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This post is completely outside the realm of the norm here at Neighborfood. It has been languishing in my drafts file for weeks, waiting until I get the guts to hit publish. As much as I love sharing all of my happy foodie experiences with you all, I also want this to be a space where we can talk about the tough stuff together. Thanks for reading along and joining me in this process. I hope, somehow, my words can bring comfort to others who have experienced the pain of a miscarriage. For those of you who have lost a baby through miscarriage, I want you to know you’re not alone.

I didn’t expect to see a faint blue plus on the pregnancy test that September morning. The last few weeks had been filled with work events and sinus infections. Getting pregnant was the last thing on our minds.

But there it was, unmistakeable, before me.

We were having a baby.

I spent the day at work distracted, madly searching pregnancy forums and trying to calculate my due date.

That night, I rushed to Target to pick up the tiniest OSU onesie I could find and put it in a simple gift bag for Will. Even after reading the card I had written him, it took a few moments for the news to register. But then there was hugging and “can you believe its??” and eyes glistening with happy tears.

That weekend we went camping. I had picked up a few pregnancy books at Half Price Books and I read them aloud all the way to Michigan. We spent the weekend discussing names and whispering dreams in our sleeping bags at night.

I felt amazing. It was too early to feel nauseous or tired, so I lived in a sense of continual wonder. I would catch Will’s glance across a room or across the table and see it there in his eyes as well. Wild eyed excitement, wonder, awed disbelief, and just a teensy bit of terror. This is happening. It’s really happening. It was a secret too delicious for words. It bubbled up between us in bursts of imagination and plans.

But then one Sunday, just a little over two weeks after I found out I was pregnant, I started to bleed. I called the on-call Dr. immediately. He told me bleeding in early pregnancy is common. I shouldn’t worry.

I tried not to.

It didn’t work.

The bleeding continued and worsened through the night. Nothing about it felt common.

I called my Dr. in the morning. She said I may be miscarrying, but they couldn’t be sure. I could go to the ER but there was nothing they could do either way. All there was to do was wait. Wait for it to stop…or to carry on.

It never stopped. Not for 8 long days. I called a few close friends to tell them what was up. They sent prayers and cried and brought us take out for dinner. It meant the world to me, but it didn’t stop the ache.

It’s hard to describe the feeling of helplessness I experienced during those days. I prayed…or at least I groaned in God’s general direction, but my words felt empty, useless. I couldn’t lay down or eat better or go to the hospital or Holy Spirit in Jesus name this away. We were losing our baby. And I was powerless to stop it.

When the bleeding had almost stopped, I went to the Dr. and got my first ultra sound. The ultra sound that should have given us the first glimpse of the tiny human growing inside me. The ultra sound I had looked forward to. The ultra sound I had circled and starred on my calendar weeks in advance.

But there would be no heartbeat, no picture to post on the fridge after this ultra sound. It only confirmed what we already knew. Our baby was gone.

There is no guidebook for this grief. I searched my pregnancy books for the chapters on miscarriage. They were short and cold and to the point.

They didn’t mention the weight I would feel in my chest or how my breath would catch when I saw our due date on the calendar or walked past the would-have-been nursery. They didn’t talk about the way my arms would ache with emptiness or how a teddy bear at Kohl’s would put me over the edge. They didn’t mention how hard it was to reverse your dreams. To shrink your family back down to just the two of us size.

We didn’t tell our families for several months. I felt so overcome by grief I didn’t know if I could handle someone else’s. And it felt terribly cruel to have to tell them something so awful when we had been so anxious to share some of the best news of our lives.

There’s nothing that can be said to make this better.

Miscarriage sucks. It just does.

It’s not fair. It’s not the way things are supposed to be. It’s no one’s fault. It couldn’t be prevented.

It just is. And it sucks.

My road to healing has been slow and deliberate. There’s been no formula, no cure all. But I have healed, bit by bit, stitch by stitch. And so I write this not as a prescription, but as a word from a soldier there beside you in the trenches. I write this so you’ll feel less alone, less crazy. So you’ll know whatever healing looks like for you, it’s okay. This is just what healing looked like for me.

For me, healing looked like a full-on ugly cry break down in the parking lot of Target.

It looked like cleaning out the closets, mopping the floors, and wiping the baseboards (which I NEVER do), just to keep my mind busy.

It looked like reading the Bible, then not reading the Bible. Then reading it again. Then not being able to even look at it.

It looked like not telling all my friends so sometimes I could just go out and feel normal. So I could talk about nail polish and vacations and The Bachelor for a few hours without crying.

It looked like clinging to Will at night in the dark when sleep didn’t want to come.

It looked like girl’s nights and laughter and wine.

It looked like standing under the shower head until the hot water ran out.

It looked like finally being strong enough to tell our families what happened.

It looked like journaling. Writing down our story, my prayers, my pain, my anxieties, my hopes.

It looked like snuggling my friend’s babies, breathing in their sweet smell, and kissing their wrinkly foreheads.

It looked like reading a novel, just for fun.

It looked like scribbling verses on scrap paper, fragments to grasp hold of. The Lord is close to the broken hearted. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. His mercies are new every morning.

