*TRIGGER WARNING* This post contains my experience of a miscarriage and includes graphic pictures.
I don’t talk a lot about my miscarriage for a few reasons. When it happened, I didn’t feel super supported by my family. No one offered to help me with anything. It was an EXTREMELY depressing month where I cried and cried until I had no more tears. It was an awkward pregnancy to begin with. The father of 4 of my 5 children (the one they all call Dad, Brandon) and I had split up and I, for a very brief time, got back with the father of my oldest. I ended up getting pregnant during this very short reunion and after I remembered why I left him to begin with, Brandon and I reunited. Brandon was going to take on this pregnancy and be “Dad” to this baby just as he had my oldest.
We both quickly became attached to the baby and felt like it was going to be a girl. FINALLY a girl. Maybe? He even bought a little outfit that said “Daddy’s Little Girl” on it which completely melted my heart. He was not one to buy baby stuff, so the fact that he came home with this outfit on a whim really meant A LOT considering the situation.
We went to an ultrasound around 9 weeks to confirm the pregnancy and saw a happy, healthy little baby. Everything looked perfect. The heartbeat was spot on.
This was my fourth pregnancy. I had always had such easy pregnancies so I didn’t really have a care in the world. I was seeing my amazingly wonderful midwife, Dinah for my prenatal care. She was my midwife for baby #2 and #3, so she was excited to be caring for me through another pregnancy.
When I went in for my 12 week appointment on February 16th, 2010, everything seemed to feel normal and going smoothly. I was excited to get to hear the baby’s heartbeat on the doppler. I laid down on the table and she began to search for my little one. Since I am a plus size mama, it usually takes a few minutes to find the hiding baby, so she kept feeling around with the doppler. After a few minutes of probing my belly with the gel-covered wand, she still couldn’t find the heartbeat.
By this point, I was a little worried. She offered to send me over to the hospital for an ultrasound to give me peace of mind, but said that it could possibly just be a little too early to pick up on the doppler. I eagerly took up her offer for the ultrasound and headed straight to the hospital. As I sat in the waiting room surrounded by very obviously pregnant women, I tried not to let my fear show. I was about to go in to see if my baby was alive or not. Surely he/she was and this was just a fluke, but I couldn’t help but worry.
I was finally called in and got situated up on the table. Shirt up, pants below the belly and on goes the gel. Now I have seen my fair share of ultrasounds, so I knew exactly when I was looking for. The doctor put the wand on my belly and there was my baby! Floating. Not moving. No heartbeat blinking. Just floating there, lifelessly. I immediately knew what my heart was afraid to realize but kept hoping that maybe I was imagining this. I hoped that I was missing something or looking at it wrong. I just kept staring as the doctor moved the probe, measuring my still baby.
Once he finished the measurements, he said that he was sorry, but the baby didn’t make it. I already knew. He must have known by the look of despair on my face. I know there are no right words to say in these moments, but I felt like he didn’t say the right thing. He told me he would call my midwife and let her know. I was completely stunned and tears started to fall down my face. What was I supposed to do now? What was I supposed to say? How was I supposed to tell everyone that my baby had died?
Before I walked out of the exam room, I was so thankful that I remembered to ask for a printout of the picture of my sweet baby. She was measuring at 10 weeks and 4 days when I was 12 weeks pregnant, so she had passed away not long after my first ultrasound. I instantly started wracking my brain and blaming myself. What did I do wrong? How did I cause this? Did I lift something too heavy? Did I lean against the hot stove too long? I knew that it was my fault that my baby was dead and I was devastated.
I called Dinah and she told me that I could either wait for the miscarriage to happen naturally or opt for a D&C. I chose to wait it out as I did not want to subject myself to any more trauma. In the meantime, I had time to grieve and prepare myself mentally for this terrible loss. I cried for days. When I was done crying, I cried some more. I made plans that no parent should ever have to do. I called a funeral home and was donated a cremation of my little one when she finally passes. They and I were aware that there would not really be anything “left” aside from the ashes of which she was cremated in, but they respected my need for the closure. I was so thankful. But I still looked pregnant. And my heart was still shattered.
The time that I had preparing everything for my baby was the most amazing therapy ever. I went shopping for the perfect boxes in which to lay to rest my precious baby. I made a beautiful pillow for her to be placed on and chose the most delicate fabric to wrap around her body. I was able to make peace with myself. I knew that it wasn’t my fault. I learned that these things really can happen to anyone. Even me.
I found the perfect little memory box as well as a tiny little decorative box in which I would store her ashes after they were returned to me. I chose the perfect name. Indigo Rain.
I even made a little velvet pouch to hold the ashes before they are placed inside the decorative box. I wanted my little one to know that she meant the absolute world to me and I wanted her to have the most comfort possible.
On February 25th, 2010, I was sitting at home at my computer on my exercise ball. 9 days after I found out that my baby’s heart was no longer beating, it all began. I stood up to go to the bathroom and felt a POP. Never before had my water broke before labor, but I knew that was EXACTLY what had just happened. I walked to the bathroom and sat on the toilet. The pad that I had been wearing was soaked. When I wiped, there was a tinge of blood, so I decided to go ahead and get into the tub. I knew it wouldn’t be long.
I started up the water and before I knew it, the blood just started to flow out of me. I was not in any pain at all. Barely a couple minutes of bleeding had passed and after a big clot, out came my tiny, perfect baby. I picked her up and looked at her with amazement. Such dainty features. Everything looked so perfectly formed. Ten tiny fingers. Ten tiny toes.
I called Brandon into the bathroom and told him to bring me a towel, a clear glass bowl and my camera. I stayed in the bathtub as I continued to bleed, but I didn’t want to ever forget a single detail of this precious life, so I began to shoot.
My baby was smiling at me! It made me smile. And cry, of course.
Look at those little toes!!
And those perfect little ears…
Surprise, surprise! It looks like SHE is really a HE!
I was able to get the most STUNNING pictures of my little one at a gestation most people never get to see. I will always be grateful that I had him in my life and got to spend these precious moments enjoying him.
Indigo Rain was born still on February 25th, 2010. He was almost 2 inches long and weighed just over 1/4 of an ounce.
The tiniest footprints really do leave the biggest impact on the world. I will never forget my sweet baby, Indi.
I hope my story helps you to deal with your miscarriage. It’s ok to cry. It’s a normal part of grieving. It’s ok to completely fall apart. The pieces will go back together, even if there is always a tiny one missing. Every loss matters, no matter how early or what the circumstances.
Photo Credit: Charlise Grisham