Monday, February 7, 2011

But really it's Four {Talking about Miscarriage}

Phone Pic due to computer issues, don't steal!

We had pictures taken on Saturday.

Against my husbands will (he insists I preface with that) the kids and I wore those shirts for a few of them.

Cute right?

But really, that should say 4 and that’s what I kept thinking.

It’s what I thought when I made them. I thought of actually doing it too. My kids are young though. They don’t totally understand, still, what happened. I want to make him part of our life, never forgotten, known. We have nothing physical to help make it real to very young children. I think that makes it harder. All we have is a fuzzy (very early) ultrasound and a stack of condolence cards. There is no tombstone, no ashes, no blankie that was loved and cuddled for even a second, no photo, no footprint, nothing.

My daughter doesn't know or get it (she's only 3). Although God has given her a quirk that warms my heart and soul every time she does it. If you say to her, "you're going to be a big sister" she always, always answers "I already a BIG sister!". She is. She doesn't say it because she understands that, she says it because she is BIG and wants that added to everything. None the less, it warms my heart and makes me squeeze her because yes, yes she is a big sister already.

My son does know, and somewhat understands. He tells people all the time. He told the photographer, “we had another baby but it died”. My husband hurried him quiet and it has sat in my heart since than. I know my husband was trying to protect me, we were trying to celebrate this pregnancy in pictures, me crying was the last thing he wanted. It still weighs on me, I wish I would have jumped in faster, been stronger, talked to him, acknowledged it. 

Why can’t we talk about it?

I’m asked frequently, is this your second? So this is your third? (depending on how many children are with me). I almost always answer it’s my fourth, or it’s my fourth pregnancy, this will be my third child.

Responses very from stunned silence, sad eyes stares, quick conversation changes or need to leave, and on one occasion I had a women I just met (who was in her late first or early second trimester) come right out and say “I can’t hear this or talk to you” and walk away. I get it (sort of). Oh and the two worst responses ever, “oh you didn't loose a child you miscarried” and “I know what’s it like, we chose to terminate at that time”- I still can’t respond to those statements in anything less than a tirade.

Why can’t we talk about it?

When word started spreading about what happened at least half a dozen women reached out to me. Some I knew, some that just knew off me from MOMS club, or a friend of a friend. They reached out to say "it happened to me too". At least one of these women was someone I knew fairly well and I didn’t know this.

So, why can’t we talk about it?

Why do we choose to sweep these angels under the rug. Pretend that their lives didn’t matter, that they weren’t loved and wanted? Whether it happens at 6 weeks or happens at 17, 18, 22 weeks. These children were wanted and loved. I had seen his heart, I felt those first early flutters of movement. He was no less a child then the two that run around my house.

So, why can’t we talk about it?

It’s been one year.

One year since I had to walk into an OR and say goodbye to the child that I would never know.

Time doesn’t make it hurt less.

This new child, waiting to make his/her debut, doesn’t make it hurt less. Doesn’t make his death any less meaningful to me or my family. We will always be missing a piece.

Because really it’s our fourth.

And I will continue to answer that way no matter how uncomfortable it makes people.

Because we need to talk about it, we need to remember.

My son was a part of our family and he was loved, just as all the other angels that are born into the hands of God instead of the arms of their mother. They deserve to be remembered and talked about, and not just in hushed tones in our private homes.

Sharing my story with Shell at Things I Can't Say:


Brooke said...


At times, I have said "this will be my first baby, but it's my second pregnancy." But in most cases, it doesn't come out that way.

Melissa @married my sugar daddy said...

Thank you so much for writing this. Redaing this has brought up this swell of emotion that I guess has been dormant in me. I've never really dealt with my own miscarriage, and preferred, becasue I guess it was easier to think of it of somehting that was alomost unreal. But it wasn't, it was a very real part of who and what I am.

Melissa @married my sugar daddy said...

