What We See Is Never the Whole Story

Posted On: 10.18.12

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Seven years ago, after I learned I had miscarried, I climbed into bed and cried. I cried and worked hard to hide my tears. I chided myself for having jumped that proverbial gun, for having emailed my good friends about my nascent pregnancy. Because now they would know. They would know that I lost that pregnancy. And for some reason I didn’t want them to know this. I felt sad and angry and embarrassed and wildly private about what was happening to me. It turned out that sending that email was one of the best things I could have done because the people I loved knew about my pain as I was feeling it, and were there to support me. Still, I kept my loss private from the world. I cloaked my grief. For the masses, I put on a happy face. I’m good at that. So many of us are.

Seven years ago, I was a wannabe mom and a wannabe writer. My dream of becoming a mom was at that point freshly-dashed and I had the untidy bulk of a novel stashed in my desk. I had put my writing on hold when I got that little plus sign on that little plastic stick; I’d quickly grown obsessed with reading pregnancy chat boards and looking for baby things online.

Seven years ago, I would have never imagined that I would go on to have three girls and publish a novel and start a blog and lose my Dad. Seven years ago, I would have never imagined that I wouldn’t just write fictional stories, but very real stories. Stories about me. Stories about struggle and loss. I would have never imagined that I would one day have either the desire or strength to write about October 17, 2005, the day my first pregnancy ended.

But I did write it. I wrote that story. I had no plans to do so, but this past Monday, after a follow-up at the orthodontist, I wandered – as I often do – into one of the city’s many Starbucks. I ordered my Venti bold blend and I sat down and plugged in. And, in time, I found myself utterly immersed. In words. In story. Though I hadn’t thought about my miscarriage in months, I suddenly remembered the date it happened. It was October 17th. I was still in my first year of marriage and I was smug and excited to be pregnant, already flipping through fat books of baby names. I literally had no clue that anything could, or would, go wrong; I was young and healthy and determined after all. But something did go wrong.

And so in a fury, I wrote and wrote. A flurry of words, of truths, and memories. I wrote them and then I came up for air and realized that hours had passed. It was almost Middle Girl’s pickup time at Preschool and I didn’t realize this; thankfully, our wonderful nanny knew to run and grab her. This has happened to me before; this getting utterly lost in my own words. This is the best feeling ever, by the way.

After I wrote my story, I submitted it to the Huffington Post. I wanted it to reach the most people possible and though this blog has a hearty and wonderful following (you), the Huff Post gets more eyes. And hearts. And so I submitted it. And then I emailed my friend Allison Tate whose own post at the Huffington Post continues to spread around the world. In my email, I thanked her for inspiring me to tell a hard story and if not for Allison, I’m not sure I would have had the courage, or even the idea, to write it. Allison asked me if I realized that October 15 – the day I wrote my words, the day we emailed – was Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. And I didn’t know this; and learning it gave me chills. Chills.

Allison said something else to me in her email: “Honestly, I think the key is to tell the stories most raw to us. I haven’t experienced a miscarriage, so that is not a story I could write. But you can. And because you can, you should. It’s crucial in this day and age for us to make connections and find the stories that show us we are more alike than we are different, that the human experience is universal and we are not alone.”

Yes. We are more alike than we are different. How unbelievably easy is this for us to forget? We run around the world sizing people up, making judgments, glimpsing otherness when in truth sameness invisibly prevails. We wake up and we mean well and work hard and we want to be happy and we love people and things and we struggle and stumble and we have hopes and fears and big, messy dreams and then we go to bed and get up and start over again. We are so much the same.

The day after submitting to the Huffington Post, I got an email from an editor there and she told me she thought my post was beautiful and important. She told me that her own mother suffered three miscarriages and that a story like mine might have helped her mom at the time. She said they wanted to feature my piece on Huff Post Parents. She requested some pictures which I sent along.

And yesterday afternoon, it was published. My story. I clicked over and there I was on the front page, walking along my sister’s old street between Riverside and West End. There I was, with my three girls. It’s one of my favorite pictures because it is not perfect, but blurry in spots. Because it is all of us, together, in transit, in love, in the heart of this city and life we cherish. And the editors attached a title that was, and is, just perfect. That title: What You Will Never Know by Looking at My Family.

Because this is what this is all about, right? It’s not just about pregnancy and loss. It is about these things of course, but it is also about appearances and reality, about what we see and what we don’t. When we see other moms and dads and families frolicking on the sidewalks of our lives as I am in the picture above, we don’t know what it took to get there, to that picture. When we see someone succeed and exude happiness in some arena, we don’t know the story behind that seeming success and apparent happiness, we don’t know whether there was sadness or struggle in the prologue of this story; So often, there is.

Since the story went live, I have heard from so many people. People I know. People I don’t know. People who were moved in a more general way. And, most importantly I think, people who have weathered loss like I have. Truth be told, I am humbled and overwhelmed by the notes and stories that continue to roll in. And really what I want is to thank you so much for reading my words there and here. And this is when I grovel a bit, so get ready.

