Miscarriage – The Silent Empty Box

To be filled with life is something.  To be pregnant with a growing little miracle of science and nature in your belly is beautiful.  To lose a pregnancy is sad.  The feeling is surrounded with so many emotions.  Guilt, loss, nothing, emptiness, aching, breaking, bending into shadows dark.  I had to take a break today and submerge myself in some creative work.  I wanted to shake this feeling of empty.  Shake it loose from the empty box it resides in now.  Like a box with nothing inside.  Just invisible strings connecting back to my heart.  I don’t know how to put it in words so I am not going to worry about using dazzling adverbs or catchy phrases, but they may just happen to come out that way.  I just want to write a post about it.

There are so many women out there feeling this same feeling today, yesterday, tomorrow.  It covers me like a vine nobody can see.  Much like a bean pole vine grasping to anything its tendril can reach.

Photo by memomuse – “Bean Pole Vines in My Garden”

Something sturdy, mounted in dirt, standing upright.  This vine of sadness can’t grasp onto nothing.  So I grasp and curl around words.  Around people I trust.  Around acknowledgement that it happened. That’s its over. That I need to grieve.

As my mind curls and bends in thoughts of what may have been, what was just yesterday, before the bleeding started, before the sadness erupted.  Before yesterday, I was cocooning into a ball of beauty, growing inside, feelings of joy and elation surrounded me.  Flowers and fruits of joy rippled in the sun.

“Layers of Light” – Photo by memomuse Layers of light echoed over me, through me, around me, spinning into thick spidery webs.  Now there is nothing.  Just this box of invisible sadness nobody can see with the naked eye.

Long story short – I went to visit my dying mother in Colorado three weeks ago.  The night before I left, my husband and I made love.  I went home to Wyoming and Colorado where I feel the most alive and vibrant, for it is home and my place on this earth.  I have been transplanted to North Carolina and I am trying to make the most of it.  But back home, where I come from, just as the Kenny Chesney song sings, I love it there.  On this journey where I thought I was going to say goodbye to my mother, I was surrounded by a land that knows me.  That I know.  That I love.  This journey home, this journey to say goodbye, something magical happened.  We conceived a baby.  A miracle.  A seed that sprouted into life.  I found out last week I was pregnant.  I took three home pregnancy tests and was more surprised with each positive test, as I have struggled with infertility in the past.  My son is just thirteen months old.  We were not actively trying to get pregnant.  So it was a surprise to find out we were pregnant without even a blink of the eye, without a blink of the heart.

I took a home pregnancy test on Monday, then Wednesday, and then Saturday.  All positive.  The faint blue line got thicker with each test.  I took a urine test at the doctor on Monday and they told me to come back in a week because it was, not without a doubt, positive, but there was a shadow line.  So I took two more home tests that week, Wednesday and Saturday.  And sure enough, positive.  I started to feel the pregnancy symptoms, fatigue and drop to the floor tired.

I went in to take another urine test at the doctor yesterday,  feeling it wasn’t needed, feeling pregnant, feeling sure a life was growing and thriving inside me.  I didn’t need a doctor or lab technician to tell me I was pregnant.  Something bigger happened – a life bloomed from my journey to say goodbye to my mother.  How serendipitous.  How miraculous.  How joyous. It made the fact that my mother is dying a soft sleeve to rest on.  To rejoice on.  I was sure this baby was a girl and I was going to name her Eleanor Elizabeth and call her Ellie Elizabeth.

My mom, Elizabeth, and me as a baby

Elizabeth, named after my mother. I had visions of her soft curls, her big blue eyes, her big heart.

When I took the test at the doctor just yesterday, I noticed some blood.  Frightened, I told the nurse.  Then the results from the lab technician came in.  The test was negative.   I fumbled with my paperwork to hand to the check out clerk at the doctors.  She gave me a silent nod and a sweet abbreviation of sugar, “You’re all set, Sug.”   I wanted so badly to walk out the back door, nobody to see my sadness or my tears, as they began to gush. I walked past all the ripe bellies, round and plump with life.

