My Spontaneous Abortion Story

I wondered if pure gratitude would have kept the baby alive, if my ambivalence caused her heart to stop. I didn't give voice to these fears, caught in my own sense of shame.

My Spontaneous Abortion Story
Photo by Huha Inc. / Unsplash

This piece is an excerpt from a larger work in progress that tells the story of my faith deconstruction and reproductive journey and shares, among other narratives, how I went from an anti-abortion conservative Christian to a progressive Christian who vehemently defends the healthcare rights of women, including abortion. Every single reproductive journey is unique, and I firmly believe that all people should have the right to make complex medical decisions with access to care and without fear of legal repercussions. As a part of my effort to contribute to the destigmatization of abortion care, I refer to my miscarriage as a "spontaneous abortion," which is a commonly used medical term.

I look down at the test again, in disbelief that I see two pink lines. Pregnant. How? I text my husband at work to let him know: “I’m pregnant. Oops.”

He knew that my period was late, but I had been waiting to test until it was really late. Plus I haven’t been very regular since it came back four months ago, at just three months postpartum. Whoever says that exclusive breastfeeding is the best contraceptive is a liar. I try to count back the days since my last period and estimate that I am 6 weeks along.

My baby is seven months old, crying in the next room, and his birth is a trauma I have yet to unpack. I’ve been stumbling, zombie-like through many moments of the last seven months, waiting to see if the fog will lift. A few days after his birth, or maybe the day after, my husband declared, “When are we going to have another one?”

I looked at him like he was insane. Does he know what I went through to get this one out of my body? Why is everyone acting like I’m okay? Why am I trying to act like I’m okay? I’m pretty sure I will never be ready to have another baby, yet I want my son to have at least one sibling, so the conversation about baby number two has been ongoing.

I glance back at the pregnancy test and shake my head, trying to clear my thoughts as I pick up my baby. With him in my arms, I call my doctor and book an appointment for an ultrasound. Discussions about timing aside, ready or not, I guess this is happening. I quickly do the mental math; these kids will be 17 months apart in age. Neither my husband nor I have any illusions that having kids so close in age won’t be difficult, but over the next few days as we process the new reality, we begin to dream about how fun it will be (eventually) to have children so close in age. My older sister, my best friend, is just 18 months older than me, and we grew up attached at the hip.

The day of the appointment with the OB, my husband and I walk into the appointment holding hands, trying to keep it light. We have decided that, despite the surprise factor, we are happy about this pregnancy. I secretly have complex feelings that I feel too ashamed to share. I can find my way into happiness, I’m sure of it.

In the examination room, the doctor greets us and gets to work. Once the computer screen is up and running, we wait in anticipation to hear the heartbeat. We see the tiny little bean shaped thing, but there’s no heartbeat. “Are you sure you’re 6 weeks along?” the doctor asks.

“I don’t know for sure. My period hasn’t been super regular since I’m still breastfeeding, but I know the date of my last period.”

“Maybe you’re not 6 weeks; maybe it’s earlier than that. There’s no need to worry. We usually like to see a heartbeat by 6 weeks, but let’s schedule a follow up for two weeks from now.”

We leave the appointment with the familiar black and white printout of the inside of my uterus, ostensibly the first picture of our baby. We decide to tell our families, texting them a photo and saying, “We didn’t hear a heartbeat today, but we’ll go back in 2 weeks! They think it’s too early.”

Over the next few weeks, I am distracted and the anxiety weighs heavy. I try to convince myself that everything will be okay. I remind myself that even though I wasn’t ready to be pregnant, we know we want more kids, so why not now?

Two weeks later, we return to the doctor.

This post is for subscribers only

Already have an account? Sign in.