If I have already tagged you by email, please ignore, but for the rest of you: It would mean a great deal to me if you would take a minute and post the link to the Huff Post article on your Facebook page or in your Twitter feed or send it in an email to some of your friends. Here it is:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/aidan-donnelley-rowley/miscarriage_b_1967351.html?utm_hp_ref=parents&ir=Parents

I was talking with a friend about this sharing part. I said to her that my concern was (and is) that if people are hesitant to talk about miscarriages in the first place, they might also be hesitant to share a story about miscarriage. And she said: “Some people will find the sharing cathartic and others are just too private. But I’m sure there’s enough of the former to get some legs on the post.”

I very much hope she’s right. If you share, you can even said that I told you to share it, that you are doing a friend a favor. How absolutely amazing would it be if that article (and this blog even) became a repository of so many true stories, stories that could in simple and profound and ineffable ways help so many of us?

Because, really, this is not about me and my October 17th seven years ago. This is about all of us.

Seven years ago, I would have never imagined any of this. And if I did imagine this, this rich life of loving three little girls and telling my stories and listening to yours, even in my deepest sadness, I would have smiled.

Thanks, guys.

When people see you what do you think they conclude? Are there things about you or your life that people would never know just by looking at you? Do you think that external appearances are often very incongruous with internal realities? Why do you think we so often forget that what we see is not the whole story? Have you ever gotten totally lost in your work? Isn’t “flow” the most incredible thing?

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Comments


45 Comments for: "What We See Is Never the Whole Story"
  1. Aidan Donnelley Rowley

    Yes, here I am commenting on my own post. This tends to happen from time to time. Call me eager. Anyway, I wanted to just come here and say that I stayed up late reading through all the stories over at HuffPost and I am literally blown away by how many stories there are, stories that are like mine and not really like mine at all. I was thinking about something last night; How there are indeed online chat boards where people gather to discuss topics and things that have happened to them. And I think this is a really wonderful aspect of modern technology, how we can gather with people who are dealing with things we are dealing with.

    But what strikes me as cool and necessary about the conversation that is going on over at HuffPost is the fact that this story-telling is taking place in a more transparent, open field. It is not just people who have suffered reading; it is many of us. And this is hard I am sure for some, but I think it is good. It is good to have perspective; to know that people struggle through things.

    Anyway, I ramble because I did not get adequate sleep, but alas. I continue to be genuinely moved about the stories that are being shared there and here, and the people, real people, behind the screens, who are doing that sharing.

    Cutting myself off now but I am sure I will be back :)

    • Gerianne

      My husband and I had several miscarriages before we had our first beautiful daughter. We are now parents to 3 daughters and one son, they are wonderful uoung adukts and in my eys perfect, of course. But I never forget the sorrow we experienced each time (3 in all) I felt the telltale signs of a miscarriage, nor do I want to. They are sad memories that are a testament to the ongoing love and devotion that we have shared for so many years.

      I will remember you and your family in my prayers.

      Bless you
      Gerianne

  2. Missy

    I just emailed your article to a group of friends. Such an important thing to share, and talk about. Thank you!

  3. P

    I like that you directly asked us to share your story. Esp because it’s an importnat topic people don’t usu have the chance to talk about. I’m happy to share it.

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Thank you, P. Honestly, asking people to share, like any iteration of self-promotion makes me feel squeamish and I don’t think I am really good at it. I am not sure self-promotion is something we should strive to be good at though. On some level, it is an essentially tricky thing. Anyway, I really want people to read these words in particular not because they are mine, but because they might inspire others to say something, to write words, to tell that tucked-away story. And there are already so many of these somethings, words, stories piling up. And it is wonderful. Thank you for playing a part in spreading the word. Means a lot.

  4. I read your HuffPo piece yesterday and was moved by it. I didn’t comment there because amidst of everyone else’s shared stories of miscarriage I didn’t feel that my words (not having experienced it) would add anything. Nevertheless, I want you to know that the vast quantity of comments alone indicates that you struck an important nerve.

    I’m so sorry for your loss seven years ago. But I’m so glad that sharing it has allowed others to lift the veil off of their own pain.

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Thank you so much, Gale. And I totally understand why you didn’t leave a comment, but know that your words always add something. It really is incredible how magical time can be. While there is still a lingering pain that comes with remembering, I really feel very strong and whole vis-a-vis that day. This is why I am able to write about it and I am so glad I did because the response has been truly amazing. Thanks, you. xoxo

  5. Thank you for sharing your story. When I miscarried in 2002 I felt so alone. I had also shared my good news too soon, and it was good to have the support around me, but I didn’t really feel like anyone could understand what I was going through. As I talked about it more, I realized how common it was…1 in 3 pregnancies end in miscarriage (I think that was the statistic then).

