13 Jul My Miscarriage

Content Warning: pregnancy, birth, miscarriage, messy words about it, sadness.

Today I had a miscarriage.

I’ve never had one before so I wasn’t quite sure what was happening.

At 6am I went for a run with Big Daughter. Then  I drove Bella to school. On the way there I started cramping. At first it was regular annoying period pain cramps. But then it got to be so much more. I got home, popped ibuprofen and lay down, hoping it would go away. It didn’t.  The cramping intensified so that it was gut-wrenching spasms. Like somebody was kicking me in the lower back. With steel capped work-boots. I couldn’t stand up straight. Walking hurt. I thought I was having the worse menstrual period pain in the history of womankind.

I cried. A lot. I screamed into my pillow. Real loud. My daughters were scared for me. They brought me an ice pack. Then they Googled psycho period pain and what to do about it – and brought me a hot pack instead. Nothing helped. I was scared.

I’m going to die. I need to go to the hospital. But how am I going to get there? It hurts so bad.

Then I remembered I was in Samoa and I was twice as scared. Because even though the hospital has been upgraded and there’s lots of great people working there, I’ve never actually had any medical procedures done on me in Samoa and the terrified dying fia-palagi woman inside me REALLY wanted to be in New Zealand at that moment.

About an hour into it, I realized it wasn’t just a period from hell. There was something else going on. Because then I wanted to ‘push’. I haven’t experienced labor for seventeen years but today, it hit me with a vengeance. Reminding me why having a baby is a horribly bad idea – that usually is extra horribly bad right when you’re actually trying to ‘have’ that baby. I pushed and something came out. Immediately, the pain stopped. Then I threw up. A lot. And passed out on the bathroom floor in a pool of throw-up and blood.

The daughters called their Dad to come home right away. He came. He lifted me up. He helped me go shower. He got plastic gloves and fished out the little messy something, put it in a plastic container so I could take it to the doctor. I didn’t want to look at it but I also didn’t want to flush it away. He cleaned up the mess and disinfected the bathroom. He hugged me. He was the calm, steadying strength I needed. In that moment as he capably waded through blood, vomit and tears, he was the most beautiful and beloved man I have ever seen.

I still wasn’t sure what had happened to me. Even then. Because a miscarriage should have been an impossible thing, because as far as I knew, I was not pregnant. And I was not pregnant, because:

A. After Baby #5, I had  a tubal ligation where a surgeon didn’t just clip and tie my tubes, she cut and cauterized them. Not only that, I was not pregnant because

B. I’m also on the contraceptive pill. For health reasons and not contraceptive ones, because see reason A, I cant get pregnant because I’ve had a tubal ligation.

The doctor reminded me that there’s a 1% chance you can still get pregnant after a T.L. That it works for 99 women out of 100. So it was indeed possible that my messy something was a miscarriage because I could be that one woman out of a hundred. And after looking at the contents of the plastic container, she was pretty sure I’d had a miscarriage. But she said, its also possible that my messy something wasn’t a future baby, but it could have been other things like corpus luteum cyst’y things or some other technical words I cant remember.

Because I’m me and I see funny where there isn’t any, I told Darren this happened because he has  Ironman-Engineer-Builder sperm that can build connecting bridges between cut tubes and ovaries…OR he’s got sperm that can leap across chasms with Ironman determination. He didn’t think that was funny. (I thought it was hilarious myself.)

I drove home from the doctor and I was many things.

I was relieved. So very relieved.

I was grateful for Darren and my daughters helping me through.

But most of all, I was sad.

I’m forty-two. I have five fabulous children who bring me great joy. Because carrying them and giving birth to them almost killed me (and them) four times over, I was happy to take the doctors recommendations and have a T.L. I’ve known for seven years that I would never have any more children and I was fine with it. I looked at other parents chasing after toddlers in grocery stores and at tired mothers trying to feed their wailing babies – and I was grateful that my wailing baby days were over. I went to the movies with my Big children, talked books with them, chatted feminism and religion with them – and I was grateful to be the mother of nearly-grownups who I could be friends with. I hugged Bella, laughed at her wacky jokes, admired her fierce spirit and bold Bella’ness – and I rejoiced in every minute because she’s my last ever baby and everything she does and says is extra special and amazing. Not once have I wistfully wished I could still grow a baby. Instead, every day, I give thanks for the sacred blessing of being a mum to five rather fabulous people and I’m happy there aren’t going to be any more.

And yet, today I had a (probable) miscarriage, and I am sad. I’m not sure why.

