Tara Van Dam, Wellness Coach shares her story of miscarriage and birth.
It was not something that people talked about, but it was, evidently, something that happened. A lot.
I had always wanted a baby. To be more specific, I had always pictured myself walking through the mall, holding hands with my little, blonde daughter. In my fantasy she was about 3 or 4 years old, dressed in the cutest little dress, with long hair that curled at the end. We walked and chatted together, in love and complete.
When I fell pregnant for the first time, it was unplanned. My husband, Derek, and I had gotten married about 6 months earlier. We had both just moved from South Africa to Atlanta so adding a baby into our “still trying to figure this out” existence wasn’t something either of us was in a hurry to do.
But it happened. After a few days of feeling unexplainably nauseas, I decided to pee on a stick, which shockingly showed that I was in fact pregnant. Although shocking, I was ecstatic. Finally that image of me holding hands with my little blonde daughter was unfolding.
As a pregnant mom to be, you pretty much adjust your life as soon as the stick says “baby”. You think more carefully about what you eat, drink, and breathe. And, with these adjustments, you begin to picture your life and who this little person is that is already having such an influence.
It was the most magical dream… envisioning this little life, imagining the moment when that tiny heart started to beat, fantasizing about holding, kissing, nursing, changing… all of it an untouchable reality, just around the corner.
But we never turned that corner.
At 7 weeks and 1 day, we went in for our first checkup. Being new to Atlanta, I needed to find a doctor, so we went to try one out. Although super early, the OB did an ultrasound. And there it was, a perfect, strong, rhythmic heartbeat. It was the most beautiful sound.
At 10 weeks, we went in for our second appointment. I lay in the chair as a midwife student scanned for a heartbeat. “There, I see a flicker”. She saw it, but I did not.
“Please,” I pleaded, “look again. I need to see it.”
They took me into another room to have a look with the big, fancy machine. The ultrasound technician scanned around as the midwife sat nearby. I remember the technician looking at the midwife and seeing some kind of look or nod between them. The exact words are a blur to me, but what I do remember was something along the lines of “this is one of those times”.
We heard a strong heartbeat at 7 weeks and 1 day. Our baby was dated at 7 weeks and 2 days.
Its been 4 years since that day and still, as I write this, the tears cannot stay in. Although the physical details of that moment and day are a blur, the emotions attached are as real and vivid as if they were happening right now.
I sat sobbing inside an examination room until the midwifery closed for the day. Perhaps I believed that if I stayed there that somehow they would realize that they made a mistake. But it was no mistake. There was no heartbeat, no blood flow, no life. And with that loss went the dreams, the visions, the hope.
I had told nobody about this pregnancy. I did the “right thing” and was waiting to share the news after hitting the appropriate 13 week mark. So, when this nightmare happened, I felt alone. Here I was grieving a loss that I felt as though I had no right to grieve.
You read about how common miscarriages are and somehow the frequency of it is supposed to numb or erase the pain. So why was I feeling so much?! My days were dark, sad, hopeless and I couldn’t bare it.
So I shared my story. I shared it so that I could outpour my feelings. I shared it so that others could feel less alone in their own experience. And I shared it so that my tiny baby, who never got to feel love out in the world, would be grieved and missed as he/she deserved to be.
It took a year before we conceived our beautiful Maya Sophia and I remember thinking, when she was born, that it was always going to be her. That she was meant to be my baby girl.
That being said, I also had a very strong belief that somehow our little lost baby would come back to us. I believed that, although the body was not strong enough to support him, his soul would wait until a body came along that could keep up with him.
Just as we conceived our lost baby accidentally, we conceived Logan Malloy unplanned as well, 9 months after Maya was born. And with Logan’s arrival, I believe our lost baby came back.
I understand that this might sound crazy, but it makes sense to me and it eases my heart.
With Maya I got my little blonde daughter to hold hands with. She is bold and beautiful, full of opinions, social, and playful. She is everything I had ever dreamed of.
And Logan is what I thought I had lost and what I never knew I needed. He is loving and gentle, adventurous and energetic. His presence in our lives is irreplaceable.
Going through a miscarriage is awful. It is shocking and sad and worthy of grief. We all respond differently to loss and we all need different methods to move through it. All I can say, from my experience, is that you have every right to feel what you are feeling or have felt. Your baby deserves to be missed and mourned and your tears are a testament to the depth of love you unconditionally have for this tiny human and perfect soul that you never got to raise.
Love your baby, grieve for your baby, and give yourself all the care and time you need. This experience will allow you access to deeper levels of love of compassion.
Tara Van Dam
Wholistic Joy Wellness
Integrative Wellness Coaching
If you are working through a struggle such as this and need a little help finding center again, please feel free to connect with me. – Tara, firstname.lastname@example.org