The "safe" zone wasn't so safe

February 25 2010 | Guest post by Christine Ramsey
Mom & Amara by Wayfaring Photography

I recently miscarried a child that I wanted very, very much. I went to the doctor last Wednesday and the doctor told me she couldn't find a heartbeat, and the baby looked a little "under-developed." About three weeks under-developed to be exact. She wanted to do a follow-up to be sure, so right after my appointment with her I went and picked up my husband and went back for another ultrasound. Same result. Two days later, I went in for another appointment. My pregnancy hormones had dropped off the chart, the baby had no heartbeat, and had been nesting in my belly lifeless for about three weeks. Three weeks?! Hello body, any sort of signal would have been nice. I had no signs of miscarriage, problems with the pregnancy, health, nothing. Low and behold, a part of me was literally dying inside and I didn't even know.

Sometimes women miscarry after only knowing they were pregnant a few days, maybe only a few weeks… I knew for two months and was on the brink of my second trimester, the "safe zone". After we heard the heartbeat, strong and healthy, my doctor told me I only had about a 4% risk of miscarriage. That's a risk that seemed minimal. Women hear that all the time and go about with planning their nursery decorating, nesting, baby showers and on to anticipating labor. But only a week after we heard that strong healthy heartbeat, it ceased to exist. It was just gone.

image by Wayfaring Photography

I'm going to get a tattoo today for my baby. Some people say that I shouldn't, it will only depress me and remind me of the loss. I just tell them that everyone heals differently, and this is something I need to do. One of the hardest things to do when you lose a baby is to stay positive and think about future pregnancies, your family  growing someday, not getting lost in a cycle of depression or blame. I don't blame myself. I don't blame anyone.

It's been hard to not hate on my doctor, currently due in April, or the nurse I saw when I went to get my D&C, who is 38 and finally able to go full term after two miscarriages. It's hard not to sneer at other pregnant women because they'll be able to keep their babies. But I just try to think that there's a good chance they might have had a very similar experience to mine. If I hadn't lost this baby, it would have been our second. We have a little pale red-headed two year old, named Amara, keeping us busy right now, and I know when the time is right she will make an excellent older sister.

Mom & Amara by Wayfaring Photography

Although my fresh new ink will remind me of the disaster that came from this pregnancy, I know that it's a reminder I want to bear. This whole experience has been a true test of who I am as a woman, independently and in my relationships. My tattoo will remind me that I'm allowed to be at peace with the situation, and the baby is in a better place, free from illness and disease (which likely caused the loss in the first place). My tattoo will remind me that my husband and I have a strong relationship, and that he is there for me no matter what the trials before us. It will remind me of when I first found out I was pregnant, hearing the heartbeat the first time, and seeing the little body on the ultrasound.

Although it makes my heart ache and my eyes tear up every time I read this, I hope that someday I find the anonymous author so that I may thank her for writing it. The poem is true for SO many people out there. It's hard to explain why it helps to read it over and over. It's a consolation, a bandage. I hope that wherever my never-to-be born baby is, he or she is safe from harm.

Women

A prayer for Baby

Never to have known you, but to have loved you

Never to have held you, the way mothers do.

With you I bury my hopes and dreams

For an unknown child I'd never seen.

But also I bury the love in my heart,

And the sadness of knowing that we must part.

And I pray to God to do for you,

All the things that I would like to do.

And to keep my baby safe from harm,

To laugh and frolic in springtime's arms.

– Anonymous

There are good things to come from this, I just have to look deep inside for them. Every cloud has a silver lining, I just have to be willing to step out from the umbrella, risk my makeup and hair getting sopping wet, and look up to find it… it's there. It just has to be.

  1. I'm so sorry. I know exactly how you feel, I lost my little bean at 13-14 weeks though it was the size of an 8 weeker back in August.

    It's so surreal that this post came up now as my due date is this sunday.
    .

    1 agrees
  2. Thank you for sharing this. I have miscarried twice, although I didn't even know I was pregnant yet both times. My mother and sister in law both lost babies at 5 months, so the 'safe zone' doesn't really exist in my heart. I hope you find peace, and admire the courage it takes to share that kind of pain with others.

