May 12, 2020

Facing Miscarriage with Lorna Rose

Facing Miscarriage with Lorna Rose

Lorna Rose was three-months pregnant when a routine blood test revealed a genetic disorder in her unborn child which carried a high risk of miscarriage at any point in the pregnancy. The daily grieving led to finding her voice as a poet and writer.

EPISODE SUMMARY

 Part I

  • As an older mother, Lorna had a blood test three-months into her pregnancy to screen for any potential problems 
  • The test came back positive for a genetic disorder, Turner’s Syndrome
  • Lorna lives in a smaller town in the state of Washington, and the medically complex cases are sent to a larger hospital in Seattle
  • In the week between the initial diagnosis and the first appointment in Seattle, Lorna wrote a powerful poem, "Congratulations!
  • She describes that week turning to grief almost immediately and even thinking that it could be best to miscarry so that the child wouldn’t have "special needs"
  • Lorna and her husband went to Seattle for the appointment and had a deep ultrasound which did not show any markers of Turner’s Syndrome 
  • Lorna went back three other times for the ultrasound and they never saw markers for Turner’s - this gave Lorna confidence that it would be a mild case of Turner's
  • Anger, sadness, anxiety, you name it, Lorna felt those emotions all mashed together and intentionally sat with those feelings
  • Having her son, who was 2.5 years old at the time, was helpful knowing that he was healthy
  • Lorna would “hide her bump,” not even wanting people to know she was pregnant
  • Lorna shares the critical insight that she had to live in “both worlds,” one where she could dream about a full life with her child, and the other hardened in the reality that it might not work out
  • Miraculously, Lorna’s daughter was born healthy - the Turner’s Syndrome diagnosis was a false positive

 

Part II

  • After six-months of believing that her daughter could miscarry, she was born healthy with no signs of any genetic abnormalities
  • Lorna is speechless, so much “wow,” and relief, and crying in her family with joy in this moment
  • Lorna wanted to feel ok for having every emotion, including feeling guilty, or even wishing that she would miscarry, and she wrote a lot about the experience and life in general
  • Through her writing, Lorna felt connected to other women who had gone through the same experience
  • Lorna is thankful for the experience in the sense that it helped her find her writing 
  • Lorna sheds a tear thinking back to the “Golden Hour” first hour with her child and their special connection
  • Lorna can’t undo the experience but recognizes that through it, she gained empathy and a connection to women who have gone through similar experiences
  • Pregnancy is complex and doesn’t always end up like it does in the movies and Lorna is hopeful that her writings will help bring the conversation into the light
  • There’s a mold for pregnancy that it’s all a happy, shiny story but things can go wrong and women need to know it’s okay and ordinary

 

Part III

  • Lorna found her voice (poetry, writing) in the six darkest months of her life
  • Her daughter is almost five years old now, and loves hearing stories, especially the story of her being born
  • Lorna reflects on this weird, dark, strange time in her life and notes that it brought her and her husband closer because they went through it together
  • This piece of advice shows up time and time again in our stories: Don’t Google it
  • Lorna gives advice to her younger self

 

QUOTABLES 

"But the result that was most devastating for me was Turner's carried a high risk of miscarriage at any point in the pregnancy. We just we didn't know anything for a week. And that's when I started that poem."

 "I think I was in shock for a few days and then it turned to: how do I do this? Like, how do people get through this? I don't know, it was kind of like walking on eggshells, because I just... we didn't know anything. And then I just sort of moved through the process of grief, I guess, because it was a sort of grief. And having points of, "Well, gosh, maybe it is best if I just miscarry, you know, like maybe it's best if that really happens, because then she might she won't have all these medical special needs."

 "I remember hiding my bump. I got a bump pretty early. Which happens with the second, subsequent pregnancies, you kind of start showing sooner. And I remember wearing, like, baggy shirts, long shirts, you know, things to hide the bump because I didn't want people to know I was even pregnant if I wasn't going to be for long. I think in our society, the mainstream is, you know, pregnancy is always a good thing. It's always happy. It's always good news, and in this case and in other cases, it's just, it's hard news, and it's not always happy. You know, it can be complicated."

 "I allowed myself to still have those dreams and wishes for my kid. But they weren't untethered. I mean, they were very much checked with: "Well, this might not work out." And there's not a whole lot of gray area in that, like there's really no middle ground."

 "I would say [goodbye] ended when she was born."

 "And the more I wrote about this and then other experiences, I kind of, my theme within myself I think that comes out in my writing is, well, I can't be the only one. You know, I can't be the only one that's gone through this. In fact, I know that I'm not. I can't be the only one who has sort of lived between two worlds for months, and at one point, like I mentioned, wishes I would miscarry. I know that's happened to other women. And even though I don't know these other women, I just sort of felt this connection with them through my writing, and through this experience."

 "I take a view, after everything was said and done, of: I don't take it back. I don't take this experience back, because I wrote a lot through this, and it helped me a lot. It was very affirming for me, that wouldn't have happened otherwise. I was able to explore feelings that I wouldn't have otherwise experienced."

 "And just be together, and I remember that hour as the most special hour of my life, hands down. It was emotional. Oh, my God, I'm starting to cry just thinking of it. It was emotional. It was just happy. Just bliss. It was I don't know, just really, really special."

 "And then also, I think at the end of the day, the experience, it just made me more human, if that makes sense? I mentioned before about being able to feel a connection with women who have experienced similar things, and sort of looking at a pregnancy maybe a little bit differently than other people do. You know, pregnancy, it's complicated. It doesn't always go as well as it does in the movies. I'd like to bring more of what I write about, in terms of my experience into the mainstream, you know, being able to talk about miscarriages, and stillbirths, and the death of a child because those things happen more... I think they're more common than people realize. And there's not really a script for talking about that stuff and I wish there were. I wish it was more accepted just as part of life, you know, that it was more part of the conversation."

 "I reflect quite often about this sort of weird, strange, dark time in my life, and what came out of it for me, you know, experiencing this, for me as a future mom to my daughter, and then what came out of it in terms of of my marriage. Ultimately it brought us closer, I would say."

 Advice to her younger self: "Dig deep. Dig into this stuff. Because it's not going away. Because this is, as hard as it is, and it's incredibly hard, this is your opportunity to get to know yourself on another level. This is your opportunity to become more human. This is your opportunity to feel whatever emotion you feel and learn that it's OK to feel it."

Learn more about Lorna Rose

 

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