Thursday, March 31, 2011

I really need to stop telling coworkers

Another guy at work: (At this point you might be thinking.... stop telling work people. You're right, I should do that.)

"Did you even want kids?"

No, I did not "want" "hypothetical" "kids." I didn't imagine some hyper, sticky, juice box-toting children running around. I wasn't like, sign me up for the airplane screamer! And the tantrum thrower! And the teenage girl... oh please no.

But I was pregnant. With a real baby. I loved that baby for whoever he or she was and whatever he or she wanted to be in life. 

No, I did not want kids. I wanted that kid.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

This is really happening

When I left you yesterday, I talked about how there were no miscarriage books at my local Barnes and Noble. Nada.

I intended to follow that post with another on how I did find several great books online, and the best one, What Was Lost by Elise Erikson Barrett, was mailed to me by a dear friend. The book even has a chapter called When People Say Hurtful Things -- a topic relevant to this blog.

I was all set to write about it when the REAL Pastor Elise emailed me. Omg! 

She has graciously agreed to do a Q&A with us. WHAT?!

I'm obviously excited. If you would like to submit a question, shoot me an email at

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

From a zombie, with love

In the days after my first miscarriage, I was wandering around our home like a Venice stoner turned zombie, eyes bloodshot from crying. Worry or cabin fever led my mom to suggest that we go to a book store to look at books on miscarriage. I threw on clothes and we drove to the huge Barnes and Noble close by.

What I found in Barnes and Noble was nothing. No books whatsoever.

I looked in the pregnancy section... only happy, giant belly books, no sad Your Baby Just Died books. I looked in psychology... only books on grief after losing a parent or child/teenager. I even looked in the Christian section, where some dude started hitting on me.

"Not many people looking in the Christian section, eh? What's your name?"

Wouldn't it have been awesome if I was like, "I'm married, and also, bleeding heavily from my uterus. Want my number?"

Instead I just got the hell out of there. But not before I noticed there were no books.

Up next: Elise Erikson Barrett on how to handle the things people say.

Monday, March 28, 2011

I did not kick this guy... I promise

Random guy at work had point blank asked me if I were pregnant when we were on a photo shoot together. Apparently I had it written on my face? Or I just looked fat. Whatever. So I told him yes. (Why did I do that? I'm stupid.)

I promptly forgot about the exchange and went about my business; I had no idea I would miscarry my baby two weeks later.

Fast forward to Friday night in the office.

Guy: Have you told the rest of the office yet?
Me: About what? Oh..... No..... Actually we lost the baby.
Guy: What?! Was there anything you could have done?
What I said: No...

What I wanted to say: No. But thanks so much for the encouragement!!!! Now I'm second guessing whether I could have done something!! You're hovering over my desk shouting loudly in earshot of others!! Let me answer your question with a question. Does it hurt when you get kicked in the balls?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Hello? This thing on?

This one is inspired by the lovely Singular Desire, who commented that the worst thing she heard was.... nothing.

In my mind this is the cardinal sin a friend or family member can commit. Even the most bumbling phrase "maybe... meant.... to be.... what happened... you can have another.... don't worry...." is better than radio silence.

As parents who have lost our little babies, whether at 4 weeks or full term, we struggle to convey how utterly sad we are to have lost that particular child. Having a dear friend or family member ignore our child and our grief is just a slap in the face.

There are people in my own family (I have a huge one) who haven't said anything or haven't said enough. I just want to say dude. If my baby were born yesterday you would be buying me baby gear and flying out to LA to visit. You'd be smoking It's a Boy cigars and jockeying for the next turn to hold the kid.

But because the baby died you say nothing? This is the very definition of adding insult to injury.

We do have to cut them a little slack, as they are blissfully unaware of what loss feels like, but I encourage you, if you're one of the people who found my blog by Googling, "what to say to a miscarriage person," (seriously, this appears in my traffic log) the answer is: something.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I'll take the Michael Jackson, please

This one is from awesome photographer Desiree:

"At the hospital being prepped for a D and C, the anesthesiologist comes in and without looking at my chart says (in a gruff Russian accent)

'So what are here for?'

Me: '... a D and C'

'What for? Are you bleeding?'

