Early Miscarriage, A Husbands View

Early Miscarriage, A Husbands View
Joe’s story: the Miscarriage
It was during our first year of marriage; my wife was three months pregnant, for the first time. We were staying at my parents for Yom Kippur. During dinner before Yom Kippur, my wife first noticed a small amount of blood, but no pain, so we tried to think nothing of it. During the night she was in pain, but nothing too serious. The next morning, I decided to daven (pray) early at home. Within seconds of my completing davening, my Dad said that my wife needed to go to hospital.

We drove to the hospital on the other side of London where Liora was booked in. We sat in A&E for hours while Liora bled profusely in the waiting area. There were apparently more important cases ahead of us, as we waited longer and longer. When she could no longer walk from pain, I found a doctor to come and see her. Immediately, he upgraded her priority and got a wheelchair to bring her through to a bed, where at least we had some privacy.

We waited more.

A gynaecologist came to see Liora since she appeared to be having contractions. She moved us to a private room for an internal inspection. It was at that point that she said the words that we will never forget; “Your uterus is open. I’m sorry.” Liora and I broke down in tears and the doctor left us alone for a short time. When she returned, she asked Liora to make one push. My wife did as she was instructed, and as she finished pushing, the pain stopped.

What Happened Next
The doctor took what came out, and said it had to go to the lab for testing. Liora was moved to a private room in a maternity ward for overnight observation. I had to leave her there and go home, just when we most needed each other’s support.

The next day I returned, to discover that the sound of crying babies from the ward had not been conducive to a good night’s sleep. I spoke with the burial society who said that they would bury what came back from the lab and were ready to liaise with the hospital. Matters grew worse when we discovered that the hospital had lost what they referred to as ‘the product’ before it went to the lab, and we would never find out why we had a miscarriage.

Coping
In the early days, we received a lot of support from family, friends, the community and our employers. We discovered how common miscarriage is and how there was nothing we could have done differently to stop it happening. The rabbi who liaised with the burial society told us that everything we did on Yom Kippur was right, and that we should not use hindsight to feel that we should have done things differently.

As time went on, the support diminished; perhaps sooner than our emotions changed. Within a week, I was back at work, trying to carry on with business as usual, despite the underlying emotions which did not quite remain underlying. Society dictates that, in mourning for a baby we never knew, we should ‘get over it’; perhaps have other children; put it down to experience. This could not be further from reality. You never forget. There are still numerous occasions when I think about what would have happened had our first child been born. What opportunities that child would have had, how we would have helped it to grow in every way. It was particularly hard receiving special offers and letters from major high street stores’ parenting clubs with relevant offers, now that our child was ‘a certain age’.
Advice from others:

Friends with no experience awkwardly asked how we were coping and if there was anything they could do. We turned down most offers, as we simply didn’t know what we needed. As empathetic as some people were, none of that helped, because people were talking as though this terrible thing had happened to us. It hadn’t happened to us; it had happened to our child, and we were powerless to stop it. I don’t know what I wanted to hear at the time, and don’t know what to say to someone else who had been through something similar. There isn’t any magic phrase to make all the pain go away. It does take longer than people expect, and no-one will ask you how you are coping years later. No Yom Kippur will ever be the same for us, and yet life continues for everyone else as if nothing has happened; as if we got over it, continued with our lives and had another child.

Conceiving Again
Fairly soon after our miscarriage, we decided to try to conceive again. The first time, we conceived straight away, but after the miscarriage it took nearly a year, and we began to face the possibility of secondary infertility (a condition of unexplained infertility after conceiving successfully on a prior occasion).

We did not know if we would ever conceive, and started doing everything we could to help our chances. Physically, we took appropriate vitamin supplements and attempted to become more healthy. Religiously, we took on new things, became more stringent in things we did already, and took our first trip to Israel to daven at the Kotel (Western Wall).

Every unsuccessful month reinforced our fear that we may never conceive. Each month, this became more difficult for us. When we did conceive, the first three months were lived in fear and expectation of a recurrence of our first experience. Even after that, we were still very nervous and took nothing for granted.

Post script: Thankfully, the pregnancy passed without incident, and we were blessed with a beautiful healthy baby girl.

The content of this page is produced by mikvah.org and is copyrighted by the author, publisher or mikvah.org. You may distribute it provided you comply with our copyright policy.