The Ugly Truth

Before I start this blog entry I want to warn you that I’m going to be brutally  honest about my miscarriage experience. That means I’m going to be talking about blood, a lot of it. I’m going to be talking about female body parts and a fetus. If this is too much for you, or you feel it’s in bad taste, quit reading here. When I lost Nash and began writing, I had more women write me about their miscarriages than anything else. They usually  said something along the lines of, “I know it’s not what you went through,” or “I know I can’t  understand you, but.” I feel I owe it to these women to tell this story with as much transparency as I can.

Let me just start by saying I’m appalled and embarrassed to be a 37 year old female who knew very little about miscarriages. I think most of my embarrassment is becasue half the women I know have had them and that includes my sisters and best friends. Not until I found out my babies’ heart stopped beating did they tell me their stories. Stories they consider the worst time of their life. So, if this was the worst time of their life and these people are close to me, how am I just hearing these stories now? I’ll tell you why. As a society, we are told miscarriages happen and they happen often. This is a fetus, not a baby; therefore, it shouldn’t be sad. Oh, and if it’s in the first trimester, it doesn’t even count. To a lot of people it’s like the equivalent of a hangnail. We are even told not to share our pregnancy news until we are in our second trimester. Why? Because our chances of losing them are high, so why tell people and go through telling them you lost the “fetus”. I’ll tell you why!! The minute those pink lines appear on a pregnancy stick, you are a mother. The excitement, the planning, and everything that goes into the joy of knowing you will bring a baby into this world is palpable at this time more than any other. A lot of woman who have miscarriages never carry one child to term, but have miscarried on several occasions. I can’t think of a woman more deserving of the title mother than one who has put her health and fear on the back burner just to have the chance to have a baby of their own.

When I thought of a miscarriage, I thought of a cramping and some bleeding. Yep, that’s what I thought. I think like all women, the fear of finding blood in your underwear was an ongoing fear until you reach that pivotal second trimester. I remember looking frequently and breathing a sigh of relief that nothing was there. Yes men, us women do that. If your wife is pregnant, ask her. She will tell you she has checked  her underwear for blood on more than one occasion. So, imagine if one day she finds it….alone. Women do this at home all the time. They go from being excited at the thought of becoming a mother, to blood in their underwear. What’s worse is that they are told not to talk about it. That although it’s sad, they can try again. Or, at least it’s early. Are these things true? Absolutely. Does it make their loss less heartbreaking? No! They have the right to go through the grieving process. We should be embarrassed as a society that we don’t let them have that. That we make them feel like it’s nothing and a weird thing to even grieve.

I had my miscarriage at 15 weeks. That means I was in my second trimester. What this means to me now, is there is no safe zone. I did what most women do and shared my news once I got past that pivotal mark. I held my excitement in for twelve excruciating weeks before I shared. In the end, it didn’t matter anyway.  Did it hurt more to tell people I lost the baby? No, it helped to have support. It helped to know people knew we were experiencing a loss.

For a week, I walked around knowing my baby was gone, but still carrying it. It’s a strange and emotional time. Every time I would take my shirt off, Crue would point to my belly and yell baby. I tried hard to quit rubbing my belly, but couldn’t. I drank caffeine and took medicine I wouldn’t normally, knowing the baby was gone. It was hard to tell my mind something my body hadn’t gone through yet. Emotionally, I was in a good place compared to most I think. I’ve been through the worst tragedy of my life. Once you have lost a child, it’s hard to trump that. If I had an overwhelming emotion, it was anger. To be frank, I was pissed off we were going through this. I grieved the loss of the pregnancy more than the baby, if that makes sense.

The morning I woke to be induced, I was irritable, moody, angry and quiet.  I could barely look at Todd. For some reason that morning, more than any other time, Crue could not quit talking about the baby. Even Todd thought it was strange because we hadn’t talked about it in front of him. When we pulled into my in-laws to drop Crue off, he gave me a hug and I started crying. He calls me baby since I have been pregnant and as I handed him off to his dad, he said, “bye bye baby”. I broke down in tears.

Arriving in the labor and delivery ward was emotional. You can hear newborns crying and most people are walking through the hallways happy, with flowers and balloons. The room we had was like any other delivery room, equipped with a bed for baby. I looked at the erase board in front of me. It had my name, followed by Todd’s under support person. Boy did that have a whole new meaning today. The objective/goal was pain control. My bed was lined with those paper pads and as I put my gown on in the bathroom, they had it fully stocked with pads, washcloths, towels, and those beautiful mesh underwear. To say I was freaked out was the understatement of the century. It was like in those mafia movies where they have the room lined with tarps  right before they shoot someone, you know to make the cleanup easier.

