“I’m so sorry.” The beginning of what was about to be a life changing moment for me. Hearing those words from the ultrasound technician caused instant tears. My heart stopped. The next words tore me apart from the inside:
“You’re baby’s heart is not beating anymore.”
How could this be? What did I do wrong? You need to check again! Unfortunately she was right. Our baby had passed on. I had to say goodbye to my baby that I hadn’t been able to hold. My world was shattered. I lost a baby I never met, yet I loved so deeply.
I can remember that day like it was yesterday, and I still feel the pain. Our son was almost two, and I was a stay-at-home mom during the day and working two nights a week at a local veterinary hospital. I loved both jobs. I was ten weeks into our pregnancy. We had seen the baby’s heartbeat once already at seven weeks. The doctor requested another ultrasound to get a more accurate due date. I truly thought I was in the clear and everything was fine. I had no symptoms that our baby had died. I truly imagined this was going to a routine visit.
Often miscarriage is brushed off as not a real loss. After all, we never met the baby. We didn’t even know if we were having a boy or a girl. So it should be easy to get over the loss, right?
Everyone grieves differently. Everyone copes with loss differently. Every miscarriage is a loss, though. It’s the loss of a baby. It’s the loss of the remainder of the pregnancy. It’s the loss of what could have been.
If you are grieving the loss of a child because of a miscarriage, please know you are not alone. Seek out help from those who have also suffered this kind of loss. Your pain is real, and you need to grieve.
The most helpful thing for me was friends who came along side me sharing their stories of loss and letting me talk about mine. It’s okay to talk about it, and it’s okay not to talk about it. We chose to name our baby; you may choose to do the same, or you may decide not to.
Take time to grieve. Getting pregnant again will not replace the baby you lost, so give yourself time. If you find yourself having trouble coping with the loss, get help. Sometimes people feel weird asking for help after a miscarriage, because they feel their loss is not “that big of a deal.” Don’t fall into that trap. Your loss is real; if you need help, get help.
Infant loss is similar to miscarriage. How can you be so sad and grieving a baby you barely knew? The loss is real. It feels as though a part of your heart is gone. This was your child, and you are free to grieve however you need. It’s okay to honor your baby with a funeral service. Some people might want to shy away from talking about your baby for fear or making you upset. If you want to talk about it, let others know it’s okay to talk about the baby. And if others don’t talk about your baby, don’t think it’s because they don’t care. Some people just might be uncomfortable.
The most important thing to remember is do not be afraid to seek help if your sadness is too much. Talking to friends can help, but sometimes a professional is what you need. Don’t ever let pride get in the way of getting the help you need. Call your OB and ask for suggestions of professionals who can help you with your grief.
October 15 is National Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day. If you or a loved one is struggling with grief due to a loss, please visit the Hand to Hold website for resources and support.