The Emotional Impact of Pregnancy Loss

My husband and I recently experienced our second *pregnancy loss.

We’ve made 2 babies, but we have no children.

And if we’re being honest – even right now, typing that sentence and seeing it in black & white really just tripped me out.

A little background: My first pregnancy ended over 2 years ago after having a D&C at 11 weeks due to a missed miscarriage. Everything was developing fine with the pregnancy, we heard the little nugget’s heartbeat and had ultrasounds showing normal growth. Then, the baby died. After that it took us almost 2 years to conceive again. I was on my 4th round of fertility drugs when we finally fell pregnant this past December, but sadly that pregnancy ended as a ruptured ectopic in mid-January. The little life and my left Fallopian tube were removed during surgery.

“We’ve made 2 babies, but we have no children”

It never actually occurred to me that I’d find myself here. I’ve always wanted to have kids, and I truly thought once I was married it would just – happen. Growing up I was the girl who had the names of my future, hypothetical children scribbled down in my school notebooks. I had these grand expectations of how motherhood was supposed to go and let me tell you, it sure as hell didn’t look like this.

But..life happens. The reality is that most times life is good, but other times life is really, really shitty. All things considered, nothing has caused me more pain, sadness, and trauma than losing my unborn babies. That may seem like a dramatic statement to you, but it’s my reality. It has been one of those defining life moments for me, and I am a totally different person because of it. I feel distant. Roughened. A little cold and a little icy. I guess life will do that to a person.

For those of you who do not know the pain of pregnancy loss, I hope this blog gives you some insight into the emotions that someone you love may be feeling. Not so that you can feel bad for or pity them, but so that you can begin to understand their experience and try to put yourself in their shoes as best as you can. It’s always easier to be there for a person if you understand a little about what they’re going through.

If you’ve experienced pregnancy loss, unfortunately you know all too well what I’m talking about. Losing a baby during pregnancy can be devastating. I have honestly found so much comfort in reading or listening to complete strangers on the internet talk about their losses. And for those women, I am thankful. It helps me to know that others who have gone through this share in the roller coaster ride of emotions I’m experiencing. It helps me feel a little less crazy, you know? My only goal here is to be that reassuring voice for someone else. To validate your feelings and let you know that girl, I get it.

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I get what it’s like to feel more sadness and grief than you ever thought possible. You just lost a baby. Your baby. A tiny, developing human life. Your son. Your daughter. You talked to them, sang to them. Prayed for them. You fantasized about them and picked names for them. You bought things, made plans, and created space in your home for them. You created space in your heart for them. And then suddenly you lose what was and what was yet to come, all at once.

For the first week after my ectopic, I was completely shocked. I was also physically drained and more focused on healing physically, so the grief didn’t come right away for me. Then, the floodgates opened and for about 6 weeks after our loss, I cried constantly. In the shower. In the car. On my way to sleep. When I woke up.  Multiple times a day, almost every day, I cried. Whenever I tried to open my mouth and have a decent conversation with someone, I cried. My first miscarriage brought an even stronger reaction – I teetered the line of normal grief and depression while I recovered physically and emotionally. There were days when I wouldn’t even leave my bed. But then one day something amazing happened – I looked up and realized that I hadn’t cried in a little while. Then when I was able to string together a couple happy days in a row, I really thought I was doing something. And juuuust when you start to think “I‘m finally moving forward“, a wave of grief hits you square in the nose and knocks you back a just a little bit.

I grieved both of my pregnancy losses intensely. I get it.


I get what it’s like to feel an overwhelming sense of pressure – from yourself and from others – to move on.

No one else feels this sad for this long, you’re being so dramatic. 

You need to get back to business as usual. 

It’s time to pull yourself up and move on from this. 

I really hate that term anyway…move on. To me, “move on” is appropriate after breaking up with a jerk guy who was no good for you. After losing a baby? Not so much. I don’t think you ever move on from something as life altering as that. You get stronger, God gives peace, you find a new normal, you move forward, but you don’t move on. Moving on implies an event, while moving forward implies a process. I remember freaking out after talking to a doctor-friend who said a woman should be over a pregnancy loss after 6 weeks. I was so discouraged because there I was at week 5, barely being held together by scotch tape and bubble gum…thinking I had just one more week to get myself together.

At this point it’s been 8 weeks since our second loss and honestly I’m just now beginning to feel like I’m finding a new normal. And after our first loss? It took me months to even be able to talk to people. Some women may sort through their loss in 8 days, while others may need 8 months to heal. Whatever is right for you…is just right. Give yourself some time.


I get what it’s like to be unbelievably angry. Just mad at everything. I’m so grouchy these days that at times, I don’t even want to be around me!


I get what it’s like to feel defective. To feel physically flawed, tarnished and blemished, like something is wrong with your body. I get it. It wasn’t until after my second loss that I began to take things personally. Like okay, two babies have died inside of my body, what the heck is wrong with me? It’s embarrassing.

It doesn’t stop there though. I had to have my entire tube removed after the ectopic, and that really does make me feel damaged. It feels so weird to know that a body part is missing, especially one so vital to my future fertility. Gone. Forever. The loss of my tube is just another thing on a long list of obstacles working against me on this journey to mommy-hood.