Thank you so much for writing this. Reading this has brought up this swell of emotion that I guess has been dormant in me. I've never really dealt with my own miscarriage, and preferred, because I guess it was easier to think of it as somehting that was almost unreal. But it wasn't, it was a very real part of who and what I am.

Hyacynth said...

Really, it is four. And that statement doesn't even need the word really ... plainly, it is four.
Three {almost} in your arms, one in God's.
He's remembered. I love you guys, and I'm praying as you add baby number four to your family sometime very soon here.

Shell said...

It IS four. It is. And by you speaking up, you'll give other women who have gone through the same thing the courage to speak up and remember their angels, too.

Shell said...

Hey, doll: I just came across this new site and thought maybe you might want to check it out-

Lisa Noel said...

I think that this is one of the great things about blogging, or at least I hope it it. That it gives a voice to topics that have been taboo before and allows others who are freshly going through it to find those who've been down that road. Having women who've been there start talking about it might help those who go through it in the future. I have experienced both a misscarraige and a termination and I have never had the courage to say I have 5 children to anyone. Very few people knew of these pregnancies as I was 19 and 16, respectively, so they were never acknowledged at the time. But I firmly believe they were my babies from the instant they were created. I don't know how anyone, but especially a woman who has carried a child, can doubt that they are our children before a live birth!

Cameron said...

I wish we could talk about it--and I'm glad you are. I suffered a loss in July of '09 and luckily I knew one friend who had had a miscarriage and talked about it, so I could call her to talk. When I "came out of the infertility closet" on my blog and talked about the miscarriage and our issues, SO MANY of my friends e-mailed me privately that they'd been through the same thing. WHAT? WHY DON'T WE TALK ABOUT IT? It happens to so many of us and it's so, so sad, we should be here to support each other through it and not keep it as a dark secret. Thanks for saying this. :) xoxo

Lenae said...

It is 4. I'm so glad you're talking about this publicly and out in the open, especially reading the handful of responses from women who have had similar experiences as you ... having children not here, but still as real and part of their hearts as the ones who are.

Kate at Big City Belly said...

Melissa, this was so well said. Yes, you are a mom of four and I think it's healthy to talk about it (for some....not all people can).

I'm praying for you and your whole family.

LutherLiz said...

You know Job from the Bible right. All his kids are killed off and at the end because Job has been faithful to God the whole time he gets a whole new set of kids and even more money and stuff than before.

I can handle Job as a book right up until that point because Hello? More kids are always a blessing, but is it supposed to imply that those kids were replaced? Job doesn't have 7 kids, he has 14, 7 of whom died.

I think we have to have the courage to name the missing but not gone children in our lives. How else will someone else have the courage to share and grow in their own loss?

Another child doesn't replace the lost one, it is just one more change to love a child. Good for you for talking about it and I will stop rambling now.

This Heavenly Life said...

This is an excellent post, Mel. I love that you're such a warrior for open-hearted talk on miscarriage. We've got talk about it, because it's frightening and real and hard. We've got to be able to listen to these statements without worrying about such terrible responses. (I can't believe you heard such nastiness!)

I'm glad you're talking about it, even though the loss of your son is scary and sad and hard to approach....I'm glad you're talking about it.

And I'm glad you're so close to having baby #4 in your arms :)

Jen said...

Thank you so much for this.

I kept it more secret too until this last time when I delivered my still baby. It wasn't until then I grieved also my 2 previous losses. It has forever changed me and I too hope to give it a voice.

Bless you and your Hubby and your 4 children.


Tina said...

Wow. That was a beautiful post. I often talk to my 7 year old about our daughter, Olivia, that we lost at 17 weeks. I was so proud when she brought home a story she had written in school about the sister that she never met. Thanks for putting this out there. I was also amazed at the number of women that came out of the woodwork when I lost Olivia that had similar circumstances. Why don't we talk more about it?!?

Anonymous said...

Just a thought. One of my sisters had two miscarriages. Both babies were named and there is a tombstone marker where they are buried (the cemetery hosted a very simple but lovely service). It didn't make it "okay" but it brought some closure.

