• Thu, Jul 19 2012

Unbearable: Seven Months Post-Miscarriage, I’m Not Over It

Depressed womanHaving a child is usually a happy time in a woman’s life. Unfortunately, as we wait longer to have children, infertility and trouble conceiving can become a part of the family making process. Unbearable addresses these difficulties.

Ever since losing my future-child to an ectopic pregnancy on New Year’s Eve, I’ve been going about my life in what I thought to be a relatively stable fashion. I’ve reflected on the experience and opened up to friends, family and you wonderful readers. I’ve discussed a lot of the pain and emotions that the memories bring. I really thought that all this discussion had been cathartic for me, that it had helped me move on in some way. But after a day spent in the hospital where I lost my chance at another child, I realized just how much I’m not over it.

I’ve been sitting in a hospital room just a few floors up from where I went into surgery seven months ago. A close family member is going through a medical emergency and I’ve spent the past 24 hours at their side. (Your prayers and well-wishes are both welcome and appreciated.) And while I’ve spent most of my time answering doctor’s questions, fetching ice chips and squeezing hands, I’ve also had plenty of opportunity to sit and reflect. During that time, it’s impossible to keep my mind here, in this room. It keeps drifting down the elevator and into the room where I found out that I would lose my child. I keep reliving the emptiness I felt after my surgery was done, as I lay in bed, filled with so much pain that I had no idea whether it was physical or emotional.

This hospital, this place where I said goodbye to so much hope, seems to have the ability to bring all of those emotions back.

I feel almost silly, looking around the emergency room for the doctors and nurses who treated me. I wonder if they’ll even remember my face or if they see so much tragedy. One sobbing mother couldn’t possibly register this many months later. I feel ridiculous looking resentfully at the board on the wall asking what “execellent care means” for my family. My excellent care hopes didn’t really matter. There was nothing anyone could do.

More than anything, I feel guilty that I’m selfishly thinking of myself when someone that I love deeply is sick and in pain. I feel horrible that I’m not spending every ounce of effort praying for their health. Instead, I’m dwelling on my own irreversible past. It seems unfair and self-indulgent.

It’s been more than half a year since I lost a child. I’m now trying to get pregnant again. It hasn’t succeeded yet, but there’s still a chance that it will. I should have moved on by now, right? Something as simple as a location shouldn’t overwhelm me with grief.

And yet here I am, sitting on an uncomfortable hospital couch, thinking about the last time I slept in this building. I’m thinking about the picture of the child removed from my Fallopian tube. (Yes, a nurse showed it to me.) I’m crying, not just because I’m concerned for my loved one, but because I’m still not over my loss. At this point time, I’m not sure if I ever will be.

(Photo: Fnsy/Shutterstock)

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  • Meagan S

    I would definitely go talk to a therapist if you haven’t already.

  • Janice Coates

    I was awaiting my first child through adoption. I went to the hospital and received the bad news that the birth mother changed her mind.The grief was unbearable. I had hoped for so long to hold this baby. Now in just a second all my hopes were taken away. I had never emotionally hurt like this. It was similiar to a roller coaster ride. This went on for 6 months. I didn’t give birth the normal way but I did in my heart.

  • Katie

    :( miss Meagan, all the therapists in the world cant stop an emotional scar such as losing a baby.

    I endured 7 miscarries before the establishment FINALLY decided to take my pleas seriously for more in depth testing to find out whyyyyyyyyyyyy

    my 8th pregnancy finally made me a “MOM”…and he is now almost 15. but there are many days i still think back to what could have been and i do recall quite vividly the pain of each loss… each dream…each possibility. (( and its been MORE than 15 yrs since that first unexplained loss, and its been 15 1/2 yrs since my LAST loss and i still recall it and alll the pain and anger and even the unsympathetic look on the dam OB’s face when he callously informed me about it , told me to go home and get over it and try again….))
    one day you just realize its OKAY to feel these things at any given moment, and know that no one else can ever understand why , or how to help, or words to sooth… its just a part of us now.

