Invisible Scars


Published:

Photo courtesy of Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. Many of us have been through this but do not talk about it. There is a deep and quiet shame that often settles over a woman when she loses a pregnancy. I’d like to share my own story to shine a light on this all too common occurrence and to let others out there know that they are not alone. The truth, while painful, heals us.

I'm sitting in the exam room with a copy of an old magazine in my hands. I'm nervous. Cold. Why is it always so cold in these rooms?

I hate doctors. I hate tests. I should be excited about today. If only there were no tests.

A smiling nurse enters the room and asks me some questions after the awkward weather chitchat you do with someone who is about to see your most private anatomy. I tell her I've never had an exam like this before. She smiles as if to say she understands, she has seen this before. She excuses herself from the room, and I go back to not reading my magazine.

A few minutes later, there is a knock on the door. A tall, thin woman in a white jacket. My doctor. She introduces herself and tells me the nurse told her I was nervous and new to this so she thought she'd say "hi" before we started. She pulls the circular guide out of her pocket and asks me the date of my last cycle. I tell her and she spins the guide matching up numbers. "You're due May 20," she says with a kind smile.

May 20. Two days before my own birthday. I now know, with every fiber of my being, that it is a girl. I always dreamed of having a daughter whose birthday was close to mine. Images of white blonde hair, dark brown eyes, pigtails and a floor littered with Barbie dolls flash across my mind. A girl. Ballet classes, prom dresses, wedding gown shoppingI'm going to get my dream. I can't wait to tell my husband who is outside in the waiting room.

I'm feeling more relaxed now. It's time to let the doctor do her thing.

She steps out, and I undress and get up on the table. She returns and talks me through the test. It's an internal ultrasound to check and make sure everything is proceeding safely.

The nurse dims the lights as the test begins. It's uncomfortable, but I'm trying not to notice, thinking about those pigtails instead. She continues to scan and look at the screen. She isn't saying anything, but I've not done this before. I'm not sure how it is supposed to go. She clicks buttons on the monitors. Pictures spit out. Still silence in the room. Then she looks at me and says "I'm sorry, I don't see a baby."

Confusion. How can there not be a baby? The pregnancy test was positive. I feel sick. As I'm thinking these things she continues. "There is still a sac. You were pregnant, but there is no baby there now."

More confusion. Does this happen?

I ask them to get my husband. I need him here with me now. They exchange a look. She says she is sorry, she didn't know he was here. The nurse exits to get him. She tells me to get dressed, and we'll talk in her office.

I need to get out of that room. Now. On the verge of tears, I clean myself and get dressed. I open the door and all the heads in that inner office turn to me. Sad looks from the three nurses at the nurse’s station. Bad news travels fast. Confusion and fear in the eyes of my husband as he sees me emerge with puffy eyes.

"What's wrong?" He pleads, instantly at my side. I say, " Come with me." I'm not playing this out in front of the nurses.

We enter the doctor’s empty office, and I tell him there is no baby. He is confused, just like I am. He has questions. Questions I can't answer. I can barely breathe.

Moments later, the doctor comes in with my chart and some ultrasound images. She begins to explain that I've had what they call a missed miscarriage. Sometimes, for reasons they don't understand, the body will reabsorb the baby before it is able to grow. They think the body can tell if the embryo doesn't divide properly or if there are massive genetic issues present. The body terminates the baby very early on.

But my body still thinks I'm pregnant and it is behaving as if I am. That's why I feel off.

I am no longer present. I'm lost in a sea of pain and sadness and loss. This day was supposed to be so happy. My mom is flying in tomorrow. I was going to show her ultrasound images of her first grandchild. We were going to shop for tiny baby clothes. I hear them talking in the background of my grief. I hear the term "blighted ovum." I hear her answer my husband’s question, "Is my wife going to be OK?" I hear her say we can schedule a procedure. I hear her say D&C. That one snaps me back for a minute. D&C is doctor speak for abortion. She's saying I can have one tomorrow.

No.

I'm not doing that. What will happen if we don't do that?

She explains that around week 12, I will begin to miscarry. The body will most likely expel everything naturally, but it will be painful, and I won't know when it might happen.

