*This blog post contains sensitive material about my miscarriage that might be upsetting to some people. I’ve tried my best to speak carefully and be thoughtful but the experience is close to my heart and worth sharing, even though it’s a delicate, provoking subject.
Please know that I share this out of love.
This blog post is mostly the transcript for the video I made about my miscarriage experience.
There are some differences.
You can watch the video here:
Hey, My Name is Jessica.
In December of 2021, I had a miscarriage.
I feel a strong desire to share my experience and I hope it’ll help, in some small way, others who’ve been through something similar. It can feel so lonely and unnatural and sometimes hearing someone else’s experience can help normalize what you went through yourself.
I also want to explain what happened because it felt like a bomb went off and tore through us, but it left nothing behind except inward trauma.
This video and blog post are my attempt to give this baby and everything that happened more permanence and importance.
At the Clinic
Early Saturday morning, a week before Christmas, Nathan and I went to a nearby clinic. I was 11 weeks along and had some concerning symptoms. The nurse I talked to over the phone said I was probably heading for a miscarriage and I should see a doctor immediately.
The ultrasound technician didn’t say anything during the ultrasound but we could tell it was bad news by the way she turned the screen away from us when she started and then gently said, “try to have a good day” as she left.
The doctor was very kind as he told us they couldn’t find a heartbeat or see any movement.
Since I didn’t have an OBGYN yet, for various reasons, the doctor at the clinic called around and found an OBGYN at a university clinic to do a follow up and confirm everything and the miscarriage.
During all of this, my sweet sister, Rebecca, kindly swooped in, picked up all of the kids and took them to her house.
So, when we stopped at home to grab some jackets, the house was empty. We didn’t have to explain our red eyes and drawn faces to anyone just yet.
Worst Date Ever
On our way out, a friend of mine just happened to stop by with a fancy bag of popcorn for me. I didn’t have the emotional strength to tell her about the miscarriage without falling to pieces. When she noticed we were leaving without any kids she said, “have a good date” as we left.
She had no idea what was going on and it actually made us laugh a little in the car.
Worst date ever 🙂
All joking aside, this was a horrible experience all around but also one of the greatest bonding experiences for me and Nathan.
We suffered together and are still suffering together. I’m so grateful to be married to this kind, sensitive, strong man.
At the Hospital
We drove to the hospital and I have to admit that I still had some hope the clinic had been wrong. But we had a second ultrasound in the labor and delivery unit of the hospital and again, no movement, no heartbeat. The baby had died just a day or two before.
But I got to see the ultrasound this time. I could see the baby’s little face and profile.
The doctors and nurses were all very kind and one offered me an entire box of tissues as we left.
They gave me a prescription for pills that would force my body to expel everything quickly.
But I wanted to hold off on taking them because there was still a very small, irrational part of me that was afraid the baby was still alive and I’d be causing the final end.
We talked and cried together in the car on our way to Becca’s house to gather the kids. I spent a lot of the time sobbing and trying to blame myself for the miscarriage. And Nathan was so kind to listen and talk me through everything but never dismiss what I was saying or feeling.
When we got to Becca’s house, she and I found a quiet room away from everything so I could tell her what had happened all day. Nathan and I didn’t want to tell the kids until we were home.
Letting it Out
And I just spilled everything out. How the baby wasn’t alive anymore, how I was thinking of all the ways it could have been my fault.
I felt guilty because my morning sickness had stopped a couple days before and I was relieved.
A small part of me was also relieved that I didn’t have to take on the monumental task of another baby, but on the other hand, my heart was torn up losing the opportunity to raise our baby.
And I wasn’t sure what to do now or what the next steps would be like. I was still carrying this baby that we loved but would no longer be a part of this future we had been busily planning.
When you’re a little kid, you cry in loud sobs over pretty much anything. But there’s a transition that happens, maybe when you’re a pre-teen, where you stop crying out loud when something makes you upset.
You just cry silently and beyond that point in life, only the most painful sorrows can pull those sounds out of you.
Leaning on Becca’s shoulder, explaining everything, not being observed by strangers, or distracted by driving, I couldn’t talk anymore and I just wailed for the baby I had lost.
I’ve cried hard many times but I don’t think I’ve ever sobbed out loud like that my whole adulthood. It felt like it was pulling straight from my soul, almost without my control.