  3. I'm so sorry. I understand the tattoo, you will never forget with or without it but it can be really important to have an outward mark of such a hidden loss. It's okay to be angry, to be sad, to grieve in what ever way you need to. Not everyone will 'get it', but you are not alone.

    If you're having a hard time and need to talk to people who understand, check out the ALI (Adoption, Loss & Infertility) blog list – http://www.stirrup-queens.com/a-whole-lot-of-blog… – this is not my site, but I've found a lot of support there over the last five years. There's also a counselors list where you can contact specific bloggers who can help give advice and answer questions – http://www.stirrup-queens.com/2006/09/peer-infert

  4. Thank you so much for this post. I had a similar experience about ten years ago, and I still think about her often. But the pain has turned to acceptance and I hope the experience will makes me a stronger person and a better mother when the time comes.

  5. Thank you for sharing this. I am very sorry for your loss, and think your acceptance is remarkable. You and your daughter will have another baby to welcome into the world when the time is right, I am sure of it. Best wishes to you both

  6. I too bare a tattoo representing my angel. It makes me smile now….years later. I remember hating all the pregnant women, what nerve they had saying to me "I wish this baby would come out! I'm sick of being pregnant". Two babies later those words never came out of my mouth….even at 3 weeks over due with one.

  7. I have a tattoo for the child I lost too. It was the best decision i could have made to help me heal. Someone told me that just becasue your baby didn't stick around doesn't mean you aren't a mother. Now you are a mother of an angel, which makes you special.

    1 agrees
  8. I'm so sorry for your loss. I think it's amazing that you shared this with all of us; thank you. I lost a baby last april after knowing I was pregnant for a month. I think the worst part of grieving is how other people who have not been through it don't understand why you would want to acknowledge a loss 🙁 Your tattoo is a permanent reminder of a baby that existed. For me, my baby's existence wasn't something I wanted to forget or have swept under the rug at the risk of being depressed. But baby loss is so confusing and taboo that other people don't know how to react or what to say. Anyhow, thanks again for your openness.

  9. Thank you for your story. I had a miscarriage only a week after finding out I was pregnant. I told everyone the day I found out I was pregnant and it was so hard to go back and tell them about the miscarriage, and you are so right that it's hard not to get stuck in a cycle of depression and blame. I did blame myself even though I know now it wasn't my fault.

  10. I am so very sorry for your loss. It's the most painful thing a woman can go through. I miscarried my second and even now that I have a 16 month old daughter instead of an almost two year old it still hurts from time to time, mostly on the anniversary of the miscarriage (which just happens to be my and my fiance's anniversary) and my due date. Thank you for sharing this, it's hard to mourn or cope when other people can't relate. I send you Love

  11. Thanks everyone for sharing their stories… i didn't know what I was going to write about when my friend asked me to do a feature, but once I opened Word it just kept flowing… I ws bawling my eyes out the same time and even in reading peoples comments I start to tear up. Its an experience that I wont soon forget. I am glad that my feature was able to help other women with that they've been through. And the worst part is that a miscarriage IS so taboo, nobody wants to talk about it… If anyone is interested I also had a blog that I started (which helped me deal with all of the pain and stuff that I was going through) if you'd like to read it the address is myflappinggums.blogspot.com… It is really a more raw version of my story as I was updating after doctor appoitnments and right when I was released out of the hospital.____And the tattoo is in Latin… Although I've never been one for church, it comes from communion, when they say "peace be with you" and you reply back "and also with you." The tattoo is "and also with you" In latin… That way the baby can be at peace, and I can have my peace there with me forever…

    • You are amazing, I am so sorry to have heard about your loss. As I read that I cried my eyes out I know what you are going through. You are so lucky to have Amara. After I miscarried I was never able to have a baby. My thoughts are with you and your family. Love you

  12. Thank you for sharing your story. I too had a miscarriage 6 1/2 years ago that devistated me. I went through about 6 months of hard depression afterward. I lost the baby at 3 1/2 months. It may sound weird but I was positive that it was a girl. i had several dreams that included a little girl talking to me…include one where she said goodbye. The next day I started spotting and was rushed to the doctor to find there was no heartbeat. My boyfriend and I had already started playing around with names and had already set on a girls name. After the miscarriage I was online and read about having your own little ceremony to say goodbye and to help heal. It took months before we did it, but we finally planted some flowers in the back yard with a little plaque I made with her name. I think that your tattoo is an awesome idea! We all heal in our own ways.