That's what we are doing. I'm going to let my body take care of this. No procedure. No hospital. Discussion over.

I drift back into my pain.

I remember her giving my husband a bunch of paperwork. I remember sitting in the waiting room while he stood at the window making me a follow-up appointment. I remember him walking me to the car. I remember thinking I can't fall apart until I get home. I remember crying harder than I ever had before sitting on the edge of our bed. I remember him holding me. I remember him lovingly telling me I had to breathe, to calm down. I was scaring him. I was going to hyperventilate.

I failed. I caused this to happen. My body is broken. I can't maintain a pregnancy. I'll never have children. I've disappointed my husband. My mind swirls with negative and damaging thoughts. I'll never be a mom.

I don't remember anything else.

We told no one aside from our parents. I couldn't handle the sad looks. I've seen them before. They only make things worse. I made it through those few weeks carrying a secret and knowing the end could come at any time.

My pregnancy ends on a Friday afternoon. I was home alone. My husband was stuck at work. The pain of it was horrible, but my body did as it should and released everything it needed to. My check-up afterwards was good. We could try again.

Could I try again?

Six months later I entered that same room. The same nurse dimmed the lights. The same doctor began her scans. I closed my eyes knowing this could end badly. It's ended badly before. It's quiet. Is it too quiet? I don't know how it is supposed to go. Finally she speaks. "Open your eyes. Look at your baby."

I cry again, this time for very different reasons.

As it turns out, the little boy I was carrying was absolutely everything I never knew I had always wanted. I was born to be his "Mom." He has filled our lives with immeasurable joy. Our rainbow baby, the beautiful gift that arrived after the storm.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Content

Is Your Child Naturally Gifted?

Here’s how to nurture instinctive talents.

Single-Parent Travel Made Easy

Tips to make single-parent traveling with kids less stressful and more enjoyable.

3 Music Cities for Families to Discover

Follow the beat in New York, Nashville and Austin
Edit Module

About this Blog

Searching for Balance

A working mom's perspective on life with kids 


About This Blog

Maureen Churchill works full-time outside the home and is a mom to one wonderful little boy. Check in with her to see how she is searching for ways to balance her work and home responsibilities, as well as what she is doing to consciously slow down and pay more attention to the little moments that actually turn out to be the things that make parenthood magical.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

February 2018

Run Club meets every Sunday at 8 a.m. in Midtown Raleigh or Wake Forest. Stroller friendly; children invited. 

Cost: $10/run or $100/annual pass

Where:
Optimist Park Community Center/Greenways
5900 Whittier Drive
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Sponsor: FIT4MOM
Telephone: 919-348-0472
Contact Name: Missy Currin
Website »

More information

Join Mindful Families of Durham, a Buddhist-inspired spiritual community that supports area parents, caregivers, and their children in the practice of mindfulness and the understanding of the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Erwin Road
Durham, NC  27705
View map »


Sponsor: Mindful Families of Durham
Contact Name: Adam, Laura, Josh, Sumi
Website »

More information

Celebrate Black and African-American artists and stories. Ages 5-11 and caregiver.

Cost: Free

Where:
N.C. Museum of Art
2110 Blue Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

Design, build and test a straw rocket that flies as far as possible, then scale it up to build your own stomp rocket. In partnership with NC State Engineering Ambassadors.

Cost: $7 ages 1 and older

Where:
Marbles Kids Museum
201 E. Hargett St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

Participants develop their naturalist skills and understanding of local nature. Ages 5-8 with parent. Register online.

Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Join New York Times bestselling author and distinguished scholar Carole Boston Weatherford in this celebration of the poetry of music and musicians — from North...

Cost: Free

Where:
North Carolina Museum of History
5 E. Edenton St
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Discover how animals prepare for cold weather and which ones hibernate during the winter months. Play games and take a short hike around the pond to look for signs of wintering...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Learn about volunteer opportunities at the museum, meet current participants and ask questions about the application process.

Cost: Free

Where:
N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences
121 W. Jones St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy a performance from Chapel Hill's own Apple Chill Cloggers, a dance troupe dedicated to the performance, preservation and proliferation of music and dance from the southern Appalachian...