And then there’s the post-surgical bloating and bruising. That eventually goes away, but the scars on your tummy will be there for the rest of your life. These aren’t battle wounds you wear with pride, but rather permanent reminders of defeat. You feel…damaged. I get it.

“I get what it’s like to feel defective” 


I get what’s it like to feel jealous. Jealous of your pregnant friends. Jealous of your friends who have babies. I know it’s hard because you really are in fact happy for them, you’re just sad for you. So you show up to baby showers. You send meals when the new baby arrives. You help care for your friends baby when she needs a break. And you do it all with a smile hoping your feelings will catch up eventually. I get it. 


I get what it’s like to feel guilty for feeling jealous, too. Because these are your friends, after all. Guilt can be a heavy burden to bear. Some of you may even feel guilty after losing your baby because you think you are the cause. You think this happened because of something you did, or didn’t do. And no matter how many times someone says it’s not your fault, the guilt remains. But girl I still have to tell you…

It’s really not your fault.


I get what it’s like to be nervous about checking the mail because you know the hospital bills are coming. Not everyone has to have surgery or be hospitalized after pregnancy loss, but for those women that do, it can be costly. Like – congratulations on losing your baby, here’s a bill for $1700. There’s the ER doctor fee, the surgeon fee, the facility fee, the cost of ultrasound, blood work, and IV medications, the fee for the anesthesiologist and the CRNA, the copays for follow up appointments… and it all hits you at once.

Yes, even with insurance, pregnancy loss could potentially cost you in more ways than one. Without insurance? You could easily be looking at $15,000. Because added financial stress while grieving is nice.


I get what it’s like to feel isolated. The thruth is that your loved ones just don’t want to hurt you any more than you already are, so they avoid talking about the loss of your little one. They may even avoid talking to you altogether. They tip toe around you and never ask about how you’re feeling or how you’re coping, not realizing that saying nothing to acknowledge what has happened actually hurts more than saying the “wrong thing”.

You try to avoid people because you know you reek of sadness, and you don’t want them to absorb your negative energy. Some days you may even find yourself avoiding people because you’re actually happy at that moment, but you don’t want others to develop expectations of you to remain that way. Because when I say it’s an emotional roller coaster – I truly mean it.  It’s constant ups and downs.

You refrain from catching up with your friends and family because you don’t want to make things awkward when they ask “so how have you been”?! [because talking about these types of things really makes people uncomfortable]. So you lie and put on a face and push down your crap and say “I’ve been okay! What about you”? But ultimately that discourages you from interacting with people altogether because pretending to be okay all the time…is exhausting…and sometimes you just don’t have the mental energy to pretend. All of this, is isolating. I get it.


I get what it’s like to feel like an ugly, crampy, balding, bloated, pimply, hot flashing, bloody mess for weeks on end.


I get how it is to feel uncertain about your future. “When we have kids” turns to “If we have kids” because…you just don’t know anymore. You used to plan for three, but now you’re holding out hope for just one.

“When we have kids” turns to “If we have kids” because…you just don’t know anymore


I get what’s it’s like to feel ashamed and embarrassed. So many women make pregnancy seem like a walk in the park, to the point where you feel incompetent when it doesn’t come as easy for you.

All he has to do is look at me and I get knocked up.

I wasn’t even trying to get pregnant, this was a total accident. 

Y’all ain’t got no babies running around here yet?! What’s the hold up? 

The sense of failure can be overwhelming. Even the word ‘miscarriage’ paints that picture – as if you are in the wrong. Like you made a mistake or had a small mishap that caused you to mishandle something and then whoops – you dropped the baby. Oh how I detest that word, as it implicitly puts the blame on the mother. It almost (kind of, on a much smaller scale obviously) feels like dropping a baton during a relay race. Hubby does his job to make the successful handoff and you start running full steam ahead – you just have to bring it home. Then suddenly, the baton slips right between your fingers and hits the ground, and you’re disqualified from the race. So now you just watch as the other relay teams keep going around the track, making successful handoffs and crossing the finish line to victory. And you stand there feeling like you’ve failed the team.

You look at your partner and it seems like you’re letting him down…you know how badly he wants to be a dad. Some friends of ours asked Marcus to godparent their beautiful baby boy, and so fortunately I do get to watch him enjoy that from the sidelines. It is a little bittersweet for me because for whatever reason, they thought it best not to include me. But ultimately I know it brings him joy and so yea – even though it adds to my feelings of embarrassment and incompetence, I’ll watch from the sidelines and get in where I fit in. Fortunately we both were asked to godparent our amazingly beautiful goddaughter, and she brings so much sunshine to our lives. It has been great watching my husband in a fatherly role with his godchildren. But that nagging sense of shame and embarrassment is still in the back of my mind…because for now, I haven’t been able to give him that.

Even though you know it’s not your fault, pregnancy loss can truly make you feel like you are failing as a woman. Trust me, I totally get it. 

The word ‘miscarriage’ paints that picture – as if I am in the wrong. Like I made a mistake or had a small mishap that caused me to mishandle something and then whoops – I dropped the baby.


I get what it’s like to feel completely out of control. To look up and see that your body has autonomously decided to do whatever the hell it felt like doing that day. It is incredibly humbling and heartbreaking at the same time, to know that you couldn’t keep your little one safe inside of your own body. You did all the right things: took your prenatal vitamins, stayed away from alcohol and cigarettes, avoided sushi like the plague. I even cancelled a medical volunteer trip abroad to protect that little life from Zika.

