Updated: Nov 3, 2019
This is my raw, unfiltered, story reflecting how I felt in that very moment.
This is not a reflection of how I feel now.
*Miscarriage is never the woman's fault. *
A couple years ago I was surprised to find out I was pregnant. It was my first pregnancy. It was not planned but after a roller coaster of emotions, my partner Paris and I were super excited about the new life forming inside of me. I know how common miscarriages are so I contained my excitement the best I could until I found out everything was good and I was in my second trimester.
And everything WAS good.
Strong heartbeat at 6 weeks. By week 8 I intuitively knew the gender. With all my heart, I knew it was a boy. By week 9 I knew his name.
I held my womb and told Paris, with complete and casual certainty, "Our baby is a boy, and his name is Rain." He loved the name right away. All labs including hormone tests came back normal.
We both had dreams about holding him, I saw his face, I kissed his cheeks. His daddy dreamt of the day he was born. He cried tears of joy in his sleep when he held him for the first time. Aside from my constant nausea, we were on cloud nine!
After 12 weeks we were pretty sure Rain would make it. By week 14 my little bump was showing. People asked if I was pregnant and I happily shared the news. I remember being elated that the genetic test results all came back normal.
Now in my second trimester, I went to a follow up visit.
Paris who had gone to every doctors appointment with me prior to that ended up skipping this appointment on my recommendation. I didn't want him to miss any more work and I was sure I'd be in and out in no time.
When I got the doctors office and undressed for the ultra sound I remember the Specialist being very quiet and focused. I stared lovingly at my baby on the screen, he looked like a fully formed mini baby. I gabbed to her about how I just couldn't wait to hold him, how much I loved him already. She gave me a quick silent smile.
She got up and said "The Doctor will be in to see you shortly."
I sat in the office on my phone mindlessly scrolling social media.
The doctor came in, introduced himself and sat down. "Umm.." he pressed his thin lips ''the thing is..........." he paused... "the fetus has no heart beat."
I stared at him blankly as he waited for my response.
"What?" I asked. ''Errruhh,.......... we couldn't find a heart beat.''
I was still. I stopped breathing. I was in shock and denial of what I had just heard.
But had no signs of miscarriage!
After a several seconds it began to register. I felt a heaviness in my chest. My face flushed, and grief strangled my throat. I started crying uncontrollably. I felt weak, and my heart began to beat out of my chest. I could not speak. I could not think. I could not believe it.
"I'm so sorry" he said. "Can I call someone for you?''
I just sat there crying, ignoring the question, ignoring his presence all together.
"I'll give you a few minutes." He walked out. I sat in the room alone sinking into an ocean of despair.
I had to get out of there!
I felt as if I left it would not longer be true.
I walked to my car still crying, got in and started screaming. "Nooooooooooo!!........ My baby!!!" I wept. I must have cried there for about 15 minutes. I didn't want to call Paris. I did'n't want to tell him. How could I break this devastating news to him? I felt a wave of guilt. How could I tell him I let our baby die? That my body failed our baby? I called my sister and then my best friend. They were shocked and heartbroken. They offered to drive down to see me but I told them I wanted to be alone. Looking back I should not have been driving home. It took all my focus to stay in my lane on the freeway. I got home went straight to bed. My body was weighted with bricks.
Hours later, I finally got the courage to call Paris. I had to respond to his missed call and texts asking how the appointment went.
Paris describes the following as the worst day of his life:
I dialed the number, he picked up "Hey babe how'd it go? You home yet? Did you eat lunch yet?"
I opened my mouth to speak and nothing came out. My throat felt constricted. I forced out "I.............I........... " "Babe are you ok?'' I just sobbed.
Finally I pushed out the words between gasps for air and weeping. "The baby........ has no heart beat. ......my baby died.'' He did not speak for a few moments. "No......... oh my god..................... I'm coming home now.''
He left work immediately, got home, embraced me and we just sobbed for a long while.
Then once we were all cried out, we decided to go to the beach for some fresh air. I wanted to leave an offering in the ocean for my baby.
We saw a very big, round bellied pregnant mama at the pier and I felt his grip on my hand tighten. He looked down and away. I knew the pain he was feeling. He was not going to see me 40 weeks pregnant like that.
We both started to blame ourselves. Maybe this happened because we had sex, maybe because I worked to hard that week. Was it the stress? We stayed up too late that one night? Everything was questioned.
My body is a grave yard.. my womb is a casket.. my heart is a tombstone
The next few days was a nightmare of decision making I was not ready for. Would we bury him or toss the "fetus" in a bio hazard waste bin? When would we have the D&E? Or would we wait to see if my body expels him on its own? Maybe induce to try to push him out? Friends and family weighed in with support, but also opinions and good intentioned comments that just hurt more than helped at times. I secluded myself. I took time off work, tried natural induction methods but my body did not respond.
My body is a grave yard..... my womb is a casket .... every cell of my body mourns
Over a week passed of carrying my lifeless baby in my womb before I could finally get an appointment for the D&E. It happened to be scheduled on the first day of Dia de Los Muertos. The day before the D&E, I made my altar per usual, which included photos my loved ones that have passed and in the center of their pictures I put Rain's bib, a photo of him from his ultrasound and a song I wrote for him. I lit candles, prayed, sang, and wept those three days.
My stomach was a ball of nerves waiting to get the D&E. I trembled in the cold waiting room at my 5 am appointment. With me, my Love, my mother and my Tia. I should have had my doula, but in my subconscious mind, I was not worth being taken care of. I was shameful. How could my body let this happen?
The doctor took me back and I was put to sleep. It felt like a time warp.
Before I knew it, I was awake but before I could even open my eyes or remember where I was, I was crying out for my baby. I was waking up from a nightmare where I witnessed them violently taking him from my womb. I opened my eyes. I was alone.
I could not breathe.
The heart rate monitor was beeping loudly and rapidly. I was quickly surrounded by concerned nurses and my doctor. One was reaching for my arm with a needle in her hand to sedate me. I pulled away. I was experiencing what my people call Susto. I was not in my body and if they sedated me, I believed, it would only prolong the Susto.
My doula instincts kicked in and I made myself focus on my breathing. Finally Paris came in and held my hand. The doctors told him my heart rate was too high and I needed to be sedated. I shook my head no and put my index finger up to their face to motion 'give me one minute'. Paris said "Sorry, she is strong willed and prefers the natural route." Little by little, I was able to calm myself out of the panic attack I was experiencing.
I looked at Paris. He kissed my hand. I touched my womb, "He is gone Babe". Realizing a new sadness. My baby was never going to be with me again.
I had melasma, linea nigra, darkened nipples, weight gain, a protruding womb, hair loss and was hormonal.
I was postpartum but with no baby. I never got an answer to why I miscarried.
Although Paris wanted to try again right away, I needed more time to heal emotionally.
I got healing through limpias, ceremonies, womb massage, yoni steams, reiki, counseling, temazcal, support from family/friends, my amazing man and TIME.
I did feel the need to create, however.
This lead to the opening of Rebirth.
I have so much more to share on healing physically, emotionally and spiritually after pregnancy loss. I will post my healing journey soon.
To mamas going through this now, you will make it out of this storm my Love. You will feel happy again one day soon.... I promise.
A special thank you to the women that have shared healing with me at Rebirth. You have touched and healed my heart as much as I have yours. With Love- Joanna