Reflections on Pregnancy Loss

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This weekend we celebrated our miracle baby’s 12th birthday. Every year it gives me pause to see how much time has passed and how our family has grown — in size and maturity — since the evil year of 1999.

For those of you just tuning in, here’s the short version of my miscarriage story. We entered 1999 very excited and hopeful over the pregnancy of our second child. Our firstborn was just 18 months; our babies would be about two years apart. By the end of January, I found myself shoveling my garden in a misty rain, tears over my miscarriage mingling with the rain, anger hiding in the thrust of the shovel into dirt.

In May I was pregnant again. By the end of June, the doctor diagnosed a “blighted ovum”.

In August we said, “third time’s the charm, right?” Wrong. In November, I started spotting and the heart beat was gone. An ultrasound tech went against procedure to show me how she was absolutely positive that our baby was dead. She knew I needed that. A week later, on November 9th, I had a D&C.

I was a lost and bitter woman. My losses defined me. I had such a hard time understanding why this had happened to us.

A year later, on November 9, our second son was born. Today he’s a clever, witty, fun-loving twelve-year old who makes us laugh on a regular basis. God gave our family four more kids after him.

I still don’t understand how God works.

In the last few months I’ve watched three sweet, yet long-distance, friends lose their own babies, one as far along as 24 weeks. I weep and I shake my head because I don’t get it. Again those tears that I cried over a dozen years ago fill my eyes again as I remember the pain of that loss.

I don’t get it.

Yet, I don’t have to get it. I’m not God. I know He has plans and reasons and mysteries that aren’t mine to know.

Do I feel an added kinship with my friends? Yes, I do. Bittersweet, though it is. I hope they know they aren’t alone in how they feel, however that might be on any given day. And I pray for their healing as others once prayed for mine.

Even though my houseful of rambunctious children has eased the heartache of losing those earlier babies, I know that I wouldn’t have these younger four without having lost those three. We probably would have stopped at two children if life had gone according to my plans.

Now I have six. My cup, indeed, runneth over.

I know that is not the case for everyone. I know that sometimes no other babies fill the void of a pregnancy loss. Maybe that’s not even possible anyway. I do know that God heals the hurt. He redeems it in odd, unknown, unpredictable ways.

He makes us more like his son. And that is very, very good.

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4

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  1. Thanks for sharing your story. We lost our third child at 12 weeks when we lived away from family for 4 years and it was a very lonely time for me. My sis and law had gotten pregnant about the same time and I even had a hard time being happy that her baby was healthy and then felt guilty about that. We made it through that dark time and even came across others we knew from church that encouraged us and shared about their similar stories. It helps to know that you haven’t gone it alone. I’m thankful that it was just one and we went on to have a beautiful baby boy the next year in 2010. I learned so much through the experience and feel like I can sympathize with others because I’ve gone through it. We named him William Robert. Robert was my father’s name and he has already passed onto heaven.

  2. I had five healthy children and then lost a sixth when my baby was eight months along. I was eight weeks at the time, and the loss was devastating to me and to the other children who were still at home. Five years later I lost another pregnancy and wasn’t able to get pregnant again before going into menopause. I have no doubt that I will find those children in heaven, but it doesn’t stop the pain on earth.

  3. I’m so sorry for your losses. I lost one of my twins at 29 weeks of pregnancy. My surviving twin is a beautiful, rambunctious 4 1/2 year old little girl. I also have an 8 year old daughter. It hasn’t been an easy road and I miss who my son would have been and how different our lives would have been. I try to count my blessings and celebrate my girls who amaze me everyday. I can’t help mourning not only my son but not having the opportunity to mother twins and watching my little one grow up without her twin.

  4. I am a mother of seven, four here on earth- three who passed on. I read this post with tears in my eyes, and love in my heart knowing how sharing our stories with others is always the best medicine for this unspeakable pain. Blessings to you all.

  5. One of my children went home in 1995 -he dies of SIDS. At that time, much like you did, we thought that we had “planned” everything out. My husband ended up reversing his vasectomy and I went on to have two more boys. It’s so hard sometimes to have faith but that was one of the many things my little two month old taught me with both his life and my temporary loss(and I do believe my soul will find his to thank him for all the lessons his life taught me.) The imprints people make on each others lives don’t necessarily correspond to the time we have here. While I recognize that I miss the possibilities my son’s life here what of meant I trust God will love and care for his soul as he does with each of his children and that he was in my life here on Earth for the exact amount of time he was meant to be here.

  6. The timing of this couldn’t be better. Our Thursday ultrasound revealed a diagnosis of a blighted ovum at what should have been 12 weeks. I was a nervous internal wreck for the 3 weeks prior as I sensed something wasn’t right. We have had such an outpouring of God’s peace and support from family and friends which has really helped heal some of this deep disappointment and sadness. The best part has been the love I have received from friends who also miscarried. I feel like I am now in a special club that I never wanted to be part of…but going thru it with dear friends who can listen, pray, and share hope is beautiful.

