what i want you to know about having multiple miscarriages

What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. Today’s guest posts is by Anne R.

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With my very first pregnancy, I went for my first ultrasound alone because Saeed (my husband) had a big meeting at work. I fully expected to bring home pictures of the baby for him to see. The ultrasound tech looked around and I got to clearly see the baby (beautiful curly hair and the cutest little bottom). But when I asked her the sex, she quickly left the room. I just thought the baby was sleeping so I wasn't worried at all. A few minutes later, the doctor came in and asked me to get dressed to meet her in her office. When I got into the office, she explained that there was no heartbeat. I was so clueless that I asked her what we had to do next to get the heart beating again (as if a simple surgery would work). She choked up, unable to speak, and slowly shook her head. It hit me like a freight train and I nearly fainted. I could barely breathe through the sobs. The office tracked down Saeed at work and told him he needed to pick me up right away because I couldn't drive - but they didn't tell him why. So, when he got there, he went through the same shock. But seeing me falling apart, I think that made him find strength from somewhere because he became a rock for me. I don't remember anything after that until 3 days later when I had a D & C to remove the baby.



It took me two weeks to recover physically. Saeed stayed home with me for a week but then he had to go back to work because he had used up all of his leave time. So, for the second week, I was at home, alone, in constant pain, unable to move much, spending my days on the couch watching whatever I could find on TV, not answering the door or the phone, crippled by the fear of having to explain everything to everyone and relive the nightmare over and over again. It took much longer to recover emotionally. At my surgery follow up appointment, Saeed made a point to go with me. The doctor saw that I was obviously not doing well and asked if I though I needed help from a counselor. Before I could say no - Saeed jumped up and said "Definitely yes!" I was so depressed that I didn't even notice I needed help.

Well, after several months of seeing a wonderful psychiatrist who prescribed medication to help my mood improve enough to be able to talk about everything, I finally began to recover. But recovering doesn't mean I got over it. I never got back to "normal". How could I? I had just experienced a horrible tragedy that would forever change my life. I would never be the same person I was before. But my therapist helped me to figure out a new "normal", a new me that carried the scars & memories but not the pain and guilt.

But my story didn't end there. I had 6 more miscarriages. Babies 4, 5, and 6 all happened within a single 12 month period. I was considered high risk after my first miscarriage so I was in the doctor's office at least twice a month for an ultrasound for all my subsequent pregnancies. Each new pregnancy lasted about 1-2 weeks longer than the previous one. Everything looked fine on the ultrasounds and my other tests were all normal. I was in perfect health (except for maybe anxiety). There was no indication that anything was wrong with any of them. But, usually within a few days of an ultrasound, my water would break and the nightmare would begin all over again. The doctors never could find anything wrong and still, to this day, have no explanation for why I could never carry a baby full-term.

My therapist became my saving grace. I could comfortably tell her anything and everything - especially things that I didn't want to discuss with my husband (like thoughts of suicide). We talked about my life - not just my miscarriages. She was the voice of reason in my confused and isolated world. She helped me work through my anger at God and pushed me back towards him.

I was so afraid to talk to people about my experiences. Everyone had advice or cliché or explanation or question. Although they meant well, sometimes their comments would be hurtful or make me feel worse.

• "Do the doctors know what's wrong with you?" - implying that I'm the problem.
• "Maybe something was wrong with the baby." - I don't care, I would love it anyway
• "Maybe you weren't ready so God took the baby away" - so I was ready for suffering miscarriage? All the unmarried, unsaved, teenage girls who give birth and then throw their babies in the garbage can - they must be ready.
• "God is in control." - I know and that's why I'm angry at Him.
• "You'll have more babies, just try again" - That may be but I wanted this one too.
• "Maybe there was sin in your life" - now that's just a mean thing to say to anyone who's suffered a loss even if you believe it to be true
• "Maybe you weren't taking good care of yourself" - If drug addicts, smokers, and alcoholics can carry full-term, then maybe I should take up their habits.
• "You were too active. You should stay off your feet" - I know many women athletes whose babies are just fine. I'm no athlete but I don't think the short walk from the parking lot to the office is over-doing it.
I know there were many more but I'll stop there.

After my last miscarriage in 2009, I really started asking God some tough questions. I would shake my fist at Him - angry for the 7th time. I would wonder why He hated me so much to cause so much pain and suffering in my life. What had I done wrong? Was everything really my fault? Could He really understand what I was going through?

I can't say that things were perfect after that. But I can say that I've been able to find peace and closure and trust in God again. I now have a tattoo on my lower back - got it in Vegas on a girl’s trip in August 2009. It's a butterfly (new life) surrounded by 7 stars (one for each lost baby). Sometimes I forget it's there. It's my way of keeping them with me while putting the whole ordeal behind me. They're always in my heart. The pain of the losses will never get better or completely go away, but it is easier to deal with day by day. And, although I never held them in my arms, I know, when this life is over, I'll have 7 little ones waiting for me with open arms in heaven.

On a lighter note, we now have two children. I won’t call them adopted because I don’t see them that way (even though they are). They may not have been born of my womb, but they are both 100% mine in my heart. We brought Jeslyn home when she was 10 days old in June 2004 and Jonathan when he was 2 ½ months old in 2009. They are such a joy, I can’t imagine life without them. I know adoption is not for everyone. But for us, it has finally made our family complete.


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