Picture: Me, my wife (Emma), and my daughter (Paige)
The past couple weeks have been pretty tough, to say the least. My wife and I had the kind of experience that really causes you to question why certain things happen in our lives. To be honest, I’m still very much processing and trying to understand it…and I’m not sure if I ever really will.
The Friday before the week of Thanksgiving…we had a miscarriage.
I’m not totally comfortable sharing it with the world. It’s hard to describe the feelings of grief that I have for my wife and unborn child…It’s pretty raw and painful.
But I also recognize that I have developed a bit of a platform and this is a subject that is very real…and it “happens to more people than you think.”
I know the above line all-too-well. It’s the one I have solemnly said to friends that had experienced a miscarriage before us. It’s the line I would use to try and provide some comfort…hoping to be a good friend while not fully understanding what it really meant.
But like many things in life, it’s a line that I have learned is really hard to understand unless you experience it first-hand.
I got a call from Emma and right away could sense that there was something very wrong. She is thoughtful, calm, and collected…but her voice scared the hell out of me. She was experiencing the symptoms of a miscarriage, so I rushed to her office and took her to the doctor for tests.
At first…all I could think about was her health. Physically, mentally, and emotionally. Was she OK? As a man, I could never imagine the kind of pain a miscarriage can have on a woman on all three accounts.
We got to the doctor and she got a bunch of tests done. And while they didn’t give us definitive answers, you could tell from the doctor’s tone that the prognosis was grim.
A couple days later, the miscarriage went through.
As I sit here and write this, there are so many thoughts and emotions. I feel sadness for my wife who had to endure it. I feel sadness for the unborn baby and I wonder what could have been. And I feel sadness for our 18-month old daughter because I know how great of a big sister she will be.
We lost our baby in the first trimester and I honestly can’t even imagine what it would be like to lose a baby later than that. The feelings I have right now…I couldn’t imagine. I’ve had friends and family that lost their baby later in the pregnancy and I feel so sorry.
We had recently found out we were pregnant and actually just finished taking pictures with Paige holding up a new sonogram. It was going to be our Christmas card where we would share the exciting news with our friends and family.
And as I look at that picture I feel sad for what could have been. But, I also feel extremely grateful for what is. We have a beautifully hilarious daughter that is happy and healthy. We have a roof over our heads and a home full of love. We have amazing friends and family and are lucky beyond words.
I have also felt this experience, however painful, bring Emma and I even closer together. This shared adversity will undoubtedly grow our relationship and love for each other. I have been taught from a young age to try and see the positive in everything. And as hard as that is right now…these are things that I will hold onto as we try to heal and take steps forward.
Thinking about it has gotten easier, but whenever I try to tell someone I still get choked up. Processing this will take time, but we’ll get through it together and with the help of loved ones.
And if anybody who reads this ever goes through it, please know that we are here to help you through.
Emma has some thoughts she wanted to share as well. They are beyond wise and hopefully can help anyone going through this too:
I’ve learned from this experience to feel whatever emotions come at each moment. We felt that secret excitement when we found out we were pregnant and were the only people that knew. We felt joy and anticipation thinking about telling our families, and imagining that unexpected gift when opening our holiday card. Then we felt scared and unsure when I experienced the alarming symptoms, and felt it even more when nurses and doctors called with inconclusive news but a tone of care vs. hope in their voice. We felt immensely grateful when we looked at our energetic 18-month old who brings us endless smiles and we’d conceived and delivered with minimal complications. We felt cared for with extra help from each other and our families. We felt deep sadness whenever we tried to tell anyone (although over time it got easier). I felt concern and uncertainty as to what it would feel like to physically miscarry. I felt numb and empty once it happened. And yet I felt deep love and care from those who knew.
We all process these things differently. This experience showed me how being in touch and aware of my emotions in that moment, really feeling them and letting them be whatever they are and however many tears come, allows them to come and go. Now, the sadness is less, and my mind wanders to what will be next instead of what “was supposed to be”. Whatever our path to adding to our family will be, will be. Many have been down a similar path, and wonderful, amazing people come after the unexpected storms we weather through, together.