  • Courtney

    I’m so sorry for your loss. My first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage and it took over a year to get pregnant again, between health issues and moving and everything else.

    It was devastating, one of the worst times in my life (Katie, you are amazingly strong for sticking it out through 15!). I still think about that child-that-wasn’t, how old it would be, etc. miscarriage may be common but that doesn’t make it less painful.

    I will say that finally having a healthy, wonderful baby goes a long way toward easing the pain. But prepare for a lot of anxiety with your next pregnancy – I worried, just a little, until my son was safely in my arms.

    • Courtney

      Ack, I misread, seven. Nonetheless (to Katie).

  • kate

    places, especially where bad things happen, can cause such strong emotion. This is not comporable to your loss of a child, but I know what you mean about the feelings flooding back. my third baby spent a week in the nicu, which was long, stressful etc., and about 5 months later i was back at that same hospital and i had a lump in my throat and all icould picutre was her with all the tubes and so fragile, and she was right there with me. I couldnt get her back out of that hospital fast enough. Dont beat yoruself up for the emotions, to different degrees it happens to everyone and we are all behind you

    • Julie

      My daughter also spent some time in the NICU after she was born. 4 whole weeks. About 2 weeks after she was discharged, the NICU held their annual reunion. While my daughter was still in the hospital, we had every intention of going. But once she got home, the thought of going back there was completely unbearable. As much as I fell in love with those NICU nurses, I wasn’t ready to see them again or go back. I was just happy to have my baby home, in my arms and healthy.

      Lindsay, my heart breaks for you. Early in my pregnancy we had a few scares, and one of them was that the pregnancy may have been ectopic. That turned out not to be the case but I do remember the absolute fear that I wasn’t actually going to have a baby and the wave of complete relief when we were told she was in utero. I can not say that I know exactly what you’re going through or how you feel, but I do understand why you do feel that way. I’ve experienced loss before, just never one quite like this. No parent should have to suffer the loss of their child, and you have my deepest sympathies.

      Well wishes for your family member as well. THAT is something I can relate to. It’s scary and you feel helpless. But having been on both sides of the spectrum (being in the bed and being by the bed), it’s wonderful that you are there for them to hold on to. When I was in the hospital, all I wanted was family there to hold my hand and tell me everything was going to be OK. As scary as it is, having my mother and sister there made a world of difference. They kept my spirits high and kept me laughing. It’s true what they say- laughter really is the best medicine. I may not have made it if they didn’t give me hope for myself. My mom always felt like she wasn’t doing enough, but she was doing the best thing for me and it meant more than she could possibly imagine.

      Good luck with everything. I feel like that statement isn’t really appropriate… but I’m kind of at a loss for words. At least you have your readers as a sounding board!

    • kate

      Julie, thanks for sharing your story too. :)

  • lilacorchid

    After my ectopic, I was numb for about three months and then it hit me what really happened. I grieved for a long time and the first year was the worst. My experience shattered everything I thought a knew about me and I kept waiting to see if the old me would come back. She never did, but I’ve learned to enjoy the new me.

    It’s been four years now and I still go to the cemetery on the anniversary date and it still bothers me when I see my cousin and sister’s child because they would have all been the same age. The pain is more of a dull ache now instead of an overwhelming sea of grief and tears. I’m pretty sure I will never “get over it” but it has become something I can live with.

    If it gets to be too much or you are looking to talk to someone who will not judge, I would second therapy. I went because of my infertility and inability to conceive, but ended up talking about my ectopic at times and it has helped me a lot. There are therapists out there who specialize in IF and losses too.

    In the end, be gentle with yourself. A big life-threatening event happened to you and you lost your future-child. It’s not like you broke your arm or something!

  • Tinyfaeri

    I was pregnant 3 times in 2011, the 3rd time gave me my now almost 4 month old daughter. The second was an ectopic, treated with mtx around 6 or 7 weeks, and took over a month for the spotting to stop. The first was an early miscarriage, discovered in a 6 hour ER stay on a Friday night (long story). I am so beyond grateful for my daughter, she is the most beautiful, sweet, happy, lovely, adorable, cute baby I could have imagined and then some, and I’m so happy we were able to start a family, but for me nothing will ever completely erase the pain I felt at those two losses. They broke my heart, and they come back to me at strange points. I’ve come to accept that, and move forward for me, for my daughter and for my husband – we all need me to be present. I’m sorry for all of your losses, and I hope you all find some peace.

