This is such a sensitive topic, and yet one I've been wanting to do for awhile. You see, it seems that many women (and especially men) have no idea how common a miscarriage is. There is this idea that as soon as you see that BFP, you know that nine months later there will be a baby.
For some women, this is 100% true.
For other women, this turns out not to be true once in their child-bearing years.
For another, much smaller sampling of women, that BFP means you are probably going to have another miscarriage.
Before I got married, I knew women had miscarriages. Of course! I'm not going to post any statistics up here (go search the internet yourself if you're that interested), but the truth is that as many as 50% of pregnancies end in a miscarriage.
Usually miscarriage seems ignored in the media. People don't realize the mourning that mother must do, for the loss of her baby, of her dreams of a child. But I saw two movies last month that accurately pinpointed the suffering a woman feels at the death of her baby.
The first, of all things, was Up. This cutesy little animated film by Disney has a section in it, with no sound, where the new husband and wife are laying on their backs, pointing to the clouds and imagining what they look like. Dear husband makes the mistake of pointing to a cloud and saying it looks like a baby. Dear wife's eyes light up, her smile goes big, and when the camera pans to the sky again, all the clouds are babies. So cute! The next few scenes show her painting a nursery, buying baby things, preparing for baby.
And then the next scene is in a hospital. She's sitting in a chair, head in hands while she bawls, husband and doctor holding on to her.
There are no words, but that pain, that loss, is tangible.
The next movie was Marley and Me. If you've seen this movie, you remember the scene. Wife and husband are in the doctor's office, tape in hand, ready to listen to the heartbeat on the doppler. The nurse can't find it, but it's not a big deal, because the wife isn't quite ten weeks. So they move straight into the ultrasound. While the nurse looks for the baby, the husband and wife kiss each other's hands and giggle over what they expect to see. Interrupting them, the nurse says, "I'm going to get the doctor. Be right back, okay?"
The husband and wife look at each other. She licks her lips. He looks down. Everyone knows this isn't good.
And the doctor comes in and breaks the news to them. There's no heartbeat.
Somehow, that woman holds it together until they get home. She sinks onto the couch inside the house, letting her husband make tea for her. When he comes back into the living room, she is holding their dog (Marley), head buried in the fur, sobbing.
I cried over this scene for about ten minutes. It's extremely accurate. It's very similar to how my first pregnancy went. At ten weeks, the doctor couldn't find a heartbeat. Again, no big deal, it's still early. We scheduled an ultrasound for the following week.
The tech didn't say a word to us during the ultrasound. Then she sent us into the lobby and said the doctor would send for us. The receptionist looked at me and my husband and said, "Oh, you don't need to wait here. The radiologist will call you with the results."
And I said, "But the tech just told us the doctor would want to see us."
"Well, that's strange," the receptionist said, and she called into the tech's office. The tech's office was right next to where we were sitting, and we heard every word of the following phone call.
Receptionist: "Did you send this couple back into the lobby to wait?"
Tech: "Yes. Something's wrong with the baby. The doctor will want to talk to them."
Receptionist: "Oh, okay." Hang up. "It'll just be a few minutes."
My husband looked at me and said, "Did you hear?"
How could I not? I remember how I focused on the wall in front of me, concentrating on breathing, trying to ignore the heat behind my eyes. I did not want to cry right there, in front of all those people.
Miscarriage happens. Yet it is so often played down, the woman's grief minimalized or ignored. To those of us who experience miscarriage, a BFP no longer means baby. A heartbeat means baby.
Since I'm baring my soul to the whole world here, I'll admit that I've had four miscarriages. This is my seventh pregnancy. Yes, I'm pregnant. And this morning, at 9 weeks and four days, we heard a heartbeat. God willing, folks...this BFP equals baby.