Like many other Mammas who have experienced a miscarriage, I remember the moment(s) vividly. I was 12 weeks pregnant when we went in for a routine sonogram. We had already seen a heartbeat at eight weeks and felt secure things were going well. We had already told our families. The excitement of a first pregnancy was upon us. The baby had a name, the nursery had a theme, we were making plans.
I chatted happily with the technician, eagerly watched the sonogram, and held my husband Dave’s hand. I was watching the screen when I saw it. The spot where a little heart should be beating was still. Nothing was moving. I continued to look, hoping I was wrong. The technician, her voice careful and light, said she would find our doctor and left the room.
I’ll admit that, for a moment, I was alone in that room. I stared at the screen as hard as I could, thinking I could force that little heart to beat. Everything inside of me was dropping fast. It felt as if I were in a vacuum.
Then I turned my head, just so I wouldn’t see the truth, and I saw Dave’s face. He, too, was watching the screen. He, too, was in pain. His hand was still in mine, so I squeezed it tightly to remind him I was there. Together we got through the day.
Once the plans were made, there wasn’t much to say, so I went home and he returned to work. It happens a lot, we reasoned, so we may as well go about our day. But the weight of the sadness sat on my shoulders, and on his as well. That night, and in the weeks that followed, we grieved – together.
A friend of mine had a similar experience. She processes pain through action so, following a doctor’s appointment where they received the bad news they had lost a child, she opted to go shopping. She and her husband ran errands, made plans, talked. She tried to continue as if the day was normal only to mask her pain. Finally, her husband suggested they go home, so they could both acknowledge their loss.
I had two more miscarriages before my baby girl finally found her way to me. I had a third before my boy found his way to me. With the wave of each trauma, I felt many things. But there was one thing I never felt: alone. With each of them, I was blessed to have a partner who supported, and suffered, with me.
Mammas, my heart is with you. I’ve felt your pain as well. There is nothing comparable to what a woman goes through when she feels her body has failed her in such a devastating way. Today, on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, you will hear and read stories of other Mammas who are with you.
Partners out there: I know you felt that pain, too. I know that this took away your chance to be a parent as well. I know that, while you are supporting the Mamma whose body is hurting, your heart is also breaking. Today, and every day, we suffer losses together. We recover together. And, in the end, we are stronger because we are together.