Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Roller Coaster: Healing

This is the twelfth and final post in a special bi-weekly series.  It's a sequel to The Longest Weekend of My Life series.

Part 12: Healing

To explain my healing after miscarriage, I need to explain about the past and my beliefs. This is something so close to my heart, that I've avoided speaking of it to others, particularly in such a public venue as this. However, it's an interwoven part of my experience and my healing, and if I'm to tell my story, this must be told as well.

After my husband and I had been dating for a few years, he broke up with me. I wrote him off, swearing I'd never get back with him, and I did my best to move on. He came back to me, wanting to get back together, or in the least to be friends. I refused and ignored his pleas. He had hurt me and I was determined not to get hurt again.

It was one such day that he sat with me as I cleaned my bedroom. He had been asking to spend some time with me and I'd shot him down yet again. He was furious and decided to leave for good when a voice stopped him. Here is his account:

As clear as day I hear a little girl say, 'Daddy, don't go. If you and Mommy don't stay together then I won't be able to come, so Daddy please stay.' I looked around the room to see if someone else was there, or if someone down the hall was watching TV or listening to the radio, but nothing. And my wife kept right on cleaning and ignoring me as if she didn't hear a thing. I start to get back up thinking I'd just imagined it when again I hear this little girl say, 'Daddy please don't go...'. And so I stayed.”

I eventually forgave him and we got engaged and married. My husband told me about the voice after we were married, and although I hadn't heard the voice I trusted that it was true. We thought it meant we would have a girl first, and it would be that spirit who spoke to him. We were surprised to have 3 boys in the next few years, and when we discovered our fourth child was a girl we thought for sure this was the little girl we'd waited years for, and our family would be complete. You see, by then we both had a feeling that once this precious girl child came to our family, we could rest assured that our family was whole and we could be done having babies.

However, when we were choosing a name for our first girl, we felt distinctly that the name we'd chosen for the long-awaited girl child didn't fit for this baby. Even in the last trimester of my pregnancy I felt the presence of a girl spirit, and I somehow knew in my soul that it wasn't the spirit of the child I was carrying. This other spirit was with me and was saying “Don't forget about me!” I told my husband we couldn't be done having babies, because our little girl needed a sister!

My fifth pregnancy was unexpected, but I was excited because I thought it to be my second little girl, the one we'd waited for. However, when the ultrasound was done we were surprised to find that we were having a fourth boy instead! We speculated that his little sister had to let him come first to make sure we wouldn't forget about him either. That was our home birth, our breech baby Liam, and we couldn't imagine life without him.

When I discovered I was pregnant for a sixth time both my husband and I felt that perhaps this was finally the child who'd spoken to him and come to me in years past. It was an interesting experience, to say the least, with the craziness from the beginning of pain, suspected ectopic pregnancy, followed by bleeding and possible miscarriage.

Throughout those harried weeks I had many little comforting moments in which I felt my future daughter's presence or thought of her. There were moments when I'd see a child out of the corner of my eye, thinking it was one of my children, only to realize that no one was there. There were quiet moments at night when all of my children were sleeping and I'd hear the soft giggle or sigh of a child in the room with me, not in the other room where the kids were asleep. Almost daily I had the distinct feeling that our family was incomplete. Usually this feeling came when I was with my five children and did a quick mental head count, as mothers often do. I'd count all their precious little heads, only to feel that someone was still missing. I'd had this feeling many times through the years as I was having babies, but this feeling was coming more often and becoming stronger.

The night before the miscarriage was confirmed my husband awoke me at 3 o'clock in the morning. He told me he had seen our future daughter. He'd been up watching a movie, as he has trouble falling asleep, and he'd seen out of the corner of his eye a small child walking from one bedroom to the other. At first he dismissed it, thinking it was our 2 year old daughter awake walking to another room. He saw it a second time, this time moving in the opposite direction back to the other room. He noticed a white summer dress and realized our daughter didn't wear a white dress to bed, and this child was a little taller than she was. The third time he saw her was the most clear. She had strawberry blond hair, lighter and curlier than our 2 year-old had.

We talked and we both felt it was the spirit of our unborn daughter, and we speculated about the reason for her appearance. We wondered if I was pregnant with this child, how could her spirit be walking around? My husband worried that perhaps this meant the pregnancy had ended, but I didn't want to consider the possibility.

The next morning was when I awoke to find the bleeding and then discover that the pregnancy had, in fact, miscarried weeks earlier, most likely when I'd had the bleeding at 6 weeks. Suddenly I realized why our little girl had appeared to my husband the night before. I talked with him as he cried, and we both felt that perhaps she was letting us know that she was still waiting to come.

I felt comforted by her appearance, and as the emptiness and shock of the first day receded, it was replaced by peace. I couldn't explain it. I knew that many wonderful friends and family had said they would pray for me, and I felt perhaps those prayers were carrying me through what otherwise would have been devastating. I knew that prayers were powerful, but had never felt the impact of the prayers of others in such a direct way.

As I write this, three days have passed since my miscarriage was confirmed. I don't feel empty anymore, but I still haven't cried much. I wonder if I'll need to, and if the time comes I will. I feel profoundly comforted and at peace. Somehow, knowing that the miscarriage was so early is also comforting in knowing that my body is already healing. The whole experience was somewhat surreal, and I feel that perhaps from the start it wasn't meant to be. I wonder if my daughter's spirit ever actually inhabited that tiny dying embryo, but I don't worry about that because I know she's alright. I feel that I didn't actually lose a child, because I know her spirit is still there, waiting. I know that she'll come when the time is right, and that gives me more comfort than anything else could.


  1. Cherylyn your story is so touching. Thank you for sharing it with us, I know it can be hard to share such personal info, but I appreciate it!

  2. This is such a beautiful story of how we can find peace in a difficult situation. It is wonderful that you know your daughter is waiting and she will be able to join your family when the time is right.

  3. Feeling the impact of others prayers has been a very real and tangible thing for our family as well. Thank you for sharing your story.

  4. Beautiful story, thank you this really spoke to me today!!