But despite your best efforts…you couldn’t control everything.

Your body seemingly swats the ball down from the rim and wags it’s finger in your face. Not in my house.

Seriously? The nerve.

And I can’t even begin to describe the frustration of waiting for your pregnancy hormones to pipe down after a loss, which can take weeks. The entire time you still feel all the pregnancy feels. You think you’re going a little crazy because your hormones are raging out of control, which undoubtedly adds to the grief experience. Your body is running the show and you’re just a passenger. You resent it, but you can do absolutely nothing about it…so you buckle up and brace yourself for the wild ride.


I get what it’s like to feel silly and confused for being so sad about it. Most people aren’t able to understand the wide range of emotions couples go through in the aftermath of losing a baby during pregnancy, especially if that loss occurred early on. People expect intense emotional reactions to the loss of a once living spouse, child, parent, friend, or otherwise tangible person. Most people can even understand the pain of someone who experiences stillbirth – because at least that was a real baby. But you? That was “just” a miscarriage; you were barely pregnant. Let’s not get too dramatic here since it wasn’t actually a baby yet.

It was just a glob of cells.

At least you didn’t get too attached, it could be worse.

Just try again.

Oh – the things people say. You start to internalize those things and you really begin to feel stupid for being so distressed. I know I do, especially as a med student – where less than pretty terms like ‘fetal demise’ and ‘spontaneous abortion’ are thrown around callously in the clinical setting.

Maybe I am making a big deal out of nothing.

Maybe I’ve gone a little mad.

You start to doubt yourself, and you don’t feel entitled to grieve because well, your friends sister has a friend who actually had to carry her baby for 9 whole months before it died in a car accident. And you only carried yours for 2. So you should be grateful.

I honestly don’t know what it is about humans that makes us downplay the absolute miracle of life inside the womb. We all have to start somewhere, right? And if we’re being literal about it, developing humans stop being just a “clump of cells” at about week 4…right around the time a woman finds out she is pregnant. By the end of week 5, there’s a tiny heart pumping actual blood through the little one’s body. Week 6? That “glob of cells” spontaneously moves and has the ability to show reflex responses to touch. So can we retire that phrase, please?

The validity of unborn life is severely downplayed, and I think that’s one of the reasons why the emotional impact after a pregnancy loss is so underestimated and misunderstood. To others, your loss is just a blip in time. To you, it is everything. It is a confusing place to be. I get it.


I get what it’s like to feel traumatized after a loss. Because you think you may have just flushed your baby. Because there’s enough blood to stage a crime scene. Because this is the sixth time this has happened to you and you aren’t sure how much more you can take. Because you held your baby’s lifeless body in your hands. Because you never got to hold your baby’s lifeless body in your hands. Because you were pushed to the edge of your physical pain threshold and then forced over the cliff. Because you just spent $15,000 on IVF.

I didn’t realize how traumatic my ectopic pregnancy was for me until I began having nightmares. I had never been so close to death before. Even now, nearly 2 months later there are times when I look in the mirror and let that reality sink in – I literally could have died that day. It’s wild to me, to have confronted mortality.


I get what it’s like to feel frustrated that you’ve had to explain to the receptionist, the nurse, the medical assistant, the other nurse, and the doctor that you’ve lost a baby. Like seriously, did you even read my chart?! Please don’t make me say it again. Please.


I get what’s it like to have to deal with the stress of normal life after losing a baby. To have to return to work or school and face the world again, it’s tough. Going back to med school was so stressful for me [as if medical school isn’t stressful enough on it’s own already]. I took only a week off after the surgery, and then I had to put my game face on because it was back to “business as usual”. In those first two weeks back we talked about ectopic pregnancy multiple times. By the time we got the the cardiology unit, we were learning about ectopic heart beats. Then I get to my exam and there were two questions about miscarriage and one about ectopic pregnancy. Totally wasn’t expecting that so it took me a second to regain focus. The following week I saw a pregnant patient and used a fetal heart monitor on her. Throughout the curriculum we discuss embryology and fetal development repeatedly, because that’s what med students do. Then there’s the pregnant MA I worked with at my clinic, she always wanted me to touch her belly and feel her baby kicking.

I could hardly form a scab before it was picked at repeatedly while doing my normal, back to reality, every day things.  It makes it hard to heal. And I’m sure you have daily reminders of your hurt in your every day life, too. Sometimes it seems like life will never get back to where it was before all of this happened. I get it.

If you ever need someone to talk to, you can definitely talk to me. I know I’m a stranger to you but I am no stranger to this experience. These emotions we are dealing with are real and raw and sometimes it’s just plain hard to sort it all out. Honestly, one of the main things that has helped me through this process is talking to other women out there who can relate. Other women who just…get it.

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*When I say ‘pregnancy loss’ I am using a general term to refer to several different types of losses. Loss of a life during pregnancy can occur due to complete or missed miscarriage, stillbirth, ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, or chemical pregnancy.

