“I’M SORRY, THERE’S NO HEARTBEAT”

By Jennifer Robertson

It’s hard to believe that five words can have such a profound impact on your life. 

Just five words can take you from excitement and giddy anticipation, to devastation and emptiness in an instant. 

Miscarriage.  Another word that makes you feel uncomfortable just saying it. 

But it’s a word that is imprinted on the hearts of so many. In fact, one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage. 

We don’t talk about it though. Because when we do, those around us squirm in their seats and quickly change the subject. So, we push it down and try to ignore that it ever happened. 

There is a deep shame surrounding miscarriage. It’s a taboo subject. Even social media shies away from it. I was talking to a colleague recently who had written a book about how to reduce the risk of miscarriage. When she went to promote the book on social media, she was told that she wasn’t allowed to, because they only liked to share uplifting messages. 

We’re being silenced. But not today. October was International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month.   

This is a time to acknowledge that miscarriage and pregnancy loss is actually a “thing”.   

It is an opportunity to educate those around us on what to say and what NOT to say to someone who has suffered a miscarriage or lost a baby. 

So, I’d like to share a few things that have been burning a hole in my heart for quite some time. 

My own experience with pregnancy loss spanned across 7 years. My husband and I were 33 when we decided to start our family. After 2 years of trying (and failing) to conceive and trying every medical treatment, test, and natural remedy known to man (well it felt like it), we went down the path of surrogacy. This is when we experienced our first miscarriage. By this stage we had been struggling with infertility for almost 4 years. We thought we were at the end when we finally fell pregnant. But it didn’t last too long. Our surrogate, my beautiful sister-in-law, started bleeding. A miscarriage was one thing, but watching a loved one suffering at your hands is gut wrenching.

Not only that, but we saw our hopes fading away yet again. 

My second experience with miscarriage was a little different. I wasn’t a by-stander in this one. After our surrogacy miscarriage, we went on to have a beautiful baby boy. Two weeks after he was born, I fell pregnant naturally.  Shock and excitement ensued – it was a true miracle. Only to crash down 9 weeks later. Once again, those five words, “I’m sorry, there’s no heartbeat.” 

What I didn’t know about miscarriage, is that it doesn’t always happen quickly. In the movies, they portray it as a quick trip to the bathroom, and then they cut to the next scene. But in reality, it can take weeks and weeks of uncertainty and blood tests. So many blood tests.   

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