    1. Angela, I am praying for you also right now. I am glad that you are surrounded by friends and family who understand the disappointment and sadness. When we lost our baby, I was also amazed at how all of sudden I learned of other women who had experienced the same thing, and I’d never known about it.

  7. I love these pictures of your kids – personalities runneth over too! : ) I feel like God taught me how to grieve and how to comfort others through my own loss. He taught me to be still and hold a friends hand at a time when words don’t really work. I’m thankful for that. God also saw fit to bless us with three kids to my heart’s delight. He has never made us walk thru this life alone. Praise His name!

  8. Hi Jessica,
    Thank you for sharing this story. You most likely don’t remember me, but a few years ago you sent me a very encouraging e-mail after Crystal Paine (our mutual friend) told me to contact you after I had lost 4 pregnancies. You were so encouraging to me. Well, I know have TWO beautiful girls and I will NEVER forget your kindness and well wishes. God is so good.
    Love to you!

  9. i’m touched by God’s timing in all aspects of our lives. how precious that fishmama shared this post at a time when dear hurting, grieving and healing mama’s needed it. what loving, hopeful encouragement given by sisters who understand the pain, the ????s and the loss. He is faithful and knows what will grow our faith and how He will grow our families. thanks, jessica. thanks, sisters.

  10. I went through 7 years of fertility treatments after having cancer.. the drs finally said I would never be able to have kids.. So I lived my life… a bit recklessly for about 6 months… I just didnt care anymore…only to be seriously sick for weeks on end and went to the dr thinking my cancer had comeback.. I was 16 weekes pregnant.. I ended up having an emergency C-section when he was 35 weeks… When they opened me up they discovered he was a twin. Because the baby had died at only 12 weeks and I didnt find out till I was 16 weeks the skeletal system never hardened. I was devestated.. My heart was broken alot of people didnt get it. They said I had a healthy baby and that I had never known about the other one anyway… literally my own mother said that to my face.. I still hold that little angel in my heart and look at my little man and wonder does he feel the loss…does he know something is missing. I feel it especially today because its his bday… I have since had another healthy son… and then a miscarriage…and now I am 30 weeks pregnant with a little girl.. I count my blessings.. I have healthy babies…but it doesnt mean my heart doesnt ache for my angels ones too.. Thank you for sharing your story..and not understanding.. I dont understand sometimes either..but I know the plan is bigger than I can see..

  11. Thank you for this. I went back to church this morning. So strange how so much has changed so quickly. Our sweet Melody is so, so missed, and it is so hard to see how God will use this loss, but I have to know He will. A sweet sister who has experienced this loss 24 years ago said she had 2 words for me, and that this was her prayer for us. Heavenly Understanding. She promised that it will come, and I cling to that like I cling to my Heavenly Father, knowing my precious Melody is whole and perfect and waiting for us.

  12. I’ve been trying to figure out what to say to this post all day, and I still don’t know. But thank you for sharing this, Jessica. The pain (especially emotional) is unique and devastating. But I’m praising God *right now* for the blessings you have and the goodness you’re able to share. Praising Him for my children, too, and lifting the little life I lost through miscarriage.

  13. I think miscarriage is truly a pain that women quietly carry, but shouldn’t. I think it would be easier to bear if we were more vocal about it.
    I have two children – A 10 year old and a 4 year old. When you said the losses defined you, I absolutely understood that feeling. I had 10 miscarriages. Nine of them between my two children. I am always asked if 12 pregnancies on my med history records is a typo. All of the losses were discovered via ultrasound. To this day, those losses STILL define me…I can’t get an ultrasound (even for other routine reasons) without anxiety and a bout of tears. (ugh!).
    I am so, so blessed with the two I have – especially the second. He was a total surprise (shock)! A loss is a loss, whether or not we experience a pregnancy first, or never experience a pregnancy at all. Hugs to ALL of us – we are a sisterhood.

  14. I have had two miscarriages, one was a twin but my daughter survived and the other one was after my youngest daughter. I have been blessed with two girls but know the pain of losing two more children. It is something you never get over. I mark the day of the miscarriages as their “birth” days and now that I will be with them in heaven. I send a big hug to anyone that has suffered loss

  15. My husband and I only have one child, conceived through artificial insemination. Due to a ruptured colon when our son was 1 year old, we are unable to have more children without in vitro. We attempted embryo adoption twice, to no avail. I don’t have, really, any clue of the pain of miscarriage, but I understand the pain of wanting (more) children and of God saying no. There are days when I’m glad to only have one – many times, he feels like 4 or 5 kids all bundled into one. But, I wish he had siblings to play with, and I so hoped to have a large family. The chances for adoption are there, someday. All this to say, I feel your pain in the way I can, and I’ll stand with you in prayer.

