As I’ve been processing everything that’s happened in the last week, the compassion and empathy of others who have experienced miscarriage has been remarkable. And it reminded me of something I’d heard–I think it’s something Mr. Rogers said his mom told him as a child…when something is scary, look for the helpers.
And there have been so many helpers. After the first ultrasound with no heartbeat, we waited in an exam room to see my midwife. The nurse was cheery and clearly didn’t know what we had seen, but at that point we’d been waiting a while, and the reality was beginning to sink in. When my midwife, whom I’ve come to really trust over the years, walked into the room, the ugly cry came. The face contorted, holding your breath sob. She hugged me…patted Elisha’s knee, and talked us through what was going on. She was calm, hopeful even, but realistic. She gave me the facts and next steps, which I needed. She was a helper.
Later that day, as I figured out what the next steps might be, I called insurance to find out if the D&C I might need was covered. As I explained to the lady on the phone our situation, she said “Oh honey, I’ve been in your shoes. I know what you’re going through and it’s not easy,” and right then and there, the ugly cry came again. She listened, but mostly told me her story. Her compassion and empathy broke me. She was a helper.
Right before I’d left for the first ultrasound, I’d posted asking advice for cloth diapers, and a couple of old friends sent messages. One asked how we were doing, how the baby was, etc, and it felt insincere to not tell her what was going on. And it turns out she’d also had a miscarriage with her first pregnancy. She told me about her experience, which echoed ours. She was a helper.
The hospital was a whirlwind. We had our second ultrasound, and immediately we knew…the white blur that was supposed to be the baby was smaller than the previous week, still no heartbeat, and even more blur like and less baby like. And since we had plans to fly out the next day to MA, everything that happened next happened fast. Within a few minutes plans the office staff were making plans for a same day D&C surgery, and there were so many compassionate helpers. We talked with a lot of people-a midwife, the nurse who worked for the surgeon, the geneticist who talked us through testing options, the surgeon herself, the pre-op nurse and the recovery nurse…There were helpers all over. At least three of them told us they had been in our shoes.
That’s just one of the things about miscarriage…it’s mysterious and dark until you’re in it…no one explains (and you never ask) what’s involved and what happens after and what your options are until you are there. And no one shouts from the rooftops that they’ve been there, but in the dark moments when you share what you’re facing, people appear. They share their experiences, and just that helps…someone else has been in that ultrasound room and seen the white blur, someone else has had to walk out through the waiting room with all the pregnant women knowing that the baby you dreamed about is gone, someone else has had to learn what a D&C is and what happens after and when you can try again. And it helps. When you are in it, there are helpers who have done it before you. You and your partner are not alone, and somehow that makes all the difference.