I’m sad that there was a tiny hope of a baby and now there isn’t. Maybe even sadder because I didn’t even know there was a flicker of hope, so how can you properly mourn and miss something you didn’t even know was there?

I’m sad that me and Darren will never have that shared-new-parentness again – that indefinable, tangled link where he holds my hand as I long to die because it’s been twenty hours of pushing and hurting and puking and the baby’s stuck and labor has stalled and they finally decide to do a C-section because I’m a loser wimp and I can’t push anymore and he sings to me while they cut me up in a theatre crowded with strangers and I’m in shock and shaking with terror and with cold and I focus on his voice and he guides me to a place of peace. Where we pray for a newborn in an incubator to please make it. Where we tag team  through late nights of baby feeding and diaper changing and talk in hushed tones about what kind of personality will this child have?

I’m sad that my body couldn’t hold on, couldn’t nurture, couldn’t endure. Is it guilt? Or more the reminder that this body that once worked so hard to create life and then grow it and birth it – is getting old, malfunctioning, shutting down and packing it in? From the first baby to the fifth, I’ve always known that in spite of my abundant child-birthing hips – I am not ‘made’ for motherhood. From hyperemesis to prenatal depression to pre-eclampsia and emergency premature C-section deliveries, every baby was a reminder that I shouldn’t be pregnant and of how weak I am. Especially when well-meaning relatives compared me to other “strong Samoan women” who worked every day of their pregnancies, pushed a squalling ten pound baby out in two determined huffs, and then went back to Superwoman duties the next day. So yeah, I was always the ma’i one, the somewhat broken one. But still, I was valiant and I persevered and I held on and I did it, dammit. I made babies and kept them alive and they’re perfect, even though they had a shitty start. But today? I couldn’t keep a baby alive. Or even a hopeful messy something alive.

Even if it wasn’t ever going to be a baby, today was a jarring reminder that my birth-mother potential is gone. That there’s something broken in that mysterious place inside me where life-creating and baby-growing happens.

Even though I didn’t want to have any more children and I took decisive steps to make sure that I wouldn’t – I still got pregnant. But I wasn’t good enough, strong enough, or healthy enough to stay pregnant.

And while I’m relieved, I’m still sad about that.

 

45 Comments
  • I’m so sorry to read of your experience, and so glad you had the support from your whānau and your lovely Darren at the time you most needed it. I know that feeling of loss of something I didn’t even know was there, I didn’t know what to do with that either. And it reminds me that the old adage ‘you can’t be a little bit pregnant, you either are or you aren’t’ doesn’t really work. You can be. My aroha to you and your whānau, i tēnei wā pōuri.

    July 15, 2015 at 12:35 am
    • admin
      Reply

      Thank you – especially for that, ‘You can be.’
      Alofa tele.

      July 15, 2015 at 12:41 am
  • jacob
    Reply

    thank you. sorry. best wishes. incredible writing.

    July 15, 2015 at 1:24 am
      • Ina
        Reply

        So sorry to read what had happened. I’m 34 and have 5kids myself, you are / was my role model when you taught me back in 1997 & 1998 in CCWS. You were the best teacher I ever had and always grateful for that and for all the lessons you have taught me, I remember one time when I was crying because some of the boys were making fun of me because I was so skinny back then, but you came and hug me and told me to be strong and pretty girls don’t cry LOL.. (I still remember that Sister Wendt, and I was sad after returning from a family vacation in Australia and you were gone to RLSS. 🙂

        July 15, 2015 at 8:38 pm
        • Ina
          Reply

          I was sad to read what happened, you have fabulous children and a husband who loved you and supports you. I enjoy your writing and I love the way you write your blog. All the best. PRETTY WOMAN STAY STRONG.

          July 15, 2015 at 8:44 pm
  • SKPA
    Reply

    Thank you for your honesty and openness. As a woman I can feel your sadness, yet your relief; I can feel your pain, yet your joy. I have 3 children and yes they are all blessings, but sometimes I wish I had had more, but for one reason or another, it was not to be. I have had friends who have had miscarriages and I’ve tried to support them the best way I can…. which often is just talking over coffee. And I have a beautiful 84 year old Mum who had a miscarriage as well as giving birth to a baby boy who died after birth, which was not talked about in those days but must have been devastating. Consequently our little family was made up of only 2 girls. I am sad that I never got to meet those siblings of mine. You have 5 adorable children and a wonderful, supportive husband which are all gifts and blessings. Wish you all God’s love, hope, peace and happiness.

