The Piece of Jewelry I Never Wanted
*Steffany Botchar is a local mom who wrote this raw account after experiencing a miscarriage with her first pregnancy, and bravely volunteered to share it on our blog.
The piece of jewelry I never wanted. An August birth flower necklace, to commemorate the baby that will never be.
I was about a week late by the time I took the test. I only knew I was pregnant for 7 days. Not long enough to hear the heartbeat, but just long enough to watch the next 18 years flash by. I foolishly wondered how people could wait so long to share the news with their friends and loved ones - I was so excited. I did the math and learned we would be in our 13th week, and able to announce it, in the beginning of October. This felt like a lifetime to wait, yet the due date, April 5th, seemed like it would be here in no time - I only had 8 months to get everything ready for this baby, but lucky for me, I’m a planner - so I immediately began preparing. I planned, and ordered baby books, I read positive pregnant affirmations, I dreamed, I wished, I researched, I took my prenatals, I began booking doctors appointments and researching midwives. For 7 days, I smiled, beaming so very proudly, holding my hands ever so lovingly below my belly button.
Over the first few days, I continued to peek at the positive pregnancy tests, which made me more and more giddy every time I looked at them. They were the only external, tangible evidence I had that I was pregnant, validating what I already felt - I was pregnant! But, I knew I was pregnant before I took the test. I could feel it, not physically, but emotionally, almost spiritually - and when I saw the positive sign, I was instantly in love with this little being, no bigger than a vanilla bean seed. I took 7 pregnancy tests the day I found out. Each time another test confirmed, I would get more and more excited, but it didn’t feel real until I read that word on the the digital test. The same type of test that confirmed my worst fears 8 days later and brought my last 7 days of bliss to a soul-crushing halt. When I used to think of miscarriage, I believed it to be more of an “event”. Like, it happens, and then it’s over in a matter of minutes or couple of hours, and the healing begins. I understand that every woman miscarries differently, however, mine lasted days and I was not prepared for that. Heavy painful cramping, severe back pain, and heavy bleeding, serving as the visual reminder that my pregnancy was over - as if the physical and emotional pain wasn’t enough. Every time I went to the washroom I was hit with the sobering truth that I was unable to deny. I began to resent going to the washroom because I simply didn’t want to see it. I so desperately wanted to wish it away, because “miracles happen everyday” and “some women still go on to experience healthy pregnancies after a bit of cramping and blood”. In my case, however, the pain and bleeding didn’t stop, and a pregnancy test two days later revealed that there will be no miracle this time around. So now, aside from those two pregnancy tests I kept, this pain that I’m in is the only other reminder that my pregnancy was real - it’s all I have left of my baby. I couldn’t even bring myself to take a pain killer - I wanted to feel everything. I wanted the physical pain to match my emotional pain. I felt as if I deserved to feel it, as a type of punishment for not being able to keep this baby alive. Excruciating guilt, pain, and hatred for my own body began to envelope me. I felt as if my body had betrayed me. I felt as though I had been robbed. Robbed of the fact that I will never get to meet this baby, or kiss their tiny toes. Robbed of the happiness and carefree joy that I won’t experience in my future pregnancies - for, how will I be able to enjoy my next pregnancy knowing that it could end so suddenly? Why did all of our friends get to celebrate their pregnancies, and continue to celebrate until the baby was born, and after? Why don’t I get to do that? Will this happen again? Is there something wrong with me? Will I even be able to carry children? What if its worse next time and I miscarry later on? Will I be able to cope? Will it absolutely destroy me? What about my marriage - will it be able to handle another devastating loss? I began unsubscribing from emails, deleting pregnancy apps, and all the lists I’d started of must-have baby items. I read a post from a woman in my April 2020 babies Facebook group saying she was miscarrying and that she wished everyone well. A second woman responded that the same thing happened to her. I was the third woman to chime in and say that I was also experiencing a miscarriage. We received an outpouring of support from these mamas-to-be, but I was instantly so jealous of them. Just 24 hours ago I was just like them, pregnant and due in April. I removed myself from the Facebook group. I answered the door the next day to a delivery of a second baby book I had ordered. I rescheduled all personal plans and work appointments. I laid on the couch for 5 days and cried reading through miscarriage blog, after blog. I struggled trying to talk to my husband and articulate exactly what it was that I needed from him. He is a fixer, and I didn’t need to be fixed - I needed to feel, and grieve and come to terms with the fact that every hope and dream I’d had in the last 7 days, was ending. “It will be perfect”, I had said to my husband, “a baby born in April means that I’m not super pregnant in the winter” I was happy that I may not need to buy a maternity winter jacket for the cold Calgary winters. “it won’t be too cold for the baby to go outside, and it will be old enough to go outside in the summer, and maybe wear sunscreen, and go in the water! We will actually be able to go outside and do things”. These are just silly things to think about - maybe it was all too good to be true. That moment of hope was fleeting. That glimpse of my future was simply that - a glimpse, that will not become my reality this time around.