    I went on to have 2 more pregnancies that resulted in two beautiful girls! I am now actively involved in their school and have written a book on how to fundraise (since the schools always need more money).

    Anyway, congratulations on your book! I wish you so much success!

    Sarah

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Thanks so much, Sarah! Yes, the stats are really nuts. This kind of loss is, sadly, so common. Which is why I wish more of us would talk a bit more about it. I completely respect that it is a very private thing and very difficult to discuss such a painful/delicate topic, but I think that other than sheer time and going on to have kids, sharing these stories can be one of the most comforting/helpful thing we can do. So thanks for sharing a bit of your own story here. I look forward to checking out your site!

      PS – Aren’t girls the best? I am a wee bit biased, but still :)

  6. anonymous mom

    I suffered a loss this year and only told two people. (One of whom was Allison who checked on me a couple times while in labor!) I felt like I was carrying around a really dark secret, which felt strange as a socialized like normal while I was mourning my loss. It just really felt like it was somethinf I needed to process on my own.

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      I am so sorry for your loss. And I totally understand feeling the need to process this kind of thing privately. Back in 2005, I felt the exact same way. Because of the email I sent before miscarrying, I wasn’t totally able to do this, but I did try to keep it all as private as possible and wasn’t really open to talking about it even with people who knew. Seven years later, I feel ready to talk about it. It took a lot of time, and three little girls, to get to this place though. Thank you.

      PS – Isn’t Allison the best?

  7. angelica

    I mourn my 2 miscarriages as the death of my son/daughter. At the early appts, we were so estatic at the sound of our children’s heartbeats. I have to add here that it hurts so much when women are pro choice. I mean, as soon as we heard heartbeats –they were our CHILDREN! Abortion is ending another person’s life. We are still hoping for a viable pregnancy…

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      I am so sorry for your losses. There is something especially tragic about having heard the heartbeat. I guess once you hear the heartbeat the chances of miscarrying go way way down so we really thought we were in the clear at 7 weeks when we heard it. There is something really powerful about that thumping sound, right?

      Thank you for your comment, Angelica. It means a lot.

  8. AG

    Reading this phrase literally made me pause: “When we see someone succeed and exude happiness in some arena, we don’t know the story behind that seeming success and apparent happiness, we don’t know whether there was sadness or struggle in the prologue of this story; So often, there is.”

    I plan to save it and read it again and again. It is just so true and so important to remember. It’s giving me something to really chew on and think about for days/months/years to come.

    I also loved how you said you could’ve never dreamed of where you would be today, 7 years later and everything that would’ve happened in your life. Another important thing to remember…we can’t predict where our lives will head and all that will happen to us…especially when we are in the midst of such sorrow and pain.

    I think it is so brave you have shared your words about your miscarriage. Here and now on Huffington Post. It is amazing how many people they have impacted. It is also important people share their stories because like you said we are all alike, and it makes us not feel so alone.

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Thank you so much, AG. As always. I am so happy that my words made you think. That’s really my biggest aim on this blog – to trigger thought. My own thought. And your thought.

      And, yes, all of the comments over at HuffPost are downright incredible. So many people. So many stories.

      xox

  9. First, I think it’s incredibly courageous for you to share this post. It’s one thing to share your feelings about your miscarriage with family and trusted friends. It’s another thing entirely to put it out there for strangers to read. I’m quite certain many women can relate to your story and are so very thankful you put it out there.

    While I never had a miscarriage myself, I very much get the sentiment that is your post. The importance of sharing your miscarriage, so people have a complete understanding of your beautiful, yet complicated family. People who meet my family today see a happy, loving couple with an adorable, active and thriving toddler. Most don’t know that he was born at 31 weeks and stayed in the NICU for 5 weeks before coming home to a winter of hibernation (to further encourage his health and healing). Although the need to share lessens with time, I often feel like I must share with people how his life started, so they get the full context and can better understand how far he’s come. I think that sharing is my way of stamping that time in history. It was an important time in my family’s life, so anyone who wants to know my family must share that part of our history, too.

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      “I think that sharing is my way of stamping that time in history.”

      Yes. Exactly. I think that so much of this is about acknowledging and respecting that these things, these hard things, actually happened. I think the need and desire and motivation to share is also, in a broader sense, about making known our history, our identity, our evolution to who we are today.

      Thanks so much for your thoughtful support, Nilsa.

  10. Courtney

    Hi – I happened along your article as I still read all of the baby aticles which cross my path, eventhough my husband and I were right were you were seven year ago, this past Oct 1st. Although I had delivered a healthy baby girl a year ago, I was so excited to welcome our second child. I was devastated when my OB explained he was no longer able to see a heartbeat during our 12 week ultrasound. I had the procedure the next day, and although I unsubscribed from the Babycenter emails as well, I continue to receive them twice/week.

