Our first child came into our family a month before we celebrated our one-year anniversary. Shortly after she turned one, we had moved her to three different cities and five different homes. It was a chaotic time, a feeling that life was running us instead of us running it. Knowing that we were leaving the planning of our family up to the powers that be we were not surprised when in the first fall that we had returned to the valley city, my wife told me that she was pregnant. However, this was not a joyful event. She was bleeding.
Our concerns continued to grow. It was still very early in the pregnancy but the bleeding would not stop and late in the year we found ourselves at the local hospital. It was awkward and painful enough with my wife’s first pregnancy. We didn’t know what was going on, we were trying to manage my wife’s labour pain, I didn’t understand all of the medical processes that would be happening, so consequently, after fainting, I was banned from the room and from the operation. My wife was concerned about what was happening as she knew that our child did not turn correctly for a natural birth and thus needing the emergency surgery. Every thing about our first delivery was hard and complicated.
How can a person be prepared for what life can bring? All of life’s twists and turns. All of life’s chaos and pain and loss. There is no manual for life, just like there is no manual for death. We, at best, are unprepared for both.
Nothing can prepare a couple for a miscarriage. And although the stats tell us that one in three pregnancies end in a miscarriage, the frequency can never prepare the person for the process, and for the loss.
It was an incredibly painful and traumatic event for me to go through. I write selfishly, although I know that this is very much my wife’s story as well, but as this is my autobiography you will only read of my own painful journey here and not my wife’s. We were fortunate that she was in the hospital when she miscarried because of the bleeding and blood loss, but it was so incredibly painful to see my wife go through that process, to be by her side during every step of it, powerless to do anything to stop it – to prevent it.
But, that is where my heart broke. Where my ignorance and my naivety flooded my emotions. I had convinced myself that I could have done something to prevent it. That it was something I had done that ‘broke’ my wife. Perhaps if we had not made love…
In my foolishness I was thinking about all the ways that I may have harmed my wife because we had sex. I am not talking about rough sex or anything like that. Our love making was very tentative still. We were enjoying one another and since she was the only one I had ever made love with, I was still very inexperienced in that area and therefore our love-making was very basic – in that sense. No, it wasn’t the method that I was concerned about. It was the biology.
Because of the difficult ending to my wife’s first pregnancy and my lack of understanding around how childbirth works, and in particular, everything that happens in a woman’s body surrounding pregnancy and childbirth, I was concerned that I had somehow contributed to the need for the emergency surgery. And now, with this miscarriage, I was concerned that there was something biologically wrong with me, my sperm as it may, that was bringing this about.
Perhaps it was simply the scene that broke my heart so much, that I associated all of the details of the scene back to me. To see so much blood. To see my wife in so much pain. To hold her and not be able to take any of it away. It broke me. I wanted to preserve this beautiful flower that I was given charge over, to protect, to nourish, to help grow, and instead, she was lying in a hospital bed, just having miscarried, broken. I am not sure why I had taken that all on myself, but I did, and the result was a very painful next few months of our marriage.
I had grown cold inside and consequently cold toward my wife. She would come to me for comfort and I would push her away. I had no comfort for her. I had no comfort for myself. When we had both made the decision to let life plot its course for us, in the area of children, I did not expect life to take such a harsh turn so soon into the journey.
My wife sought comfort from me physically and I would have nothing of it. All I could think about was my wife’s miscarriage. I couldn’t get past it. How could I make love to her again, running the risk that something similar would happen again? That would be so cruel of me to put her through that journey again. I was trying to adjust to a life of celibacy, while finding no solace in my pain and loss.
I thank God for my wife each and every day. She is such an amazing gift and incredible partner and my best friend. She was all that before we got married and she has remained that every single day since. During this time it was no different. As she was processing her own pain and loss around the miscarriage she was seeking to talk with me, to find out and to listen to my own brokenness. It would take a couple of months before I could open up and share with her my pain, my fears, and my loss.
It was an amazing conversation. It was full of tears, full of vulnerability, full of shared experiences. At the end of the conversation we made love. A gentle, loving, expression of care for one another. A way to connect once again and to let each other know that we desired to be with one another, with a resolve to walk this journey of life together, regardless of what happened. And then a miracle happened. That one and only time that we made love in those few months following the miscarriage, and my wife was pregnant again. Nine months later our son was born and we welcomed another addition to our family.