Romper

Honestly, My Miscarriage Changed My Marriage

Courtesy of Christi Cazin

I had a miscarriage. Five years ago, my husband and I found out we were expecting our second child. We were so ecstatic. Sadly, our joy was tragically cut short when our baby's precious heartbeat stopped beating. I had never lost anyone in my life, so I didn't know pain like this. Initially, I blamed myself, thinking I must have done something wrong. Of course, that wasn't the case, but those feelings have a way of creeping in during times like these. Grief affected me in many ways. I learned a lot about life, love, and surprisingly, my marriage. My miscarriage affected my marriage in a profound way. I will always grieve for our child in Heaven. What the experience did for my marriage, though, I'm truly grateful for.

I didn’t know what grief was supposed to feel like. I remember reading articles about women who had dealt with miscarriage and loss. I felt deep sadness for them and wondered if I could ever handle something that difficult. I thought about the impact it must have on your soul, your future parenting, and your marriage. I hoped I'd never have to go through something like that and thankfully my first pregnancy went smoothly. Then to our wonderful surprise, when our first son was just 4 months old, we found out baby number two was on its way. We always wanted our kids to be close in age, so my husband and I were thrilled. Things unfortunately, didn’t go the way we’d hoped and several weeks later, we were facing the very thing I'd hoped we’d never have to deal with: I lost my baby.

Courtesy of Christi Cazin

I remember the day I found out like it was yesterday. I was nine weeks along and as usual, I woke up feeling nauseous and tired. When I went to the bathroom that morning I had some light spotting again. My doctor was aware of this and had assured me that it was nothing to worry about. Still, I continued to fret about it, especially since my first pregnancy was completely different. As the day continued, I couldn’t shake the anxious feelings. I decided to go to the doctor for answers, and hopefully more reassurance. I yearned to hear my baby's heartbeat again, so I called my doctor and was scheduled for an appointment that same day. My husband was at work so I made the decision to go alone and call him afterwards. Little did I know, that phone call would be a life-changing one.

"Your last ultrasound confirmed a healthy heartbeat and the constant nausea is a great sign," he continued. “Let’s just do a quick ultrasound to make you feel better,” he said as he led me down the hallway to a room that would eventually haunt me.

I arrived to the doctor's office early and sat nervously in the waiting room. It was crowded that day and the TVs sounded louder than usual. Everything sounded louder than usual — people talking, phones ringing, kids playing — and I was just trying not to panic. I was more than relieved when the nurse called me back to a room. As I waited for my doctor to come in, I felt sick. I nibbled on crackers and tried to convince myself everything was OK, but something in my gut was telling me otherwise.

My doctor entered the room in a rush. He again assured me that light spotting was nothing to worry about. "Your last ultrasound confirmed a healthy heartbeat and the constant nausea is a great sign," he continued. “Let’s just do a quick ultrasound to make you feel better,” he said as he led me down the hallway to a room that would eventually haunt me. I studied his face as he scanned the screen. My heart was beating out of my chest as I anxiously waited, praying I'd hear my favorite pitter-patter sound. That's when I saw it. The look in his eyes that I'd never seen before. They were all at once sad. Where there had been excitement, suddenly all I felt was deep hesitation. I didn't want to believe it, even as he muttered the very words I'd hoped to never hear: “I’m so sorry, but I don’t see a heartbeat."

Seconds later he said, "You've had a miscarriage.”

Courtesy of Christi Cazin

I got dressed and headed for the door, unable to speak. I felt people watching me walk through the lobby as tears rolled down my cheeks. I barely able to see the numbers on my phone through my tears, but I sat in my car and dialed my husband's cell phone number. When he first picked up, his voice was soothing to me, even though I had to tell him the awful news. He was expecting my call and knew before I said it from the sound of my voice. “They can’t find a heartbeat,” I said, sobbing in his ear. He asked me where I was, promised to be there as fast as he could. Because my doctor had sent me to another place to confirm our results immediately, I told my husband to meet me there.

I was grateful that I wasn't alone in this. With him at my side, I felt like I still had hope.

