When We Lost The Baby ~ A Story About Grief & Loss

I won’t go into much of the physical details of miscarriage medically, because you can Google for that information, and I want this post to be about the bigger story and the themes of grief and loss and working through those things with Jesus as our hope. I want this to be able to be read by those who might not be able to stomach the medical details but are looking for healing and comfort from their own loss.

 

Girl Sits In A Depression On The Floor Near The WallThis is my story about the miscarriage I had a couple of months ago. It is a story about grief and loss, and God working me through that experience to end up in a place of acceptance and finally peace and joy. Its been quite the journey and its not over, yet… but I wanted to share my story in hopes of it being a comfort to anyone else who has experienced this, or any other kind of loss. 

Last November I found out I was pregnant with my 2nd child. We were so excited and had always wanted more kids after having our first-born, Olivia, who just turned two.

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We kept the news to ourselves and immediate family for several weeks, but eventually wanted to share with our extended loved ones and church family and made our bigger announcement.

I always knew that miscarriage was a possibility but I always felt that any of my babies would have the best possible chance if the pregnancy was covered by a lot of prayer by family and my brothers and sisters in Christ, even early on. I felt that if something went wrong, those people would be there for us to lean on, so going public was worth it to me after waiting a reasonable amount of time. We chose to announce at around 8/9 weeks.

The pregnancy progressed and I was excited yet cautious emotionally, because I knew that anything could happen in the first trimester. As I neared and passed my 12th week, I started to really rejoice in the hopes and dreams I had for this sweet baby and its place in our family. I had a feeling it was a boy.

The pregnancy books say that by the 12th week all the major internal systems are basically done forming from scratch, and from that point the baby just continues to grow and perfect its tiny body and systems until birth. The first trimester is technically not over until after the 13th week. I had no idea, when I woke up that morning, what was going to happen. I thought I was out of the woods, had an extra bounce in my step, and felt I could finally let my guard down a little.

Then it happened — that night I would begin miscarry at 12 weeks and 2 days on January 28th. We hoped that it was a false alarm, but the on-call doctor told me to go to the E.R., so Jay and I went there hoping for answers and praying that everything was ok. After almost 6 sleep-deprived hours of waiting and tests and ultrasounds and more waiting, we finally got a straight answer about whether or not our baby was ok, at about 5:00 in the morning.

The doctor sat us down and told us that there was no heartbeat detected and that we had lost the baby, whose heart had actually stopped beating a month earlier, probably right around 7 weeks. My body just continued the pregnancy for another 5 weeks and didn’t get the message that the baby’s heart had stopped beating. Turns out this scenario is more common than one might think.  

Here is my baby at 7 weeks exactly, with a strong heartbeat. Its heart stopped beating just days after this was taken.

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The doctor told us he was sorry and that it wasn’t our fault, and that these things commonly happen… and when they do it usually a result of a severe genetic problem that prevented the baby from developing properly. He told us that most of the time it is not possible to find out what actually caused the miscarriage. He asked if we had any questions for him, and we both said no and sat there in shock as he left the room.

Then I started crying. Hard.

In the hours leading up to our answer, I had a feeling that something was not ok, but in a way I think we still held on to hope until the very end. 

Hearing the words confirming our fears was the worst. It was such a shock. I kept thinking, this can’t be happening. We did everything right. We were into the 12th week! The baby was supposed to be ok. This was supposed to be Olivia’s new baby brother or sister.

I will always remember the look on Jay’s face when he heard the news. I’ve never seen him so sad. So shocked. He didn’t say much. He didn’t cry. He just quietly held me as we walked back to the car to go home. 

As we reached to the car, I was still crying so hard. I got super nauseous and almost threw up beside the car. It was probably a combination of the heartbreak, not sleeping the whole night at the E.R., and the stress of waiting so long on bad news. My body was in shock.

I am not the first to go through this, and I won’t be the last. You start to envision your life with this new child and even though you technically never get the chance to meet them and hold them in your arms, you’ve still fallen in love with the possibility — with your dreams of the future with them. 

We came home to my mom who had stayed with our sleeping Olivia when this all started. She knew as soon as we walked in, and I pushed out the words “We lost the baby” and started crying all over again. She hugged us and said “I’m so sorry,” and prayed over us.

Then Jay and I fell into our beds and tried to sleep it off.


 

The heartbreak of losing this baby was really rough. I am not the first to go through this, and I won’t be the last. You start to envision your life with this new child and even though you technically never get the chance to meet them and hold them in your arms, you’ve still fallen in love with the possibility — with your dreams of the future with them.

I took comfort in the reality that my baby was alive and well in heaven, and the first thing he saw when he opened his eyes, was the face of Jesus.