Cost: $3/person

Where:
Century Center
100 N. Green St.
Carrboro, NC  27510
View map »


Website »

More information

Chase away your family's winter blues on a winter scavenger hunt. Meet at the Bobby G. Wilder Visitor Center to receive a list of winter items that you'll need to find as fast as...

Cost: $15/member family; $20/nonmember family

Where:
JC Raulston Arboretum
4415 Beryl Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27606
View map »


Sponsor: JC Raulston Arboretum
Telephone: (919)513-7011
Contact Name: Elizabeth Overcash
Website »

More information

Applause! Cary Youth Theatre presents the tale of Scraps, who intends to go her own way until she happens onto an adventure that broadens her understanding of herself and the world around....

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Cary Arts Center
101 Dry Ave.
Cary, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Ages 6-10 create an animal puppet from a sock and learn simple ventriloquism techniques to make it talk. Register online using course code #215497.

Cost: $3

Where:
Wilkerson Nature Preserve
5229 Awls Haven Dr.
Raleigh, NC  21714
View map »


Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-6764
Contact Name: Wilkerson staff
Website »

More information

Take the family to this play that explores what led to the Greensboro Sit-ins in the 1960s. A brief question and answer session, led by Pastor/Professor Charles Brooks, follows the play...

Cost: Free

Where:
Poplar Springs Christian Church
6115 Old Stage Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Sponsor: Poplar Springs Christian Church
Telephone: 919-559-6018
Contact Name: Shalon Maxile

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Celebrate Tell a Fairytale Day by enjoying a nature-themed fairytale or two. Create a fairy to take home or leave in the sensory and nature play garden’s fairy village....

Cost: $4/person

Where:
Durant Nature Preserve
8305 Camp Durant Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27614
View map »


Website »

More information

Examine animal mounts, skulls, tracks, scat and more and observe animals in action on an around-the-pond hike. Ages7-14. Registration required online. 

Cost: $6/child

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, AL
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

See the play produced by students, who created the set design, stage make-up, choreography, costumes and masks, and more.

Cost: Free

Where:
The ArtsCenter
300-G E. Main St.
Carrboro, NC  27510
View map »


Website »

More information

See a screening of "Fattitude," a feature-length documentary that exposes how popular culture fosters fat prejudice, and then offers an alternative way of thinking. Lindsey Averill and...

Cost: $25/person

Where:
Mission Valley Cinema
2109 Avent Ferry Rd .
Raleigh, FL   27606
View map »


Contact Name: Lindsey Averill
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Children delight in discoveries of shapes, colors and textures in nature. Ages 1 and older with parent. Registration required.

Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Children delight in discoveries of shapes, colors and textures in nature. Ages 1 and older with parent. Registration required.

Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Learn to prepare a meal inspired from Mexico. Register online. Choose course #109616.

Cost: $35/resident, $46/nonresident

Where:
Herbert C. Young Community Center
101 Wilkinson Ave.
Cary, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

See the play produced by students, who created the set design, stage make-up, choreography, costumes and masks, and more.

Cost: Free

Where:
The ArtsCenter
300-G E. Main St.
Carrboro, NC  27510
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Children delight in discoveries of shapes, colors and textures in nature. Ages 1 and older with parent. Registration required.

Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

A wonderfully kid-paced hour featuring music, play and dancing with toddler stars singing on the mic at Cotton's gently amplified & participatory music show. Children delight in...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Pump It Up Raleigh
10700 World Trade Blvd, #112
Raleigh, NC  27617
View map »


Sponsor: Pump it Up
Telephone: 919-828-3344
Contact Name: Owner/manager Kellie Paterson McHugh
Website »

More information

Kids enjoy an hour of yoga connected to the movie, "Sing," pizza and fun while parents enjoy a night out.

Cost: $35/child, $20/additional child

Where:
Little Guru Kids Yoga and Creative Arts
215 Glenwood Ave., Suite A
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Sponsor: Little Guru Kids Yoga
Telephone: 919-720-4921
Contact Name: Jen Bluestone
Website »

More information

Learn about owls and take an evening hike in search of them and other nocturnal species. See what their homes looks like, and take home instructions on how to build an owl box....