    I’m grateful for you telling your story and I hope this will allow me to more forthright with conveying my experience as well. It’s amazing how many of us are affected by this tradgedy. And, it’s nice to know there are women out there who don’t mind letting another in and saying “I’ve been throught it too, and I made it through…”

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      I am so sorry for your recent loss. It is really amazing how many of us have been through this. I keep saying that over and over, but I am really amazed at how common this seems to be. I also want to say – and this is after chatting with a friend who is trying to conceive – that there are so many happy stories out there. I feel compelled to write something to follow up about all of the things that go right because they do, right?

      Thank you so much for your words here, Courtney. They mean a ton.

  11. Allison Tate

    You know I loved your post. My biggest comment now is, who is going to tell Babycenter their subscription system needs an overhaul? Because someone definitely needs to say something!

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      I know, right? I thought my situation was the anomaly and we probably did something wrong in the unsubscription process, but now I am beginning to wonder. I know I have thanked you a zillion times over the last week or two, but one more time: thank you.

      xo

  12. Angelena Zaglas

    Thank you so much for sharing. I experienced two miscarriages myself the first in 1995 I too heard the heartbeat it was the worst thing I have ever experienced. I miscarried again in 2010 and had 4 failed Invitro fertilizations. I have since had to have both of my Fallopian tubes removed. Sadly I still don’t have any children. I struggle with understanding why and am envious of those that are blessed with children. It takes a lot of courage to talk about this thank you again for sharing.

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Angelena – Thank you for sharing your story here. I am so sorry that you have experienced all of this and admire your fortitude. It makes so much sense to me that you struggle with understanding where you are and also that you are envious of people with kids. I thought about this tonight; about how my experience was really sad, yes, but how it all turned out beautifully. Patently, I am beyond grateful for this but I realize, and am sensitive to the fact that it doesn’t always end this way. I so admire your honesty here.

  13. Ida Helton

    Aidan,this is such a huge issue, and I am so glad you have addressed it. So often the doctors release us from their care (after all, we aren’t pregnant) and then our friends and loved ones go on with their lives. Even our own spouses do not understand what we are going through, and after a bit they just expect us to get up and go forward.
    In 1980, I married and became pregnant withing just a few months, 14 miscarriages later the OB/GYN suggested that I should have a hysterectomy because of the damage now done to my uterus. I had suffered with major depression as a result of the first miscarriage, but then after several more, you just get to wondering, Why? My spouse was determined to have a child, after all that is how God demonstrates His blessing on marriage. I made the hardest decision I have ever made and went through with the surgery, but it was not easy.
    Before my surgery, I prayed that God would give me some way of just dealing with the loss. One night I dreamed I was talking to Jesus. He was holding my babies. He said, “I have all of them. They will be waiting for you here.”
    I had no choice. I had to stop giving life to children I could not bring to full life. But because of that dream, I was able to give the situation over to God, and I went through with the hysterectomy.
    I do have one son, born in 1973, who is my blessing. I am no longer married to that man who insisted I destroy my body. Apparently our genes just were not compatible. But, just writing this now, 32 years later, still causes me pain and I have to stop and blow my nose.
    Perhaps you could turn all of the stories into a book for parents in this situation. Maybe that is your purpose. I do nto know, but I do know that this is the single, most painful thing I have endured and I am 58 years old. Thanks for sharing your story.

  14. Francine

    My one and only daughter is 39 years old and I still remember my four miscarriages, I had 2 before her and two after and then I was told that I could not have more children. My sisters, one older and one younger don’t understand the pain I felt then and still do today. My mother had passes away a mother after my first miscarrage of cancer she would have understood, my dauger is named after her. thsnk for writing you book.

  15. Anne Dagdelen

    Thank you for sharing your pain. I am not as elegant of a writer as you but will share my story, with the hope it can help another. I experienced something similar. I was 5 month along. Without going in to all the details, I split in two emotionally when it happened. I was horribly fragile on the emotional side and very functional on the logical side. I could actually see myself, like in a mirror, from one side to the other, as I passed through the pain. Today I have two strong, loving and confident boys in college and a middle school child watching and building on what his brothers have done. Sometimes, when the boys are walking together or sharing a laugh, I can see the mist of the one I lost. I believe I am a better mother, a better wife and a much more focused and passionate person today because of the mist and because of that woman in the mirror. I had a ring made with the birthstone of our first child. I love it. It is beautiful, the light passes through it and shines in so many different directions. I wear this ring in honor of the gifts this child gave me and believe that no matter how long or short a life is, that life has a gift to give the world.

  16. Colleen

    Happy birthday to your beautiful Middle Girl! I hope she and your family had a wonderful day!

    I want to thank you for writing this article. As I was scrolling through AOL, I saw the quote and I knew it was going to be about the miracle of having children. It’s strange, actually. Now that I have endured the pain of losing a child, I can sense when others can share in a similar story.

