Many of the mamas at Earth Mama have experienced baby loss along with baby joy. We offer this space to Mama Michelle, to tell her story to help heal her own heart, to commiserate, and by so doing to encourage other mamas to share their stories.
Remembering My Angels
by Michelle Lloyd
October 15th is Pregnancy and Baby Loss Remembrance Day. Throughout the world, families will gather for remembrance ceremonies, candlelight vigils, walks, and other community events. (You can find one in your local area at www.october15th.com) This is my first year participating, though I have lost a total of six angels. Before my last loss, I wasn’t aware there even was a remembrance day. I have been pretty blind to most things pregnancy loss related because it has been easier to ignore than face head on.
This year, losing twins, was the hardest of all of my miscarriages. Maybe it is because I did have a successful pregnancy and know how much joy motherhood has brought me. I was so looking forward to a possible VBAC and following through my first birthing plan. I was going to breastfeed for so much longer because my first try was a failure. I looked forward to using my new natural parenting knowledge and getting a chance to do it all over again.
In 2007, my daughter was a high-risk pregnancy due to all of my previous miscarriages. With medication, the Dr.’s were able to thicken my uterine lining to make sure my uterus would hold her. It worked. So when I found out I was pregnant last November, I went in early to get back on the prometrium.
They performed an ultrasound at 6 weeks and we didn’t see anything but a sac. So I went back at 8 weeks. We saw a second sac, but still no fetal pole in either sac. I went back in at 11 weeks, still a second sac, but neither fetal poles had developed to where they should have been. That’s when my Dr. told me I was for sure going to miscarry. I had read stories of similar situations where the fetal poles had developed at a slow rate, but by 12 weeks, heartbeats were seen.
I prayed that would be my situation.
I told my Dr. I wanted to miscarry naturally, so I went on with life with a tinge of hope that they would develop. Two days before Christmas, I began bleeding and assumed I had miscarried since it was exactly like my previous ones. I was living in the country at the time, and was 2 hours from my regular Dr. I didn’t go in for a follow up until late January when I finally moved back to my hometown. They did an ultrasound, and there were both of my empty sacs staring at me on the screen. I felt like I was going through it all over again.
I opted for the meds this time to help the sacs move on out. For 2 weeks I kept starting new rounds of the meds and nothing. My 3rd week on the drug, I began to bleed. I was bleeding so heavily I was told to rush to the E.R. When I got there, the nurses were beyond rude. I told them I was having a miscarriage, and yet they still asked me, “could you be pregnant?” It was a nightmare. There I was losing my undeveloped babies and these nurses were treating me like I was a drug addict or something. It was the coldest experience of my life.
The radiology team took me back for an ultrasound and the tech said the sacs were gone. I said no, I see them right there, and she swore they were clots. 2 E.R. Dr.’s looked at the ultrasound and even a Dr. from my clinic (who I hated when I had to see her for my first daughter) said it was a clot. I told them it wasn’t but they sent me home anyways. So this was my second time going through the motions of “losing” my twins. 3 days later I went back to my Dr.’s office and told them to do another ultrasound, that I knew they were still there. Luckily, they believed me and ran it, and I was unfortunately right.
My Dr. scheduled the dreaded D&E and I was beyond crushed I had to go through losing them a third time. This was my first D&E in all of my miscarriages. I have lost my angels from 6 weeks all the way to 9 weeks, not including the twins. They were 19-week-old sacs. The whole experience was traumatizing and painful. I still had high pregnancy hormones, sore breasts, unexplained weight gain, and my uterus was still expanding for no reason. I was so numb by the time I had the D&E I never stopped to grieve until panic attacks began.
Earth Mama had sent me a package when I thought I had lost them in December. I lit their candle on July 11, their due date. I will light it again October 15 in honor of their memory, and my other 4 angels.
After my D&E, I started looking around Earth Mama’s Healing Hearts website and discovered their grief resources page. I don’t know why I never looked for such websites before, but I guess it was easier to bury the sadness of the losses. What stuck out to me the most was the page about things to say to someone who is going through a loss. There is nothing worse than being told, "it wasn't meant to be," "things happen for a reason," "you are young, you can try again," "it was God's will." Yeah, those are quite hurtful. It's better to just say I'm sorry and lend a shoulder to cry on. Unfortunately, I was told quite a few, so I never felt like I could talk about what I was going through to certain people. I also had split with the father of my daughter and twins, so I was basically facing it alone. Granted, I did have a few shoulders to lean on and that helped me with my 4 year old.
To finally grieve and get through the pain, I found a guru. I went weekly and learned how to meditate. I learned how to find inner peace, and through breath, calm myself during panic attacks and bad thoughts. This worked for several months, but due to lack of time, I had to stop going.
Now, my grief has turned into fear of never being able to have another baby— which no meditation or breath can help subside! I do want more children, but am terrified to have to go through this again. Not to mention now being single and way past the age I said I’d ever have children. But any time I become consumed with these thoughts, I look at my sweet precious baby girl and know I am blessed and there are those out there who are suffering much more than I have.
Healing Hearts Baby Loss Comfort is a site for mamas who have suffered the greatest loss. There you will find grief resources, support suggestions, and a safe space to honor grief and express loss.