Originally posted to kristypowellbirth.com on November 22, 2013
I’m pregnant. I’ll start by saying that. Next, let me say this: I’ve recently learned that soon I’m going to have a miscarriage. I’m sorry to follow my joyful news with what has been, for Russ and me (as well as many other parents who know the experience), devastating news to receive. Nevertheless, my choice in sharing the way I have is my desire to celebrate, if even for a moment, the life of Baby Eros. That's what we've chosen to name the sweet baby in my tummy, which essentially means "baby love." We don't know much of anything about this baby, but we do know that it was and is loved. And that it was love itself, nothing but.
I haven’t actually miscarried yet. I’m patiently waiting for Baby Eros to depart my body on his or her own time. I’ve known I was pregnant for what feels like forever. We were trying and hoping for this sweet life and thus testing each month as soon as I thought a faint line may be a possibility. One morning I got the joyful sign: a faint purple line.
I’ve had nearly two months to change everything in my imagined future to the reality of having two sweet babies 21 months apart. Of course I knew miscarriage was possible, but I’m not someone to fret over that. As soon as I learned I was carrying another life, I went on as though it was going to develop into every bit as quirky, surprising, and lovely a little person as our 14-month-old, Adiah. And although I get anxious about some things, for whatever reason I’ve always been super calm about pregnancy and birth. It’s nice to have something I can be like this with. I chose not to question it. I chose not to fear it.
So we started a little photography project a couple of weeks after we learned I was pregnant. I’d like to share some of those photos with you. The photos document my being 6, 7, and 8 weeks pregnant. I’m currently 9 weeks and 4 days pregnant.
We had a dating ultrasound when I was 8 weeks and 4 days along. What the technician and radiologist discovered was a baby only 6 weeks and 2 days developed and without a heartbeat. The moment the Radiologist told me, “It doesn’t look good,” I was instantly devastated. Russ was there, Adiah was there, Baby Eros was there, but also not there. And so, I’ve had a missed miscarriage. We’re crushed, dejected, and all kinds of sad that we can’t find words for.
The Radiologist explained that I possibly had my dating off; that while they do usually see a heartbeat at 6 weeks and 2 days it wasn’t unheard of for baby’s heartbeat to simply not show up in this early phase. I knew that wasn't the case.
I have since received blood test confirmation that I am indeed having a miscarriage. I spoke with one of my absolutely wonderful midwives later that night, Heather, and she so very kindly and gently talked to me about miscarriage and what I could expect along with what options we have. I have thus far declined the option to remove the baby medically (what is commonly called a “D&C”) and instead have chosen to wait.
Still, Baby Eros and I are together, even if only one of our hearts are beating. It’s both so very hard and comforting to know that baby is still with me, even if it isn’t really. When I'm in the shower or in bed at night I rest my hand on my belly knowing Baby Eros is still in there, enveloped in love. My body isn't ready to evacuate it's current tenant; I don’t think my heart will ever be ready.
At the same time, waiting for Baby Eros to depart is both a bit awkward and painful in a different way. I want to be patient for this baby to leave my body or for my body to make it leave just as I would any other baby, as I did with Adiah. This is a very different sort of patience than being 39-weeks pregnant with no signs of labor on the horizon. This is a much calmer, heart wrenching patience. This patience is full of sorrow.
I’ve been processing many other things, not least of which being the fact that I told a good amount of people within our community that we were pregnant pretty immediately after I learned it myself. I got some interesting reactions with the folks I did tell and also had many fruitful discussions with friends about spreading the news when you’re so early into the pregnancy process.
I realize I’m in the minority with my willingness and desire to share in those most fragile early days of pregnancy. Everyone was concerned I’d miscarry, and then what?! Well, I guess this is what. It’s a part of our story, it’s a tragic loss… and I’m not going to hide that. I’m not going to pretend this never happened. That sounds most painful to me.
I'm not embarrassed by this. I didn't do anything wrong. I know I cared for Baby Eros just as I did baby Adiah. In fact, I want everyone to know and celebrate that there was a tiny, precious, fragile life inside of me for a time. I also want everyone to know that we are grieving the loss of our second child.
The more I think about my experience from the last few weeks, the more I think I’ll be even more public if I’m able to conceive again. I know myself, I know my intentions, and now I know both joy and loss within this conception/pregnancy journey. And though it’s often seen as immature and unwise to share something so fragile, so private, so early on, now I feel I’ll likely shout it from the rooftops next time I’m (hopefully) pregnant. I say this because I’ve realized that the only thing more awkward than announcing your “early” pregnancy is announcing you’ve lost a life before others were even aware there was a life to celebrate.
It’s an exciting time in my community. Of my 13 closest friends, 8 of us are currently pregnant and due quite close together. It's wild, really. Two of those ladies are due within 7 days of my due date. Amidst grieving our loss of life, I’ve also been very sad at the thought of not being able to go through the process of pregnancy with my most dear friends.
Additionally, I’ve been sad to think that my friends may try to protect me by thinking twice about sharing all of the special, as well as the totally mundane, details with me. Despite my loss, though, I nevertheless am still that friend that wants every pregnancy, birth, new baby, new mama detail someone is willing to share. Pregnancy and birth, for those who know me, know this is my preferred topic of choice. I mean, I’m a birth photographer for goodness sakes – I love this stuff! (Poor Russ, I know.)
I’ve asked my friends, as I would ask anyone, to please not keep these conversations from me. I truly think it would only hurt worse not to be able to share in the joys and celebrations of this wonderful experience. This is how I truly feel – my tragedy does not affect my ability to celebrate others’ triumph. What’s more, I look forward to sharing in other people’s births, or those people who invite me into their lives to capture those moments on film.
So please, dear friends and clients, let me still care for you in all your joys and sorrows. And please, grieve with me the loss of our second child, Baby Eros.