Me: long pause.... 'MISCARRIAGE...'"

What do you think she's here for in this particular wing of the hospital? A burger and fries? You're the extremely well-paid anesthesiologist. She's a woman who just had her heart ripped out. Take a few minutes to READ THE CHART before you start flapping your gums. And after doing your homework, give her enough Propofol that she can't remember how much of an idiot you were.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bright Spot

Today is a shit day you guys. It's the due date for my first baby, Clarence.

March 23.

Maybe I would have had him by now. Maybe I'd be swollen and tired and full of hope and ready to deliver. My mother would already be in town. My husband would be caffeinated and happy and making jokes about our "little guy."

I'm working hard to see the bright spots today. For us, for Clarence.

"I love you more than ever," wrote my husband in a note this morning. "I wish we could hold Clarence today, and see the child formed in God's image and our likeness."

His words brought me to tears. The good kind.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

You will probably be just like her!

You might disagree with me on this one.

From neighbors, friends, relatives, coworkers, etc.

"You know what, So-and-So had a miscarriage(s) and they went on to have three healthy babies!"

This is another tough one because I know it's meant to be encouraging. For me, it's annoying. I used to believe what people say. Now I don't. When I was pregnant the first time, people assured me I wouldn't miscarry, based on my health history and age. Even when I was spotting heavily, one of my pregnant friends, said DON'T worry. It's nothing. It wasn't nothing. I lost the baby.

During my second pregnancy, people said the same things. It won't happen to you again. There's no way. It did. Even when I had the same exact pain and spotting, my dear friend, who is a DOCTOR, said no. Don't worry. You're probably not miscarrying again. 

I know they were just trying to help. And I'm sure there are people out there who spotted and had healthy babies. I'm not one of the them.

I just don't believe what people say anymore. I've heard enough crazy things. I've felt complete and utter disappointment. I've seen first hand that you can pray for a baby every single night and still lose her. 

So, pardon me, friend. I will smile and nod while you tell the anecdotal story about the woman down the street and her happy family.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Guilt Monster

From a friend, "Well, your job really is so stressful...."

I know this person meant well. She was trying to say something encouraging like, it's not you, it's your job. Instead it made me feel like I was to blame. Maybe if I did a better job of "not being stressed" while at work, I wouldn't have lost two babies in 7 months.

The problem with these types of comments is that they just feed the Guilt Monster. I messed up. I must have messed up. Otherwise why would this be happening?

It's not true. Heroin addicts have babies. They messed up. You didn't. It's not my fault and I didn't mess up. Say it again.

Wanna share a particularly awful/wonderful comment? I will use a pseudonym for you if you're afraid your crazy MIL is reading this blog. Send me an e-mail.

Top 5 Best Things to Say

To someone who has experienced a miscarriage.

5. What can I bring you? This is so much better than the generic, "Let me know if you need anything." A dear friend brought me a People magazine (about Charlie Sheen, not about babies), a bunch of DVDs, chocolate, and booze. It was the perfect combo.
4. This is terrible/horrible/unfair. A girl I barely know from work was so kind to me when she found out. She said, "Let's go to lunch and be angry!" In retrospect, that was one of the nicest things anyone said.
3. You will be in my prayers. This one might not be comforting to everyone, but I'm a religious person, and I like the idea of someone remembering me and my lost babies in prayer.
2. How are you feeling? Open ended questions like this allow the person to just vent, cry, whatever.
1.  I'm so sorry for your loss. 

Acknowledging the loss is so important. Expressing your sympathy is important too. ESPECIALLY if you  are a family member. I can't stress this enough. If you are a brother, sister, in law, parent, or dear friend, you had a vested interested in that baby as well. You might think, ugh, I just don't know what do say. It's so awkward. Man or woman up and say I'm sorry. Express sympathy. It's the right thing to do.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Top 5 Worst Things to Say

To someone who has experienced a miscarriage.

5. At least you have other children. I don’t have other children, but I’m told by other women that this is said frequently. How rude!
4. What happened? Who the hell knows? Leave me alone.
3. Maybe it just wasn’t your time. Ok... but it’s the crack head downtown’s time? And the kids on MTV “Teen Mom’s” time? No, that doesn’t make sense.
2. Anything in the maybe-it's-your-fault category. Unless you majorly abuse drugs and alcohol, a miscarriage is not your fault. It's not that cup of coffee you had, and if someone brings it up, they should be prepared to lose a limb.
1. It’s nature’s way of getting rid of an unhealthy baby.

