Friday, October 2, 2009

But Nate's not our first!

Nobody talks about it.

But lots of people seem to have experienced it (1 in 4, they say).

Shhhh ... don't say it too loudly ... miscarriage.

Oh wait, I mean ...


It's really sad to lose a baby. It doesn't matter if that baby has been born still, lived for days or months and then died or if that baby only gestated for 6 weeks ... 12 weeks ... 17 weeks before it died without its parents even getting to meet it.

We had a miscarriage. Nate is not our first. In May of 2007 we got pregnant for the first time after 5 months of trying (with one month off). August 31, 2007 we got to meet little Jonathan, though he had already died by the time he was born. He had been growing for 17 weeks. Though we don't know for sure when he stopped breathing in utero, according to his size he may have died around 14 weeks.

After it happened, which was about a month after we had started telling work and more people than just family, so many women told me that they had had one too. Men told me that their wives had had them. Friends told me that their moms had had one. But nobody talks about it.

I do. I talk about it without any embarassment. I didn't do anything wrong. Most miscarriages don't have a known cause. Especially the ones that happen before that "magic" 12-week mark. Sometimes they're not healthy. Jonathan wasn't healthy. He just lasted a little longer than many. We're lucky to even know the cause of his death. See, since I was 17 weeks along, we were given a choice. Instead of miscarrying naturally, which is sometimes a possibility (it's like a really heavy, rather a bit more painful period, I have heard), we could either get a D & E (not D & C, those happen earlier on, after a certain point, it's E for extraction), or get induced and deliver. Our first thought -- get it DONE! D & E. No doubts. However, it was Thursday before Labor Day weekend. We wouldn't have been able to go in until Tuesday because the doctor was booked on Friday. My body hadn't realized the baby was dead yet. Our reasons for choosing D & E was to get it over with. Tuesday was too far away. So we went in Thursday evening and I was induced. I delivered tiny Jonathan around 4am. He was small enough to fit in the palm of my hand but big enough to be able to see he was a boy. :D And big enough to see the problem.

He had an omphalocele. A really bad one. An omphalocele is when the intestines are outside of the body. When a baby develops, its intestines develop outside of its abdomen and then by 12 weeks or so the abdomen closes up around them. Sometimes a little piece gets closed up outside and that's an omphalocele. Jonathan basically had everything out. Poor kiddo.

It was really really sad. Really sad. 5 months later we did get pregnant again, and 9 months after that Nate was born. No problems.

So if it is so sad, why do I talk about it? Well, because I think miscarriages should be talked about. Because Nate is not my first. Because I've had 2 pregnancies to draw experiences from. Because Nate has an older brother that he will know about. And just because I want to, dammit. It helps me.


  1. I love your courage and compassion for talking about this - compassion because you realize that talking about something so sad and yet so common may help other women realize they're not alone in this. I am scared of miscarriage someday because I know how common it is (my own mom had one, in between my brother & sister) but that also almost makes me a little less freaked out about it in a weird way. But yours is one of the worse stories I've heard and you are incredibly brave for sharing it. Thank you.

  2. Good on you, Lauren. I find it strange and frustrating that miscarriage is considered such a hush-hush topic, and not spoken of in general. It's so common, where does the bias come from? But another friend of mine had one early this year, and she too has spoken out about it and didn't feel ashamed, so people like you give me hope that the trend is reversing. Thanks for your post.

  3. I don't think people keep it quiet becaue they are ashamed of it. I think some people would rather not talk about it because it does in fact hurt to say those things out loud. We have had two now. I almost died during the first one, and the second one was just a few months ago. We didn't tell very many people about it because people are stupid and say stupid things, and its hard enough to deal with the loss let alone deal with stupid people...I'm just sayin! But...I do think you are pretty awesome for sharing your story. So sad.

  4. I love you, Lauren!

    I'm gonna share this with my sister-in-law who has had a miscarriage and has lost a baby to SIDS, because I also think this is important to talk about.

  5. So true. Miscarriage is so very common and I say if you want to talk about it then talk about it! If it makes someone else uncomfortable then that's their problem. Thankfully I have not experienced it but, if I did, I personally would not want to discuss it as it would be too painful a topic. I remember when I first found out I was pregnant with our baby and trying not to get too excited because I knew something like this could happen but it was impossible not to become emotionally attached to this special little person sharing my body even if he was just the size of a grape or whatever. It's different for everyone. My sister has had 5 miscarriages, once pregnant with twins. She now has one girl and one boy but if asked she would not say she has 8 children, 2 of whom survived. At the same time I can understand that your first little baby was a real person who you loved and that you want to remember him as part of the family. I think that's great and I would probably do the same. I guess everyone copes differently.