    Our first miscarriage was in May, 2011. It was an early miscarriage at 5 weeks, which I thought I handled well until I had to report it on my medical history as a “previous pregnancy.” That never settled well…After 8 more months of trying, seeing specialists, many tears, sleepless nights, hopes and prayers, my husband and I found out that we would be having twins. I will never forget that moment. “Well, here’s sack A…” I remember wondering why the tech would use “A” for one baby. Then I realized that there was a “B.” What an incredible rush! We saw their heartbeats that day as well. What an amazing moment. We were once able to laugh at our reactions from that day. As a teacher, my first thought was about having two parent conferences and my husband, he thought about buying in bulk. Fun, right?

    May 23, 2012. We had already found out in April that we were having a boy and a girl. Life was perfect! We were heading in for a routine anatomy scan of the twins. I loved the tech who was going to be doing our scan on that day. She explained that she would have to work quickly because scans on twins can be tricky. Normally she takes time to point things out, but she said she would do that at the end. She finished the scan faster than I thought and left for a minute to get the doctor because Twin A, our daughter, had some “edema.” My husband is a physician. I looked at him. “What is edema?” He told me it was swelling. “Did you see any swelling?” No. Let’s just see what they say. The next five minutes of my life I will never forget. The doctor walked carefully and quietly into the dark room. “Your daughter has swelling that, at this stage in pregnancy, indicates that she has a condition that is not compatible with life.” Not compatible with life….those words are haunting, even chilling. I still do not have the ability to describe the feelings that rushed through every part of my body and soul on that day, at that moment. While she was professionally managing my expectations, I was figuring out how I was going to keep breathing…

    We were asked to consider selective termination due to possible risks. I remember looking incredulously at our doctor, thinking about out little girl’s beautiful heartbeat and perfect little body and soul. I tearfully explained that this is our daughter and that we will love her, respect her and comfort her on whatever journey she was going to take.

    We watched our son and daughter fight for their lives for the next seven weeks. I was on bed rest. We were seeing a doctor twice a week as my daughter’s condition (Hydrops) posed a great risk for my health and the health of my son. Our daughter was starting to show signs of stress and on July 6th, our hearts broke as we saw her little body and heart lay still. So still… We were at 27.5 weeks. All I wanted to do was hold and comfort my baby girl, but we still needed time. It was still too soon for my son to be born healthy.

    Our son and daughter were born a week and a half later at almost 29 weeks. My son was rushed to the NICU where he would spend the first 72 days of his life healing from serious complications of prematurity including a collapsed lung, chest tubes, sepsis and a heart valve surgery.

    I will forever cherish the three days we got to spend with our daughter after she was born. We held her close for as long as we could. I hardly had a moment that I was crying. It wasn’t just the loss of our beautiful daughter. It was the loss of a healthy pregnancy, the loss of our twin, the loss of raising twins. It was the loss of all of our hopes and dreams for her. I cried for the loss of ever being able to have another pregnancy without worry and fear of feeling that pain again. Leaving the hospital without my twins was one of the hardest and bravest moments of my life.

    Our son is home now. He came home at the end of September. You would think that I would feel relief, but I don’t. Not at this point. I adore him. He is absolutely amazing. It is a miracle that he survived and as one of his doctors said, he definitely has a place in this world because he’s already shown he’s going to fight for it. But, just now, I am starting to feel the true impact of the experience we had in bringing our twins into this world.

    I’m a spiritual person and from the very beginning, I have chosen to face this loss without anger or frustration. I have approached it with faith, hope, love and gratitude. I have refused to ask why because I will never have an answer to that and I trust whatever the answer may be. Instead, I have asked how. How is an empowering question. There is sometimes an answer to how. How am I going to face each day? How am I going to keep her memory alive? How will I feel as I raise my son without his twin? How will I get through the moments when I miss her so much it hurts? How will I be successful in celebrating the birth of my son and grieving the loss of my daughter? My friends and family have said that I have inspired them with my strength and positive attitude (This always catches me off guard because I’m not able to see myself as strong right now). They ask how I’m able to do it. I think to myself, is there even a choice? How is a question that I hope will move us forward.

    I also find comfort in sharing our story. Our experience has inspired me to reach out and connect with other mothers and families that have gone through similar loss or hardship. I find that it helps me to reflect, regroup and strengthen my hopes for the future. Sometimes, I feel as though I have been picked up, spun around and thrown down on some greater map of life. In other words, sometimes I feel as though I have no idea where I am or who I am. Talking to others helps me to gain perspective on my personal map. It helps me to define who I am in this new life and to settle in to the realities of what we have just gone through. It helps me to get through the moments when I flashback to the incredible highs and lows of our pregnancy. It helps while I’m nursing my son at 4 o’clock in the morning, thinking about how there should be two of them…

    It is comforting to read that this hurt will fade. It’s going to take time, patience, strength and an open heart. I’ll get there…

    My husband lost his mother in a tragic car accident in early June, two weeks after we learned that our daughter would not survive. She believed in and lived a life according to the phrase, “pay it forward.” We have already been able to honor our daughter and his mother by having our friends and family bring a book to the baby shower in her name. The books are being donated to the children’s hospital in our area. It is comforting to me to know that somewhere, a mother will comfort her child by reading a special book or that a child will feel happy or peaceful snuggling in to listen to a book that he or she was able to pick out. These are the moments that I already miss with my daughter, but I’m happy to know that another family will get that memory.