Sometimes I wish there was a sign women going through the grief of miscarriage could wear on their back.  “Please treat with kindness – grieving heart – may slumber slowly today and tomorrow and certainly the day after next.”  But it is invisible.  Our eyes are swollen, sad, and watered with tears only time can heal.  There is no clock for this time passage.  It is not an hour, a week, a month, or a year.  It is a hole in our heart.  We go on.  And on. And hopefully you can give a hug to someone in need.  Perhaps, you just don’t know.  And what do you say? There are no words.  Just invisible tendrils trying to clutch at something strong, sturdy.  For it may be the hope of another chance at conceiving.

My toddler in my arms
Perhaps it is the smile from a toddler in your arms.  Perhaps it is the earthy soil in your hands as you plant a memorial garden.  Perhaps, the box is still empty when you shake it, although you are sure something is inside.  Something thick. Something heavy.  Because something like a life just doesn’t vanish when you bleed.

* This essay was written four months ago.

Author: Megan (memomuse)

Megan Oteri is a wife, mama, and writer. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and son. She enjoys wide open spaces and wide open hearts. She writes about her experience as a new mom and AP parent at www.memomuse.wordpress.com. You can follow her on Twitter @memomuse1 and find her on Facebook under memomuse.

21 thoughts on “Miscarriage – The Silent Empty Box”

  1. I know this was written a few months ago, but I still send hugs and prayers for your loss. I can understand your pain. 15 yrs ago I had a miscarriage at 11 weeks. Dealing with the pain of loss was hard, but what I found the worst was the lack of support (whether people said things about it or worse, ignored it). I’m not even going to repeat the things that were said to me. I have since forgiven them. They didnt know better.
    Well, much has happened since then, and I wont go on and on, since its enough to fill a book. LOL
    And although the pain did lessen with time, I’ll never forget that little soul.
    I wish you much love and happiness.

    1. Michelle,
      Thank you for your kind words. Your pain is still vivid after 15 years — that is the truth of miscarriage. It may get better, but you can’t forget.
      Enough to fill a book — sounds interesting. Our stories are deep as the ocean blue.
      A lot of people just don’t know what to say. So often, they something to “try to make us feel better.”
      Blessings to you Michelle and thanks for commenting.

  2. I am so sorry for your loss. I just experienced my first miscarriage two weeks ago, at 10 weeks pregnancy. It has been a sorrow greater than I would have expected. Sending love.

    1. RH
      Thanks for commenting. I am so sorry for your loss. The first one is beyond what I can put in words. A deep sorrow. I love this quote by Khalil GIbran:
      “The deeper that sorrow carves into your being,the more joy you can contain.
      Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
      And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
      When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
      When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”
      ― Khalil Gibran

    1. Angela,
      Thanks for commenting. I remember you were there for me when the first miscarriage happened when I was working at WG. I miss you.
      Blessings to you.

  3. Beautifully written…very touching. Timely for me as today is the due date for the baby I miscarried (missed miscarriage at almost 15 weeks).
    Blessings to you, fellow North Carolinian

    1. Alecia,
      So sorry to hear about your loss. I get sad when I think about the due date for my two miscarriages, as well.

      I had a missed miscarriage with my first miscarriage (April 2009). I had to have a D & C. That was an awful experience. I remember a doctor said the thing I needed to hear, “There is nothing I can say to you – only this is probably the worst day of your life.”
      I am thinking of you during this time. Thank you for sharing your story.

  4. I googled miscarriage today, found your blog. I lost my baby 4 days ago at 11 weeks….I had a d&e and cannot believe my sweet girl is gone. 🙁 thank you for sharing your experiences, as I am slowly realizing how many broken hearts are out there. My baby girl, named Violette lucille, had down syndrome and this was why she had passed. To see the ultrasound tech not find her heartbeat…I swear made mine stop beating as well. I miss her 🙁

  5. Bethany,
    I am so sorry for your loss. It must be so raw right now. I wish there was something I could say, but as you know, there are no right words. But I am so very happy that my essay could help you get through this very difficult time, if only for a mere minute or two. I bet your heart feels like it is not beating, but your love for Violette Lucille will make her alive inside your heart. And this love and the memory of her, will give you the strength to get through this.