    Thank you again for sharing…

  13. Losing a baby before or after the safe zone is tough. I miscarried my 2nd child around 12 weeks and am still heartbroken. My first and third made it safely into this world, but I will never forget the second.

  14. It's awful how miscarriage is such a taboo. I've had three, two before my daughter and then one after. I'm due with our second daughter and it's still hard to think about the losses. The first two were blighted ovums and the last one had a heartbeat and everything but just stopped growing. I had to have a bunch of tests done and I actually posted the whole experiance on facebook. I hope that if one person read my story and it helped them or it helped them to know what to say to someone else then sharing was totally worth it. I know that it's helped my brother when a friend of his and his wife lost their baby.
    It's awful.
    I really want to get a tattoo for all of my babies, most people don't understand and think it's silly to get tattoos for the babies that I lost but they can really suck it!

    I quote I heard once really hit home for me, although I don't know if I'll get it all the way right, "you never trust statistics again after you've been on the losing end."

    • I'm bawling my eyes out right now. Long story short, I've only just realised that that's what happened to me, a blighted ovum. The doctor mentioned it once, in passing, but this same doctor would have dismissed me as having passed a blood clot if I hadn't taken the tissue sample to his office. As soon as he saw it, he sent me to hospital, where it was taken to pathology and I had to call up nearly a month later to find out, "Yes, it was probably a very early miscarriage".

      Only my friend had any sympathy for me or what I was going through. I was told by others (including my mum and my then-boyfriend's mum) that I was being silly, that I should be relieved, that it was nothing, that it had been nothing, that it was a blood clot.

      I still don't know how to feel about it. I want to get a tattoo but the most I can think of is the Chinese zodiac for what would have been its birth year, the last year of the Rat. I want to get that for all my children, when I have them.

      I'm lucky to have a fiancé who wants kids the same as I do, and who won't mind if I go bawl my eyes out on his shoulder right now.

      Thank you.

  15. hello beautiful ladies, Christine again…

    I dont know how many will come back and read this but I really appreciate you all sharing your stories. After about 2 months I go through several days in a row not thinking about the baby, but lately its been hard again. I had 2 people within a day ask how I was doing and how big the baby was, only for me to tell them that I'd lost it around the end of January. It's hard to break the news because it rehashes everything that happened. I often get upset and tear up but I look at my tattoo and remember there there is peace with me and the baby. I have it there in my tattoo so that i know forever that Im allowed to be ok with it. It's hard to deal with something so taboo and be open and up front with it, but the more you are, the easier it gets for other women. Dont be afraid to share your stories, specially when it happened a long time ago and women REALLY didn't talk about it.

    It's been 2 months and 2 periods and we're finally able to start trying again. My husband got fired from his job tho so we're just going to go with the flow and see what happens. Im sure it'll be hard when I do get pregnant again, and Im sure i'll be back again when that time comes. But keep sharing ladies, it helps everyone before and after you that comes to the site for comfort.

    -Be brave and make babies!!

  16. Thank you so much for writing this article, it's nice to be able to read it, I don't feel so alone anymore. I miscarried at 13 weeks, after only knowing I was pregnant for a few weeks. I do have the familys support about it, but it doesn't make it easier to cope with. It's almost been a year and I still remember, everything makes me remember. It doesn't hurt as much anymore, but not everyone understands that it's not going to go away. Thanks again.

  17. We recently lost our first pregnancy. Your words almost sound like my own thoughts. I found that silver lining in a song by Bob Marley "Three Little Birds". So I have decided to get a branch with three little birds on it tattooed to remember everything good that this experience meant to us. Gone but not forgotten.