It looked like a pint of Grater’s ice cream and marathon episodes of The Office.

It looked like praying, or mumbling, or screaming at God.

It looked like reading blogs and listening to other people’s stories of loss.

It looked like recognizing our baby was real–a real life, with all the potential for personality and talents and growth. We were parents. We lost our baby, and our pain is real and legitimate.

It looked like finally being brave enough to try again, even though there’s no guarantee we’ll be spared this grief the next time around.

It looked like writing this down. For you. For me. For whoever might come here wondering if their heart will ever heal.

I still have hard days. Sometimes the grief hits me anew, and it feels so fresh, even after all these months. But I have healed. I am being healed. I am so grateful for the friends and family who have sent cards and whispered prayers and texted verses and given hugs when I’ve been at my worst. Their love has helped stitch me back together.

There are things I will always grieve. I will never have the naivety, the blissful excitement of that first time. And I will never snuggle our first baby or drink in its intoxicating scent this side of heaven. My heart will always mourn these losses, and long for a day when all of this, somehow, will be made right.

Despite the pain, I’m so grateful for the two weeks I had with our precious little one. I’m grateful I got to experience the love of a parent, if only for a few brief moments. If there’s anything this miscarriage taught me, it’s that it’s possible to feel great love for a human you’ve only known just two short weeks. And that’s a feeling I’ll never, ever forget.

I found tremendous comfort in reading other’s stories of loss during my healing. Below, I’ve included a few more links I found helpful. As always, I would love to hear from you. If you’re struggling or just want someone to talk to or pray for you, feel free to email me at neighborfoodblog(at)gmail(dot)com. 

When God Sits With You

The Heartbreak of Miscarriage

The Day I Lost My Baby

On Grieving Miscarriage as Christians

God Shaped Hole

If you’re wondering how you can support a friend who is experiencing the loss of a baby, PLEASE read this article from my dear friend Erin On What Not To Say.

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Leave a Comment

  • Cheryl Harrison May 29, 2014, 9:31 AM

    Ugh, heartbreaking. Thanks for sharing.

  • Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean May 29, 2014, 10:50 AM

    sending hugs and prayers your way, friend. xo

  • Annette Beachy May 29, 2014, 1:47 PM

    I related so much to this, Courtney. Not many know that I, also, miscarried our baby. It was a tubal pregnancy and as much as I wanted to try to save the little one along with myself, we lost. Our boys still talk about their sibling in heaven. My heart goes out to you. Thank you for sharing.

  • Erin@WellPlated May 29, 2014, 1:48 PM

    Courtney, what a beautiful, powerful post. You have truly shared and poured out so much, and I know a few friends who can really benefit from your words. Thank you.

  • Liz May 29, 2014, 6:24 PM

    I’m so sorry, Courtney. I know many will benefit from hearing your story…you are courageous for sharing, and by doing so, you are helping others who are also grieving. xo

  • Kristin May 29, 2014, 6:33 PM

    Thanks for mustering the courage to share your loss and grief story. You, Will and your angel baby are sooooo loved. We hug you in our hearts and with our prayers every night!

  • Katie Hochstetler May 29, 2014, 6:34 PM

    Love you dear, brave fellow warrior friend. Thanks for your courage, insight, and honesty. I know this post will touch many hearts!

  • Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough May 29, 2014, 6:44 PM

    I am so, so sorry for your loss, Courtney. I can’t imagine how difficult a time this has been for you and your husband, but thank you for sharing your story. Prayers and hugs, friend. xo

  • Angie | Big Bear's Wife May 30, 2014, 10:57 AM

    I want to hug you. I have no words, my heart breaks for you…(literally shattered into a million pieces is more like it). hugs and hugs and hugs to you and your husband.

  • Lori | Foxes Love Lemons May 30, 2014, 11:03 AM

    I’m so, so sorry that this happened to you and Will, Courtney. My best friend just went through it as well, and it’s so difficult.

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood May 31, 2014, 8:19 PM

      It’s incredibly difficult. I hope your friend is finding healing as well. Thanks for commenting, friend.

  • littleredkitchen May 30, 2014, 12:05 PM

    I am so sorry Courtney for both you and Will. This could not have been easy for you to write but it was brave and I’m sure part of the healing process. Thank you for sharing your story and I hope it will help other women as they come across this.

  • Nancy May 30, 2014, 2:55 PM

    My dearest Courtney, this must have been one of the most difficult as well as cathartic things you’ve ever written. I can’t even imagine what you and Will went through and what you continue to go through. My heart goes out to both of you and for your sweet, lost baby. This incredible, eloquent, heartbreaking post will help a lot of women going through the same thing. Sending hugs and love your way.

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood May 31, 2014, 8:18 PM

      Thank you dear. Cathartic is a great word for it. I cried many tears over these words, but I feel like finally having it published has lifted a weight I didn’t even know I was carrying. We’ve been so encouraged by everyone’s responses these last few days. It’s definitely restored my faith in the Internet. 🙂

  • musicmom May 30, 2014, 11:21 PM

    Dear Courtney, this is a pain I have never experienced. I cannot imagine the depth of it, but your writing has given us all a glimpse of the hidden burden that parents of miscarried babies carry. Thanks for daring to bare this part of your soul. We will continue to keep you and Will before the Throne in our prayers.

