Miscarriage Through a Father’s Eyes

Our baby

I’m currently slouching in a surgery waiting room chair listening to “Someone Great” by LCD Soundsystem (open the link and listen to it as you read this) over and over while staring at a brown cloud-shaped water spot on the ceiling tile above me. There’s a guy speaking Spanish really loudly on the phone behind me. I can hear him even though I have my phone’s music volume up so loud that I got a warning from the manufacturer saying I’m going to damage my hearing. The chorus “when someone great is gone” is repeating right now.

It’s so surreal to me. What were we doing when her little heart stopped beating?

After attempting to let the miscarriage pass “naturally,” my wife Lily is currently having an emergency D&C surgery, prompted by the bleeding that wouldn’t stop over the last 12 hours. This morning around 4AM all she could do was cry and repeat, “I just want my baby back.” She was in so much pain both physically and emotionally, and I wanted to be strong for her, but I couldn’t keep it together. I’ve intermittently cried quite a bit, but I think that’s been really healthy for me. Sorry if this is morbid to you, I just don’t know what else to do right now, and I think this will help me begin closure with my baby. She (we don’t actually know the sex, we just felt like she is a girl) passed away without us knowing, a little over a week ago, when she was just 8 weeks old (in the womb). After we found out, we went up Provo Canyon to the same spot Lily took me on my birthday for a picnic. On the way back home, Lily suggested that we name her. We simultaneously thought of “Jo,” short for Joanna.

The day Lily threw a surprise birthday picnic for me, Provo Canyon

It’s so surreal to me. What were we doing when her little heart stopped beating? Were we laughing about how since Lily became pregnant all she’s wanted are the gross microwaveable pizzas from the frozen section at the grocery store, or were we editing photos and video together watching Gilmore Girls? Was I standing in the shower looking at the weird shapes on the inside of our Ikea shower curtain? Just two weeks ago we heard her perfect little heart beat at 130 BPM for the first time. And now what? Nothing. Silence.

The woman conducting the ultrasound said to us, “I’m sorry, but it looks like your baby has passed way.” What? That’s our reality? I mean, what about all the memories we were supposed to have Jo? What about the Disney-themed birthday parties from your elementary years, and the chores that you were going to hate but we were going to make you do anyway? Or the junky car we were going to buy you when you left for college? We love you so much.

Now I’m sitting across from Lily in a small hospital room as she sleeps off the anesthesia. The circa 1987 plastic office blinds won’t lower all the way, so the 1 PM sunlight is entering the room through a good sized portion of the window. I wanted her to be able to sleep unbothered, but oh well. Every time I look at Lily I can only think about how beautiful she is. She’s so helpless right now, she’s given everything. I thought I was in love with her before, but seeing her now, cocooned in practically every blanket in the hospital, with her three-day unwashed hair and quiet, limp body laying there in the hospital bed, I love her more than ever.

Every time I look at Lily I can only think about how beautiful she is.

Even though these last few days have probably been the most painful days of my life, I’m still optimistic. They definitely haven’t been the worst days of my life, which is interesting. Maybe it’s because I’m confident we’ll get another chance to see an ultrasound with our own little bean-shaped human in it again sometime soon. I have faith that God is, and has been, keenly aware of this situation for some time, and that he’s planned great things for us that will help us make the most of it. He’s got a way of making lemonade with lemons, you know?