  6. I came to API through a link over at Parenting Passageway. I was having a look around and found this article. I had my first miscarriage in 2006 at around 5 weeks. I have since had 2 healthy boys and just this week have miscarried again at 11 weeks. It is so raw and hurts so much. Thank you for the lovely Khalil Glbran quote, I think I will put it on the fridge, to read each morning. x

  7. Shara,
    The raw burns, bites, and bends, doesn’t it? That is why I wrote this essay the day I found out I miscarried. I knew as a writer I had a wonderful opportunity to capture the feelings to help others. I really wrote to purge the sting. It still stung, still stings. Gets better with time. I hate that cliche. But it is true, you have to have a whole heck of a lot of time. 🙁 It is awful and there is no easy button, no way to wipe it away. It just sucks bollocks! Thank you for sharing your story and your raw real self here. Blessings and thoughts with you today. Email me at memomuse@gmail.com or visit my blog http://www.memomuse.wordpress.com if you care to engage in some comfort dialogue. Sometimes a stranger is the best voice to “hear” when you are so raw. 🙂 Peace & Poetry

  8. I have had four miscarriages but I have five children. I thank god for the children that I have and for their health but my heart aches for the babies I lost. My first miscarriage was at 8 weeks and happened quickly. I was so frightened and throughout the spotting of the next three healthy pregnancies I was constantly terrified that I was feeling the first drops of blood coming from a pending miscarriage. I then had another miscarriage in my fifth pregnancy. I was 11 weeks and it happened in the night. My little one was lost in such a distressing way that I will never forget the loneliness of that intense pain.
    I lost myself in the need to get over losing my baby by asking my husband to consider letting me fill the emptiness with another baby. It took a lot of persuading. I did get pregnant in time and then lost that baby too, again at 11 weeks. This time I had to have a d and c. It was an awful experience, but so clinical… My baby just gone. I was devasted but always thanked god for my children. They told me that I needed aspirin now after examining the pregnancy sac in the lab. I got pregnant again and had a healthy boy. Then I was shocked to find out that I was pregnant again. This pregnancy was a healthy one too and my surprise baby was healthy and bouncing with life.
    Then my last pregnancy was a surprise to my husband and I who were relying on my regular cycle but I hadn’t the time to temp regularly. I was afraid of many things and was just getting used. To the idea when I went for my 12 week scan. The baby had died. I cannot get over it. I was sent home to wait for the miscarriage. I was horrified and then began to find solace in soaking up the time that I had left with my dead baby inside me. A week later I began to miscarry. It was my most painful miscarriage yet. The contraction pains were nearly back to back. I thought I had delivered the baby in the bathroom and was sobbing. After many hours I became worried that something was wrong as the psi was so intense and was not easing. I rang the hospital and they told me to come in. I was in cervical shock as the baby and sac were stuck. I had to go to the labour ward and deliver the baby with gas and air. That is an experience that I will never forget. I can’t get over it. I am so do lucky with my children but I need to not end with this feeling of being stripped inside. I have to just accept it and am trying to realise that another pregnancy would not replace that child… Just fill the terrible emptiness. I never planned to be the woman longing for another pregnancy…but life has brought me to this point. However at 42 and with 5 beautiful children I have to be thankful for those gorgeous children that I have been blessed with and learn to live with the sadness and memories of life… Even a dead one… Being pulled out of me.
    I hope this does not upset any one, as I have had children, but maybe give hope of a healthy pregnancy after miscarriage. I know I have trawled the web for years for every fragment of information to help any worry I had.

  9. Keaneo,

    Oh wow. Thank you for sharing. It sounds like you had some terrible miscarriages. They are all terrible, but physically that is hard. I am so sorry you had to go through that. Women go through so much in silence. Looks like you certainly needed the sign, “Please handle with care. Broken heart.” I hope you had a lot of emotional support during these difficult times. I remember simple kindnesses helped me a lot.

  10. Hi. I didn’t tell anyone except two close friends and went straight back to work so that I didn’t have to say to anyone. Other people only say things that are meant well but they hurt and my parents have been unwell for a year and are living with us.
    I just wanted anyone to know, who is in emotional pain after a miscarriage, that they can go on to have babies.
    Thank you for your reply.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.