    Thank you for giving me the space to reflect. This is truly only the surface of my emotions, but clearly and sadly I’m not alone.

  17. Nancy

    I am so sorry for your lost, I also lost my second child, but my first son. I was 7 1/2 months along when he was stillborn. Even after 26 years it still hurts and we remember his birthday. I wish I could tell you it gets easier, but in my case it did not even though a year later we were blessed with my son who is the pride and love of my life. He will be 25 on Halloween and I can say he was the best treat. My eldest was a girl and she was also my pride and joy, but she passed away a few months before her 20th birthday. Live is hard but God only gives you what he feels you can handle. Just love the 3 beautiful girls you have as life is too short.

  18. Terri Keller

    I too, miscarried, many years ago-16 to be exact. We too, had seen the heartbeat and when I went to the Dr. that day to be realease to an OB/GYN (I had been seeing an fertility Dr) I never in a million years thought I would hear the words…the baby has died, there is no heartbeat. I was by myself, because we thought it was a routine visit. It was so unbelievably hard to go to my husbands work and tell him the news. I never again became pregnant but we are the parents to a wonderful, beautiful 7 year old boy through adoption.

  19. Nancy

    Everyone has a story to tell. Your story of the one and only time you experienced profound pain in your life, well, I’m sorry but you’re spoiled. You experienced one miscarriage in your life. You now have three healthy beautiful girls and a loving husband and supportive family. Of course you’re still sad that you lost your first pregnancy. It’s sad. But do you want to know what’s really sad? Never having gotten pregnant at all after trying for years. That’s sad. Never getting to experience giving birth. Or what about the women who experience multiple miscarriages? That’s sad. Your story is one that many many women can relate to. But the way you retell it, it’s as if you were the only one to ever go through a miscarriage. I’m not sure why it continues to resonate with you so strongly when you have been so very blessed since that one unfortunate time period. You should consider yourself very very lucky Aidan. And maybe think about getting your head out of that very dark place.

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Thank you for your comment, Nancy. I do consider myself very very lucky. Every single day. In so many ways, this blog right here is a place where I come to explore the life I know am lucky to have and the love I know am lucky to feel. And, thankfully, my head is not in a very dark place. You said it yourself: “Everyone has a story to tell.” And this is mine. Nowhere do I claim that mine is the saddest story of all, or even remotely unique. There are many far worse pains than those I have personally felt, but I have felt pain in my life in doses that have affected me and aren’t I allowed to write about it? I think all of us should feel free to explore our own experiences and tell our own tales, light and dark, happy and sad. I feel strongly about this. And if you go back and read my post, the whole point is that I am not the only one who has gone through this, but far far from it.

      • Nancy

        Fair enough. I’m just so freakin bitter about my own failure to get pregnant that it’s hard for me to read about and hear about other people’s stories and connect to their pain when, in fact, the ending of the story is a happy one and completely surpasses the sad one. It makes me envious and jealous and bitter, and makes me feel even sorrier for myself. And, fair or not, angry at the person telling the story, even a blogger that I’m reading for the first time.

    • Hi Nancy,

      I am so sorry for your pain.

      As someone who has had multiple miscarriages, I still see the value in Aidan sharing her story. Miscarriages are loss and loss is hard regardless of how many one has. I know I was very bitter for a long time for my losses, yet I felt “selfish” for talking about this pain because I did have 2 kids at the time I started losing my pregnancies. My fifth (seventh if I include my 2 living kids) finally stuck and I have a beautiful healthy girl. I certainly consider myself lucky, like Aidan, to have her and my other babies. But I don’t think my pain was any less intense than my associates.

      I believe it’s important to share our stories because it breaks down the barrier and helps us all understand each other’s pain.

      As women, we have so much at risk when it comes to fertility. I know that you are experiencing pain but I hope that you can understand that other people’s pain are just as real even if they are different than yours.

      Love and peace.

  20. Destiny

    I have had a rough year. My fiance’ and I were trying for a baby (our first) starting in September of 2011. We were both 28 years old and knew that the older we got, the harder it would be to have a safe and healthy pregnancy. Right after Thanksgiving, we found out we were pregnant. We were so excited that we could not wait to tell everyone. We posted on Facebook, called family and friends, and could not stop smiling. We already had names picked out, and subscribed to Baby Center emails also. We went grocery shopping for healthy foods and bought vitamins.