Cost: Free

Where:
Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Pkwy.
Morrisville, NC  27560
View map »


Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 919-460-3355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
Website »

More information

Enjoy a contemporary spin on Shakespeare’s whimsical tale of fairies, lovers and woodland mischief. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $10-$15

Where:
Kennedy Theatre
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

Dr. Elliot Engel will examine the bizarre and turbulent life of Poe to uncover the roots of his unique genius. Using anecdotes, analysis, and large doses of humor, Professor Engel will bring to...

Cost: $27 general admission

Where:
Raleigh Moravian Church
1816 Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Sponsor: Joel Lane Museum House
Telephone: 919-616-8873
Contact Name: Lanie Hubbard
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Join Brier Creek Commons and the North Carolina Association of Educators to celebrate Read Across America with a Brier Creek Green Eggs & Ham Breakfast. Breakfast is $6 and begins at 9...

Cost: $6/person

Where:
Barnes & Noble, Brier Creek Commons
8431 Brier Creek Pkwy.
Raleigh, NC  27617
View map »


Sponsor: American Asset Corporation
Contact Name: Erin Tharpe
Website »

More information

Participants develop their naturalist skills and understanding of local nature. Ages 5-8 with parent. Registration required.

Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Ages 13 and older with parent learn to navigate the college admissions process. Register online. Choose course #110862.

Cost: $5/resident, $6/nonresident

Where:
Middle Creek Community Center
123 Middle Creek Dr.
Apex, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Take the family for a variety of activities and games including two sledding hills and plenty of snow for all the action. Also enjoy cornhole and life-sized chess or enjoy the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Waverly Place
Cary, NC  27518


Website »

More information

Kite lovers can enjoy a day of kite flying, contests, music, concessions and more. All ages. Registration begins at 12:30 p.m. The rain date is March 4.

Cost: Free

Where:
Bond Park
801 High House Rd.
Cary, NC  27511
View map »


Website »

More information

Select Sitters provides an opportunity for parents to meet with and have short 4-5 minute interviews with 8-10 pre-screened babysitters. All sitters in attendance have been interviewed, have...

Cost: Free

Where:
Snickerdoodles
3721 Lynn Rd #112
Raleigh, NC  27613
View map »


Sponsor: Select Sitters
Telephone: 919-561-6233
Contact Name: Kara Varnell
Website »

More information

Explore the historic heart of downtown Raleigh on a walking tour of Fayetteville Street. Tours highlight the people, places, architecture and political movements that have shaped...

Cost: Adults (18+) $10; Youth (7-17) $4; Children (6 & under) Free.

Where:
City of Raleigh Museum
220 Fayetteville St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy a contemporary spin on Shakespeare’s whimsical tale of fairies, lovers and woodland mischief. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $10-$15

Where:
Kennedy Theatre
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

Learn about outer space and extraterrestrial life. Ages 7-12 with family.

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Morehead Planetarium & Science Center
250 E. Franklin St.
Chapel Hill, NC  27514
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy dance performances, community vocalists, a pre-show princess gathering, silent auction and more. Proceeds benefit the Me Fine Foundation, a local organization designed to provide...

Cost: $12/adult, $10/child

Where:
Stewart Theatre
2610 Cates Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27695
View map »


Sponsor: Stage Door Dance Productions
Telephone: 919-720-3036
Contact Name: Chasta Hamilton
Website »

More information

Enjoy a contemporary spin on Shakespeare’s whimsical tale of fairies, lovers and woodland mischief. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $10-$15

Where:
Kennedy Theatre
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

Online registration opens for PAGE of Wake County's Super Saturday event on April 28, which features enrichment workshops for gifted students. Register for morning sessions, 10 a.m.-noon...

Cost: $20-$25/session

Where:
, NC


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit Module

Magazine

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Directories

Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Annual Guides

Education Guide

The 2017-18 Education Guide offers 660 education resources in the Triangle, including area preschools, private schools, public school systems, charter schools, boarding schools and academic resources.

The Triangle Go-To Guide

Our debut Triangle Go-To Guide connects you to family fun resources across the Triangle. Plus, find out who our 2017 Readers' Favorites are.