Note: Candid discussion of miscarriage.
Grief is a strange land.
Before I miscarried, I thought grief was kind of like sadness: a feeling that overcomes a person but a feeling that can be analyzed and dismissed when one is ready to move on.
But grief is not like that. It is a destination that you are thrust into, a place that you can’t leave no matter how much you want to leave until your grief slowly releases its grip on you.
When I first learned that I had miscarried, I felt numb. I remember laying on my bed and trying to pray but I had no words.
Psalm 23:4 came to my mind:
In my mind’s eye, I saw this Valley: razor sharp mountains, void of any vegetation, pierced the sky. The Valley was dusky, dark, grey. The path jutted sharply into shadows–I couldn’t see beyond a few steps. But I knew the way was full of pain, deep physical and emotional pain.
I DON’T WANT THIS PATH! I DIDN’T CHOOSE THIS PATH! My mind screamed. I mentally dug in my heels…
I wouldn’t go.
I would not walk.
But there wasn’t another way. I couldn’t make my HCG levels rise. I couldn’t make the bleeding stop. I couldn’t make the baby live. The baby was dead.
This was The. Only. Way.
…I will fear no evil, for You are with me.
Brittany, He whispered to my soul. I am already there, in the Valley.
But this did not comfort me. The Valley was an evil place; God’s presence could not change that. All I could think was if God is already there, I didn’t want to follow.
My lowest point was the day I filled a prescription to induce the miscarriage. A week had passed and though I was still bleeding lightly, my numbers were falling very slowly. My midwife recommended that I use misoprostol to “help the process along.”
After we went to CVS to get the drugs (and a strong prescription pain killer), Aaron and I stopped by Kroger to get some Motrin. From what I had read online about other women’s experience with misoprostol, I couldn’t have enough pain killers.
I numbly bought the medicine and started walking back to the car, waiting for a bus to pass before I crossed the street.
This thought entered my mind, unbidden: If I got hit by a bus then I wouldn’t have to go through this.
Then: Wow! I just had a suicidal thought. I am in a really, really bad place.
I really didn’t want to get hit by a bus, or die. But I cannot express more clearly how much I did not want to go though this, to walk this path, to go through this valley.
Please be with me. Please be with me. Pleasebewithme….
The misoprostol didn’t work.
The midwife called in a second dose.
I took it again the next day.
It didn’t work.
By this time, I was so messed up with drugs and grief that my whole GI system rebelled against me for a few days. I felt terrible.
I went in for another blood test (number 3? or 4?).My HGC levels had dropped over 100 points. Finally, some good news (so ironic..)! It had been over two weeks since I first found out. From everything I read online, the miscarriage would be over soon.
The new semester started at Liberty and I started teaching again.
I went grocery shopping.
I took my boys to school.
I publicly shared about our miscarriage.
I wrote about suffering and thankfulness in the midst of grief.
I had days where I laid on the couch all day.
I had functional days.
I had bad days where I cried my eyes out when I saw ANOTHER freakin’ “we’re preggo!” announcement on Facebook.
I had good days when I smiled and laughed with friends and talked objectively about the miscarriage and my grief.
I was ready to move on. I wanted to move on. I wanted to leave the Valley.
But the bleeding went on and on and on. Two weeks slipped into three. Then four. Then five.
It was now February, over a month since the miscarriage began.
“I can’t stand it!” I screamed to my husband. “You don’t understand. This has to end! I can’t move on until it ends! You don’t know what it’s like to bleed and bleed and bleed and see red every time you go to the bathroom! When will it END?!”
I felt utterly alone. My pain was bound up in my body, without any meaningful release. I couldn’t give it away if I wanted to. No one could carry this burden with me. NO ONE understood.
Because on January 1st… and then on February 1st I was going through hell.
The Valley is a place that I had to travel through. Sometimes I think I have reached the other side; other days, I know I am still there. But there is light.
Because You are with me…
Miscarriage and Faith: Suffering and God’s Goodness
Miscarriage and Faith: Giving Thanks IN…not FOR
Miscarriage and Faith: Walking through the Valley
Miscarriage and Faith: Searching for Beauty
Pregnancy after Loss: Survivor’s Guilt
Remembering Izzy: Pledged to God
Symbols of Hope: Remembering Loved Ones at Christmas Time