Not long ago, I wrote my miscarriage story in a blog post which ended up getting republished on For Every Mom. I detailed some of the events surrounding our miscarriage from my perspective, hoping to help other women going through the same thing.
Recently, I've been reading this book called "Grace Like Scarlett: Grieving With Hope After Miscarriage And Loss,"and it's helping me heal from the loss we experienced in November of last year. If I could write the entire book as one big block quote, I would, because I love every single word Adriel writes. Instead, I'll leave you with the words that have resonated with me the most from her book. It's this:
"Jesus enters our lament and weeps for our pain.
He bears witness to the suffering.
He sees us crumpled at his feet, hears our wailing, and draws near."
Isn't that a beautiful reminder of his love for us?
Jesus sees the pain and the suffering and the emotions of ALL who feel it. While miscarriage may feel most intense by the mother whose womb held life, the mother is not the only one who feels the ache. It's husbands and grandparents, close friends and fellow mamas, and anyone moved with compassion. We all ache over pain, and Jesus meets us in our hurting, surface or deep.
Here's the thing. My husband also experienced his very own, unique, miscarriage story. I know that I'm writing two miscarriage blog posts back to back, and I know that might seem like a little much, and it may be for the person who's not experiencing miscarriage, but for the Mom or Dad navigating through this for the first time, it's not much. That said, I gathered some notes on my husband's perspective, and he has given me permission to write and share his story below.
The ultrasound tech told my wife that she'd have to speak with the doctor again after mentioning that the baby was charting smaller than usual. I could tell my wife was worried, but she told me to head to the dentist appointment with the kids and she'd meet me there. I think we both had a gut feeling that something wasn't right, but medical professionals had continuously reassured us that things were likely fine, so we tried to go along with their reassuring.
I took the kids to the car, strapped them into their car seats, and drove all of us to my dentist appointment.
When we arrived, I checked in at the front desk.
"I'm here for my cleaning."
"Oh, okay. You and your wife are both scheduled for appointments," she responded questioningly upon noticing that my wife wasn't there.
"She might not make it. She might be having a miscarriage." I was surprised by my response. The day felt like a blur.
The receptionist apologized sympathetically and let me know there wouldn't be any fees if she wasn't able to come in.
I tried not to think about the worst-case scenario, and tried to focus instead on keeping the kids occupied. Soon, I was taken back, sat the kids down with a cartoon on the iPad, and looked up at the TV screen during my cleaning. While I was waiting for the dentist, my wife called. She didn't say anything. I listened to her sob into the phone.
"We lost the baby," I spoke for her.
"Yes," she managed to say. We talked some more and made arrangements to meet at home. I called my work and told them I would not be in.
I got home with the kids, placed our youngest in her crib for a nap, and let the oldest play while I washed dishes and picked up the toys in the living room. My wife came home after that with lunch from Chick-Fil-A. We ate quietly, tears slipping down her cheeks, while listening to our three-year-old jabber on and on about her lunch and her toys and her life.
After eating, I put the kids down for naps and then sat down on the couch with Shelby.
I asked if there was anything I could do.
"Just hold me," she responded.
I wrapped my arms around her and we both wept together.
Hours later, her parents arrived and made chicken noodle soup. Afterward, Shelby and I went to Panera where we drank coffee and shared a cinnamon roll. We talked a lot more and cried, too. And even though we had to face something so difficult, I knew we'd get through it together.
A week later, we found ourselves in the Emergency Room because Shelby was having painful cramps and heavy bleeding. They took us upstairs for an ultrasound. I held Shelby's hand while looking at the ultrasound images with the tech. Shelby couldn't see the screen, so it felt like my opportunity to say goodbye to the baby. While there wasn't a heartbeat, the shape of the baby was still there. I allowed myself closure so I could focus on being there for my wife.
After that ultrasound, we went downstairs again and waited for the doctor to speak with us. A tall man with round glasses who looked to be in his late sixties came in our room. I couldn't believe the first words that came out of his mouth.
"While things don't look great, the fetus is still viable."
I saw my wife's expression of shock and confusion, and I immediately began questioning him. He stumbled his way through explaining himself. He began to state that maybe we had twins and that my wife was miscarrying one and not the other. I told him that in our 8-week-ultrasound, there was only one baby. After explaining to him that it seemed like he was giving us glimmers of hope, I asked him what her levels were. He told us, and then said that given the circumstances, we'd likely miscarry. Instead of having a D&C then and there, we were told to go to the OB-GYN the next day for confirmation.
That night was an emotional roller-coaster.
The following day, the doctor confirmed that this was indeed a miscarriage. Shelby had expressed to me that she could not emotionally handle waiting to miscarry, and the doctor agreed that given it had been a week and that Thanksgiving was just a few days away, it would be best to go in for a D&C.
I waited for her surgery to end, and afterward, we were both relieved that we could finally move on. Before going through this ourselves, we never realized how much of a process it was.
In the weeks and months that followed, I dealt with my emotions internally and tried to be there for Shelby. While I had some emotions, it wasn't quite the same. I continued to listen and talk to Shelby, but it was hard to relate to her extra emotions. This was our baby, but she was the one who felt the affects of Sam's life and had already formed a deep bond with our baby. Even though our experience and emotions were a little different, we were able to grow together as husband and wife from this process, and God gave us both strength through a very difficult time.
If you are a Dad looking for a resource for you and your wife, I highly recommend Grace Like Scarlett. There is even a letter for Dad's written by Adriel's husband in the Apendix.