How My Miscarriage Impacted My Children
I jumped into Chris’s arms with tears of jubilation streaming down my face. We couldn’t keep it a secret, although sometimes I think we should have. I shouted to my sidekick to get his camera ready to film the priceless moment we would share with our little family and have forever. We were having our fourth child.
I walked into the kitchen with the test hidden behind my back. “Something happened,” I said sadly with my “someone died” look. Although I tried my best to throw them off, my mom knew from the moment I told her we had to run out to get something else from the supermarket. Chris had returned from buying food just moments before.
Our mothers, my niece, and my three children stared at me in concern. It was really funny. They were so eager to hear what was going on, they didn’t even notice Chris filming. Candid pictures and videos are the best.
I pulled the test out as King Arthur did when he pulled Excalibur out of the stone. It was a powerful moment. Then everyone started crying as my niece ran up to me and then Bella, came charging over to hug me. Bella rubbed my belly and said, “hi little baby, I’m your big sister and I can’t wait to meet you.”
My middle child, Kaylee wasn’t very impressed. She wanted to know where the baby was right now and asked me if the baby would be here in two days. I imagined for a moment what a two-day pregnancy would mean. Glorious.
My son rubbed his belly and said, “baby, mama?” He’s a quick learner. Our mothers were so happy- we all were.
Every Wednesday, I was another week into the pregnancy. Bella and I looked at the videos on the weekly growth of the baby together. She actively engaged with the pregnancy and was loving it. Bella asked me for 6 months for another brother and she was excited it was happening now.
Every day she would wake up and visit my womb to say good morning. She was doing more around the house and serving me. I was taking full advantage of the role reversal.
Lincoln ran around putting his toys under his shirt and saying, “baby, mama?” It made me laugh every time. Chris rolled his eyes. Kaylee finally understood the baby wasn’t coming for awhile although she still had no idea what 8 months fully entailed. “Are we there yet?”
When she finally figured out the baby wasn’t going to be here for a while, she had to come to terms with the baby never coming at all.
Thursday morning, I left the house feeling like I was walking on clouds. I was finally going to be able to see the baby and hear the sound of a little heartbeat. I arrived at the office and they called me back right away. Teri was my ultrasound technician and she was a very nice lady. I asked her if I could call Chris and she said yes.
I was thrilled. I dialed him and he picked up with all three of our kids trying to squeeze their little heads into view. That’s always fun. Teri then gave me the heart-hammering news.
She didn’t see a heartbeat. My heart shattered along with my family’s and I couldn’t hug them. We couldn’t console each other. The signal on the call was weak and was another reminder of how we weren’t close to one another.
Teri told me she would have to do a vaginal ultrasound to take a deeper look at things. I made a promise to call them after it was done. When Teri finished, I dialed again and I saw Bella’s face drowning in tears. I instantly started crying. I felt my pain and her pain. It was all too much.
I told her everything will be ok and started sucking back in all the emotions so I could help her calm down.
I had walked out of the house feeling so alive and walked back into our home feeling lost. I couldn’t stop thinking about how this would impact the kids and their feelings.
When I walked through the doors and into the dining room, the kids ran up to me with their arms wide open. “Mama,” they all said in unison. Bella fought for space to wrap her arms around me. “I’m sorry you lost the baby mom. Are you still sad?” She was so sweet and sincere. “Yes, baby, I’m going to be sad for a little,” I uttered.
Kaylee looks up at me with her big brown eyes. “I’m sorry the baby died.” I thought about the eyes I would never see.
Lincoln stared sadly at me with his arms around one of my legs. “I sawee mama,” he said genuinely.
Once the kids parted from me, Chris and I shared a long embrace. I broke down (as if I hadn’t already from the children’s greeting) into pieces. Those waking hours felt like night and day in a flash. The mood in the house was heavy. I needed help and comfort. I poured a glass a wine that was one sip away from overflowing. That was a great first sip.
Chris and I usually don’t talk about grown-folks topics around the children but that day, we couldn’t wait until bedtime. The kids had great behavior and were considerate of the sad news. Bella did ask me literally ten times throughout the day if I was okay and if I needed anything. She let me know she was here for me.
