Last year Lauren had a miscarriage. It was her second one. All miscarriages suck, but the one she went through last year was worse than the first one she had a few years ago. What made it worse was the fact that we actually got to see the baby's heartbeat and ghost like images and shape on an ultrasound just a few days before the miscarriage.
She was 9 weeks along in the pregnancy when Lauren felt a little strange and there was some spotting. We immediately went to the doctor and they gave her the ultrasound and assured us everything was okay. They said they were 95 percent positive everything was fine. That was a Friday.
The following Monday I went out of town for a few days. I was on I-4, heading to Tampa Florida when I got a phone call that Wednesday. Lauren called to let me know that she knew something was happening and needed to go to the hospital. She needed to arrange a sitter for the kids and her mom was going to the hospital with her. I was 1000 miles away and was helpless. The sad reality about a miscarriage though is that everyone is helpless. There is nothing anyone can do.
I spent the rest of that day and night calling every half hour for an update. It was early evening when Lauren called me back to break the news. We lost the baby.
Did you see what I just did? I used the words, her and she when talking about the miscarriage but I used the word we when talking about the loss. That is just not fair. I did not get it at the time. When Lauren had her first miscarriage back in the fall 05 I was somewhat detached. Yes it sucked and I did what I could, but I just didn't get it. A few days after that first miscarriage, my dad called me and said, "Bill, make sure you mourn for that baby. Not for your wife or anyone else, but for yourself." I didn't get it.
The one last year. I still didn't get it. I flew home on Thursday and spent the next few days doing my best to help Lauren. I was sad for her but the whole situation still did not affect me to any extreme.
I know there is a lot doubt and regret and guilt that goes through a woman's mind when she has a miscarriage. "Maybe I should have taken it easy, this would not have happened." "Maybe I should have stopped drinking tea." "If only I would have eaten a bit healthier."
The thoughts are endless. These thoughts, combined with actual physical discharge of the baby as well as hormonal changes, can have a very dramatic effect on a woman. A man does not get it and never truly will.
A week after the miscarriage Lauren's father died. Three weeks after that, my father died. Somewhere in between all of that we had two boys to tend to and Christmas and work and, well, life. Lauren and I stayed positive through all of that. We usually do. I am a firm believer of casting away negative thoughts. But we kept looking for meaning in all the sad events.
One night, while talking about losing the baby, while I still didn't get it, Lauren said to me, "Bill, I can't stop thinking about the baby."
I tried to tell her there was nothing she could have done to prevent it. That is what everyone says. That is the cliché. That is supposed to be positive and take away the "woulda coulda shouldas".
Lauren then said something that I will never forget. Something that made me actually get it. Something that brought me to kind of understanding of a woman's thoughts when they have a miscarriage. She said:
"In some cultures and spiritual practices they believe that a baby chooses it's parents. I can't help but feel what is wrong with us as parents that this baby chose not to be with us."
I finally got it.
I started to question myself. I started to have doubt and regret and guilt. My thoughts were endless. "Maybe I am too hard on the kids. Maybe I am not a good role model. Maybe I am not cut out to have three kids. Maybe I don't deserve to have more. Why would this baby not want to be with me?"
I got it. And somewhere in between mourning for my dad and Lauren's dad and tending to the boys and work and life, I mourned for that baby we lost. I came to terms with the fact that we had a miscarriage. That it was our second one.
This year, December 2008, we are expecting our third boy. We are happy. Things are good. I have said it before, I am the luckiest and that too, I get.