  16. I almost couldn’t read this post. I’m in the middle of miscarrying from a blighted ovum (my first pregnancy) right now. I’m glad I decided to read it. Yes, it brought all of my emotions back- they’ve been a wreck since I found out of Wednesday. I’m sitting in my house, praying that this will go quickly, but again, God has other plans. Thanks for sharing your story- and your words of encouragement. I know that in the end, it isn’t up to me or medicine… I have to give it up. I’ve found more women in my life than I thought that have gone through this, and knowing that I’m not alone in it helps. Seeing that all hope isn’t lost and that most people do get their babies later helps, too.

    Thanks again for sharing this.. it was timely and needed for me.

    1. Oh, Kelly. My prayers are with you today that you would feel a peace from God that surpasses all comprehension. Blessings to you. Take care of yourself and let your body and heart heal.

    2. Kelly, I am praying for you this morning also. We also lost a baby, our first. I pray that God would hold you close and surround you with love and healing as you go through this.

    3. I just wanted to post a quick note of thanks for all of the thoughts and prayers. I had a D&C on Monday that has truly helped me to face this loss in a better way. I’m now healing, but the healing feels better than the losing. It has been amazing the support that I have found from women all over the world on blogs and message boards.

      Before my procedure, my OB said something along the lines of this… An average year, there are 4 million births in the US. Based on known statistics, there are probably at least a million miscarriages in addition to those births. That’s a lot of women (and families) silently mourning lost little ones. Thanks again for bringing this to the forefront. Having gone through this, I truly see the need for education and support for women everywhere. I can only hope to be the timely supportive voice that somebody else needs later like you were for me.

    4. I’m going through the exact same thing and my heart practically skipped a beat when I read the title of the post. Normally I read my blog roll everyday, but I took the week off after I started spotting/bleeding last weekend. This was my second pregnancy and I had been delighted that my first and second children were going to be just under two years apart. I miscarried early and, because of that, I’ve made myself feel silly for mourning a pregnancy I only knew about for a week. While reading, I let myself cry and be sad without shame. At the same time, though, I feel extremely comforted by and amazed at the timing of your post, Jessica. It couldn’t have been more perfect for me to discover it today. In fact, I know it was meant for me to read (among other people, of course…). Thank you for sharing your wonderful message!

      1. Blessings to you, Kristin! God’s timing is good, isn’t it? Rest up and know it’s okay to be sad. Let us know how we can help. I’ll be praying for you.

    5. Kelly,
      My heart breaks for you. I am recovering from a D&C after being diagnosed with a blighted ovum last week. This is my 6th miscarriage and although I have 9 healthy children it doesn’t make this loss any easier. God has been good and has given me a peace beyond my understanding! You will be in my prayers.

  17. Anyone who has not gone through this does not really understand the pain and feelings of loss. I still mourn the little girl that should have been my middle child.My oldest sister tells me I need to just get over it but my younger sister now understands as her daughter has lost a little one too.I know my baby waits for me in Heaven but my arms still ache at times from wanting to hold her.I had several losses before we had our first but they were all within the first weeks of pregnancy and I still feel like something is missing,that my home is too empty with only two children.I do thank God that I have the two that I have here every day.J is 18 now and my miracle baby. I am o negative and no one ever told me I needed a shot to be able to carry a child.They say God never gives you more than you can handle and with both my boy’s being autistic,God knew how hard our lives would be with just the two.

    1. Thanks for sharing your story! One thing that I learned is that we all process grief and loss in different ways. Blessings to you.

  18. This is what I posted on fb yesterday:
    November 10, 2005, I woke up knowing that the baby I was carrying would never be born into this world. Ronnie and I went through the hardest days we’ve ever had that year. We were heartbroken and didn’t understand why God would give us a child, just to take it away again. I now know that miscarriage is a common occurrence and what we went through is nothing rare, but it hurt nonetheless. As time went on we found out we were pregnant again and I couldn’t help but notice that if our first baby had been born we wouldn’t have Ethan. God works in mysterious ways and I believe He had to show us how special a child is before we could have one to keep and I thank Him for what we went through. We now have three awesome little boys and can’t wait to see if God chooses to bless us with more, but we know we have a precious baby waiting on us in Heaven when we get there!

  19. You are so right. Eight miscarriages had me close to losing my faith, but He spoke to my heart and promised me children, He just never said how. Through the miracle of Foster/Adopt, my 3 boys confirm His promises, all of them. Every Day:)
    I am blessed.