    It was our 7th week when I started spotting. It was slight spotting and I text all my friends who had babies asking what I should do. They all advised me to relax and wait to see how I was in the morning. I woke up to heavy bleeding. I had no cramps or pain, just bleeding. My fiance’ and I went straight to the emergency room. After hours of bloodwork and ultrasounds, we were told to come back in two days to check my blod levels again and stay in bed. I was diagnosed with a threatened miscarriage. This meant that I had not yet miscarried, but it was inevitable that I would. Two days I refused to talk to anyone, cried, and was in a daze. We went back to the emergency room to have my levels checked after two days. They advised my levels had risen, but barely. They once again sent me back home on bed rest and told me to follow up with my Dr. in three more days.

    I remember sitting in the Dr. office with my Mom waiting for my Fiance’ to get done with his final exam at school. I was numb. I had no idea what we may learn. My fiance’ arrived just in time for them to call me back. We went through the routine questions and I was sent to get an ultrasound. The tech went through pointing out the sac to my mother, fiance’, and me. She stated that it was only at 5 weeks 2 days growth. I should have been 7 weeks 4 days at the time. There was no heartbeat, which the tech advised could be because I was not as far along as I thought, she was trying to be positive for us. We were sent back to the exam room.

    The Dr. came in while my fiance’ was in the restroom and just kinda blurted it out… I was miscarrying. My poor fiance’ walks in the room just as I am breaking down hysterically sobbing and crying. The Dr. apologizes for not waiting and proceeds to tell us that my sac is empty. There is nothing growing in my uterus, except for an empty egg sac. The Dr. Once again apologizes to him, and waits for us to make a decision about a DNC or waiting it out. I refused to accept the fact that this was really happening. He offered to have my blood levels checked again and once we knew if they were up or down, we could make a decision. That was my choice.

    Around 5 pm I got the fateful call that my levels had dropped. The baby was going to be lost regardless of my choice. My Dr. suggested a DNC due to my emotional state, and the fact that we could try again earlier than if we waited for it to pass on it’s own. I chose the DNC. That Friday Morning (exactly 17 days after we learned we were pregnant and the day before my mother’s birthday)I was in the outpatient waiting room. Once called back, they quickly administered anesthesia and brought me back. My Dr. told me that it would be ok and I was instructed to count backwards from 10. Last thing I remember is getting to 8.

    I awoke crying, asking the nurse to get my Dr. I ask him if I would ever be able to have children and he advised me yes. My fiance’, mother, and grandmother were all waiting for me to come out of surgery. They brought me home and tucked me in. I slept for what seemed days, only to awake three hours later. I cried some more and went back to sleep. The next few days were a daze. I dreaded going back to work. I knew I would break down at the slightest condolence.

    6 weeks rolled around and we went for my check up. The Dr. said I looked to be fine and we could start trying again. He stated that if we were not pregnant by June he would place me on Clomid. June rolled around and we were placed on Clomid. I was still an emotional wreck. I had not yet come to terms with what we had been dealt. I had no reasoning, no explanation, no closure. In July I started researching and discovered I had “blighted ovum.” Those two little words brought me so much closure. I knew there was nothing I had done, nothing to prevent this. It just happens. I suddenly felt so much relief and felt like I could start sharing my story with others, without breaking down.

    It is now October and we still have no preganancy. Let me just point out that although we have unsubscribed MULTIPLE times, I still receive baby center emails. I have thought of suing them for emotional distress. In the beginning each time I received one, I broke down all over again. The Dr. says the next step for us are multiple tests, and possibly IVF. After much research, I learned that being on the Depo shot for 6 years, has more than likely contributed to our problems with conceiving. I am also looking into a class action lawsuit on that.

    Honestly, I am placing this in God’s hands. I am done trying each month to only be disappointed. I am not taking any more pills, I am not having more tests run. I am letting God take his course and follow through with his plan. When he decides to grace us with a child, then it will happen. It is not something that we can force. Sharing this story with you has brought me to tears a couple of times, yet I feel as though I am healing while typing.

    Thank you for your wonderful story. It helped me a lot. Congratulations on your beautiful girls. May God bless you and your family!

  21. Kara

    I discovered you from huffington post. Oh how I wish I had read this 3 years ago when I miscarried my first baby. I had been married to my first husband, a verbally and physically abusive man. The abuse escalated after I lost that pregnancy. I had been 11 weeks as well.i chose to let it happen on its own. I felt trapped in my grief, and alone. I couldn’t confide in my husband and I didn’t want anything to do with my friends, most of them were pregnant. I again got pregnant 6 months later only to have the doctors voice concerns that I had a molar pregnancy. I was immediately whisked in for a d&c…without the support of my husband. My family at the time lived across country. I leaned on them and them alone through phone calls and texts. Needless to say I found the courage to leave that marriage. When I look back on it, the miscarriages were a blessing in disguise. I’d forever be tied to that man trying to see his children. I’d be living in constant fear. Even so, I wish I could have met them, told them I loved them. That I would have protected them. I know my babies are in heaven being cared for and in the safest place possible. I think God knew I couldn’t provide them the safety and security they needed. Fast forward to now…I’m happily married, to the sweetest, handsomest, caring, most gentle man i know. We have a 6 month old son, a little clone of his daddy, in looks and in manners with mommys nose! When i look back on everything I see how God used my past marriage and miscarriages to get where I am today. That was darkest, hardest time of my life but I got through it to discover the amazing life I have now. My heart still breaks for those babies I lost. But I too need to remember it and talk about it. Those babies did exist, and it I’d happen to me. Every woman who suffers a miscarriage needs to know that it’s ok to mourn them, it’s ok to talk about it, and its ok to always remember it. And look forward to a happier time and know tht your life doesn’t end there. You may lose more babies, you may it. But keep trying. Being a mother is the most rewarding experience!

