Monthly Archives: September 2015

A Harry Potter Perspective on Miscarriage. (Yes, even miscarriage.)

In my last post before the Worst Thing happened, the one where I talked about being scared about the Worst Thing (EFF, right?), I ended with an HP quote from Hagrid, the loveable half-giant groundskeeper of Hogwarts. I said:

It’s funny because I thought that when the IVF was over, we’d have an answer and I’d feel resolved in some way. But I don’t. Not at all. Excited and happy, of course, but definitely not resolved. And what I probably need most of all is to circle back to that lovely prayer of relinquishment — the one that, with both hope and gratitude, accepts what is to be. Or, as Hagrid says, “What’s comin’ will come, an’ we’ll meet it when it does.”

It made sense when I said it. It made me feel like a confident person, ready to handle anything, good or bad, with a bit of grace.



I’m devastated and angry and broken and oh so messy — always on the brink of a sob, full on water works with snot and ugly crying and ohmygod why does my mouth do that. Swollen lips and puffy eyes. Kleenexes and kleenexes and kleenexes. There is not a single thing that is graceful or dignified, stoic or brave about it.

But I finished HP very, very early on Friday morning (I fought the sleeping pills — which are the only thing keeping me alive, I believe — until 1:40 in the morning, just to see sweet Albus Severus get on the Hogwarts Express). And it was fitting that I finish it now, the end of the series coinciding with the end of… everything. The IVF, the pregnancy, all of it. Interestingly, though, the thing that meant the most to me this time around wasn’t the defeat of Voldemort, the duel between Mrs. Weasley and Bellatrix Lestrange (“Not my daughter, you bitch!”), or Neville’s moment of glory. I still felt sad over poor Fred and overjoyed at Ron + Hermione. Grateful to Narcissa and shocked, pleased, amazed over Snape. But the thing that meant the most this time around… it was Hagrid’s grief over Harry’s lifeless body. His absolute devastation in that moment, the messy, sloppy tears and absolute wretchedness. It led me back to remember the other moments that Hagrid wept, over Buckbeak (whew) and Aragog (also whew?). Nearly lost it when he discussed his dear, departed dad.

The very same Hagrid who said with confidence implying grace and stoicism: “What’s comin’ will come, an’ we’ll meet it when it does.” And I suddenly felt just a little less stupid about all the things I’d said. Have ever said. The things I told my therapist made me a complete and total idiot, full of shit, writing and writing and writing about things that made absolutely no sense and that I didn’t actually believe when it came right down to it. (He said that we probably didn’t need to discuss that quite yet, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t obsessed anyway.) Because what was coming did come, and I have met it as I am. Having said all the things I said and wrote all the things I wrote. I never did promise to meet it with grace, just to meet it — because what, exactly, does grace look like when your baby dies??? Quite frankly, I reacted just like Hagrid would have. A curly-haired, creature-loving, half-giantess in my own right. Snot and tears and full on grief — grief because I loved. Like Hagrid.


But, sadly, also like Voldemort. Because when my baby died, a piece of my soul went with her. My grief is like Slytherin’s locket turned horcrux, hanging heavy around my neck. Making me think crazy, twisted, untrue thoughts — all the reasons it’s my fault, all the reasons I deserve to hurt, to have lost, to not be a mom. It drove Ron mad, and he was magical… what chance do I have?

But then again, Ron found his way back. The strength to try again. I guess I have to believe that I will too because despite the fantasy, the magic, the make believe… is there anything truer than Harry Potter? Good and evil, yet nuanced — “the world isn’t split into good people and Death Eaters. We’ve all got both light and dark inside us.” And outside us too. We all spend time basking in the brightest light and plunged into the deepest dark. Harry, Hermione, and Ron… Ginny, Luna, and Neville… Hagrid and sweet Dobbie, even Kreacher… they can teach us so much about that.

I started re-reading the series from the beginning on the day I started injecting the IVF drugs, in the hopes of producing a baby who loved it too. Of imbuing my eggs with a sense of magic. Of passing that on to my little one.

But she didn’t need it. I did.

It’s fiction. Children’s stories. But it’s parables too. Messages and lessons and thoughts worth thinking about, characters worth learning from. When nothing else helps, I’m glad I had it. Have it. Magic.



I had surgery last Wednesday. I woke up heart broken and body destroyed.

I’ve spent a lot of my time crying since then. And by Sunday, all the crying started to make me feel panicky — shouldn’t things be getting easier? Why does the pain keep coming? Wave after wave, worse and worse.