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Surviving The Holidays After Miscarriage

Last year, somewhere in between Thanksgiving and the first few days of December, my husband and I unexpectedly conceived our first child. I revealed the pregnancy to him by giving him two Christmas ornaments to hang on our tree with the big news written on them – he was super excited! That entire holiday season was spent bonding over the pregnancy and the new baby that was forming in my belly. It really added to the magic of Christmas and the anticipation of the New Year! We were so excited, so proud, and so in love.

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“Coming August 2016” “You+Me=3”

Unfortunately, my baby barely made it to February; I miscarried when I was 2 1/2 months along.

Now, I’m remembering all the times last year when I thought “this time next year we’ll have a 4 month old” or “next year will be our baby’s first Christmas”. Those thoughts come back to haunt me now; I feel so let down.

For many people, the holiday season is a wonderful time filled with love, laughter, and family. But for couples who have gone through miscarriage or infant loss, the holidays can be tough just like they can be after any other loss. It’s hard to be filled with holiday cheer when someone you love is missing, and it seems like the joyousness of the season only magnifies your pain.  If you’re struggling to enjoy this holiday season after your loss or while battling infertility, I wanted to share some tips that may help you along the way.

  1. Do a lot of what makes your heart happy – Never forget that it’s okay to feel sadness! You’ve experienced a tremendous loss and you may have to be intentional about finding happiness and joy this holiday season. That’s okay! Indulge in the things that put a smile on your face and really try to soak in each day as it comes! Maybe it’s binge watching Christmas movies, baking cookies, or decorating for the holiday. Or perhaps it’s volunteering at a warming center, hosting your immediate family for dinner, taking a good nap or going on a vacation with your spouse. Whatever you enjoy, do that. Wherever your happy place is, go there. Take care of yourself!
  2. Remember that it’s okay to say ‘no’ – With it being the holidays you are going to get invited to a lot of gatherings, parties and family get-togethers. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family and friends, but the hustle and bustle of the holiday season can be overwhelming at times! Throw in there the heartbreak and anxiety that comes with infertility, infant loss, or miscarriage and it can be downright emotionally draining. You’ve got your pregnant friends, your sister-in-law who just had her baby, your nosy aunt who is wondering why you haven’t had kids yet…there are reminders everywhere. If you are feeling too sad, vulnerable or upset to attend an event, don’t go! It’s okay to guard your heart and take a day! You have to know your limits and realize that it is okay to say no.  I’m not suggesting you isolate yourself from everyone, I think we all need people to make it through hard times. For me, that person is primarily my husband but I also lean on my mommy and sister. Ultimately all I’m saying is this: don’t feel like you have to accept every invitation that comes your way just because it’s the holiday. On the flip side though, you may want to consider how going out and being surrounded by family and friends could be good for you, too.
  3. Find a way to remember your baby during the holiday – Do something extra special to help you feel closer to the baby you lost. I’ve known people to hang special Christmas ornaments or stockings for their babies. Personally, since Thanksgiving I’ve worn a special piece of jewelry to family gatherings, holiday parties, and pretty much every where else I go. I’ve also watched our pregnancy reveal videos a few times and it warms my heart. We surprised our family with the news while playing Mad Gab at Christmas dinner last year. Other than ultrasound pictures and hearing the heartbeat, this is one of the only other positive memories I have of my little one. It is such a healing element for me to watch those videos and remember August this wa way.
  4. Sponsor a child for Christmas – Marcus and I have so much love to give. August sparked a fire in our hearts and I seriously cannot wait to love on and spoil my future babies! These feelings are totally magnified during this holiday shopping season when you feel like you “should be” buying gifts for your new baby, and it’s easy to get down about that. While you may not be able to celebrate Christmas with your child the way you envisioned you would, you can still put a smile on a little one’s face! Sponsoring or adopting a child in need for the holidays while grieving the loss of your own may not be easy. But for me, just thinking of buying gifts for a baby or child who needs them ministers to my heart in ways I can’t even describe. It is the epitome of what Jesus meant when he said “it is more blessed to give than to receive”. This idea came to me as my hubby and I were out doing some Christmas shopping last week, and I really wish we had thought of it sooner! If I can find someone to sponsor this year I’d still like to do it, but it will definitely be something we start doing next year. You may even want to consider sponsoring a child that’s the same gender and age that your child would have been had they survived. Admittedly, this has the potential to be a painful experience. It may evoke negative feelings to shop for a child and buy things you would have bought for your own, so I would definitely pray about it and talk with your partner before committing to something like this. Same goes for my next tip.
  5. Buy gifts for your future baby – So back in the day, an unmarried woman would keep a chest full of things she intended to use in her future married life – it was called a hope chest. Today it looks more like the storage trunk at the foot of your bed. Why aren’t we applying this concept when trying to conceive a baby? A lot of people believe it is bad luck or a “jinx” to buy baby items before you are pregnant, but I believe there is nothing wrong with having faith in God’s ability to open your womb or bring a baby into your life through adoption. How many times have you walked past the baby section in Target in shame, feeling like you’ve been denied entry to some sort of VIP section of the club? Let me let you off the hook: you can go there, and you can buy things. Clearly this is for me too, as I haven’t exactly worked up the courage to actually do this yet…but I think about it all the time. At first I found the idea of buying things for a baby I haven’t even conceived yet a little strange, but the more I think about it the more comfortable I become. Why not? Everything is on sale at this time of year anyway and you’re likely to find some good deals! It’s a great way to stay active and build excitement while you wait for your bundle of joy.