When he pulled up, I was still sitting in my car trying to process the news. He knew I didn't want to go in alone, so he opened my car door to offer his hand. I stepped out and sank into his arms, sobbing into his shoulder. Time felt still as we hugged in the parking lot, grieving the loss of our baby together. Once inside, the results were sadly the same. We sat together in shock, holding hands in that freezing cold ultrasound room.  

Something about that day still sticks out for me, aside from the sorrow. My husband didn't stop trying to take care of me after we left the appointment or in the days and weeks afterward. In fact, he's never stopped caring for me. He opens doors for me and holds my hand, but on that particular day it felt different. Before, when he treated me like this it felt normal and expected, but now I felt this deep sense of gratitude. I was grateful that I wasn't alone in this. With him at my side, I felt like I still had hope.

Courtesy of Christi Cazin

I believe the word "miscarriage" is deceiving. It sounds too clinical to capture what it really feels like. Our baby died inside of the one place it was supposed to be safest. Our baby was gone with no explanation or goodbye. And after that, my thoughts exploded into a million different directions. Did I do something wrong? Is this going to happen with all my future pregnancies? The only thing that offered me comfort was knowing that my husband and I would figure out the next steps together.

My surgery was scheduled for the following morning. I had to have a procedure called a D&C, and thankfully, I'd be put to sleep. Even though I thought I was mentally prepared for the surgery, I still woke up crying. “Where’s my baby?” I asked the nurse. I felt empty. I looked around and saw nothing but white curtains around me. The nurse went to get my husband from the waiting room. When he walked in, I started crying even harder. He knew there were no words to say that would comfort me, so he just held me. He just sat down beside my hospital bed, took my hand, and prayed with me. We prayed for peace, comfort, and another baby someday, when we were ready.

Marriage is hard and some days are harder than others. We still get mad at each other and bicker over stupid things. My miscarriage didn’t erase every argument we’d ever had or fix every future annoyance. What it did do, however, was give us both something even more life-changing: it gave us perspective.
Courtesy of Christi Cazin

When I got home, I felt numb. My husband was hurting too, but he's the type of man to shift focus elsewhere. In this case, he shifted his attention on me. Over the next few days, he picked up dinners, took care of the housework, and helped me take care of our infant son. As sad as I was, looking at our infant son smiling up at me made it hard not to feel grateful for what I did have. But even though I was thankful for my son, I couldn't ignore or forget what we'd all lost. We didn't just lose a "fetus," we lost a child, a sibling, a grandchild, and a soul we'd no longer have the privilege of raising and knowing.

For a long time, I was in a state of despair. My grief kept me in bed, sulking, and sad. Yet even in the pit of my sadness, my husband made me feel comforted. He was grieving in his own ways, of course, but he also did everything in his power to help me through this tragedy. He was patient when I woke up that first night sobbing. The next day, he was patient when I cried again and again and again. Five years later, he's still patient when I cry for our baby.

Marriage is hard and some days are harder than others. We still get mad at each other and bicker over stupid things. My miscarriage didn’t erase every argument we’d ever had or fix every future annoyance. What it did do, however, was give us both something even more life-changing: it gave us perspective.

Hardships are an inevitable part of marriage. Bad things are bound to happen in this life. In my opinion, what really matters is how we handle the bad stuff. Our grief was difficult to handle and it knocked us down, but we got back up together. We held each other when one of us fell apart and we made the decision to love each other harder.                     ‌

Courtesy of Christi Cazin

I’ve heard it said that mothers become mothers when they're pregnant, but fathers become fathers when they meet their babies. I realize only that for us, that's not at all true. My husband was as much a father to the baby we lost, as he is a father to our infant son.

My miscarriage changed me in so many ways. It made me appreciate being a mother, even when it's hard. And my miscarriage made my marriage stronger. We'd gone through something inexplicably difficult together, and it changed us. Instead of letting the grief consume us, we let it change our hearts and our marriage for the better. We are better parents, better people, and it somehow gave us a deeper love for one other. I lost a part of my heart that day, but what that precious life showed me was just how precious my life truly is — and what a wonderful man I get to share it with.