I know it is too late for many reading this (and I regret if it causes anyone pain to read this now) but on the chance someone reads it and later is dealing with the same situation - I wish more women knew that you do not have to leave the miscarried child at the hospital. Just like with any other death, burial is an option.

Anonymous said...

We have one child, and I was pregnant 3 times. Natalie (7 "and a half, mom!") knows that she has 2 angels waiting for her in heaven. I don't remember how it came up, and it was one of those - Jason wanting to protect me moments, but I remember needing to be honest with Natalie about it.

This was a lovely tribute. I'be been praying for you this whole time.

Allison @ Alli 'n Son said...

Oh Melissa, I'm sending giant hugs to you. My sister had multiple miscarriages, more than I can even remember. She hardly ever talks about it. I wish she would. I also wish that I knew how to approach the subject. I just don't have words for it, which I imagine is how many people feel.

Gretchen said...

Well, I think this sounds crazy, but... I believe we dont' talk about it because grief is such a personal thing, and everyone deals with it differently. We dont' talk about it out of respect for the person who's grieving because we don't want to force that person to talk about it. But in a way, that's disrespectful to the person who DOES want to talk about it. I don't think we HAVE TO stay quiet about it, but I think we can choose to - not out of shame or embarassment or any bad emotion, but rather out of compassion. Me personally, I dont' mind talking or sharing about my miscarriage, but I would never probe a person about theirs simply because I wouldn't want to make that woman relive something she may not be ready to face.

I never know what to say. Grief is a strange bird. It's like the pink elephant in the room.

Muser Grace said...

This is so lovely and heart-wrenching and important. Thank you so much for writing it and for not staying silent.

Anonymous said...

You know, my 4 kids are almost 18-29. I always say I have 4. The only time I really talk about the 5th is when on a medical form I have to put how many pregnancies. It was so long ago, 28 years. And it was tough. I was 16 with a 5 month old. I had every plan to abort, but miscarried first. Makes me sad to think about it, but maybe it is time I did.
Thanks for bringing this up today...
Congrats on #4.

We 2 Bees said...

Thank you for sharing!
I have been there, twice. And people don't want to talk about it, but they should!

Anonymous said...

My sister-in-law just miscarried her first baby Christmas Eve, and I don't know how to talk about it. She got pregnant a month before me, and now I'm almost 11 weeks along. Her sister is due in May, so all three of us would have had babies this year. This is my 5th baby, and I've never miscarried. Almost *all* of my friends have, though, and one of my greatest fears is that I'll lose a child just so I know how to relate!

Amanda said...

It's 4. I wish I didn't know your pain, but I do. I wish that I didn't have a box of ashes that I can't let go of, but I do. I wish I didn't earn for a footprint of my first daughter, but I do. Nothing will ever be able to replace her, and I love that little girl even though I never looked into her face and said hello.

My friend had a necklace made for me when I had my new baby girl 2 months ago. This is the 2nd girl I've had since I lost my Mya back in 2006. The necklace was one of those hand stamped on sterling silver beautiful necklaces that we see advertised on so many blogs.... it had four rising hearts and all of my children's names.... including Mya. To me it is 4.

{{{HUGS}}} I'm sorry you've had to join this club of pain. It's not fair.

Unknown said...

This is heartbreaking!

I don't think people mean to be insensitive. I would never have said it, but I've thought it, the thing about it not being a real loss since it was during the pregnancy. But this was BEFORE getting pregnant myself. Only then could I understand.

Now I can so understand.

Devan @ Unspoken Grief™ said...

Sending you lots of love. thank you for sharing

Twingle Mommy said...

I lost four babies and I always felt like a piece of me died with the babies. While I am very open about it, most people don't talk about it. I think it is an unspoken thing in our society not to talk about it. It's almost like you're just suposed to be ok since you never gave birth. Personally I bonded with my babies the second the stick had two lines on it.
My family gets upset if I bring it up, as if not talking about it means it didn't happen. But I know I will always mourn the loss and having more children didn't make it better. (As some people suggested it would)

Alita said...