Our nurse’s name was Amy and she was a complete godsend for us that day. I asked her every question I  could think of. Knowledge was power and I wanted to know exactly what to expect. First question, “am I going to bleed a lot?” Second question, “what will you do with the baby?” Third question, “is this going to be like labor?” Fourth question, “when will I know it’s time to push?” This would be my first vaginal  birth. I had contracted with both boys so I knew what labor felt like, but I had never actually pushed a baby out. She said the bleeding would be like a heavy period and would mostly follow the babies arrival. She explained because I was a week out, that my body may have already started taking care of the fetus and she wasn’t sure what to tell me to expect. She said it would feel like labor,but because the baby was small, I would only have to dilate so much. I explained that we didn’t want our baby to go to medical waste. It’s weird because I felt embarrassed, like all those cliches tell you that you should. I felt embarrassed calling it a baby. I felt embarrassed caring where it went. I felt wrong asking if we could see it. The luxury of going through a tragedy like we did with Nash , if there is one, is that I have learned screw what everyone else thinks. We have to do what’s going to help us most. We have to live with our choices. I explained we wanted to see the baby, but if for some reason she felt we may not want to, I would have her describe it before she let us look so I could make a better decision. 

A resident came in and gave me  medication orally and vaginally. She said you will most likely feel something in the next hour and in three hours we will check your dilation. I was  told if I felt pressure before then,  to ring for the nurse. To me, taking the medication felt like having a forced abortion. I wanted this baby, so willing myself to take medication to get it out of me was emotional and scary. Hours went by and nothing. I was preparing myself that this may take a while. Right before they were to come in and give me more medication, (so about three hours later), I started to cramp. At first it wasn’t bad, nothing I couldn’t handle. It was quickly getting worse and although I could handle it, I remembered what many women who had went through this told me. Take the meds! Don’t make yourself go through anything unnecessary. I looked at Amy and said I wanted something for pain. So glad I asked, because in those ten minutes everything happened so fast. I was having full on contractions and I felt a pop. The doctor checked and informed me my water broke. All I could do was cry. Todd was there holding my hand the whole time and kissing my forehead. The nurse put some pain meds through my IV and this is where I became loopy and found out that pain meds make me completely inappropriate. I felt water come out in a rush. It’s a scary feeling to know your about to give birth to your baby five months too early. I didn’t want this to happen and part of your mind wants you to try and stop it. I was absolutely afraid to push. Without doing anything, I felt more water rush out of me, not knowing at the time it wasn’t water anymore, but a great deal of blood. The room started to spin and I got sweaty and felt like I was going to pass out. I figured it was the pain meds. I needed to focus on something else. I looked at Todd and asked him how he was doing. He looked worried, but answered, ‘fine’ and asked how I was. This is where the drugged me started talking. I said, ” you know, just over here rockin this miscarriage.” It was then I heard a lot of laughing and Amy letting me know I was her favorite patient. When I looked around the room it was then I realized every nurse on that hall appeared to be in my room. I heard them call my doctor over the loud speaker and thought to myself she was coming to deliver the baby. I mean, that’s what the doctor usually comes in for. Meanwhile, Amy was changing out my pad and every time I rolled over for her to put a new one under me, I felt more  “water” pouring out of me. That’s what it felt like, water. There was a ten minute period where they could not keep the pad under me for more than two seconds. Than Dr. Hardas walked in and I saw what I thought was a concerned look. Dr. Hardas is a very sweet, soft spoken, petite woman, who also has this motherly nature about her. She had a way of delivering bad news  where you were almost confused if she actually said  what she said. I remember with Nash, my biggest fear being a c-section. She walked in after 28 hours of labor and with almost a childlike chuckle in her voice, but also a motherly tone. She said, “Shelly it’s time for a c-section.” Almost like, lets quit playing around honey. In my current situation, my biggest fear was surgery. I had never been put  under for anything and I was anxious to say the least. She walked in and said we are taking her for a D&C. She than did an exam and I felt her pull the baby out. The nurses were working frantically and Amy looked at me and said, “Shelly the baby looks like a baby…would you like to see it?” She than put  a blanket over my chest and laid the baby on top. Looking at the baby, so small it could fit in the palm of my hand, I was instantly brought to tears. The baby had arms, legs,a mouth, a nose, eyes, and feet. It was different than my feelings with Nash. With Nash, I was not just devastated for him. I was devastated for my loss. I was completely grief stricken and could barely breathe. I can barely put feelings into words.  With this baby I couldn’t help but feel anything but bad for it. I felt badly I couldn’t carry it to term. I felt bad that my body failed it. I felt bad that it will never take one breath on this earth. They started taking pictures and the nurse asked Todd if he wanted to hold the baby and he quickly answered no. She then went on to explain he would never have this chance again. I stopped her right away. When Nash  died it felt so good to hold him that all I wanted was for Todd to have that feeling. I practically forced him to hold Nash and it’s my one regret. It did not help him. It made it worse. He didn’t want to remember him that way. He didn’t want to hold him after he was gone. I told the nurse he has been through this and knows what he needs. It was then I felt the room start spinning again. I felt Amy strap on the blood pressure cuff and soon after I felt the head of my bed being put down and nurses talking in the background. I then heard Dr. Hardas say, “lets go now! Are they ready for us?!” Previously, working at a hospital is a blessing and a curse. I know the head of your bed being put down means low blood pressure. Although Amie was being very reassuring, I could here the whispering of others in the background. Words like a lot of blood, loss of consciousness.Todd kept switching wash cloths on and off my face and feeding me ice chips. I could no longer keep my eyes open. I heard Amy kneel down beside me. She had promised to be honest and she was. She said, “Shelly, we are concerned about the amount of blood you are losing. I’m going to put some medication in your IV to try and stop it.” She saw me start to panic and told me to take a deep breath in and let it out. She then commended Todd on being an amazing support person for me. I felt the urge to push, but at this point was afraid to. Dr. Hardas said, “if you think you can try.” She was doing an exam during and I saw her glove covered in blood and more “water” rush out of me. She said, “No. We are taking you to surgery.” I’m an anxious person. So, at this point I know they are worried about the bleeding, giving me drugs to stop it, and there seems to be an urgency to getting me to surgery. With my string of bad luck and my anxious mind, I was truly worried this was it. This is how I was going to go.  I looked at Dr. Hardas who I trust whole heartedly and and said, “you look worrried.” She replied, “no”. I than said, “I’m nervous about surgery. Am I going to wake up?” She said, “yes” and I said “ok let’s go.”

