On October 15, everything changed… I experienced pregnancy loss.
I didn’t really know about miscarriage or pregnancy loss. It’s not really one of those things women talk about freely. It’s one of those things that is extremely common, but we suffer alone because we don’t reach out. One in four women will experience pregnancy loss at some point in their lives. Most won’t even know, because they will lose their baby and assume their extra long/heavy period is just a “weird” cycle. That’s a whole lot of hurting women.
On August 25, 2007 we found out we were expecting. We had only been “trying” for a month and were both excited and nervous. We had just bought our first home and this would be our first baby. In our excitement, we began setting up the nursery. I bought a stuffed animal that would be the baby’s first toy. He bought a gender-neutral blanket. We told everyone. Our village rejoiced with us.
October 14th and 15th are days that will remain etched in my memory forever. On October 14th, we finished moving into our new house. Between the stress of the move and the exhaustion of the pregnancy, my emotions were on edge and we fought. Words were exchanged that, to this day, I regret to the core of my being. I went to use the restroom. As I pulled down my pants, the first thing I saw knocked the wind right out of me…blood. In that moment, the fight, the words, the anger, nothing mattered. All that mattered was something was wrong and I needed my husband by my side.
We drove to the hospital in silence, fingers clasped so tightly they began to tingle. I don’t remember the drive. I remember praying the entire way. We were greeted by our doctor who quickly listened for a heartbeat. He found one. I was urged to rest with my lower half elevated and sent home. Although we were given a good prognosis, my heart was anxious.
The following day, we had work. We were both teachers at the time and resumed our day with our students as normal. Around 9:30 am, I felt something wet and sticky slide out of me. In a panic, I asked the teacher next door to watch my class. I went into the restroom and found large clots in my underwear. I fought so hard to hold it together for my students who were just on the other side of the bathroom door. I came out and buzzed the office asking for them to send someone to take my class immediately. They did. I then walked to the office and informed them of what was happening and I needed my husband to take me to the hospital. They quickly found a replacement for his class as well. As we walked out of the office, it was eerily silent.
At the hospital, they did blood work to check my hormone levels. As I laid there, my heart breaking, my abdomen contracting, the nurse ignored my cries when I told her the needle was not positioned correctly, and she blew through my vein. We requested a different nurse. A small, quiet woman walked me down to the ultrasound room. She looked longer than necessary, but there was no heartbeat. I had lost my baby. Our first baby.
I didn’t want to go home. We went to Cracker Barrel to “eat”. In the bathroom, I passed a larger clot than before. When I got up to look, I knew I had delivered my baby. There wasn’t anything defining about that clot that made it different from the rest. Nothing I could see that caused me to know. It was simply a gut feeling. I looked for something to scoop it out. There was nothing. I stood in that stall and pondered that clot in the toilet for what felt like eons. Finally, I cried as I slowly pushed the handle. There was nothing I could do. My heart broke into a million pieces.
When I got back to the table, I texted my husband what had happened. I knew if I opened my mouth nothing but wails would come out. I had experienced pregnancy loss. I lost a part of my heart that day. For weeks, I spent the night in my baby’s room, curled on the floor, holding that stuffed animal, crying from the depths of my soul.
No one tells you how much this experience hurts. No one talks about it. When going through it, you feel incredibly alone and isolated. My mother had never experienced pregnancy loss, my mother-in-law either. Both were at a loss as to how to comfort me. My friends hadn’t started trying to have children, so they were at a loss. It felt like no one in the world understood this pain.
That’s when I found them online. A few forums tucked into pregnancy sites here and there that dealt with loss. At first, I just watched. Then I reached out. I felt hundreds of arms, from around the world, wrap around me. I found solace in our sisterhood of loss.
When I was ready, we had a private ceremony. We each said our peace and prayed over our baby. We feel very strongly that had our pregnancy continued we would have had another girl. We tell our girls they came from heaven’s garden to be beautiful, fragrant flowers in this world. Because of this, we decided to name our sweet angel baby Leilani. Our heavenly flower.