I had been at a women’s night with a church most of the evening. With sickness gone and raging hormones of the first trimester subsiding, I was just starting to feel myself again. I swung my legs over my husband and cuddled up in the recliner with him. “Oh honey, help me up I think I peed my pants,” I said as I rolled off and ran to the bathroom.
Only it wasn’t an accident. It was blood. So much blood soaking and pouring.
I had a 6x4cm subchorionic hemorrhage and the rest of my pregnancy was full of anxiety.
Something changes in you when you see blood pouring down to the floor. And blood pooling all over the hospital bathroom. Pads are useless and towels have to do the trick.
My Isla was born full-term, a healthy baby girl, praise be to God.
Isla is a year old now and this past March, we captured the best video of our four “bigs” trying to unriddle the question “pink or blue?” They cheered and there were tears when they finally realized we were adding our seventh (and hopefully a boy) to our big, blended, beautiful family.
When I started to bleed the next day at six weeks with my most recent pregnancy, I didn’t panic as bad as I had before. I went to the ER and they confirmed I had another subchorionic hemorrhage but the baby was OK and it didn’t appear it was a miscarriage. While waiting for my discharge papers two hours later, I stood up to use the restroom and I felt something large slide out of me.
I was in shock seeing what did not seem to be a normal blood clot. I knew. But did I know? The doctor just saw the baby.
I was in shock. It was the faintest of purple and bloodied tough tissue. To my surprise, there was the gestational sac, intact, right in front of my eyes. Alone in the bathroom, not exactly sure what was happening, I held the light yellow, sweet onion sized sac between my fingers and it popped, soaking the tissue paper with water ever so slightly.
I wrapped up the tissue paper and took the entirety of it to the nurse who said it was just a blood clot but they would test it to make sure. I insisted it was my baby but the Dr. and the nurse both reassured me they saw everything intact on the ultrasound. I left the ER.
Two days later my HCG levels were nearly 1/4 of what they were before. I had certainly lost the baby.
The labs came back and the tissue was indeed “products of conception”.
I cried. I curled into a ball of guilt and the sound and feel of the popping haunted me and still does. I wish I would have known for sure. I wish I would have taken it with me to bury. I was so sorry I did that, but I didn’t know. I wanted it back. I wanted my baby back even if was only “products of conception”. To me, this was our child and there would never be another like it.
I wonder why God saw to it that Isla made it but not this baby. I was so thankful He was there that day I bled so much and she was OK. And then I wonder where He was as I left my baby on a crumpled up tissue and watched a nurse throw half of it away and the other half in a lab cup.
The whole rest of the process felt so medical and nothing like a loss. All the blood draws and the “this happens a lot to women”—I started to feel like it would be silly to mourn and what was wrong with me.
This is miscarriage. This is losing a baby and having no body to bury.
This is living my life wondering what this child would have been like. This is telling my children I’m sorry, the baby passed away. This is feeling very alone because no one talks about the haunting feeling afterward.
But this is also seeing how God is good in all circumstances. When He does it and when He doesn’t, He is still good. This is a family once bonded by love and gains and celebrations alone, now bonded in grief and loss and things of life we don’t understand as well. This is learning to trust God in one more kind of way during my time here.
My motherhood is love and loss all at once. It’s overflowing joy and sadness at the same time. It’s thankfulness and longing all in the same breath. It’s being so grateful for my babies I have but always wondering about the one I don’t.
My motherhood is both pain and love in a capacity I am unable to describe in words.
My motherhood is 1 in 5.
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