Funny, this time was different from last time. I had another miscarriage. “Chemical pregnancy,” they like to call it. This time I got a positive pregnancy test. That night though, I lay in bed awake after Axa’s midnight “milky time” and knew I was going to miscarry again. I feel differently this time. Maybe because I didn’t quite feel ready to have another baby. It was a little scary and kind of unreal to be pregnant again, although why a second baby should be scarier than a first, I don’t know. Maybe in my heart I knew I shouldn’t get excited prematurely. So when I started bleeding the next morning, I wasn’t surprised. And I didn’t feel grief hit me like a load of well-aimed bricks either. I just feel strange, like this is happening to someone else. I have a killer backache, and I still have cramps on one side, even though usually I only have them the first day of my period. So I’m going in tomorrow to see if it’s ectopic. Weird again. I’m not used to wondering if I have life-threatening illnesses. It’s made me think a lot about my first miscarriage. This is what I wrote about it a year after it happened. Now it’s been two.
Yesterday, I found out that a woman in my ward had a miscarriage last week. I don’t know her. I have only spoken to her a few times. But I saw her at Church, and that she was obviously in emotional distress, and I immediately thought, “miscarriage.” In some uncanny way, though she hadn’t even looked pregnant, I knew. I suppose it was because my soul carries a matching mark. A year ago I had a miscarriage.
We were the typical young couple, married a few months and trying for a baby. I was so excited when I began to feel pregnancy symptoms. My period was only a few days late, but I am usually as regular as clockwork. I was more tired than usual, feeling a little nauseated, and had tender breasts. I was so excited that I scheduled an appointment with a midwife for the next week. Just the day I was going to the midwife, I started to bleed a little. I had heard about implantation spotting, and it was just a little, so I hoped everything would be all right. We had a pleasant little talk with the midwife, and she answered our questions about pregnancy. I couldn’t wait to have a baby. Later that day, though, I started bleeding more, and cramping. The next few days I bled more than with my normal period, and I knew I had lost my few-weeks-old baby. I know a lot more about mechanics and technical terms now. I know that when I lost my baby he was too young to even be called a fetus by science and medicine. Perhaps it was impossible from the beginning for that tiny potential I carried within me to develop into a baby. Still, even though he was so tiny when I miscarried as to be unrecognizable as human, to me he was my baby.
I was certain he was a boy. I felt it. And I missed this little person that I had never seen or touched. I read every book I could find on miscarriage. Mostly I was hungry for stories. For people to tell me it had happened to them, and they were sad too. I looked for people whose miscarriages resembled mine. There weren’t too many. Most people don’t even know they’re pregnant by the time I miscarried. If I hadn’t been trying for a baby and paying close attention, I probably would have just considered it a late and unusually heavy period. But I knew it was a baby, and that made all the difference in the world to me. I truly don’t know if it is more difficult to have an early or late miscarriage. With a late one, at least you might be able to see your baby. And people are more likely to offer condolences and view your loss as real. At least you might have something to bury. When you have an early miscarriage, how can you even define what you’ve lost? A clump of cells? An idea? A hope? A future? Sometimes I wonder what it is, really, that left this ragged hole in my heart.
I didn’t tell many people about my miscarriage. I told my husband, of course, and he was sweet and supportive, even though he didn’t grieve the same way I did. After that, I only told people on impulse every once in a great while. I never told my family. I thought once I got pregnant again the hurt would go away. But when I did get pregnant again a few months later, I was terrified that it would happen again. I prayed all the time for my baby. I refused to lift anything heavier than five pounds. Every time I went to the bathroom I was sure I would be bleeding again. Every time I passed a pregnancy milestone I breathed a sigh of relief. I passed the day I miscarried my first pregnancy, and then six weeks, before which the majority of miscarriages occur. Somewhere after twenty weeks, I was encouraged to know that my baby could survive outside the womb. And I breathed a sigh of relief at thirty-six weeks, when the baby was considered close enough to full-term to be “safe.” The whole time I told everyone I thought the baby was a boy. I didn’t really have any idea about the gender of the baby I was carrying. I just wanted my baby back, the one I had felt and loved before. I went in to labor two weeks early, and had a beautiful little baby girl, whom I fell in love with at first sight. She’s seven months old now, and I adore her. But I still cry when I read about other people’s miscarriages. When someone tells me she’s had a miscarriage, my heart goes out to her. I still miss my “first baby.” Maybe I always will.