. I called Mitch, he left work and met me there. Meagan stayed at home with Max.
The lab tech drew my blood and answered my questions. When we got home, I broke down and Mitch’s arms and lost it. He still clung to hope. We didn’t have any definite answers yet. I called my dear friend, Vanessa, who explained everything to me. They wanted to get a number count on my HCG level. Any number above a 1 meant I was indeed pregnant. Surely 3 positive pregnancy tests weren’t wrong.
When I called the nurse the next morning, she said my number was a 5. It meant that yes, I was pregnant, but a low number like that was indicative of a miscarriage. I really do think it happened when I felt those cramps. She said the doctor wanted me to come back in a week to retest. An entire week? How could I endure that? I begged her to ask him if I could come back in 48 hours. She asked the doctor and he said I could come back the day after next. I’d have the results by 2:00pm.
I was supposed to take Meagan to meet our other sister, Tiffany, in Charlottesville that morning. I couldn’t do it. How could I even breathe? My sweet friend Kelsey Schwenk did instead. She has no idea what she did for me. In those minutes after they left, I sat on the couch and sobbed and the word miscarriage rang in my head. I had no idea how I was going to make it to the next minute. Sarah came over. She held me while I cried and sat in silence with me when there was nothing to say. We played with Max in the playroom. Marianne came over. Mitch came home for lunch. Sarah and Marianne watched Max upstairs while Mitch and I cried in our bedroom. We cried and prayed and cried some more. I think that’s when it actually sunk in for both of us. Vanessa brought us lunch. Mitch stayed home from work. We played with Max. Marianne brought us dinner. We put Max to bed and made the dreaded phone call to Mitch’s parents. They were supposed to be in town in a few days and we were so excited to tell them the good news. We decided to tell them the bad news over the phone so they had time to process before they got here. It’s the first time that Mitch had to actually say it out loud. We both struggled to get the words out. Afterwards, we texted our close friends and asked for prayers. We do believe in the power of prayer. We asked them to pray for a miracle because that’s what it would take. We went to bed and prayed. Mitch held me as I cried myself to sleep.
Mitch had to go back to work. Max and I played in the playroom. Every single song on the radio was for me. I cried. Max played with the tears that fell. He didn’t understand that mommy was sad, so he laughed. It made me feel a little better. When he went down for a nap, I tried so hard to busy myself. But once all the busy work was done and I had nothing to do, all I had to do was sit and cry. It’s amazing how many tears you can produce.
I was at the doctor’s office at 8:30am. Marianne came with me and watched Max. They drew my blood and we went home. I wanted a miracle so badly. I had a tiny, tiny bit of hope. By 1:45pm, I couldn’t wait anymore so I called. The lab tech put me on hold to get my results. They really need to change the music. It’s terrible. Maybe just don’t play any music at all. I prayed so hard. After what seemed like an eternity, she came back on the line and said my number was a 2. There’s no way it was still there. Confirmed miscarriage. I’m not sure if I even said bye to her. I hung up and sobbed. Our baby was lost. Mitch came home and held me until there weren’t anymore tears left.
That day, this rainbow appeared and I forced myself outside to see it. If this isn’t a sign from God, I don’t know what it is. I felt like he was telling me that our time is coming and to not lose hope.
We received confirmation of our miscarriage the day before a wedding. On the day of the wedding, I was still miscarrying our baby. I remember the overwhelming waves of emotional pain that crashed into me throughout the day. I remember being grateful to have a camera to hide my face behind. Somehow and God only knows, I made it through the wedding day with a smile on my face for my bride. When we got into the car to leave, the exhaustion from suppressing all my emotions cut through me and I lost it. I starting crying. Mitch started crying. But my bride never knew. And she’ll never know it was her wedding. I think the Lord timed it that way. Sitting in the quiet house allows so much unwanted thought in. It was so good to have to work to do, to be busy and be busy doing what I love, and desperately needed at that point.
As I said before, we do believe in the power of prayer, and we do believe in miracles. But sometimes, the answer is no. I’ve felt so many emotions… they’re so hard to process. Pain, sadness, frustration, confusion… I have so many questions that will never get answers. Maybe you’re reading this and you’re going through the same thing. Or you know someone who is. You aren’t alone. While we’re now part of a group that no one wants to be apart of, support is out there. But in me writing this and you reading it, I want you to know that my love and faith in Christ has not wavered. It never will. He is good all the time. I love Him and I know He loves me. He has a plan for our family, and we fully trust that. If anything, this experience has made me feel closer to Him. So much closer. I never wanted a tragedy to happen to feel this close, but maybe it’s truly the only way. I know He’s not done growing our family and I know He’ll bless us with another child when the time is right. Our children are never ours anyway. They’re His, and He needed our second baby back. We are now parents of two children, but one lives in Heaven with our Father. We do believe that it’s watching over us, and it knows how much we wanted it, how excited we were to welcome it to our family and how much we loved it. Maybe it will be Max’s guardian angel. Yes. I like that thought. And one day when we get to Heaven, we’ll meet it.