Today’s post is about the hard stuff, so prepare yourself! Tomorrow, we’ll be discussing the pretty stuff (weddings, weddings, weddings) so don’t worry. But today, we wanted to tackle a conversation about marriage: what happens when things go terribly wrong. Lately I’ve started to think that the real purpose of marriage is having someone, or perhaps also having an institution, that holds you up when things get really hard. Someone to hold your hand, and let you cry, and maybe coax a tiny little laugh out of you when you need it most. Today we have a post from Meghan of We Ski Slow who’s wedding graduate post you can find here, and who the APW team met when she hosted the APW Salt Lake City Meetup in January. Today she’s talking about her miscarriage, and what she learned about her marriage when it happened.
I miscarried at 11 weeks 5 days along. Eric and I were married just under a year when we learned that we would be expecting a baby. A BABY! We were shocked and then we were thrilled. It was such a big thing, but we took things slowly as we could. We told our loved ones and we also told clerks while in line at stores. We started to dream big as my belly started to grow. Tried to figure out how this tiny being would fit into our lives.
On a Sunday afternoon in mid-September I started spotting. I panicked quietly for a hour or two in the back yard and while curled on the couch and then I panicked with my husband and I panicked all over the Internet. I talked to my midwife and then took it easy, it would either get worse or it would get better, 50/50 or so she said. I went to work on Monday and cried to my lovely coworkers that knew. We tiptoed around Monday night.
In the early hours of Tuesday morning the cramping started and I knew. I lay in bed next to my husband and knew. I curled up next to him and whispered to him. We held each other and as the sun started to rise the bleeding started and we knew. We shook with tears and planned what would happen over the next few hours in consultation with my midwife. We were going to stay at home and let it progress. Yes, let’s call work, call our parents, then a shower, then bacon and eggs then movies. I was trying to figure out what people did when they were losing their baby.
When I was in the shower shaking and bleeding I sat down and cried. When I got out of the shower and could not get cleaned up faster than the blood was coming I called my midwife and called my husband into the room. He gently helped me get cleaned up and into sweatpants, wrapped in a blanket and into the car. He was so purposeful as I was falling apart more literally than I ever had before.
We spent time with my midwife and her lovely nurse and then we were sent to the Emergency Department because my blood pressure wasn’t coming up and the gushes continued. I had my first ultrasound. My first ultrasound. A moment that I had expected to be so happy for, we had one scheduled for the following week and I had imagined how I would feel, squeezing Eric’s hand and finally letting the dreaming go big. I wasn’t sure what we would see and silently worried about it during the wheelchair ride to radiology. She placed the wand on my belly and we squeezed each others hand for comfort and solidarity as we bore witness to that empty gestational sac.
We went home after I stabilized and the cramping eased. We hit the drive through for burgers and went home and spiked our cokes and ate our salty fries. We cleaned the horror movie bathroom and I boxed up all of the baby books and other assorted, accumulated things that I had scattered around the house. Later that night as we lay on the couch and in our bed we told each other the story over and over again. From my perspective, then his, then ours, then back again. Over and over. I talked to everyone I knew and so many stories were told and all of these stories saved me. They still do.
The following weekend we planned for recovery. We went to our quiet cabin loaded down with all of the healing things that we could think of. We sat in the sun and walked with our dog. We were gentle with each other.
When we sat on the porch looking at the stars that night I made Eric promise me that next time we would not be scared. I think I even made him pinkie swear.We promised each other to be brave.
I don’t have a happy ending to this story yet. We are still going through this particular journey, but I know now, more than ever, that I picked the right person be on it with me.
Update: Meghan announced on her blog last week that she is now 12 weeks pregnant, and past the marker of where she miscarried last time. She’s honoring that promise she made to be brave.
Wedding Photo: Alfredo Santiago