I hear number one all. the. time. Death is also a way to reduce excess population, but we would never dream of saying that to someone whose parent has recently passed. Be compassionate. Say something encouraging instead.

Up next: the top five things you should say.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

How's your mom's basement working for ya?

This one wasn't said to me directly, but was posted as a comment to the TIME article on how women grieve miscarriages for years. The article only talked about miscarriage.

This is the comment from Mike. "If they grieve when they miscarry then the psychological guilt from aborting a baby must be 1,000 times worse."

This is another huge peeve of mine. Comparing miscarriage and abortion is like comparing apples and oranges, no it's like comparing China and yogurt. They are not at all the same. The comparison is rude and thoughtless.

Also, dude who probably lives in his mom's basement, keep your judgmental thoughts to yourself. These are the types of things you should only share with your girlfriend pillow-girlfriend.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Much worse than PMS

This one is from Mama R:

"I'm so sick of people saying, 'Well at least you know you can get pregnant!' Yeah, that's all I wanted out of life. To get pregnant, have all the symptoms, and not get a baby in the end."

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

4th favorite grandma

This one is from Kris:

"My mother in law always came up with the worst things to say. When I was pregnant with my second living child she told me she couldn't get excited about the pregnancy because I had lost two of her other grandchildren."

Lady, did you know that you just insulted your grandchild's MOTHER? She is the keeper of your grandchild. You are clearly an ogre who lives in the forest and makes candles from your own earwax. Have fun making those snide comments. Someday you'll be the kid's second favorite grandmother, unless there are step parents, in which case you'll be third or fourth.

On not knowing what to say

An article on TIME online just reported that new research indicates that women grieve miscarriages for years. The best part:

Some of the depression may stem from the inept way in which others can react to miscarriage. People say well-intentioned but insensitive things, or they worry about saying the wrong thing, so they say nothing at all.

“With advancing medical knowledge, everyone assumes pregnancy is going to go well,” says Robertson Blackmore. “When that doesn't happen, it strikes fear in a lot of people. It's so common, but people don't know what to say.”

Friday, March 11, 2011

I can't even remember who said this

"Things happen for a reason."

I absolutely can't stand this phrase. Whether it's true that things happen for a reason or not is a moot point. The phrase is stupid and cliche and makes me feel like crap. I've gone from pregnant and full of hope to not pregnant. Isolated. Feeling like a failure. Like an empty vessel tossed at sea. I'm sad. In mourning. 

Don't tell me that things happen for a reason. Don't cast a rosy glow on my sadness. Let me have my sadness. It's one of the only things I have left. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Four drinks in and the comments still hurt

From a slightly definitely drunk friend, "C'mon part of you is relieved, right?

Are you kidding? I would give anything to have that baby back. Anything. Also, you're being an asshole.

Your "human skin" is peeling up at the edges

From an acquaintance, "Don't dwell on it."

Thanks, robot. If I were a robot with a robot heart, I could do as you say.

Maybe God wants me to kick you in the shins?

From submitter Rachel:

A woman at church, "Maybe God doesn't want you to have children."

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

You're the doctor, right?

Two positive pregnancy tests, three doctor's visits, hundreds of prenatal vitamins, one healthy ultrasound, dozens of healthy meals, and countless dreams for the future.

One terrible ultrasound, hours of pain, days of bleeding, and one crazy ER visit.  In the midst of the madness a new ER doctor walks in. "Are you sure you were pregnant?"

Another Well-Meaning Coworker

"Soon you'll have another baby, and you won't even care about this one."

You just had your heart ripped out, but keep on the sunny side!

From the phlebotomist in the doctor's office minutes after finding out my first child no longer had a heartbeat: "Cheer up dear! You can always try again."

Nothing about what you just said has any basis in science

From my hairstylist: "Miscarriages can happen if you get out of bed too quickly! That's probably what happened."

Gee... not worth it

From a coworker: "You can drink coffee again!"