October 15th was Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. I debated whether to share this post or not, but decided tonight to hit the “publish post” button.
I can remember that day in 1989 like it was yesterday. I took a pregnancy test that morning, and it was positive! After 4½ years of marriage, Bob and I were going to have a baby! We were sooooo excited, but waited a few weeks (until after my first doctor’s appointment) to tell our family and friends. And then…it happened.
I was at work and had just finished eating my lunch. I stopped to use the bathroom before heading back to my desk, and that’s when I saw the bright red blood. I went home to rest but ended up in the emergency room later that evening. Oh how I wished July 26, 1989 had never happened. That morning I had awoken pregnant, wondering whether the baby was a boy or a girl. Later that night, I had lost that baby through a miscarriage.
As Christians, Bob and I believe that life begins at conception. Our unborn child was not just a fetus or a “piece of tissue”. In Jeremiah 1:5 God says, “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb…” This was our baby, and we were devastated and broken-hearted. I cried and cried. I went through a few weeks of “self blame”. If only I had done something differently or not done something I wouldn’t have miscarried.
Miscarriage is death. It brings with it all the agonizing grief that comes with losing a loved one. But there are no funerals. No memorials. You don’t get sympathy cards and bereavement time. Life goes on.
Miscarriage is a taboo subject; it makes people uncomfortable. People didn’t know what to say, and sometimes they say things that undermined my grief: “You can always get pregnant again,” “These things happen for the best,” or “You were only 9 weeks along.” Others just avoided us or avoided the subject. I think society, in general, is callous about pregnancy loss. But if nobody ever tells people how much it hurts, how are they to know that miscarriage is such a big deal?
Going back to work that next week was hard. I sat in my office chair, stunned, grieving, and facing a pile of work. I wondered how the world could go on when I had just lost my baby. My mind wondered things like: Would it have been a girl or a boy? Would our baby have looked more like me or Bob? What would we have named him/her? Will I be able to get pregnant again? Will I have another miscarriage?
Although some people thought it was strange, Bob and I chose to do something to honor our baby – our first child and our parents' grandchild. Since it was going to be mounted on Bob's dad's headstone and be next to Bob's mom's, we chose for it to say "And Our Beloved Grandchild.":
Thank you, blog readers, for letting me share this story with you. As most of you know, I went on to get pregnant in November of that year and had a beautiful, healthy baby in August of 1990 (and another one in April of 1994). Still, Bob and I have never forgotten our “first” baby and look forward to meeting him/her in Heaven someday.