I truly hope this helps someone out there cope with their loss this Christmas. I understand that everyone handles miscarriage differently, so some of these tips may or may not help you on your personal journey. Overall, I pray that you find the strength and peace to enjoy the magic and joyousness of the holiday season, despite your situation. Please share ways you’ve been able to make it through this time of year after your loss! I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks for reading and Merry Christmas to you!

-Nikkie

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Photo credit: Beth Hutter B&B Photography

Things I’m Thankful For After Miscarriage

In life, most of the time it’s easier to dwell on what we don’t have rather than what we do have. This can be especially true if you are going through miscarriage or infertility because your focus is on the baby that seems to be missing. It’s hard to find the good in that, if we’re just being honest. So in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’ve challenged myself to do some reflecting on the things I am thankful for while on this journey. What I found was that I really do have so much to be thankful for.

I am thankful for the time I get to spend just being married. When we found out we were expecting we had only been married for 6 months. We were just getting settled in to the whole husband and wife gig when bam! – we were suddenly daddy and mommy, too. And while my subsequent miscarriage was not something I wanted, I am still very grateful for the time I have in this season to just be Marcus’ wife.

How precious is that?! I get to focus all of my efforts on being the wife my husband deserves. I get to give him my undivided attention, and more importantly, I get to have his. 🙂 We get to sleep in and cuddle together uninterrupted. We get to spend our extra money frivolously. We get to pick up and go on dates or vacations whenever we feel like it. We get the time to really focus on each other’s needs and wants with no other responsibilities other than ourselves. Having a baby changes all of that.

While it is absolutely my hearts desire to start our family right now, I am learning to be grateful for this special time in our lives when it is just he and I, because – if you really think about it – once we have our baby we will never get this time back. I intend to enjoy and savor every second.

I am thankful that my baby will never experience this crazy world. This sentiment is somewhat of a cliché in the miscarriage community, but that doesn’t make it any less true. This world can be downright cruel and my sweet August will never have to experience it. My baby was never hungry, was never cold, was always wanted, and was always loved. I am thankful for this.

I am thankful for today; because clearly tomorrow is not promised. You can literally be here one day and gone the next, so I choose to appreciate each day as its own. Each day I wake up is a new opportunity to walk in my God-given purpose. To love. To laugh. To just live. I am naturally a planner and somewhat of a control freak so “living in the moment” is something I have to be intentional about. You can make all the plans in the world for tomorrow, but tomorrow may never happen. My miscarriage taught me how fragile and fleeting life really is; and the importance of relishing each moment I have as they come because the next moment is not guaranteed. Thank you Lord for today!

I am thankful for a stronger marriage. My husband and I are far from perfect; but I can honestly say that we are stronger together after going through our loss. That’s a blessing because not everyone can say that. Miscarriage, stillbirth, and infertility so often break couples apart and dissolve marriages. We were young, newly married, had just lost a baby, had medical bills stacked to the roof, our sex life was vulnerable – it was honestly the perfect storm for disaster. But we’re getting through it, by God’s grace.

I’ve never seen Marcus as mature, loving and strong as he has been in response to our loss. We’ve passed some serious tests together; and I’m so proud of his strength and how far we’ve come. He is truly my partner, and I am his. Miscarriage is a part of our love story now and our history as parents, it makes us who we are today. My sweet little angel August makes us who we are today.

I am thankful for my next child. Having a baby may be natural, but that doesn’t make it easy. A friend told me to “just pray and stay positive” and it will happen. My, how I wish it were that simple! It takes prayer, patience, strength, time, money, medicine, blood, sweat, tears and dang near selling your soul for some couples to fall pregnant.Trying to conceive after miscarriage has been exhausting for us and there are many days when I just want to quit.

But thinking about my rainbow baby literally makes my heart burst with excitement. There’s something about putting in work for what you want that makes you appreciate it so much more once you finally have it. I don’t take starting a family for granted anymore and I am already overflowing with gratitude for the life of my next child; however that child comes to be apart of our lives.

I am thankful that God is using me to help others through their losses. I think this is one of the big ones. I am so grateful that my pain has been useful to somebody else! Someone messaged me and told me that they wouldn’t have made it through their miscarriage without me. Someone else said that reading my story helped them to confront their own feelings about losses they’ve experienced in their past. I’ve also made friends with a mother who originally contacted me for prayer after her miscarriage, and now she intends to name her next baby August as inspired by my little one! This single tiny human who never even made it into the world has inspired people. Wow! All glory to God, who is able to work all things together for good!

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It’s easy to be thankful for the good stuff, but what about the things that are not-so-good? The things that have you up and crying at night, can you still find a reason to give thanks in spite of? I challenge you to find a reason to be thankful, no matter your circumstance! Miscarriage & infertility can leave you bitter and cold – if you let it. Today, however, I choose gratitude.

Scriptures For Pregnancy Loss & Infertility

Okay, so can I be honest? Promise you won’t judge me?

When I first learned of my miscarriage, I was mad at God.

It seemed that I was mad at everyone actually, but I felt particularly and especially angry with God. I felt like He had personally let me down. I blamed Him for things He did not do. I didn’t talk to Him or pray for months. I denied being mad at Him when I secretly was; my heart was sooo hard.