I was confused becasue I was told the blood was more of a concern once the baby was out and you deliver the placenta. Dr hardas said that is correct but you have bled so much before that point we can’t risk it. Before I knew it I was being wheeled down the hall and to the surgery center. The anesthesiologist said I’m sorry today is not going as planned. I said, ” with everything that has happened today, you actually scare me the most.” I could tell the nurses and doctors were more calm now that I was almost in surgery. At this point I was feeling pain, the urge to push and fighting to stay awake. I felt todd kiss my forehead and tell me goodbye and I didn’t even have the energy to reply. I felt them move me to the bed and I felt one arm being strapped  down and a nurse putting an oxygen mask on me. The anesthesiologist whispered in my ear, your about to fall aslee….that was that. I woke up three hours later so ecstatic to be alive I started yelling, “margaritas for everybody!” 

As they wheeled me into recovery I kept looking for todd. It’s funny becasue I know he can do nothing medically for me, yet I feel safer with him in the room. I asked the nurse if someone had talked to him, I knew he would be worried. She said, “yes.” Then I heard her say one unit of blood, donor W607. I looked up and saw I was getting blood and all I could think was, ‘thank you W1607’.My temp was quite low, so they kept putting warm blankets on me and after what seemed like forever, they wheeled me in the hall. I was hoping to see Todd, but no. Then I was wheeled in my room where I knew he would be, but he still wasn’t. I found out later Dr. Hardas could not find him in the waiting room. My poor husband sat for three hours with no updates on my condition. Dr. Hardas ended up calling me she felt so bad she didn’t get a chance to speak to either of us. Thankfully, my sister-in-law, Caroline came up to the hospital and sat with Todd. I can only imagine what he was going through.

Amy was very doting, helpful and attentive. My night nurse was what I like to call a short cut nurse. Most people don’t appreciate a short cut nurse, but at night time they are a blessing. What I mean by short cut is, they bring you three full glasses of water at once to get you through the night. They turn your IV down so you don’t have to pee every ten seconds. They also unplug your IV and give you a short tutorial on how to get your own ass to the bathroom and back without ringing. I saw her once the entire shift and slept the best I ever have in a hospital.

I can honestly say Todd and I are doing extremely well emotionally. We have had our big loss and everything fails in comparison. I will say this, had I not been through what I have,this would have been the most traumatic experience of my life. To know women do this all the time is heartbreaking. I think people would be surprised how many women they know that have not only been through this, but have done it multiple times. I for one think it’s time to break the silence and stigmas that go with having a miscarriage. If you share this post and want to break the silence regarding your own angels, let us know how many you are a mother to. I am a proud momma of three❤

24 thoughts on “The Ugly Truth

  1. Thank you for your wonderful and brave testimony. I lost a baby at 14 weeks – home alone – one minute I was fine, and the next I was in the bathroom with my baby in my hands. Its hard, it sucks, and you will never ever forget it. I love that you are breaking the silence – together we are stronger!

