All the signs were there but I ignored them. They couldn’t mean anything, for of course I wasn’t the kind of person who had miscarriages. Miscarriages happened to other people, not me.
Eventually I could no longer ignore the signs. I knew I had to face whatever was happening. But I still could not bring myself to believe our child had died. Andy sat and held my hand while I waited for a doctor to see me in the emergency department of the hospital. I promised Andy I would rest. I would make any sacrifice as long as the bleeding stopped.
Then I had an ultrasound and saw our baby for the first time, and I knew there was no hope. He/she floated lifelessly in the amniotic fluid. I can see that sad image, even today.
And so it became official: I was now one of the 'other people’. I was someone who’d experienced miscarriage. And life was never the same again. I had lost my innocence. From that moment onwards, pregnancy was no longer a purely happy exciting event. It was tinged with apprehension, and many times it led to sorrow.
Miscarriage can be a hidden suffering. When I was released from hospital and went home to pick up the threads of my life, I didn’t look any different on the outside. Twelve weeks of pregnancy hadn’t changed my shape significantly. No one could tell I’d recently lost our baby. But if they knew how I felt on the inside…
How quickly people forget you have suffered a miscarriage. Maybe they think it mustn’t have been very traumatic because the baby wasn’t very old, hardly a baby perhaps. Maybe next month there will be another pregnancy. One baby is as good as another. Maybe they just forget.
I think about the term ‘miscarriage’. I’ve suffered one neonatal death and seven miscarriages. Shouldn’t that be I lost one baby who died soon after birth and seven babies who died due to miscarriage? The word baby sometimes gets left out. Miscarriage turns solely into a medical condition.
Does leaving out the word ‘baby’ matter? I think it does. So many people have a hard time thinking of unborn babies as actual human beings. So many people think it is quite okay to abort their unwanted children. If we are to change attitudes, shouldn’t our miscarriages also be described in terms of babies? Miscarriages, like abortions, involve the death of babies.
Maybe we think we shouldn’t talk about our miscarried children. We shouldn’t count them when talking about our family size. We don’t want anyone to think we are wallowing in self-pity, unable to move on. But are miscarried babies worth mentioning? Talking about them reminds us they have dignity and value. They were once alive. They are real people. And although their time here on earth was short - too short for me - their lives were all part of God's perfect plan.
Long life or fleetingly short, visible or invisible, named or unnamed... We are all human beings. We all have value.
I have seven living children. I lost one newborn baby who died a day after his birth. I also lost seven babies who died due to miscarriage.
God blessed me with 15 children. Despite the sorrow, I smile.