The crazy part is, He still loved me. He never left me. He still thought enough of me to break through the wall I built with the powerful truth of His word.

It’s amazing, that grace.

I just wanted to share some of the scriptures that I was led to; those that I find encouraging on this journey of loss and infertility. I hope that they encourage you, too!

 

Truth: God hears and answers prayers.

Genesis 25:21 

Isaac pleaded with the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was unable to have children. The Lord answered Isaac’s prayer, and Rebekah became pregnant with twins.

Psalm 66:16-19 

Come and listen, all you who fear God, and I will tell you what he did for me. For I cried out to him for help, praising him as I spoke. If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. But God did listen! He paid attention to my prayer.

1 Samuel Chapter 1

tells the story of Hannah, who was infertile for years and without children. She poured her heart out to God at the alter, cried, and prayed for a son. The Lord was faithful to her and opened up her womb and she was able to conceive.

Psalm 37:4 

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Romans 8:26-28

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weaknesses. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searched our hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

 

Truth: God has not forgotten about you.

Deuteronomy 31:6

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

Psalm 9:10

And those who know Your name will put their trust in You, For You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

 

 

Truth: God did not cause your miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth, or whatever else it was that resulted in the death of your baby. Sin did that. We live in a sinful world where we encounter evil and darkness at every turn. 

John 16:33 

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here in this world you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

Ephesians 6: 12

For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places

Revelation 21:4 

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.

Jeremiah 29:11 

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Lamentations 3:32-33

For if He causes grief, then He will have compassion according to His abundant loving-kindness and tender mercy. For He does not afflict willingly and from His heart or grieve the children of men. * This tells me that even if God did cause this, it was because He had to and not because He wanted to

 

Truth: Your baby mattered. Your baby counted. God, the creator of life, values life even before the moment of conception.

Psalm 139:13-16

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Jeremiah 1:5  

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.

 

Truth: God actually gave you that baby as a gift

Psalm 127:3 

Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him.

James 1:17 

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

Matthew 7:11 

So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.

 

 

Truth: God can handle our hurt, pain, and questions. 

Psalm 13:1-2 

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day? How long will my enemy have the upper hand?

Psalm 34:18 

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

Job

The book of Job tells his story of immense loss. This man literally lost everything – his kids, his wealth, his health – he lost it all. And he had some serious questions for God about his suffering. Check it out.

 

Truth: God is able, and He can do anything.

That means anything. He can overcome your endometriosis, unexplained infertility, PCOS, low sperm count, bum ovary, hormonal imbalance, “ticking clock”, ruptured cyst, blocked tubes, or anything else that you come against.

Jeremiah 32:17 

O Sovereign Lord! You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for you!

Hebrews 11:11  

By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised.

Psalm 113:9 

He gives the childless woman a family, making her a happy mother. Praise the Lord!

 

Truth: God is not all that concerned with the temporary pains in our lives if it is ultimately accomplishing  His larger purposes. 

This also means that God isn’t always trying to “teach you something” when you’re going through (I hate when people say this).  Sometimes we experience tragedies like miscarriage solely so that the glory of God might be revealed through it.

John 9:1-3 

As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?” “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered.“This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.”

2 Corinthians 4:17 

For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!

2 Corinthians 12:9

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

 

I hope this blesses you and encourages you. It may help to write some of these down! I have a journal that I keep and I write down the scriptures that speak to me, over and over again. I also write what I feel God is saying to me through that particular passage. On the hard days, when I can’t seem to think straight and my heart is aching, His word is there in my heart, too, and I draw on it for strength.

Please share your favorite scriptures below that have helped you during your pregnancy or infant loss, or some other type of grief. How did you make it through? If you aren’t religious, I still invite you to share quotes or something you’ve read that has resonated with you.

What helped you can help someone else too.

 

With love,

Nikkie

 

Everything You Need To Know About A D&C

As if losing a child to miscarriage isn’t hard enough, adding surgery on top of that can be overwhelming for some women. I know it felt that way for me! For those who don’t know my story, I found out at 10 weeks that I miscarried my first child with my husband. My body did not expel the pregnancy on its own; I had what is called a missed miscarriage.

This type of miscarriage means that there are little to no symptoms, the baby just dies and usually the mother doesn’t find out until the next routine ultrasound. The only symptom I had was very light, bright pink discharge, but this was enough to send me to the ER in a panic. That night we found out we had lost the baby; I was supposed to be 10 weeks but he was only measuring at 9 weeks. This meant he had likely already been dead for a week or so, unbeknownst to me. My body held on to the pregnancy – both the tiny placenta and tiny baby remained inside of me – seemingly unphased by the fact that this little life was over now and the pregnancy was no longer viable. So, one week later at 11 weeks “pregnant” I found myself at the hospital having a D&C.

 

What is a D&C?

D&C stands for dilation and curettage; a surgical procedure that is performed to remove the contents of the uterus. The surgery is typically performed when a woman is having intrauterine problems, like an incomplete or missed miscarriage, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, or heavy vaginal bleeding. Dilation is the act of opening your cervix; the “mouth” of the uterus. Curettage is the part where the tissue is removed- usually by suction or by a tool called a curette, which is a small metal tool used to scrape the uterine lining.

 

What happens during a D&C?

