When my husband and I were getting married, my church required that all couples attend pre-marital counseling beforehand. Thankfully, we got a lot of fights over with before we walked down the aisle and gained some great advice.
One of the lessons that has stuck with me years later was on grief. I vividly remember sitting there when she said “do not get angry with each other when you grieve differently.” I immediately thought “I will NEVER do that.”
Miscarriages hit, and I ate my words with such bitterness.
It was astounding to me that we could be experiencing the same loss, yet impacted in completely different ways. Then with each miscarriage how our own grief transformed.
I had my first miscarriage shortly after we were married. This pregnancy was unexpected, but the loss was still disappointing. However, we both viewed it that this was God’s timing and we had faith.
My second miscarriage occurred during treatment with our OBGYN. I was confused and very disappointed. My husband still hung on to his faith with an optimistic outlook. My outlook began to darken.
With the third miscarriage, I demanded answers. I was driving back and forth to Tyler. This was our first IUI round. The doctor personally called to let me know of the loss. All of my sadness channeled into rage on the phone. I cried. I yelled. This man was so patient and so kind to me. He understood that we all grieve differently. In different ways. And at different times.
He ordered the Recurrent Pregnancy Loss tests to be done. So 21 vials of blood later, I was diagnosed with a blood clotting disorder and MTHFR gene mutation. I felt relief that finally I had answers. Like “Yes, this explains all three miscarriages so it won’t happen again.”
With confidence we proceeded with our next IUI round. I went to my checkup with great news that morning. That very same day, on my lunch break, I miscarried. This time I completely shutdown.
There was no optimism. No hope. No rage. Just utter defeat. I felt like a failure. I felt complete loss. I couldn’t go back to work for two days. I’m not sure if it was the emotional toll or this time that it was physically harder, but I just couldn’t move.
Each loss was felt in a number of ways: betrayal from my own body, anger, disappointment over failed treatments, sadness at a lost future and then the worst was guilt. I experienced guilt that we underwent everything because I personally was the one with physical limitations.
I wish I could say that my husband and I immediately became closer after each loss. But we didn’t. He experienced it differently than I did. He didn’t physically undergo any procedures or pain. So I started to become resentful. Why wasn’t this affecting him like it was me?
It bonded us in other ways. Some couples haven’t experienced a medical challenge yet. But we have already jumped that hurdle. He took care of me when the physical toll was too hard. He comforted me when I cried or became angry. His patience helped me.
When we talk about it now, he remembers it with less pain than I do. During this time, I had to reach out to friends and family who had gone down this path before. I needed so much help coping and understanding how to grieve. Personally, my faith became more important. I needed to physically let out my frustration and anxiety. So I joined a bootcamp class. Friends stepped in with girls trips and wine nights to take my mind off things.