    • Kara

      I should also say to you women that I don’t know how you feel if you are struggling to get pregnant. I can only say I’d most likely be very bitter and angry and upset. I pray that you find peace, and I pray that you too will be blessed with a bundle of joy someday,

  22. Hugs, friend. Your words had me crying.

  23. Also, I hope you don’t mind me sharing a post I wrote last week regarding the anniversaries of 2/4 of my miscarriages:

    http://www.makingthemomentscount.com/2012/10/09/the-complexity-of-grief/

  24. This is wonderful – thank you for sharing your story! I, too, have suffered a miscarriage and have drafted an article on the topic (at Starbucks, nonetheless). This is a topic we must continue to talk about to help find and appreciate the experiences many of us have, but are told by society not to share.

  25. Hilary

    I just found you via the stroller traffic article about blogs moms should read, I love how life works……I read this article today on the 6th anniversary of my loss. I have five amazing healthy children-4 boys and the youngest is our only daughter. But the miscarriage pain never fully goes away. Sometimes I feel guilty for mourning that baby, because I have 5-some women can not have children at all. I need to remember that it is okay and my pain is valid. I love your title- so so true! No one can know your whole story by just a glimpse….Thank you for sharing your story. I look forward to reading more.

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  28. I read this on the huff…and although it’s an older article feel compelled to comment and tell MY story.
    Like other commentors I too have suffered a loss..and I am a prime example of “what we see is never the whole story”

    In 1990 I had my first son @ 18–just 3 short weeks after high school graduation (teenage mom strike #1) This after having been uprooted from my wonderful teenage life in Chicago and moved to Michigan(a.k.a HELL)broke up with my Chicago boyfriend and met husband #1.
    Married his father nearly a year later (young marriage,strike #2) We settled into military life..and in 1994 welcomed another son. Divorced hubby #1 in early 1998 (abusive relationship and constant cheating, strike #3–I’m out!)
    Through a series of crazy AOL chats I was reconnected with my Chicago boyfriend from years earlier–still mad about him and he about me–the sparks flew. I was offered a job in Atlanta a month after our reconnection–his response? “when do we leave”(plus #1)Another job move to StLouis in 1999-again no hesitation in following me and my boys(plus #2). We married in May of 2000 and moved back to Chicago later that same year (pluses #3&4 i’m hooked for life!) Soon after moving into our new home in May of 2001 we discovered we were expecting our 1st baby together (new house new baby they say). I had two eventless pregnancies with the boys now 11 and 7. In OCT of 2001 me and the boys were off to a routine appointment so they could hear the baby’s heartbeat. He could hear nothing–but “not to panic it happns sometimes..let’s get an ultrasound”. I called my sister for support she was also pregnant(6 weeks behind me) & met me at the hospital. Ultrasound revealed no heartbeat our little one was gone, I was 25 weeks.
    We would be admitted and attempt delivery–for 3 days. Finally we had no choice–surgery a D & E. and would have to go into the city as at the time no other hospital was licensed to perform.
    I will never forget the nurses words “why would you do this?!”
    it took me a minute to comprehend her words. OMG she thought I was having an abortion!!! I just remember screaming “NO NO NO GET MY HUSBAND I WANT MY HUSBAND” and then heard the words of the doctor “no no no…fetal demise” and order the nurse onto another case. I woke up and that was that…..
    I was due on Valentines day…we nicknamed her Q for cupid. I think of her in Oct when we lost her and on Valentines day when she would have been born. She would have turned 11 this year.
    We tried for several years to have another…up until the point of in-vitro and decided if it happened it happened. We did not want to go through all of those medical procedures.
    In fall/winter of 2007 I was getting ready to turn 36…and the hubs and I decided that we would just wait for the grandkids to come. The boys were now 17 and 13 now.
    In march of 2008 in the suprise of our lives we confirmed we were indeed expecting…..(conception date turned out to be Feb 14th)
    Our little Charlotte (chella) Annabella(name after my mom who passed in 2005) was born Oct 28th 2008 and is the center of our world.
    Proving…What We See Is Never the Whole Story—especially when I am out with my daughter and my oldest son and the public thinks we are a couple and she is OUR daughter.

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