During the surgery, you lay on your back and they put your feet up in stirrups  – exactly how it’s done during your yearly lady exam. A speculum is inserted into your vagina to open it, and then your cervix is dilated to access your uterus. The procedure is minimally-invasive, meaning that no cuts have to be made and that everything is done through the natural openings in your body. The surgery is commonly done under general anesthesia (they put you completely under), though sometimes it can also be done with a local anesthetic (they numb the area). It’s usually completed in less than 20 minutes, you have to wait around for a few hours, and then usually you get to go home. Just make sure you have someone to drive you! Depending on the circumstance, some of the extracted fetal tissue may be sent to labs for examination but in my case, the tissue was not tested. They may do this for recurrent miscarriages or at the family’s request.

 

How do you feel initially after the D&C?

Waking up from the surgery, the first person I saw was my husband, which was the most comforting thing. But I also remember feeling

  • Sad
  • Tired and Groggy (from the anesthesia and from the pain medicine)
  • Tender and Sore
  • Thirsty
  • Nauseous and
  • Angry

I barely remember anything any of the doctors or nurses said to me that day. But I will always remember how I felt.

How was the recovery after the procedure?

Physically, recovery was a little painful but definitely manageable. I stayed in bed for a couple days and after that I was up and about, but my activity was restricted. I could not exercise, be submerged in water (no pools, hot tubs, bubble baths, etc.), lift anything heavy, wear tampons, have sex with my husband, or do any other vigorous activity for 4 weeks.  Other than that, it was back to class and studying as “usual”.

My Gyn did prescribe Misoprostol, which is a medicine I took after the D&C that is used to stimulate contraction of the uterus. This is not required of everyone that has a miscarriage and I hated that I had to take it myself, but if it is indicated by your doctor then I advocate following their advice. They usually have you take it if you have retained some fetal tissue, it helps to expel everything and prevent infection. But please be aware: This same medicine can also be used to induce labor. It was painful. It was extremely bloody. It was draining. My doctor also prescribed Ibuprofen and Tylenol with Codeine though, so I was able to stay ahead of the pain and keep it managed… it was like bad menstrual cramps with a very painful contraction thrown in here and there.

For a week or so after the surgery, I had to sleep on a bath towel and set alarms throughout the night to wake up and change my pad. There was A LOT of blood. One day while at school the bleeding was so bad that I contemplated going to the ER; I was soaking a pad every half hour for about 3 hours straight, and passing huge clots. In between classes I went to the bathroom and had a big contraction while squatting over the toilet. I passed a clot, and then some tissue literally the size of the palm of my hand fell onto the bathroom stall floor – the pain from the contraction was so bad that I winced and subsequently missed the bowl. I had to clean blood off the floor and the side of the toilet bowl before heading back to class. Still haven’t gone back in that bathroom.

I was SO frustrated that I had to go through this after the D&C. It seemed unfair that the miscarriage was dragging on for this long. But, I have to imagine that had I not had the D&C, there wold have been much more blood and pain than I could handle going through the miscarriage naturally. Possibly even an infection. So ultimately the procedure was worth it for me as the physical pain was manageable; it was the emotional pain that was far worse.

 

How long after the procedure does it take to get your period? What was that like?

It took exactly 5 weeks and 4 days from the day of the D&C for me to get my first period. Textbook is anywhere from 4-6 weeks, but of course that varies from woman to woman. If you go longer than 7 weeks I’d call your doctor; not because it means there is something wrong…but just for your sanity. That first period was bittersweet. Bitter because it really put the nail in the coffin for me (no pun intended). I hadn’t had a period since November and my first period post-miscarriage was in March, so reality really set in that this baby was gone and I was no longer pregnant. It sucked. But the “sweet” aspect was that I felt like my body was finally getting back to normal. Having a period was a good thing! Even though it kicked my butt and hit me like a ton of bricks, it meant things were functioning the way they were supposed to in there and I could finally move forward physically with recovery. 🙂

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Just make sure Dr. Love isn’t your gynecologist and you should definitely survive your D&C 🙂

All in all, the D&C was an effective way to complete my miscarriage when my body wouldn’t do it on it’s own. If you have any questions about my experience with the procedure feel free to comment below or shoot me an email!

How was your experience with D&C? Did you have to help nurse your partner back to health after the surgery? Are you a little less nervous about your upcoming procedure after reading this? Let me know! 🙂

 

 

xoxo

 

-N

Our Small Memorial Service For August

Well, this past weekend was my due date. August 26, 2016. And to be honest, it was just as hard as I thought it was going to be.

August 27th was the due date as calculated by the date of my LMP (last menstrual period), but August 26th was the estimated due date from our dating ultrasound. So, this past weekend there were a lot of tears. A lot of pits in my stomach and lumps in my throat.

Miscarriage is a strange loss. I can’t say we were able to think back on the good times and fun memories we made with our deceased loved one…because there weren’t any. This child died in utero before we could even see him crack a smile. The only memories I have of my baby are hearing his heart beat for the first time, and seeing his fully formed face on ultrasound the day we found out we were miscarrying. Both my husband and I heard the heartbeat, but only I saw his face. The ultrasound tech didn’t print the picture,  so the only place that memory will ever exist is in my mind.