When we got home, we sat the kids down and Nathan told them why we’d been gone the whole day. The oldest three kids’ faces crumpled and they cried. All the kids came in for hugs and we cried too.
Taking the Pills
I was told my body would continue the process it had started but over the next few days, there was no progress and I realized that I wanted to actually see the baby. The best chance I had was to take the pills and get things going as soon as possible.
Rebecca took our kids for the day again because we didn’t know what would happen and we didn’t want to traumatize them. I took the pills, and we relaxed and watched movies for hours…and nothing.
Maybe they weren’t working or maybe they would take a couple of days, we thought.
It was evening when Becca brought the kids home for us and we started a game of phase 10 on the living room floor. We wanted to make up for the days we’d been despondent and spend time with everyone.
David was on my lap and Nathan was helping Mary with her cards when I felt a strange sensation and then a sudden gushing. So I quickly handed David to Nathan and rushed upstairs to our bathroom.
Nathan followed me shortly after and I essentially had a home birth. In some ways it was like a horror movie and I kept saying, “It’s not supposed to be like this” as I sobbed and clung to Nathan.
Nathan held the small baby in the palm of his hand and I couldn’t bring myself to really look at the baby for several minutes. I couldn’t turn my head to him and pry my eyes open. All I could do was cry and think of how nightmarish this all was.
But Nathan was so kind and patient and calm and loving and he said something to the effect of,
“THIS situation is supposed to be like this, and that’s ok”.
I calmed down enough to look and study the baby’s features. At 11 weeks, the baby looks like a baby. The head is a little big, proportionally, but there are tiny, individual fingers and toes, a mouth that opens and closes, eyelids. Just a tiny baby; the size of one of my palm.
I’m grateful we had this moment to spend together with our baby. Not everyone gets that.
Nathan put the kids to bed and we tried to rest but I was still bleeding so heavily. I felt nauseated, faint and I would break out into sudden cold sweats. Around 11pm we decided to head to the E.R. because I was feeling so weak and shaky.
Rebecca was able to come over and watch the kids for the night.
We were admitted to the hospital and they put me in a bed. They gave me an I.V. and after three hours I asked if I could change into a hospital gown because I could feel I had soaked through my dress and all the bedding.
Nathan helped me stand up and I knew immediately I was going to faint. I could feel it building in me as I broke into a cold sweat and leaned more heavily on Nathan.
I started gushing blood blood and all I could do was moan as my legs started to give out and Nathan shouted, “she’s passing out!”.
Thankfully, Nathan is strong and the nurse grabbed a nearby chair to slide under me quickly.
Things Were Seriously Wrong
They got me back on the bed and I think it was at this point the staff realized things were seriously wrong and suddenly there were 20 people in the room rushing around, sticking things in both my arms, covering me with multiple layers of heated blankets, and scanning things.
They rushed to give me a blood transfusion. The nurse said my blood pressure bottomed out and there were at least five people to my right just trying to figure out a machine to pump the blood into me even faster. When they got it working, it made my arm ache and I was so cold from that and the I.V. on my other arm.
I conscious but so weak and I remember thinking about our kids and Nathan and what would happen if I passed away. Nathan was in the corner of the room; worried, anxious, bone tired, and scared. All he could do was watch and wait.
I shaking so hard for hours as they monitored me and kept pumping everything in. But my body wouldn’t relent so they scheduled me for surgery.
I’d never had surgery before, never been put under for anything. I was really scared but I told myself I could push through this and be ok.
When I woke up, I was in recovery and so nauseated. I had been intubated so my throat hurt so much when I turned my head from side to side or when I tried to swallow. They gave me medicine for the nausea but my defense is always to sleep it away, so I tried my best to sleep the next few hours in recovery.
During all of this, Nathan had been in a small waiting room.
Alone and worried out of his mind but exhausted to his core, he tried his best to stay awake and wait patiently.
There was a sweet nurse at the desk who found out why he was there and offered some kind, comforting words and a scripture. She even kindly brought him a sleeve of Ritz crackers.
Sometimes the husbands get forgotten in all the mess of things and this small expression of tenderness and caring meant so much to him.
As they wheeled me out of recovery. I saw the fuzzy outline of my sweet husband down the hall and I felt so relieved to be with him again. I’m sure his relief was probably greater than mine to see me conscious and doing well.
We were in the hospital for rest of the day and were able to go home in the evening.
