The Washington Post.com| By Maggie O'Farrell | Originally Published 03.07.2018 | Posted 03.11.2018
This is another topic that I need to address more: miscarriage. April 22 will mark 20 years since the worst day of my life. I always prepared myself with the fact that I eventually have to funeralize my parents, but to lose a baby (yes, that’s what that 8 week old ‘contents of conception’ (clinical term) was to me, “a baby”) was more than I could handle at the time. Miscarriage is VERY common, but MY GOD!, it was devastating to me.
“It was nothing you did,” the nurse says. “It’s not your fault.”
I am silent. I had not thought it might be. I look again at the image of the baby on the screen. There it is. Sitting up in its dark cave, as if waiting for something, as if on its best behavior.
If I sit straight, it seems to be saying, no one will notice.
I know how it should be, how it should look. This is my second pregnancy. I know the heartbeat should be there, flashing and flashing like a siren. So when the radiologist says that he’s sorry, the baby is dead, I already know. But I carry on staring at the monitor because there is some frail, furled part of me that is hoping there has been a mistake, that the heartbeat might suddenly appear, that the scanning machine might roll further and there it will be. I can’t look away, even when the radiologist starts talking again. I want to burn the image of that tiny, ghost-pale form into my retina. I want to remember it, to honor its existence, however short.
About 1 in 5 pregnancies ends in miscarriage; up to 75 percent of these occur in the first trimester. The risk of pregnancy loss, then, in the first 12 weeks is about 15 percent. About 1 in 100 women experiences recurrent miscarriages.
We all, I think, know these statistics, or at least have a vague sense of them. We know miscarriage is out there, at our backs, pursuing us, like Andrew Marvell’s wingèd chariot. Continue reading “‘It’s not your fault.’ The extraordinary pain of an ordinary miscarriage.”