Friday night included laying on my mothers lap for 15 minutes, bawling my eyes out. There is something about her that is so comforting to me. Her hands, her voice, all soothed me like I was her little girl again as she was trying to console me. Then I went home with my husband and we spent the night relaxing together.

Saturday wasn’t as bad, I think that was because I had a million things to do that day. I kept my mind occupied and kept moving, which helped me not get so down. I ended up going out with some of my good friends to celebrate a graduation. One of them asked me “When are y’all having kids?” Ouch. She has no idea that she is picking at an invisible scab. “Oh, soon I hope. We’ll see!” with a forced grin on my face. Then she said something that sent chills down my spine. She said “You look like a mom, and not in a bad way. You just look really motherly right now, I feel it. It’s going to happen soon”. I figured it may be awkward if I hugged her and started crying immediately and uncontrollably in the middle of the bar, so I digressed.

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We had our memorial service Sunday. It was just Jesus, hubby and I, we went to a nearby lake with a half dozen balloons. We found a spot off the dock; he said a small prayer, read a poem he had wrote to August (which I’ve shared at the end of this blog), and then we sat for a little bit in silence. Then together, we let the balloons go and watched them float for as high as we could see. And then we left. It was harder than I imagined to let the balloons go. For those 15 minutes…from the time it took to get from the party store to the lake, those balloons meant something. It was so hard to let go. There were no tears from me on Sunday. I got a little choked up, but my husband did cry. We spent the rest of the evening home.

I think the hardest part about it all was that this day seemed like just a normal day for the rest of the world. Nobody but our closest family even realized it was our due date, and I don’t think anyone would have cared much if I told them anyway. In our world, someone very important to us had died and today was their funeral. But, to the rest of the world…it was just another day. As a matter of fact, according to social media it was national dog day. Just another day. The bad news is that the world keeps turning and life keeps happening.

But, you see, that’s also the good news. The world keeps turning, and life keeps happening. I thank God that I am able to hold onto his promises and keep going forward in His strength. God is working, even (and especially) when I don’t understand. It’s taken a lot for me to even get to this point, and I am so thankful.

I’ve included (with his permission) a poem written by my dear husband:

From the moment your existence was learned things changed
Titles change, life changes and everything rearranges
Excitement follows
Followed by anticipation
Then in the blink of an eye everything changes
And life seems so hollow
Days go by
People come by and tears eventually go dry
But never mistake the pain is very much alive
The impact you have had on our lives is immeasurable
While everyone else seems to have forgotten
I carry the weight of your absence with me everywhere I go
But I firmly trust and believe in God that your absence is not in vain
Unfortunately you served your purpose for us before the world would know your name
Who we are today is a direct result of you
And in this life and the next know that mommy and daddy will always love you
Have you memorialized your stillborn or miscarried baby? What did you do? Did it help you cope with the loss? Comment below!
xoxo,
-N

What’s In A Name?: Why We Named Our Miscarried Baby

One of the first things hubby and I decided to do after we lost our little one was to give him/her a name. I’m not going to lie, it felt weird at first…naming someone who never lived a day on this Earth. Nobody ever said this but I feel to most other people who knew we were expecting, our baby was still hypothetical. Something that was supposed to happen, but never did. Somewhat of a theory or abstract concept maybe, but not a real being to be named. Furthermore, we never found out what sex our baby was. The appointment that was originally scheduled for blood work to determine sex ended up being the follow up appointment after we found out we were miscarrying. We never knew if we were having a boy or a girl. So yes, initially I felt weird naming our angel baby.

But the fact is, my baby was real, and though we will never know with certainty what the sex was, hubby & I believe it was a boy.  I heard his beating heart. Saw his little nose. He had fingers, toes, arms and legs. He had a brain that controlled his developing lungs, muscles, and other organs. And above all of this, he had a soul; a soul that is unique to him and him only. He was a person. A little person, but a real person nonetheless.

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We picked the name August. I was due to give birth in the month of August so it felt like a cool way to commemorate that. We also felt it was gender neutral, in case we were wrong about him being a boy 🙂

To us, naming August after the miscarriage was important because

  • It was a way for us to honor and commemorate his short life, though it was lived entirely inside my womb. Giving him a name felt like we were giving him an identity other than “the baby I lost to miscarriage”. It helped provide a small sense of closure and also helped us to connect with our little one. Granted, I would never hold him, nurse him, or watch him grow; but what I could do was name him. Giving August our last name really connected our family and it is one of the only ways I could mother this child.
  • Almost immediately after finding out we were expecting we started picking names. We had a few boy and girl names that we were really committed to, but when we lost the baby it felt like we’d also lost all of those names. It felt like those names were off-limits for any baby we could potentially have in the future because they belonged to this baby. However, after picking a different name for August, it kinda freed up those names for us to still be able to use in the future should God decide to bless us with another child.

Naming your baby after miscarriage or still birth is a personal choice! Please do not feel pressured to name your baby if you are not comfortable with it, there are other ways for you to acknowledge and honor your child. However, this is something that worked for our family and helps tremendously as we cope with the loss.

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I made a bracelet with his name that I wear all the time. It helps to see his name and have something physical to remind me of his sweet little soul.

Did you name your baby after loss? If so, what name did you choose and how is it significant to you? Feel free to leave comments below and follow me on Instagram @_mylittleangelbaby

 

xoxo,

-N