Bella displayed such strength that it empowered me. She is a very sensitive and empathetic child. I wasn’t surprised, I was proud. “I know how hard this must be on you and I appreciate your support hunny, but I’m here for you. It’s okay to express your sadness. You don’t have to keep it all in and whenever you are ready to talk, I’m all ears. I am so sorry for your loss baby.”
After dinner, we all sat on the couch for our usual family snuggle time and show. Chris called Kaylee over and tried his best to explain to our 4 year old that we weren’t having a baby anymore. He asked her if she understood and she gave a quick nod. I looked at him and told him he did a great job.
Bedtime finally rolled around and my eyes were swollen and painful from the stressful day. I tucked Lincoln in, sang and prayed with him and then headed to Kaylee’s room. We laid down together and I pulled the blanket over her. I wasn’t prepared for the words that came out of her mouth next.
“Mommy, why did God take the baby?”
“We aren’t sure hunny, but we have to trust in him. We do know that he wanted the baby with him. One day, we may get the answer of why the baby couldn’t stay with us my love,” I said as the tears kept on rolling.
“But I didn’t even get to see the baby mommy, I wanted to see her.” My goodness, I felt my heart being ripped out of me.
“I know baby, me too. One day, a long time from now we will see the baby,” I sobbed.
I didn’t expect for Kaylee to unload with curiousity. She’s our wild child, so I didn’t even think she was listening when Chris was talking to her. She went on to ask me if we could have flowers and lots and lots of candles for the baby. I told her we can have a memorial for the baby and how it was a great idea.
Where did she learn this? She has never grieved before.
I left Kaylee’s room in tears but I was relieved that she was able to communicate to me how she was feeling. I was happy I could comfort her. As I kissed her forehead to say goodnight, she wiped the tears from my face and kissed me back. I sang the same nightly songs and prayed with her.
Before heading to the last bedroom, I checked in with Chris to vent and cry some more. My feet dragged to the uncertainty that was awaiting me.
I entered Bella’s purple room and snuggled into her. Chris laid at our feet. She didn’t waste anytime letting us in on her emotions. The strength she displayed all day was now catching up to her. As she started to speak, I knew it was because she couldn’t hold it in anymore. “I’m so sad mommy. I’m heartbroken. I feel like it’s my fault because I wanted the baby,” she whispered to me.
I hugged her tight and caressed her curly locks. “Oh hunny, I’m sad too. It’s okay to be sad. You have been so strong all day and I am proud of you for talking about it now. I want you to know what happened is not your fault, or mine, or daddy’s, Kaylee’s or Lincoln’s. It’s nobody’s fault. God wanted the baby with him hunny. Remember I told you about the story of us losing a baby before you?”
“Yes, I remember,” she said matter-of-factly.
“Well, that baby and this baby have each other now. They are together,” I said.
She cried. I held her and cried with her. Then as I got through our normal prayer, she looked at me and put her finger up signaling for me not to end it yet.
“God, I want you to take care of the babies for me. I’m not mad at you and I understand you have a reason and one day we will know why. Please give my mommy and my whole family strength. We appreciate you. I love you.”
There in that moment, I knew she absorbed the conversations she heard throughout the day. The news of the morning was tragic and the grief of the night was painful but the prayers from my daughter filled my soul with hope and love.
By hearing her prayers, I knew in absolute truth that I was not to blame for what happened to the baby. It wasn’t a punishment. As a mother, I felt validated that I was doing some important things right.
The loss we have experienced as a family, although painful, has been an opportunity to build a stronger bond than before. It opened the door for us to teach our children how to deal with grief which is an inevitable part of life.
This loss has given our children a lesson in sadness. They can always turn to their family for comfort in difficult times. The love I saw my children have for their sibling they never met, will always be with me.
My hope is they live their lives to the fullest because sometimes, some don’t ever get a chance to live.
After all is said and done, I am glad we didn’t keep it a secret. The emotional conversations were intense and the day was despairing but it was worth the lifetime experience to go through it with our children.
For them, to go through it with us.
“I don’t think of all the misery, but of all the beauty that remains.” — Anne Frank
The next day, Bella ran to our deck doors after a downpour of rain. “Mommy, mommy! Look, there’s a full rainbow!”
“When we lose one blessing, another is often most unexpectedly given in its place.” — C.S. Lewis
(As I finish this piece, Lincoln is having Lucky Charms. “Anebow, mommy, anebow.”)
Thanks to Medium for giving my words a platform.