    July 15, 2015 at 2:43 am
  • Saolo
    Reply

    While I’m sorry for your loss, I’m equally inspired by your strength to endure. Stay strong, Lani!

    July 15, 2015 at 3:30 am
  • Von Morley
    Reply

    I’m so sorry to hear this! I felt so sad reading this. You have a wonderful support group in your husband and children. I’m glad to hear you’ll be physically well, though the emotional part will take some time. I can only imagine the panic you must have felt.

    I enjoy your writing and look forward to your posts. For the record, I thought your comments to your husband were also hilarious!

    July 15, 2015 at 4:40 am
  • Elenoa Salelee
    Reply

    Oh Lani, I‘am so sorry for what you went through! Same to your family.

    I love the way you wrote this blog post. Sensitive yet humourous and deep!

    July 15, 2015 at 6:38 am
  • Tooa
    Reply

    Thanks for sharing Lani. Made me sad too.

    July 15, 2015 at 8:10 am
    • Tooa
      Reply

      The rest of my previous comment was axed.
      Love the way your thoughts flow onto pen and paper. Feels like I was right in the room.
      Your hubby sounds like the Kevin Costner in Bodyguard. The rest is too profound and heartbreaking to address Xx

      July 15, 2015 at 8:43 pm
  • Laureen
    Reply

    What a beautiful brutally honest heartfelt piece of writing. I had a miscarriage two years ago it was extremely sad and I’m still sad. But I am also very grateful for the children given to me. Thank you for sharing this difficult time. It helps to share and reading your story as painful as it actually helps heal my heart of a child that could have been. Thanks

    July 15, 2015 at 8:48 am
  • Oh Lani – I’m so very sorry. Your post brought me to tears. I still carry those brutal feelings of helplessness and ‘not-being-strong-enough’ guilt today even though mine was fourteen years ago. I think it is yet another battle-scar some women carry for the rest of their lives. All those scars tell a story don’t they, even if they can’t be seen by the naked eye. They’re there nonetheless. I like to think mine is a reminder of a little soul that chose me, but just wasn’t quite ready for this world.

    Sending you and your hot-man my love. xxx

    July 15, 2015 at 10:31 am
  • Teresia Teaiwa
    Reply

    Oh, Lani! Much alofa to you and your loving family. May your beautiful messy something rest in peace.

    July 15, 2015 at 12:58 pm
  • rapil
    Reply

    Stay strong Lani!..I hope to one day ,month,or heck whithin year blessed in Motherhood if not come any sooner before my 40th…however, no words can describe your experience. I pray for Healing comfort upon you and your family.

    July 15, 2015 at 1:13 pm
  • Sieni A.M.
    Reply

    Oh, Lani. This is so sad and shocking to read. Much love to you and your daughters and admiration for your husband. I hope your recovery, both physical and mental healing, is well-supported and cared for. Thank you for courageously sharing a deeply personal and scary experience. Thinking and praying for you xo

    July 15, 2015 at 1:18 pm
      • Sieni A.M.
        Reply

        Thinking about you and this post days later. Prayed for you in the Bahai Shrines. Hope you’re doing better my friend.

        July 18, 2015 at 5:58 pm
  • Sandra
    Reply

    I am soooo sorry Lani. I know words cant console you in any way, nor will they make you feel better. But know that as a sister, i’m prayerful that you’re ok. May the Lord comfort you thru this time. God bless…
    Alofa atu,

    July 15, 2015 at 3:16 pm
  • lima
    Reply

    Im sad to hear this happened, but Im happy that you’re okay. Take care, friend.
    ALofa mo ‘oe

    Lima

    July 15, 2015 at 5:19 pm
  • vi
    Reply

    Thank you for sharing so much of yourself in your posts Lani. This one particularly affected me as a know the pain of that loss too well. Thinking of you and wishing we could share a coffee together.
    Much lolomas from Fiji my friend xxx

    July 15, 2015 at 10:56 pm
  • Priscilla
    Reply

    Thank you for sharing your heart! I have 4 Babies in Heaven, and 5 alive and well. The 4 babies in heaven are Leilani ,Joao and #3 and #4 were not named, because I was 1 month along. What has really helped me along this Journey is knowing that my Little ones are safe and healthy in Heaven with Jesus, and I know they show all the new Babies the view. Talking about it really helps and can encourage others who may have hidden it in pain. I am mixed with Samoan and Mexican roots so I can understand your Family life. Kids every where! LOL! I will keep you and your family in our prayers, much love! Priscilla

    July 16, 2015 at 1:39 am
  • Ata
    Reply

    Talofa Lani
    I am so sorry to hear of your sad experience and the devastating news…sending much alofas to you and your family.