I really have no words. This was written so eloquently and straight from your heart. You have such a big heart!

You are in my prayers chica!

Anonymous said...

I don't talk about my miscarriage, other than on my blog, and with one trusted friend, and of course my husband. It was a very early miscarriage... I only had just started suspecting I was pregnant... And, we were not trying.
All those little facts does not make it hurt any less. I lost a baby...A little boy or girl... Nothing is going to change that.
Thank you for being so open and sharing your story... It helps.
Congratulations on your fourth pregnancy.. And fourth child.. Because he will always be your child, whether you can hold him or not.

Unknown said...

Beautiful! It is without a doubt four! I think you're right on. I have a dear friend who suffered a miscarriage late in preganancy and it's been heartbreaking watching her go through this journey God has her on. My heart goes out to you. Stopping by from Shell's PYHO link.

KK said...

Wow. Absolutely beautifully written. I just suffered a miscarriage December 30th. It was our first baby, we'd been trying for 5 years, and we had told everyone for Christmas. I was so lost at first. I had nowhere to turn for advice about how I should be feeling, physically and emotionally. I wanted to talk, but people don't know how to react to you. I started my own blog so I could just write about it. I am so happy I found your message. We would have found out the sex of the baby on Valentines Day. I love the comment "I bonded with my baby the minute I saw 2 pink lines.". I couldn't agree more. Thank you for talking about this. It is okay. My prayers are with you and baby #4. I'll bet God just called both of our angels to him for a great big hug on behalf of their mommies. That image makes me smile.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry for your family's loss. I'm sure your post will bring comfort to those in your shoes. Thanks.

Mrs. Tuna said...

What a heartfelt post, very well written. I'm stopping over from half past kissing time.

Emily said...

Your post is achingly beautiful. I have to admit that I wouldn't know what to say if someone would say that to me. Please help me by telling me what someone would want to hear.



Emily said...

Your post is achingly beautiful. I have to admit that I wouldn't know what to say if someone would say that to me. Please help me by telling me what someone would want to hear.



Beth Zimmerman said...

Absolutely beautiful! We lost our youngest. I am absolutely certain that she is a girl! I have named her Libby (Elizabeth) and one of the many things I look forward to in Heaven is the opportunity to finally hold my precious child!

Laura said...

I had 2 miscarriages (one miscarriage before each delivery). My girls are 15 & 21 now and I still wonder "what if". Being mothers, I don't think we ever forget.

Heather Guymon said...

I am so glad I read this. My third baby was actually a twin. We found out about the two babies around 8 weeks, saw the heart beats, felt the excitement and nervousness, and then two weeks later found out we had lost the one. I have tried to tell myself that it's no big deal, that I didn't have that much time to really think about it, but I am lying to myself. I think about that baby almost every day that I look into Jack's eyes. I wonder if he thinks about that one brother or sister that didn't get to make it down here all the way. They were connected, sharing my heart beat and my body, and then it was just him. My daughter and oldest child randomly came up to me two days ago and said to me, "hey mom, remember when we were going to have two babies, but one died, and now we just have Jack?" Since then I have done nothing but think about that baby we lost. I felt silly and weak. After reading this though, I don't feel either of those things. So, thank you for talking about it.

********** said...

wow. This is powerful and THANK YOU so much for writing this. We struggled with infertility and miscarriage for 7 years. Then we adopted our son. For the longest time everytime our oldest son had his pictures taken it was with a certain teddy bear present. IN my mind, that teddy was our Babies Lost. Then our youngest came along. She had a twin that didnt make it. There are still days when I look at her, love her with all my heart, and think "there should have been two.". It something that only parents of miscarried babies can understand. Great post.

jennafish said...

that sucks so much. my heart goes out to you.

My sister in law lost a baby about 5 years ago. Her parents, my in-laws, always acknowledge her when they talk about how many grandchildren they have and I love it. my guy is their #17. #15 is their angel in heaven.