  • Tisha May 30, 2014, 11:51 PM

    I am so, so sorry for your loss. I truly appreciate you sharing and I have benefitted from your words. Prayers go out for you and your family.

  • Shawn Slocum May 31, 2014, 4:57 PM

    Love you sis. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  • Abbey W. May 31, 2014, 6:47 PM

    Our hearts are heavy for you and Will. Love you guys.

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood May 31, 2014, 8:22 PM

      Thanks Abbey. We’ve been so blessed by lots of encouragement these past few days. I feel held by lots of incredible people, and it means so much!

  • Marly May 31, 2014, 10:04 PM

    Oh Courtney, I’m so sorry. I haven’t told many people but I’ve been through this too and it is awful. Science and medicine has come so far over the years and I know that your doctors will be paying extra close attention when you get pregnant the next time. I can’t wait to tell you congrats when you hold your baby! Thoughts are with you in the meantime.

  • Elisabeth June 1, 2014, 5:27 PM

    Dear Courtney…I am so glad that God gave you the strength to share your deepest feelings with your tremendous loss. My tears flowed as I read your post. My heart aches with you because your dad and I mourn for this precious grandchild as well. But I also know that I cannot know the depth of your pain because I have never experienced a miscarriage. I just know that we are touched by the grief that you and Will share and ask God to give you His amazing healing grace as only He can. God knows that you two are wonderful parents. Your precious child is waiting in heaven for you! We love you!

  • Lindsay @ the Live-In Kitchen June 1, 2014, 8:44 PM

    I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your story! It is such a mysterious event, and no one ever knows what to say or do. Nothing ever seems quite right. Certainly I wish it never happened, but it does and we need to be aware of how different it can look for everyone.

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood June 5, 2014, 8:44 AM

      Thanks Lindsay. It is an awkward, painful thing for everyone, and it’s difficult to know how to share, especially when so few people knew about the pregnancy to begin with. But I feel it’s so important for others to know they’re not alone and that it’s okay to grieve.

  • Phyllis Jean Haws-Garard June 2, 2014, 9:21 PM

    Thank you so much for telling your story I am positive it will and can be a great help for others. I hope and pray you are doing better now dealing with the loss of the tiny one was wasn’t ready to be born. I personally haven’t had this happen to me directly but my daughter was busy planning her wedding September 23 2012 and had been taking home pregnancy test for a few weeks before and the night before her wedding she took one last est and sure enough she was pregnant with what we thought was going to be her first child and my first grandchild so she did what you did bought a little onsie and wrapped the test in it to give to her new husband the next day after the wedding as his wedding present and of course this was all in front of the whole family and friends. they left for the honeymoon and she started bleeding 4 days into the honeymoon and she called me I told her the same thing if it was close to her period that could be the cause of the bleeding and if it didn’t stop or got worse then go to a doctor where she was in San Diego she was around 4 weeks Miscarriage Number 1. She comes home starts trying to get over it and goes on about her life with a little depression but works through it and toward the end of January 2013 I get a call from my other daughter and they are at the hospital cuz she was having some cramps and nausea and they could hear a heart beat but couldn’t find the baby in the sonogram or ultra sound but could still hear a faint heatbeat she was around 8 to 10 weeks pregnant but they were not telling anyone just in case something happened and sure enough they did an exam and the baby was in the Fallopian tube so needless to say she had to have part of her tube removed and the baby that she had just heard a heartbeat from and she went into a deeper depression this time so at the age of 32 and her second marriage and never gotten pregnant at all during the first marriage in the span of 4 months she lost 2 babies and she loves kids and wants them so bad and now her chances are getting slimmer and she is getting older but she has come out of it and is still trying for a baby so your story touched me since these lost little souls were to be my first grandchild and her first children and I mourned along with her and felt such a loss at not being able to help her so your story can help and will help anyone that has gone through a miscarriage Thanks you again.

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood June 5, 2014, 8:46 AM

      Phyllis, I am heartbroken hearing the story of your daughter’s losses. Miscarriage is a pain I would never wish on anyone, and it certainly isn’t the way things are supposed to be. Thank you for being willing to share your story here. I know my parents also grieved for their grandchild as well. It’s a loss that affects the whole family. I pray your daughter will find healing, and that she’ll have a child in her arms soon.

      • Phyllis Jean Haws-Garard June 7, 2014, 3:33 AM

        I figured by telling my daughters story it might help someone else that may see this to understand their not alone and maybe they will continue to have hope. I know that it is the most devastating for the parents and the mother more so than the father since she was the one carrying but its also devastating to other family members and maybe by you and I and others talking about it may just help someone through a very painful and heatbreaking time

  • Karen @ The Food Charlatan November 2, 2014, 9:23 PM

    Courtney, I never saw this. I’m so sorry for your loss and am grateful that fall looks hopeful to you this year. I wish I could give you a big fat hug.

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