  • alexmmr

    I lost my first pregnancy (IVF, twin girls) at 19 weeks in december 2010. 6 weeks ago, I gave birth via my second IVF pregnancy, again, twin girls. I have what every miscarriage mama wants – the babies I lost. And I’m still not over it. I look at my girls and think “you were supposed to be celebrating your first birthday 2 months ago, but you’re barely even born”. The whole time I was giving birth, I kept flashing back to lying in a room in that same hospital, losing the girls. Very surreal and scary as hell.

  • Charity

    It’s been 7 years since my first loss – at 20 wks I was given the choice of birthing or a D&C, I chose the D&C as I could walk around knowing the baby was dead.

    You never “get over it” – you learn to incorporate it into your life. The only treatment that worked for me was EMDR. I was finally able to process the tauma after 7 years, the memory is still there, but I don’t re-live the emotions when I call the thoughts up. I highly recommend EMDR for anyone one dealing with a trauma.

    • LiteBrite

      “You never “get over it” – you learn to incorporate it into your life.”

      I really like this statement because it’s true for any loss in one’s life. It’s far more realistic than trying to find some elusive element of closure and tying everything up in a neat little package.

  • Eva

    Oh sweetheart, I just want to give you a big hug, and please know that both you and your family member are in my prayers today.

  • Cindy

    It’s true that you never really get over it. I had two miscarriages, then two successful pregnancies (thanks to anti-clotting medication), but when I remember those terrible days of loss, I cry. Like I just did reading your post and all the comments. Sending you a virtual hug and the very best wishes of health!

  • http://www.facebook.com/lindsaychartman Lindsay Cross

    I cannot thank you all enough for your support, your kindness and your inspiration. I just want to say that it is felt and appreciated deeply. Thank you.

  • Jo

    I am so sad to hear of your loss. Your life changing experience is not one to get over, but hopefully you will find a way to find peace as time moves forward. I never suffered such a loss, but as a Labor and Delivery nurse I saw this happen to so many parents. Really think about seeing a counselor. Talking may help. I pray for you to one day have a sweet baby in your arms. People care. Thank you for telling your story

  • jennye

    My mother is 80 years old and never got over the two miscarriages she suffered before adopting me. Don’t pressure yourself. Based on my mother’s experience as well as a couple of my friends, you can feel the joy of motherhood even as you still carry the grief for the lost child. Good luck.

  • Lisa

    Great site for women, this my first visit and sharing this with all my friends. you can prevent miscarriage if you stop intercourse and have good protein food.
    http://www.womenhealthzone.com/category/womens-reproductive-health/miscarriage/

    • April

      Having gone through two miscarriages myself, I find this comment offensive: “You can prevent miscarriage if you stop intercourse and have good protein food.” I was told there was nothing that could have been done to prevent my miscarriages by medical professionals, both by an OBGYN and an RE. Yes, undoubtedly, if you don’t have sex, you won’t get pregnant, and therefore, won’t have a miscarriage. It is misinformation such as this that plagues women and continues to cloud miscarriage making it a taboo subject.

    • Miranda

      I, too, find this incredibly offensive. I’ve also had two miscarriages. In the course of my short-lived pregnancies, I didn’t have sex at all. In fact, both times I was just starting to feel in the mood again when my first ultrasounds brought news that broke my heart and destroyed my world and changed my life. I was also VERY sure to get plenty of protein and all other essential vitamins before and during my pregnancies. I spent months after each of my pregnancies trying to figure out what I did wrong and it took a while to accept the fact that there was nothing I could have done to prevent it from happening. Nothing! Don’t be so naive to believe everything that you read and then spread it like it’s gospel.

