Weeks after learning that we were expecting, my husband and I were exuberantly dreaming about our life as a family of three, sharing the hopes we had for our child and joking about the chaos that was coming. Our eyes would light up when our conversations would naturally lead to comments like, “It will be fun to do this with the baby.” We were thrilled with the idea of being parents. It was something we both truly wanted.
For five weeks I spent nearly every waking moment thinking about the future, our new future as a family of three. Every upcoming event was veiled with thoughts of how many weeks we would be or if our baby would be part of the event. Sometimes I would find myself gazing into our home office and dreaming of what it would look like as a nursery. I spent a lot of time dreaming.
In addition to learning we were pregnant, my husband and I were both navigating career transitions. Talk about a lot of life changes! While thinking through these transitions in the context of adding a child to our life added a layer of complexity, I felt peace. My friends and family know that I tend to be a perfectionist and sometimes high strung. Peace is not a sensation that I often find. But it found me in the process of discovering I was pregnant and starting an entirely new phase of my career.
I was able to step back and look at the big picture. While starting new jobs with all of the “newness” that comes with those, I realized that life would simply happen and we would navigate the changes, challenges and triumphs. All of a sudden, the minutiae that usually plagued my thoughts were insignificant. Our priorities were shifting in the best way possible.
I knew miscarriage was a possibility. The risks are well-known and, generally speaking, well-understood by most women. Each day I prayed that we would beat the odds, that we would make it to week 12 or 13 with a healthy pregnancy intact. Sadly, we did not. At nine weeks, we said goodbye to the baby that was to be ours.
A visit to the ER confirmed my worst fears: The pregnancy was over. My hormone levels had dropped and there was no heartbeat. I felt as though I would melt into a puddle when we got that news. The nurse standing next to my bed wept and shared her own story of loss. She quietly reminded us that we would get through this and someday, it would be our time to have a child.
In an instant I had joined a sad club, the group of women who lose a pregnancy. Actually, this isn’t just a group of women. While I deal with the physical aspects of losing our child, my husband is also grieving our loss. He, and the other husbands and partners who experience this loss, are part of the club, too.
At times, the loss has been overwhelming and debilitating. I have felt anger and deep sorrow. I have felt lost. I have felt broken, both physically and emotionally.
Despite those feelings, I have found comfort in the unbelievable support of family and friends from around the globe. I have found comfort in hearing others say, “It happened to me too.” I have found comfort in knowing I’m not alone, that one in five pregnancies end in early miscarriage. I have found comfort in my husband’s warm embrace. Being surrounded by love makes this pain more bearable.
The baby was a gift. It was a gift of dreams and perspective. I was reminded that my husband is my rock and an incredible supporter of me. He believes in me and our dreams. And while we never got to meet our first baby, I treasure the time we shared, the perspective I gained and the deep, meaningful love I felt.