As a guy, in my mid-30s, I don’t find I cry very often but when I do, the rest of my body suffers from the residual effects. My eyes and head remind me; crying is no fun.
A regular day
I had intended to go to a doctor’s appointment with Holly, my wife, the first appointment of her third pregnancy and after, take my 4-year-old son to the 5A State Football Semi-Finals. The game would end just in time for me to get ready for a date night with my sweetheart and the kids would enjoy a fun-filled visit from Grammy.
A routine visit
At the doctor's office, I did what anyone my age, gender and lack of maturity would do and joked with Holly about the pictures in the office; they’re so graphic when the mood is light.
This appointment seemed to go on forever. We got there 15 minutes early, Holly filled out the paperwork while I played on my phone. Holly was checked for vitals and weight, where we were told our doctor had to run and deliver another baby. Holly packed up her things as they ushered us into the lab to do blood work; more than an hour passed and I realized I wasn’t going to make it to the football game.
Once the doctor came into the room, we started with the normal pleasantries and congratulations. After running through the paperwork, and as a last step, the OB brought out the ultrasound machine.
The beginning of the end
The doctor struggled to find the baby but dismissed it as, “You’re the third person today that has had too much in the way to see the baby.” The next ultrasound was a little more invasive; not for me — I was fine — but for my sweet wife.
Holly’s doctor grew suspiciously quiet, then began with the questions of when we first tested positive for pregnancy and first day of last menstrual cycle.
The doctor, while questioning Holly, began cleaning up the equipment. She then helped Holly sit up, stepped back, easing into a perched position on the rolling stool and said, “The baby is measuring at about 6 weeks. Based on when you said you learned you were pregnant, you should be measuring at more than 10 or 11 weeks. Holly, I cannot find a heartbeat, I’m sorry; this looks like a miscarriage.”
So many questions, so much confusion and then — the emotion.
My eyes tingled as tears coated them. Holly was so strong and it wasn’t until she spoke that I heard and saw her heartbreak.
“I’m sorry,” she said, her cheeks damp and eyes red, “It’s just we’ve been trying for so long now.”
Holly’s doctor was great; she gave us a tremendous amount of information, which was very helpful. I learned, however, on our quiet, tear-themed ride home, Holly didn’t hear a word. Her mind raced as she reflected on the impressions she’d had over the last four weeks. She knew and had felt something was wrong but didn’t want to vocalize it.
Thanks to text message, we didn’t have to rehash the bad news with the limited number of people who knew we were expecting. Though impersonal, it’s a wonderful tool to avoid the recharging and depletion of full emotional range.
We’ve learned just how often this happens. We’ve learned just how many other women, in our small circle of friends, have also felt and dealt with the loss of a hopeful new pregnancy. We’ve learned what happens next and what to expect over the next few weeks and months.
Your heartbreak is personal to you; and, it's important to acknowledge there is at least one other person dealing with this very same issue — your partner. There are a few things you can do, together, to help deal with your loss.
It's not your fault
Recognize your miscarriage is not the fault of either of you. The American Pregnancy Associations says that up to 25 percent of all pregnancies end in miscarriage (our doctor said she thought it was closer to 40 percent).
Talk it out
Together, talk about your miscarriage with your friends, family and ecclesiastical leaders. You’ll be amazed at the overwhelming amount of support you’ll see and feel as you identify how many other couples can empathize with your situation.
Take care of yourselves and each other
Remember, you both need to take care of yourselves. Eat healthy, exercise and do not put your lives on hold, expecting additional focus on your miscarriage — and intent to conceive again — will promote a more positive, future outcome.
Don’t give up hope
More than anything; DO NOT give up hope, EVER!
Miscarriage can be so difficult. Everyone handles it in their own way. Use this time to draw closer in your relationship and to feel the love and support of family and friends.