    • Julie

      This poor woman is grieving the loss of her child. You don’t need to come on here and spout off about how she could have prevented it if she had done x or y. And that information can’t be farther from the truth. I’m with April and Miranda. Your statement is offensive and borderline judgmental.

  • Jill Garland

    My thoughts are with you Lindsay and with all of the other women who are sharing their baby loss experiences on this forum – i hope we can help each other in some way. I have two beautiful daughters, 9yrs & 6yrs old, and suffered a miscarriage just over 3months ago. The impact that this loss is having on me is so much greater than I ever could have imagined. Lindsay, like you, i returned to the hospital in which i had my miscarriage surgery two months later and the awful emotions that it brought back (although they had never gone away) have really knocked me in every way. I tortured myself after the birth of my daughter who is now 6yrs, about whether or not i would have another child, i eventually decided that i wouldn’t (a decision that I now regret!) and had accepted this decision and myself and my husband were content with our family life. In February this year I got a shock and found out that I was pregnant, once i got over the shock I was absolutely delighted and struggled with the pregnancy sickness and with my new job just wishing for Easter to arrive and for the sickness to hopefully pass. I went for an 8 week scan and heard my baby’s strong heartbeat and got a beautiful scan picture. I started to feel a bit better a week or so later and i secretly thought that I might be having a boy as my sickness lasted so much longer with both my previous pregnancies. Unfortunately i started to bleed on Easter Sunday and found out just before my 12week scan that my baby had died. I am grieving dreadfully and have decided that I will speak to a counsellor. I am also struggling terribly with deciding what to do now….i dont know whether to try for another baby because of the yearning this has awoken in me or if I accept that my baby days are over and try to move on. I am afraid that I am too old to ‘start again’ (I am 38, will be 39 Feb 2012) and I’m also concerned that the gap between a new baby and my other children will be too big. My emotions are all over the place, my head keeps finding reasons not to try for another baby but my heart aches. I want more than anything to be 6months pregnant at this moment like i was meant to be but i cant seem to decide what to do. Any suggestions greatly welcomed ladies xx

  • http://www.facebook.com/windair.poodles Windair Poodles

    No one cries or cares for the lost ones,only those who have lost them.

    • rainlily

      What is that even supposed to mean? PLENTY of people, the author included, cry over “the lost ones”.

  • Shelly G

    I work in an OB/GYN office. I remember every miscarriage, every IUFD, every time someone felt loss. I couldn’t tell you the names of the women who suffered there, I probably would not recognize one of them if I saw them today. But I’ve been there two years and I’ve cried for each of them and I remember them. I’ve suffered a miscarriage myself – about five months, got the news at the same place where I work, before I started working there. The MA who worked with the doc remembered me. She had also suffered a miscarriage. Maybe it’s a recognition of the grief, something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, I don’t know. But miscarriages are more common than it seems polite to discuss (and no ones fault, and there is no way to prevent them), so I’m betting that you are remembered by at least one of the staff at that hospital, probably more.

  • rainlily

    I am so sorry; I hope you can find a way to accept your loss without so much pain, although you will never “get over it”. You lost a child, and no matter how old or not, that is still incredibly traumatic. I wish you all the best in your future pregnancy endeavors.

  • geraldineC

    Lindsay, I am so very sorry for your pain and lost. I experienced a miscarriage about 5 months ago, and lately I have been more emotional, for the first few weeks, I was in denial and kept a straight face for my family. I never told anyone except my partner but somehow I feel like I have failed him and that things will change. I was more worried about everything around me than myself, and I felt the same way with people around me. I feel anger but the anger isn’t going to towards the right things, does that make sense? I have 3 children who I love so dearly and a partner, in some ways I feel like I have lost myself in this tragedy and I’m not sure how to get through it. I don’t think I spent enough time, no, I don’t think I gave myself enough time to heal both physical, mentally and emotionally.
    I hope you take the time to heal yourself, that’s what I am learning now, reading and seeking help….. sometimes bad things happen and a lot of times it not fair. May you find enough support and love.. and get the strength you need to get through your grief.