    I don’t get to read all your blogs but the ones I have read, I have thoroughly enjoyed. Below is a website link of one of the organisation we work closely with here in NZ http://www.sands.org.nz/. They offer a great deal of support for mothers and families who have gone through the same experience.
    You are amazing Lani and I am glad you have such great support in your husband and children. Take care and much alofas

    July 16, 2015 at 10:04 am
  • I love how you keep it real always Lani.
    Beautiful writing, glad to hear you’re OK & you had awesome family support 🙂

    July 16, 2015 at 11:22 am
  • Jayne P
    Reply

    So sorry to hear about your loss. I think this is a universal feeling of loss of hope…it’s sadness. Even in the smallest moments, when you lose a hope of something it creates sadness. I was never able to get pregnant, never had a miscarriage, but in our adoption journey at one point had a hope of a child that went to another family. He was a hope for a short time that then became sadness for a season.

    Hope is a powerful emotion and it’s opposite is just as powerful. Hang in there babe.

    July 16, 2015 at 10:48 pm
  • I’m very sorry for what you have been, and are going through.

    Your courage prompted me to press “publish” on a blog post I had been sitting on for a week or so.

    Thankyou.

    July 17, 2015 at 10:13 pm
  • Heta
    Reply

    Dearest Lani,

    You are such an amazing mother, and writer 🙂

    September 2, 2015 at 11:24 pm
    • admin
      Reply

      Thank you Heta. #love

      September 8, 2015 at 5:56 pm
  • Louisa
    Reply

    I was reminded of this blog when I read a similar one today by actress Laura Benanti.

    I had a miscarriage ten years ago. I didn’t take time to grieve. I didn’t want to BE pregnant so I thought I should have been relieved not sad. It was an emotional time and I was not well supported. I remember going to dance practice a few nights later and somebody mentioned they had seen me at the hospital. I couldn’t tell her why I was there. I was ashamed.

    Why don’t we talk about miscarriage? After I read your blog I talked to some women I know and it turns out more of them had similar experiences than I had known. Maybe if we talked more about it then those who go through it will know what is happening to them. I knew but didn’t want to know. Now I still carry the guilt.

    Thank you for being open and getting the dialogue started for so many of us.

    Laura wrote…
    “This is not your fault.
    You did nothing to deserve this, or make it happen.
    You can grieve for as long (or as short) a time as you need.
    You are allowed to talk about this (or not talk about this) with whomever you want.
    You, and only you, will know when the clouds have passed.”

    October 2, 2015 at 2:08 am
  • Michelle Lucy Wendt now Smith
    Reply

    Hi Lani,
    Condolences, and I too share your sadness. After 5 children, although unlike yourself had great pregnancies, childbirths and healthy children, my last child was born in 2000, Tahlia, now 15. I then discovered at 41 that I was once again pregnant. But by that time I was 14 weeks gone and still in shock as I was still menstruating…apparently this is not uncommon.
    Anyway, while still in shock, I also ended up in Hospital, and as my husband works away (fly in fly out), i was actually talking to him on the phone as I was sitting on the toilet with a silver bowl, lined with paper towel which the nurse told me to use, and I felt the urge to push. The ultrasound i had earlier on found there was no heartbeat so i was also sad, yet relieved. I drew strength from the fact that this was my body saying that there was something wrong and it was up to God now. It was a boy, 15 weeks and 4 days give or take a couple of days.
    I still think of that baby, but my eldest child Cheree, is 30 now, 2 daughters, and my son Scott 28, a son and daughter, my daughter Natasha, 25 and a daughter and son, and Christopher 22, a son and of course my gift from Heaven Tahlia, 15. I did not plan on another child at 37, but God had other plans for me I guess. So with 5 children and 7 grandchildren, I am happy.
    Being a mother is wonderful, but being a grandparent is blissful. It is double the pride and joy, double that feeling you get when you bond with our baby for the first time.
    I have enjoyed reading your blogs tonight, they are funny but real and I can sympathise with you and your daily chores, activities, life.
    Could you please advise me on how to order your books, please? I live in Australia, Newcastle, NSW.
    I would absolutely love to meet yourself, Mele and the rest of the Wendt family one day. Hopefully at the next Wendt Family Reunion. God bless, xoxo
    Michelle Smith (Wendt)

    October 6, 2015 at 3:37 am

Post a Comment