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  2. What a beautiful baby. I am the mother to a stillborn born at 28w2d after my body killed him. I applaud your strength after such trauma and you have 3 beautiful children. I’m keeping you in my thoughts!

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  3. Thank you for sharing your experience. I had three second trimester loses and I had an almost identical experience as you had with this baby. I had a total of five babies, two that are living. You are right that people do not know how to respond and you are made to feel that your loss was somehow a twisted blessing. I was told things like “it was Gods way of taking care of a baby that wouldn’t have lived” or ” don’t worry you can have another”. When I find out that a friend has lost a baby I just say I am so very sorry, I know nothing I can say will take your pain away, but I am always here to listen. My babies do not feel like losing them was a blessing and I still think about my losses even 24 years later.. I am thinking of you now and appreciate you speaking for all of us that didn’t have the strengh to..❤️

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  4. Thank you once again Shelley. My sister-in-law and my brother lost their last baby Jessica one week before her due date. I can’t believe the strength my fellow mom’s have. Your little one is absolutely precious and I’m so glad to know you are navigating this latest loss with the grace and equanimity for which you have become so well known. Much love to you and yours. Today I Nashed a man on yard sale page looking to give away 75.00-80.00 of a food card in exchange for the 18.75 he needed to purchase his wife’s anti-seizure medication. I was able to make a deposit to his bank for that and the little more he needed to make it to Alpena to his chemo treatment. I am thankful each month for a chance to help someone in need in honor of Nash and his family. You have created a legacy.

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  5. You said everything I wish I could of said after we lost our baby at 20 weeks February 1st 2013. I wish I had been strong enough to speak out about our loss. But I wasn’t, I was broken, stunned, scared, and even ashamed. Thank you for your words, thank you for being such an inspiration, after all you have been through you are still concerned about making a difference, using your life experiences to help others. Your sweet baby is so precious, praying for you and your family all the time

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  6. My heart breaks for you and your family. This hits close to home for me. After years of fertility issues, I’m finally pregnant, 16 weeks on Saturday. This is my biggest fear. I hold my breathe at every appointment, praying to hear our baby girl’s heartbeat. I breathe a sigh of relief then immediately begin to worry about hearing it at the next appointment. I’m truly sorry for your loss.

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  7. I am a proud mother of 18. One living, currently 14 weeks pregnant with one, and the others in heaven. God Bless you Shelly and Todd, my prayers and heart is with you. I have had 3 occasions like this, each time being just as terrifying as the first.. Its a terrifying feeling getting light headed, cold, and not able to speak, knowing something is wrong but not able to speak and ask. I cannot say things will get better, but they do get manageable, but you know this. 💜

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  8. Proud mother of 3. Two on earth one in heaven. It doesn’t matter how far you are in the pregnancy when you suffer a loss. It is a compound loss of a baby and a pregnancy. You have eloquently said what so many of us felt with our losses. I was only 6 weeks with an ectopic pregnancy. I was terrified of losing my tube and my life. October 15th is our National Day of Remembrance. May God bless all of the women who hold these tiny miricles and their significant others who hold them.

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  9. You are such a brave and precious woman to share your story!! I so appreciate your honest words!! You are in my thoughts and prayers always!!
    Bless you Shelly.
    Momma of 6 and 2 angels

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  10. Shelly and Todd, Thank you for sharing your baby with us and what you went through. I also lost a baby. I had two little boys and I was pregnant with number three. I found out my baby was gone when I had a little blood in my underwear as well. Everyone kept telling me it was normal and that this happens to most women. Not what you ever want to hear. The hospital sent me home and told me that I would deliver on my own and if I didn’t within 3-4 days to come back o the hospital. I will never forget the day I lost my baby. I don’t speak of it because It didn’t seem like anyone cared. I was bleeding heavy and went to the restroom. I had the baby in the toilet and scooped him/her out. I was Balling and couldn’t stop. I walked into the room with the baby and my husbands reaction was pure fear. I asked if he wanted to see our baby as I sobbed…. He started yelling, “why did you fish it out of the toilet”? Oh my god kelley, ht have you done?? You weren’t suppose to take it out of the toilet…. I ran to the restroom and flushed the toilet. In that panic I didn’t think! All I thought was I was gross and why did I reach into the toilet. My reaction was fear and wasn’t educated on what to expect or what to do once I miscarried. To this day I hate myself for what took place in that split moment. My baby looked like a tiny snowman. He/she only had a head and a body. No legs or arms yet. 😢Thank you for sharing your pain, I have held my pain in for 12.5 years. A split second can change you in a instant. 😢