I made an emergency appointment with my therapist on Tuesday morning. I told him that I couldn’t stop the thoughts and that when the thoughts came I couldn’t stop the pain. The tears. The torture.

He reminded me that I’m grieving. He told me that this is normal.

I had a follow-up appointment from my surgery with my ob/gyn today. I told her about all the bleeding that comes and goes, about my puffy, swollen (think over-risen bread in a loaf pan) ankles and feet. Everything hurts. She reminded me that I just had surgery. That my ovaries are still hyperstimulated. She told me that this is normal.

I explained it all to Seth over gchat and ended with “I hate this new version of ‘normal.'” It was the truest thing I ever typed.

Normal has never been this hard. Normal has never felt so broken.


One of the weirdest things about this new normal is the lack of intense focus, the goal in mind. We’ve tried for years (YEARS) to get pregnant. Appointments, pills, ultrasounds, procedures, injections, the works. Since April, when we started gearing up for IVF, the intensity has been even greater. All eyes on the prize. And we won the prize. We held it in our hands, so briefly. Even after winning, so to speak, the focus didn’t lessen — 9 months ahead to parent-dom and a baby on the way. The goals changed, but they were still intense… eat not to vomit, avoid the smells, schedule the appointments, do all the things. Until in one awful moment, there was no longer any goal at all.

Everything stopped.

And this weird place, broken body and soul, became my new normal.


My therapist suggested on Tuesday that maybe now I just focus on healing — my body and my mind. It’s hard to say ok to that, honestly. Because I don’t want to heal, I want my baby back, to go back to two weeks ago when that little heart was still beating inside me. But one of those things is possible and the other is not.

So to heal is the only way. The only focus worth having.

Healing has to become my new normal. Maybe I can hate that less?


Admittedly, healing definitely starts from without in this instance. I can’t tell you… can’t even begin to express… how much love and support Seth and I have felt in this difficult (absolute crap) time. My friend Margaret said to me, “I pray that you can look out the window at a beautiful day (as I’m doing now) and be able to thank God for all the amazing blessings that you HAVE received, knowing that there will be many more to come.” And the blessings that we HAVE received are unbelievable and generous and innumerable and amazing. We have so much love in our lives, we have each other, we have our pup, our families, our friends, our jobs, our health, and so many other really, really Good Things. Even the weather, which actually has been lovely, like Margaret said.

We are lucky in a lot of ways. And no one is lucky in all the ways.


On Saturday evening, my dad and I sat on a boardwalk on Mackinac Island watching the sunset over the bridge.

Mackinac Sunset

Admittedly, my faith has been shaken and my beef with the almighty feels kind of big right now, but my dad assured me that someday, I will find Meaning in this. Even this. I think he’s probably right. I can’t look too hard for it at the moment. I’m still too sad, too angry, confused and upset and… as I’ve said a million times, broken, to find it. To even know where to start looking. But maybe that meaning is what comes with healing. And eventually incorporation of that meaning into my life can become my normal. That would probably be a better place to be. Another new normal, a little better than the last.

And then, The Worst Thing happened.

We saw our baby yesterday — big head and little arms, a perfect little t-rex. It actually looked like a baby. And I wanted to be so happy, but something was missing. That rapid blip blip blip that had been so obvious the first time we saw her. I didn’t want to ask; I couldn’t bare for it to be real. But I also couldn’t stand the silence.

“There’s no heartbeat, is there?”

“No. I’ve been looking. I’m so sorry.”

And in that moment, our baby was gone. Her life was over before it even started and my own heart was obliterated.

Shattered and destroyed.

All the air was gone and the tears came so fast. So steady. So constantly. Even still, right now.

I know it’s not my fault, but I’m still so so so sorry. So sad. I feel terrible that after struggling for years with infertility, Generations gave us this most precious gift and I couldn’t carry it. That I failed to be a mom and to give Seth the chance to be a dad.

The cruelest part is that she’s still there, inside of me. That my body still feels her in the ways that have always been known only to me — the nausea and the fatigue and the incredibly tender and swollen breasts. The little bloat to my belly, the uncomfortable tightness of my pants. My body doesn’t understand yet. Only my heart.

My heart feels it acutely — the pregnancy is over, our baby is gone, and life has once again careened off the rails. We have no plans right now except to continue breathing in and breathing out and to let the tears come when they do. I’ll probably spend some time today boxing up the Painful Things, the gifts and maternity clothes and other stuff that suddenly seems like useless, premature, wishful thinking. All the while, hoping that time will pass and work its magic as only time can work on pain.