“May 18, 2018, I finally saw a tiny bean inside of a sideways teardrop. This bean was the happy result of 6 years of dreaming, 1 year of trying, and 3 months of finding my inner joy. Even though my hubby was not there physically, he grinned with me as our eyes glanced at each other through my phone video chat screen and back again at the sonogram screen.
A few days later, in summer Floridian heat, I was on my first ever solo parent travel trip with 2 of my kids. While there, I lost sight of my oldest daughter in the mass of humans at Universal’s Harry Potter theme park area. The panic lasted two hours. My anxiety shot through the roof and I was unable to enjoy the rest of the day, even after finding her.
I believe it was at that time when my baby passed away. We later cursed Universal Studios, vowing never to return.
The next day, my daughters and I arrived at the country of my youth, my mother’s Country. Costa Rica had been my family and life for 4 years. It was where I learned Spanish, navigated life, and formed my personality. My daughters and I stayed in Costa Rica for 3 weeks, myself hoping to nourish my precious baby with the fruits of the land, abundant at every turn. Every weekend, we attended the double-lined city blocks of the San Jose Farmer’s Market.
We took short, frequent trips outside the capital, sometimes to the water, other times to the mountains.
Three weeks later, when I was leaving Costa Rica and my nausea was getting worse, I was ready to be home with the rest of my family and participate in my regular dance classes again.
On July 18, 2018, I started spotting right after a dance class. It was the only one I had found the time to take since before becoming pregnant. I dismissed the spotting as a normal part of pregnancy and because it was a difficult contemporary dance class where I was consistently the worst dancer. But I continued to dance. It made me feel free and joyful. The physical movements made the fear leave my mind.
The spotting continued for 5 more days and I began to feel a dull ache in my lower belly. My hubby had been begging me to make an appointment with my OB. The next Monday morning, I called and he rushed me in for an emergency appointment.
After arriving and being checked for my health, the Doppler wand could not pick up any baby heartbeat sounds. The staff then took me to the Sonogram room for a vaginal ultrasound. Between changing for the Doppler sonogram and the vaginal ultrasound, I began to bleed in earnest. It was there that the tech confirmed our worst fears.
There was no sign of life inside the now rounded protective sac. The baby was still and did not have the shape of a bean, fetus, or anything recognizable. I felt it before they confirmed it, but I hoped against it. I hoped it was as a past pregnancy, just a scare from the placenta barely separating from the uterine wall.
Once I had changed back into my regular clothes, these dull, achy cramps turned into full contractions. I listened to the Nurse Practitioner tell me of my duty to come back to the hospital if I did not pass all the tissue from the miscarriage, though they never clarified when that would occur. They just repeatedly declared they would have to perform a Dilation and Cutterage if I did not pass all the miscarriage tissue.
I couldn’t process anything. All I could understand was the pain in my lower abdomen. That I didn’t want to bleed out on a cold table that day and that I did not want to return later to have my uterus scraped or burned from the inside out on another.
Before we left, the doctor tried to prescribe a prescription for pain and anxiety, but it was useless. The miscarriage was over almost as fast as it had begun. My husband raced me home so I could try to pass the rest of the miscarriage in peace and comfort. I quietly sobbed and curled up on the passenger seat as each contraction squeezed the life out of me. When we finally got home, I attempted to clean up the remnants on the car seat.
I couldn’t do anything except waddle up the driveway with the pain, blood, and sheer terror of dropping my insides out on the rocks and cement.
I felt the contractions working to push everything outside of my body, to release the tissue that was no longer alive. I could barely make it inside the small downstairs bathroom. As I stood, sat, and shook violently from the contractions, I knew that I could not hold onto this baby. My body would not let me, and I didn’t want to admit it to myself. I remembering whispering at my lower half, ‘Why are you doing this? What is happening?’ I tried to process the events, to no avail.
With the last terrible contraction, a voice inside me said ‘It is done.’ I looked down to see a tiny placenta the size of half my small palm, crisscrossed with veins, colors, and textures that cannot be replicated in any other human tissue. I searched for a tiny body inside or attached to the placenta via a threadlike umbilical cord, but never found anything that I could identify as a tiny baby. It was heart-breaking to have such a profound desire to see something I tried to create. I looked in every bloodied towel, piece of clothing, and bathroom for a sign of a precious life to bury with some form of dignity. I didn’t want it flushed into a common watery grave. I could not find anything and it haunts me to this day.
I waited for days to tell my hubby what the experience was like; he was pale and quiet as he whispered that he ‘had no idea’ of the visceral pain of our loss. To this day, he grieves the baby he dreamt about for months. I spent the majority of this miscarriage week in a fog of pain and confusion, with hormonal migraines clouding my ability to feel grief and focus on ridding myself of the internal pain. My husband was a vital part of the process.
I still firmly believe that the most important treatment of a miscarriage or birth is after. I was lucky enough to find a special women’s care yoga class where the teacher talked about her afterbirth wellness practices in Thailand.
She arrived three days after I called her over to my house, where she quietly hugged me for a long minute. Part of her healing regimen was listening to my process while she massaged my abdomen and legs with special oils, wrapped my heated belly in a long cotton sling, and placed herbal salt compresses on my head, neck, and abdomen.
She prepared a Thai herbal steam for my lower half and I found the steam to be cleansing to both my body and soul. I privately utilized these same practices for weeks after. They were a comforting solace.
My closing thought is this: We are all sisters, we need each other, and we can take care of each other with love, kindness, compassion and care. We are not broken by miscarriage and loss, nor are we defined by grief. We can mourn together in loving solidarity. We as women are living beings and inherently valuable and of infinite worth, regardless of our ability to conceive, carry, grow, and birth healthy human lives. We must find compassion and relinquish control of the things we cannot control, like bodies.
There were only 2 moments in the last 9 months where I could honestly say that I was lucid enough to understand a semblance of what had happened. One moment was right after the miscarriage; I had the most specific thought: God was Merciful. I knew that He had spared my life in Costa Rica as a battery of different bacteria entered my bloodstream while in Costa Rica.
The other moment has been writing my story. Snippets of light have entered my mind while lucid thoughts have pieced together the sorrow of loss to make this experience whole. My writing process took place around the time of my potential due date from this last missed pregnancy.
I am currently caring for my family, friends, and new followers by teaching wellness practices. I am also learning and writing about bodies and emotions, and all the scientific connections in the small universe of the soul. I love bringing my findings to life, through both practice and writing.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Elisa Ashton-Hopewell of Neurodiverse Universe. You can follow her journey on Facebook here, Pinterest here, and Instagram here .Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
Read more from women who have experienced miscarriages:
‘I was prepared for surgery. Panic took over. I counted the tiles on the floor to keep from having a major panic attack. All I could think about were my two sweet babies at home. 3. 2. 1…and I was asleep.’
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