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  11. My mother had four children. Between each of us she had miscarriages and one that died in her arms shortly after birth as a result of my mom having German measles shortly before he was born. Although we didn’t discuss it at length, I always knew that these episodes were the saddest in her life. God did not see fit to bless me with children, but now, as a result of reading your poignant and heartfelt blog, I truly understand what she was experiencing. I am so, so sorry for your loss, both with Nash and now this beautiful little baby. May God wrap his arms around you and your family and ease your pain. Jean G.

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  12. My beautiful boy turned 30 last month, his 7 siblings are our guardian angels. We hear that there is a reason for everything and at the time there is nothing anyone could say to make you believe it. But. In the 14 years since my last lost I have gained 5 step children and iin past 6 1/2 years we have been blessed with 9 grandchildren and are waiting for our 10th. You never forget those who pass through your heart, but if we are blessed others come along who fill some of the holes with their love. My prayers to you and your family.

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  13. I have read three of your blogs and they have truly all touched my heart. I feel like I know you. And I have cried like a baby reading what you have gone through. I am a mother of four and can’t imagine experiencing any of your losses. But I applaud you for allowing women to read about your experiences.You have educated me! I wish you the best in life and I hope your troubles are behind you. Good bless you and your family💜

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  14. I lost my bandy at 20 weeks! I was scared shitless when I delivered, 8 was afraid to look at the baby! But when i did, it broke me cause it was a tiny bay just like yours! We got to bury the baby in a children’s cemetery for free because I am Catholic! Weeks later I began to get very angry…. and then the phone rang! It was the hispitol calling me to come in to the counseling office! I went to see what they wanted, they handed me a package that had newborn pics in it! I was beyond livid, how could they be so heartless to remind me of the worst day of my life! I grabbed my pictures and went home!!!! Now, everyday I think of my baby (thankful for the 2 god gave me already) but in my mind that baby that I lost grows in my mind and I get angry… baby grows and I must think of my other children during delivery , meaning I always think of that baby bigger and healthier than what it was! So now, I know why I have those pics, I have them to go back to that day and remind me how frail, small and sick it would have been! Not many people could ever realize how I felt in this time! It’s just not your normal miscarriage….. we delivered babies!!!! Sorry for your loss, you have been through more than the average parent should or have to in this lifetime!!! Life isn’t fair but hopefully you and Your husband can some day make sense of any of this!!!❤️️❤️️❤️️❤️️

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  15. Shelly- You continue to amaze me. Thank you for bringing such honest awareness to miscarriage. I suffered many miscarriages and was told all the things you said “these things happen”, “you can try again”, “at least you have 2 healthy children” etc…… I am a proud mom of 5 – 2 here on earth and 3 (maybe more-I literally have “forgotten” how sad is that??) in heaven. I do thank God everyday for the gift of my girls who are now both pregnant (and how scared I was for them those early weeks…….reminding me of that worry and pain). Soon to be a Grandma. Life is precious & amazing.
    Angie S.

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  16. Proud mom of 4. 2 here with me on earth and 2 angels. Be strong for each other and thank you for sharing what so many of us have struggled with.

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  17. What a beautiful tribute to the women that have Angels in Heaven. You have such a way with words that shows you are a compassionate and have empathy for the pain these women feel. God Bless You! Love and Hugs to you and your family! Marsha

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  18. Thank you so much for breaking the silence, I am so sorry for your loss. I have 2 Angel baby’s I knew the gender of 1 of them a sweet baby girl, my other Angel baby only lived inside of me for 8 weeks and even though that’s not that long I still grieve I miss my angel baby’s everyday and I constantly think about them, for the longest time i blamed myself for my miscarriages, i constanly asked my husband what i did wrong i was ashamed and embarrased. I always doubted myself and thought i couldnt be a good mother,after all how could i be when i couldnt even care for my children when they were insidw me. I know now that it wasnt my fault and that they were meant to be in heaven.but I am also blessed with 2 beautiful baby boys they are both my rainbow baby’s I was so frighten the whole time I was pregnant with them I was scared I would lose them too, for now my family is complete and if we are lucky enough to be blessed with another baby we will welcome him/her with open arms, but if not that’s ok too.
    I appreciate the time you are taking to share your experiences with us.

    Mom of 4- Angle Baby girl, Baby Boy, Angel Baby, Baby Boy..

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