I was talking with my friend, Morgan, at the park this past week. We got on the subject of miscarriage, and she told me about her miscarriage experience. Then I asked her if she’d be willing to share it here. I learned some things from her story. Maybe you will too.
Morgan has “five wonderful, crazy, adorable children and a perfect match of a husband.” She dabbles in a little bit of everything, and she spent a little bit of time as a midwifery apprentice until she moved away from her mentor. Morgan loves to sew baby stuff like baby carriers and cloth diapers. Her main pursuits lately are mothering her brood, building her business, and learning energy healing.
Plus, I’d love to add, she is one of the most genuine, kind, radiant people I know. Love her.
Here’s her story…
By Morgan Somers
We were pregnant with our first baby. It was so new and exciting! As a young newlywed couple, we wasted no time in sharing our good news with friends and family. The morning sickness was killer, but it was the start of a new adventure that was rolling right into our new adventure of being a married couple.
Fast forward a few weeks to when I was almost 12 weeks along. I started spotting. We hadn’t found a doctor or anything yet so we just went to the local hospital. They did an ultrasound and didn’t find a heartbeat. They told us I’d miscarried and that the baby’s measurements didn’t match the number of weeks I was along, which also didn’t match the hormone levels in my body. Things just hadn’t been in sync for this baby to grow properly. They asked if I wanted a D&C or if I wanted to just let my body take care of it. I chose to let my body take care of it. With that, they sent us on our way, giving me zero information about what “letting my body take care of it” was going to mean.
My mom had had 4 miscarriages and I knew that it was a pretty common occurrence. I kind of expected to have one at some point so I wasn’t too surprised or even upset, really. My husband and I both hadn’t really wrapped our minds around what it meant to become parents and we were still young and we’d gotten pregnant with ease. Emotionally, we were really okay. But then we had to tell people that we’d lost the baby and THAT was hard. People responded with so much love and compassion, but since we were really pretty okay with it, I sometimes wondered if I wasn’t responding to this event right. Was there something wrong with me since I wasn’t broken up over losing a baby? It was so awkward when people would exclaim, “OH, NO!!! Are you okay? I’m SO SORRY!” like my world should have just ended, but it hadn’t. Not even close. I really was okay with it, and it just got weird when people would lament our loss more than we were.
Over time, I’ve learned that, not only was I mentally prepared for a miscarriage because of my mother’s experience, but also death in general just isn’t something I’m afraid of or devastated by. I truly see it as part of a continuum. Sure, I feel sad when I lose a friend or family member, but the sorrow is selfish—I’m sad for MY loss, my missing them. But I feel that they have gained a great deal. How awesome for them to be able to embark on the next part of their journey!
A few days after being told we’d lost our baby, I started cramping. At first it was mild like period cramps. But over the course of the day, the pain just got more and more intense until I was pacing my parents’ house holding my sweatpants away from my abdomen because anything touching me there exacerbated the pain. I took some ibuprofen or something but it didn’t work so I tried some Aleve. Also didn’t work.
I had no idea WHY I was in so much pain! When my husband got off work, we decided maybe we should go to his parents’ house because his mom had stronger pain killers and maybe she’d have something that would work. Partway there, I was writhing in my seat, with my seatbelt off (which I never do) and my seat reclined, desperately trying to find any position that would alleviate the pain. Nothing worked and the pain was just getting worse. We finally decided we’d better go to the hospital. While we waited in the waiting room, I decided to make a trip to the restroom. I took two steps into the bathroom and there was a sudden gush of blood, drenching me down to my socks instantly. What a mess! But, oh, the relief! No more pain!
They took us back immediately after that and got me set up in a room. I went into the bathroom frequently to change into a fresh pad. After a half hour or so, I went to change and there was a little, white baby, its lower half covered by red tissue. I was intrigued. Its head was large and bulbous, it had a little black eye on the side of its head (it was laying on its side), a red line for a mouth, red dots for nostrils, and red lines on a webbed hand where future fingers would have formed and separated. I was a little weirded out by how interesting I thought it was when I knew most people would be bawling their eyes out. I had no idea what to do with it. I called my husband in and he took a quick look but was more comfortable not looking too closely. I felt awkward about my interest in this little miniature body so I just put the pad with the baby on it in the trash can and told the nurse about it when she came in.
Now I wish I would have been brave enough to move the other tissue and see more of the baby, but at the time, I was worried about what my husband thought (we hadn’t been married long and those bathroom events were still a little awkward) and felt that my lack of sadness and sorrow was weird and that I should try to act more “normal” about it. Now I know that any reaction a person has to death or to trauma is uniquely theirs and it is perfectly okay to experience your feelings in whatever way they come. I regret that I was so worried about what was “normal” in this situation that I didn’t try to see if my baby’s gender was apparent yet.
Because of this experience, I have tried to educate people about what a miscarriage can entail physically. I am appalled that no one told me to expect pain and lots of it. No one told me I would experience a “labor;” one without intermittent contractions (no breaks!! That made it harder than labor, I think!), or that I would bleed in a way that wasn’t like a period. No one told me I would see a baby. I don’t know what I expected, but I sure didn’t expect THAT!
I’ve also found this to be something that helps me to be compassionate about other people’s processes. Everyone experiences trials and challenges differently and I don’t think that there is a particular mold or “normal” that looks the same for everyone. It is important to respect that when people face a challenge, it doesn’t have to manifest itself the same for them as it would for you and that is still perfectly okay. My reaction to my miscarriage WAS normal. For me. It was my normal.
I love that I had the opportunity to see my little baby even though I had no idea what it all meant at the time or what to do with it. That little face and hand is a precious image for me that is forever imprinted in my memory. I look forward to meeting that child one day.