  18. Your story is almost just like mine. We heard the heartbeat at 10 weeks and the doctor said it was strong and our chance of miscarriage was almost nil since I am a young 20-something year old. When we went back for our 12 week ultrasound when I was almost 13 weeks, they said the baby was more like a 10 week old baby. I was devastated since I knew at 10 weeks there was a baby in there. I had already told everyone, even work, at had to go back and tell them I had to have emergency surgery since I had no idea it was happening.

    I wanted to a get a tattoo of a raspberry and was about to go into the parlor when my mother-in-law called me and was like "are you sure about this cause you can't go back" well I was sure, but she was so disapproving of it, that I decided against it. I really wish I had gotten it.

    I can't get another tattoo now, because luckily, I am 15 (almost 16 weeks) pregnant! I am so excited to have seen the baby and the heartbeat at that ultrasound visit that devastated us last time. I now have the ultrasound pictures of both of my babies in frames on my desk next to each other. (home desk)

    I will always remember our little raspberry and know that everything happened for a reason, not my favorite thing to think of, but it makes it easier sometimes.

    I know I am really lucky to have gotten pregnant again and I know that even if this baby stays with me the whole time, I will forever worry about them leaving me prematurely, be it at term or when they are 20, 40, etc. But I guess that is what it is like to be a parent.

  19. This story really resonated with me!
    Having gone through nearly the same exact thing myself and without the support of family/friends save for my angel baby's father. When you're a senior in high-school the "relief" from others over these things is confusing and hard to take!
    Like you I had had no symptoms or any idea, and had recently gotten green lights, "all healthy" reports from my check up…its consoling, if heartbreaking, to know im not alone. I felt all that resentment too. Especially because an older "socially acceptable age to be pregnant" cousin was due the same day i would have been!

    I love that I stumbled across this article, three years later, but right after my tattoo was finished! I just got a very large rip piece dedicated to my angel baby (would be toddler) and it has helped me heal so much.
    Everyone tried to talk me out of it because they were afraid it would just remind me of my loss-far from it! Every time i think of my tattoo or the father sees it it brings us joy and peace and smiles. Getting this tattoo has been the best thing I could have done, better than mourning or trying to conceive again or any therapy out there.

    For any interested parties my tattoo is a wispy poppy flower (the baby was "the size of a poppy" when s/he stopped growing & my partner had taped a picture of poppies to his locker-a private nod to his baby-to-be. after we lost our child he tore it down, but the sentiment stayed with me.) and the quote "the end of life is not the end of love" and its not, to this day we both love our angel baby as much as we would have if s/he was here now.
    I think tattoos are a lovely, offbeat way to remember your angel! 🙂

  20. I am so glad to read this, I miscarried almost a week ago. It was almost the same circumstances. The baby was 10 wks and we had seen the heartbeat twice. One of my best friends is due a week before I would have been and I can't bear to be around her. I am still a little lost in my grief right now, but I do take a lot in comfort in others stories, my hubbs and our sweet foster son.

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience.

    1 agrees
  21. I recently had an eerily similar experience. It would have been our first child. We had seen the heartbeat twice, and a friend was due a week before we would have been. After I lost our baby, I wanted to punch pregnant ladies in the face or grab their shoulders and scream "TREASURE IT"

    I haven't been able to see my friends baby, it's to hard. None of my other friends seem to understand why. I have thrown myself into my husband and foster son.
    It is comforting to read your story and all the comments of women who have "been there"

    It's nice to know I'm not alone.

  22. I recently went through the same thing. Second ultrasound found no heartbeat. I was 10.5 weeks. My body also showed no signs of problems, nor was it about to take care of it on its own. I had the D&C, which was a good decision but a very mentally painful one. I also decided on a tattoo. The physical pain felt from the tattoo was a way to fight the mental pain. I have no regrets. Everyone has their own way of dealing with their pain. Thank you for sharing your story. It's nice to not feel alone.

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