Just over one year ago… we experienced a miscarriage.
It wasn’t a situation where we had been trying for months and then lost. The pregnancy itself was actually a surprise (as much as one can be surprised by such things). While I dreamed of being a mom for many years this child snuck up on us and stole my heart. Within days of conception I knew I was pregnant. I knew so early the pregnancy test didn’t even know it yet. But I could feel the new life. And sure enough those two pink lines showed up on the stick a few days later.
I felt so connected to this unborn child from the second her soul began forming in my body.
We went for our dating ultrasound with hearts singing eager to catch a glimpse of this new life growing inside me.
“No obvious heartbeat… not measuring appropriately based on LMP… it’s not likely viable… Do you want to take a medication to help speed up the inevitable?”
The phrases came in staccato each one piercing my heart and crushing the joy and life out of me.
Not viable? That’s impossible. I am so in love. I can feel this life inside of me… I am ready to be a mom. I am ready to drop everything and spend my days taking care of this baby.
“You can wait a few more weeks for a more detailed ultrasound.”
I opted to wait.
Perhaps delaying the inevitable. But I couldn’t give up hope. I could not stop thinking, my dates must be wrong. It must be too early. Maybe something funny happened with my last period. This baby is so alive, I can just feel it. This has to be a mistake. The doctor must be wrong.
Two weeks later, cramping and bleeding started. I was in the middle of an on-campus session for my master’s program. Did I tell anyone what I was going through? No, I was silent. I sat through lecture after lecture, participated in group activities, and hands on learning all while having a miscarriage.
Why did I insist I go through this alone?
Was it too painful to talk about? Was I blaming myself? Did I want to avoid people pitying me? Did I think no one would understand? Honestly, I can’t say which of these it was, but likely all of the above. Only later on would I find out that the amazing lady I sat beside for those two weeks had experienced multiple miscarriages of her own.
One night, six days into the bleeding and cramping, the pain got so intense. The hot packs, ibuprofen and tylenol, were not cutting it. My hubby and I were looking through my medical textbooks trying to decide if this was normal pain for miscarriage or not. The information out there is useless, “the pain can vary from mild to severe” is what it said.
I slipped into the shower, and just sobbed.
As I did the POC (products of conception, that’s what us medical folks refer to what passes from the body during a miscarriage before it’s considered a fetus) started to leave my body. I was in so much pain. Pain I had never felt before. Miscarriages are not only physically painful but emotionally so painful. I wept for our baby like I had never cried before.
Even though my husband was right there with arms around me I felt so alone.
I felt empty. Broken inside. We both agreed we needed time to heal and would try to avoid becoming pregnant again, at least for the time being. I could not face the thought of reliving so much heartbreak and disappointment.
But four months later... WE’RE PREGNANT! How is this possible we both said. There is just no way this is conceivable; we were trying not to get pregnant again so soon.
For the next three months, I carried on as if I wasn’t pregnant…
With the exception of no wine with dinner and the morning sickness. Actually, I spent much of the next nine months as if I wasn’t pregnant. I traveled. I exercised. I ran a 10K and my first half marathon. A few nights, I dreamt of our angel baby. One morning I woke up and cried, telling my husband I felt guilty being pregnant again. I didn’t want to forget or move on as if we never had a previous pregnancy. I didn’t want to minimize the first pregnancy by being pregnant again (even though I knew it was a miracle baby and God’s plan).
I didn’t want to make it seem that our first baby was less important somehow or that they had never happened.
After our loss, I said to myself when we get pregnant again, I am going to share it with the world. I am going to celebrate it, and if we miscarry again that’s okay because now I will be an advocate for breaking the silence of miscarriage. But I didn’t share. I waited and waited. I ignored it, then I cried at eight months about how I didn’t celebrate this new gift for whole pregnancy like I had wanted.
I’m not over our miscarriage. I never will be fully. And that’s okay.
The story is not over. Nine months later…and exactly one year to the day after my miscarriage we gave birth to our beautiful and wonderfully made rainbow baby. Some say it’s the same baby they just choose to come at a different time. I am not sure, but feel this baby is different. And I am learning to hold space for both grief and abundant joy.
Danika Koopmans, lives on a remote island in Canada, with her husband Jordan, 1-month old daughter Aurora, and Denver their first-born fur baby. She just completed her masters to become a Family Nurse Practitioner and is the founder of Health Intentionally, a program that was inspired from her own journey of healing through coming to understand her diagnosis of multiple sclerosis as a gift to living a holistically healthy life. Through Health Intentionally she supports individuals with weight loss, chronic disease reversal, and healing by providing the knowledge, tools, and support to create sustainably healthy habits, not only for her clients but their friends and family too. In her downtime she enjoys traveling and exploring all the beauty that Canada has to offer. When at home she enjoys paddle boarding, hiking, making new recipes, and beach walks. Connect with her today!
Podcast: Hijack your Health https://www.buzzsprout.com/1201931