I cried a lot for the next few days, then Sunday rolled around and I thought I couldn’t cry anymore, and maybe I was strong enough to go to church. Turns out I wasn’t exactly strong enough. I was blubbering mess during worship.

We sang about heaven and Jesus conquering death, and the words brought me peace, but also stung. I cried.

I took comfort in the reality that my baby was alive and well in heaven, and the first thing he saw when he opened his eyes, was the face of Jesus. I say “he” because I always felt this baby was a boy.

He was in the safest, most loving place he could possibly be, free from any pain that may have awaited him in this place.

We sang a beautiful song called “The Beauty of this Man” about our Jesus and just worshipped Him for who He is. I cried some more, but oddly the tears were a relief to me, and grieving in the presence of God was extremely healing. I wouldn’t say I was strong enough to be at church because clearly I was still in the throes of grief, but I was getting healing. The presence of God was exactly where I needed to be. I left church still sad, but feeling less alone and as if some of the weight of it was lifted. Jesus had lifted it. He was shouldering the burden of my grief and crying along with me. I was loved and not alone.

Grief is such an odd thing. As I continued to process over the next couple of weeks, I was feeling a little more myself, but random things would kind of trigger me and bring the tears and pain flooding back to me.

Life seemed more precious and vibrant to me. Even though I lost this sweet one (until we meet again), in some ways this experience was a gift that reminded me how fragile life is and how glitteringly precious each moment we have here with one another.

 

For the most part my days where solemn, but covered by this odd sense of peace and comfort that I can only explain by the presence of God with me. I had this supernatural joy in my heart that I believe was a gift from God.

Beautiful things in my life kept being highlighted that I was so grateful for:

  • Bringing my beautiful daughter into my bed in the early morning hours to snuggle before we woke up for our day.
  • A beautiful bouquet brought by my family. Cards of sympathy. 
  • My white mocha tasting so delicious.

Life seemed more precious and vibrant to me. Even though I lost this sweet one (until we meet again), in some ways this experience was a gift that reminded me how fragile life is, and how glitteringly precious each moment we have here with one another.

Jay and I chose to share our sad news on social media in an attempt to update everyone all at once and avoid having to say the words of what happened out loud over and over. Speaking about it was hard, but I have always wanted to be real about my life and hopefully try my best to be a good example of what a woman passionately walking with Christ looks like — in both good and bad times. Sometimes I fail miserably, but I still try and its the woman I want to be, and who God is making me to be.

I knew of many close to us who had suffered their own different types of heartbreaks and losses over the past few years, and we have had to say goodbye to a few family members and friends of our own in the last couple of years. I truly believe talking about these losses is a very healing thing. 

What happened next after going public, was truly surprising. After posting our news of the miscarriage I started getting message after message, text after text, and phone calls of women reaching out to me who had gone through their own miscarriages. I had always heard it was a common thing, but I never realized how many people I personally knew were also touched by this type of loss. I can’t tell you what a comfort it was to be able to talk about what happened with these dear women… and listen to their stories and cry together, and witness the little bits of healing that where taking place for each of us. It was a beautiful thing to experience.

I truly believe everyone grieves in different ways, and some people choose to keep their pregnancy losses to themselves. Some people just prefer to keep that sort of thing private, or don’t feel like they can handle grieving somewhat publicly. But I also get the feeling that there is a bit of a cultural stigma on miscarriage. It seemed as though some where keeping their stories quiet because they felt it was what they were expected to do, but once they started to share they seemed relieved to talk about it. 

We are all wired differently, and some like me are verbal processors who work through our problems by talking them out. Or we take comfort in knowing the church body is aware of our situation and is praying with us and for us.

Some people feel like others knowing about their loss would take away from the specialness of a personal tragedy or make the pain worse.

Both approaches are valid ways to grieve, but for me, letting people know about what happened was the best thing for me. And it allowed others who had gone through this before to reach out and talk me through some of it, and I believe this would not have happened to such a big scale if I had kept this to myself or only told a few.

A few things I learned from all this:

  • I am stronger than I thought. 
  • I am capable of fierce love.
  • My Jesus loves me like crazy and can get me through anything.
  • Sharing my pain and struggles brings me healing. And brings it to others as well.
  • Prayer and the presence of God are the best remedies for a broken heart.
  • Grief is a very odd, unique thing that looks drastically different for different people. It can be unpredictable, and you can’t rush it. You can’t just make yourself stop crying and get over it. Its not about willpower, its about allowing yourself to go through the whole cycle of grief while gripping tightly to the hand of Jesus. He gets you through to the other side in His timing.
  • I have so ridiculously much to be thankful for.
  • People don’t always know what to say when speaking to someone with grief, and sometimes things don’t come out right, but the heart is what counts. People generally mean well and want to bring you comfort, not pain. A simple hug and crying together in silence is sometimes the perfect thing.
  • Having a hope in Jesus and heaven is one of the most beautiful and comforting things, because we know we will all see one another on the other side. He suffered for us and gave His life away so that we could have victory over death. Amen!
  • Jesus loves me, more than I love myself… and He will give me everything I need in His timing. I can rest in Him.
  • My baby is more loved by Jesus, than even by me… and that makes me so happy.