It was strange because I now physically felt almost exactly how I always do after giving birth. Exhausted, swollen but deflated, weak, battered, and sore. But, there was no reward to bring home for all the effort and pain.
No baby to remember how to swaddle just right. Just two worn-out, heartbroken people leaning on each other for comfort.
The next day was Christmas Eve and we were able to spend the Holidays together with our kids.
What a huge blessing!
That night, we all tiredly settled in to watch a movie when an ad from the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints popped up.
It was a message from the president of the church. We’re LDS so we perked up to listen.
It felt like a warm message just for us and the room suddenly fell still and focused.
President Russell M. Nelson talked about “…the lonely, the worn down and the weary…who may be struggling to see the light of the Savior and to feel His love”. He said that our acts of love bring others to Christ “who was born to cast out all fear and bring everlasting light and joy to all who follow Him“.
Snuggled up with our kids and hearts hurting, this was exactly what we needed to hear. We have the most opportunities for acts of love at home and they will help us heal.
I want my kids to have joy and light in their lives. And we did, even through this awful ordeal. Because of the light and example of Christ.
Our children have been an amazing comfort and reason to be joyful. We have amazing kids. They are good to the core and full of sunshine and love and creativity.
Noah is loyal. He has a strong sense of wrong and right. He’s an incredible artist and loves to draw and sculpt complex creatures.
Anna is strong. She’s a wonderful teacher and leader. She loves to sing, draw, and bake. She loves nature and flowers.
Helena is faithful. She is unshakeable in her love for her family and friends. She’s amazingly inventive and loves to create art.
Simon is unwavering. He is quick to make friends and to help out. He loves to build or take apart anything.
Mary is loving to the core. She’s determined in her plans and ideas. She loves to sing and play and to draw her family.
David is high-spirited. He’s a whirlwind of a boy. He loves to laugh and wrestle. He loves sharks and chocolate doughnuts.
Our kids are precious to us. Sometimes frustrating, but also loving and grounding.
They give us variety and purpose every day.
A sweet friend of mine suggested I create something to help me cope with this loss.
I decided on embroidery.
Nathan helped me work through the design during a tearful late night of brainstorming.
I included flowers for beauty and the symbol for infinity.
I wanted to make it personal to the baby but we hadn’t picked out a name and nothing seemed to feel right.
A few days later, Nathan woke me up early to share something with me. He’s a gifted writer so he had written a poem as a way for him to cope with the whole experience and for the baby we lost. I’d like to share just a few pieces of it here:
I never got to meet you, though I held your tiny hand, And caressed your perfect little feet Much sooner than we'd planned. I never felt you move or kick. You never had a name. But as I held you, little child, It hurt me all the same. ... Weeks have passed and still I miss you. Days pass by with little joy. How I long to hug and kiss you Little stranger, missing boy.
Talk to Someone
If you’ve experienced loss or someone close to you has experienced it, talk to someone about it. Even if your loss was something other than a miscarriage, talking with someone who loves you can lighten the burden.
I spent a lot of time talking with my sisters, mom, husband, friends and it helped me a lot. It took time and I still feel the sorrow but it’s not overwhelming.
I’m filled with gratitude for what I have and for the people who have taken care of me.
How Can You Cope with a Miscarriage?
I want you to be able to heal as well.
I have a good friend who had gone through a very similar miscarriage experience as me, but a year earlier. She coped with the loss by making ornaments for her children and the baby she lost. She encouraged me to create something to cope with my loss.
I learned how to embroider during the lockdown in 2020 and I’m so glad I had these skills to turn my feelings into something physical and beautiful.
If that’s something you want to do as well, I’m going to be putting up some simple, short embroidery videos and posts to show you how to do it also.
In the next week or so, I’ll be putting links in this blog post to those videos and also creating a separate post for them.
My intention here is only to show you how to create something beautiful as well, for whatever you need it for. To heal, or build self-esteem, or simply to beautify your space. I just wanted to give you something more than just the story.
But no pressure to to watch those videos when they come out. It just doesn’t feel right to make something but not show you how to do it yourself.
If you’re not interested in embroidery that’s totally fine. I encourage you to find something you can do. Write something, sew something, paint something. It really does help.
I also found walks outside to be healing. Moving, looking around, pulling back out of your grief to see a bigger picture.
Allow yourself to take the steps to heal.
Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases