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What River Taught Me

Of course my husband was on the other side of the country when I found out there was no heartbeat.

Of course we had JUST told the kids a few weeks earlier because I couldn’t hide how sick I was anymore.

Of course we had just moved to a new town a few weeks earlier and I barely knew anyone and we were in the middle of some stressful real estate drama.


Even though I had seen my tiny, still little baby on the ultrasound screen, I don’t think I believed it.Just a few weeks earlier it had been bouncing and waving at almost 11 weeks. Now at 14 there was no heartbeat.  My body was not showing any signs of the loss, except that I had just barely started feeling less sick which I chalked up to making it to the second trimester. 

I had to make the choice of what to do while my we waited for my husband to get home.

I didn’t know what to do. Although I had spent years in baby loss support and had been through a full term stillbirth already, I was unsure.

I was afraid of miscarrying at home alone with my young kids. I knew the size the baby would be because I made tiny hats and blankets so many times for 14 weekers.  I was afraid I would have complications and bleeding. Nothing was happening and I knew that it could be weeks waiting and wondering.  I wanted to know the gender of the baby and maybe get some answers, so we decided to move forward with surgery. 

My doctor assured me it was simple and quick. It wasn’t.

Immediately after she began I started bleeding. Because of many factors, it was not looking good. I woke up being wheeled down the hall from the surgery center to the hospital. 

I needed multiple blood transfusions.  It was touch and go a few times. 

I remember the moment that every medical professional in the whole tiny hospital was standing in my room. 

I remember just feeling so tired and my husband telling me to open my eyes over and over.  I can’t imagine how he felt.

After some time, prayers and more blood, I turned the corner and was going to be physically ok. 

We got home and started working on the grieving process.  All the while waiting for the results of the testing. 

It was more than 6 weeks we waited.  Then the doctor called me.

She told me that there had been a mistake at the lab.  They did not put the correct computer code on our “products of conception” and so there would be no answers.  We would never know the gender of our baby.  What I had wanted so much to avoid, not knowing what pronouns to use when speaking about our angel had come true. 

That loss seemed more devastating than what we had already been through.  I couldn’t speak and got off the phone as fast as I could. 

There were many more details but I’ll leave the story there. 

As you can imagine I had a LOT of thoughts about everything that had happened.  These thoughts broke my heart.  I cried often even as I kept on with “normal” life. 

I thought this whole thing was a complete disaster.  I should have done a million things differently.  I was tormented with thoughts that I had basically thrown my baby in the medical waste garbage for no reason.  That one was the worst one.  I would think “I make clothing for 14 week babies and I didn’t get to dress mine!” Lots of questions why.  I had thoughts of anger towards God which I had never had before.  It wasn’t fair.  He didn’t care about me, obviously.  I ate my feelings and just plowed through all the other things we had going on at the time. 

Now, why am I telling you all of this?  Because I want you to know that I get it.  I get how painful life can be.  Except I want you to know that it isn’t life.  It isn’t the miscarriage, it isn’t the choices I made that were causing me all that pain.

It was my thoughts about it.

What happened to me is in the past.  It can’t hurt me now.  What is hurting me now is that I keep thinking these thoughts. 

It’s like punching yourself in the face.

But the best news is that you can decide if you want to keep those thoughts or not.

I found coaching about a year and a half after my loss.  I had come to a point where I was ready to let go of these thoughts.  I didn’t want to feel the pain and the anger and the regret.  It wasn’t serving me in any way.  I knew I needed to change.

I started believing that I could change how I felt.  Some of it was easier to work through.  I accepted the loss, but I still blamed me.

We can be so hard on ourselves as women and moms.

I hired a coach to help me even while I was training to be a coach.  I highly recommend you having a coach.  It’s the best. She helped me pull out the most painful thoughts.

And she asked me why I wanted to keep them. 

And she asked me how I would feel if I didn’t think those thoughts anymore.

And we talked about how me working through my pain was going to help my clients in the future.

Because I can stand here and tell you that it works.  That when you are ready to let go and choose thoughts that serve you in your present life, you can.

When you are ready to actually feel your feelings and allow the pain without being afraid of it, you can.

That the relief you will feel with be worth the struggle you went through to get there.

And that you can learn how to manage it when these thoughts you’ve been believing for so long pop back up in your life.  Which they may.

But beliefs are just thoughts we’ve been thinking for a while.  They don’t have to be permanent.

There is a place for grief. And sadness because of what you have lost.

But the part where you blame and shame yourself, that’s never necessary. 

You did everything right. Everything happened as it was supposed to.

How do I know that? Because it did. 

And that’s how I came to peace.  I forgave myself. I stopped fighting with the reality of my story.

And the searing pain went away.

And today, three years after that experience, I can say that I love baby River, and everything he or she taught me. And I know I did the best I could at the time, and everything else that happened just is.  It happened and I can feel peace when I think that thought.

If you want to know more, please contact me. I’d love to help you with your story.

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