Please pass this on if this story touched you, and you know of someone who has experienced some sort of loss, including miscarriage.

Have you gone through miscarriage or another loss? If you want to share your story please leave your comments. I try to respond to every one. (That said please be kind to one another. Hurtful comments will be deleted.)

If you have gone through some kind of loss and want prayer, please message me and I will be happy to pray for you, even over email.

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  • Crystal

    Paula this is a sad and yet beautiful story. I appreciate that you took the time to write this. I’m not sure if I shared but I too had miscarried before Zoe. We were devastated but God made it clear where our baby is being raised. Heaven is a real place and our babies are with JESUS and one day we WILL meet them with open arms and hold them and kiss them. Until then they are in the best care and that is comforting to know.
    I want you to know that your story comforts me and reminds me of this reality. Thank you for being real, open, and transparent. Godbless you and your family. Love, Crystal

    • I thought I remembered you mentioning that. I’m so sorry for you loss. It really is a comfort to be able to think about our babies safe and loved in the arms of Jesus.
      Thank you for you kind words. <3

  • Meg

    Thanks so much for your post, Paula. I went through a miscarriage almost identical to yours, same conception time line as well, but our son died at 9 weeks, and my body needed medical intervention via D&E at 13 weeks. Thank you for your bravery in speaking up. I have felt compelled to as well, and just like you have been flooded with emails, PMs, etc, from women who suffered similarly but in silence. It breaks my heart for them. I’m having a difficult time coping with the grief and loss as it is, I cannot imagine trying to do it quietly. I, too, took to writing about it, starting here: http://creatingessence.blogspot.com/2015/01/say-something.html

    • Meg, thank you for reading my story and for your kind words, but even more so for sharing yours. I know how hard it is to talk about such painful things, but it seems like you understand like me that it brings us healing.
      I went ahead and read your story too. I think we are a little alike in preferring to share pregnancy news rather quickly and our reasons for it, as well as sharing our losses. I am saying a prayer for you right now that God continue the healing process for you and restore your body and hormones and everything back 100% and asking that he give you another baby to love here on earth, while you wait to meet this little one in heaven one day. I also pray that He give you the belief that He will give you everything you need, and trust that He will restore what was lost in His timing. This is the very same prayer I am praying for myself, and trusting is not always easy. I understand. God bless you and your family. <3

  • Amberley

    Thank you for sharing…. Now I’m a blubbering mess! I love you sweet friend

  • Jillian

    I love you sweet friend. You know that we had this same experience, and I wish no one had to experience it–but you are right, Jesus shoulders the burden with us and weeps when we weep. So thankful for your healing.

    • I love you too! <3 I'm grateful I have friends like you who have gone through the same thing and understand.

  • Jasmine Green

    Thank you for sharing your heart in all this Paula, with great courage and honesty. It brought tears to my eyes and I know that these beautiful words will touch other women and families that have gone / are going through this experience, also. xx

  • Ashley Burtram

    Thank you for writing & sharing. I delivered my daughter stillborn at 17 weeks on Aug 8. My husband & I shared our story as well (facebook.com/burtramjourney) and found the same comfort as you did through the church & the Lord. The reason I am commenting though is that I realize that this month is the due date of your precious son, and I am praying that you find peace as you journey through this difficult milestone. I can only imagine what Jan 2016 will feel like for me, and you are on my heart tonight. There are a whole list of verses I could share with you that are helping me through this time, but I will leave you with ‭‭Psalm ‭138:3‬-‬‬ “On the day I called to you, you answered me. You made me strong and brave.” May the Lord continue to strengthen you.

    • I’m so sorry you had to go through this, too. It must have been an earth shattering experience for you, especially since it happened not so long ago and being so far along. My prayers go out to you.

      Thank you for noticing that I just passed my due date with my child. Thank you for the prayers and scripture. I have been handling it ok because my toddler keeps me so busy, I don’t have a ton of time to dwell on it… and I am grateful that we were able to see our new baby on ultrasound the same week I would have been due with the last one, and found out we are having another girl. God’s timing and working through all this has been beautiful. He knew I would need the distractions and these wonderful things in my life to rejoice over. It makes dealing with the loss a lot easier. I pray He will be a comfort to you as well when you reach your original due date.

  • Melissa AuClair

    You share your story so well, so beautifully. I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m thankful you found comfort; now you are sharing your comfort with others- this is precious.