WE are 1 in 4

I’m Nikkie’s husband, Blake. Occasionally you see me doing crazy things with our kids in the background of her videos.  While I’m typically pretty good at writing I’m not good at sharing emotions or feelings….similar to the male community.  Nikkie and I  miscarried back in 2013, I realized I never really expressed how I felt or its impact on me as I was more focused on Nikkie and attempting to be a support structure for her.  SO…..here is my attempt at expressing my story of our miscarriage.  Typically the female side of the story is the one heard/sympathized with as the men are expected to be strong and not show emotions, and frankly rightfully so as the women face not only the emotional but the physical as well.

Back story to everything is Nikkie was told early in our marriage that natural conception would be a challenge and that we would likely need “help”.  We were still young and early in our marriage (2 years) and figured we had time before we would need to go to a specialist.  Needless to say we ended up getting pregnant in early 2013.  I remember the excitement and the nerves (no clue how to be a dad) and we couldn’t wait to tell everyone that we were pregnant.  Learning Experience 1:  Don’t be in TOO big a rush to tell family. We were probably about 6 weeks pregnant when we told our parents we were pregnant and everyone was so excited.  This was the first grand-baby on either side, albeit I’m and only child.  Our OBGYN at the time didn’t do heartbeats until 10-12 weeks so we still had some time,  but in all of our books there was no doubt as we believe life starts at conception.
It was a Sunday that reality was about to set in, I ended up going to church that morning because Nikkie said she was cramping but being first time pregnant just thought it was pregnancy pain.  By mid-day, the pain was not getting better and by afternoon it was much worse.  We called our OBGYN and he suggested that we come to the hospital where his office was and go to the ER.  Learning Experience 2:  Don’t go to the hospital ER unless you have to (use private ones).  We arrived at the ER later in the evening, and needless to say 5 hours later we had not made it very far.  After some stern conversations with the OBGYN over the phone, I called an audible and went to a private ER.  I remember sitting there as they did the ultra-sound, no heartbeat.  My heart sank, Nikkie and I both knew but the ER wouldn’t “confirm” anything and had to wait until the next morning to meet with OBGYN.  Side note….I still have that ultrasound just as a reminder of how precious life is. That late-night ride home from the ER was somber, mostly quiet as I tried to remain calm (not in my nature) and make sure that I was there for Nikkie.  I remember thinking why, why was my biggest question I had.  I’m not sure I shed a tear that night as I tried to focus on Nikkie.  The next morning I actually went to work as we were not sure if she would even get into the doctor, and as many probably cope with negative life events I tried to put my focus elsewhere.  Needless to say, we got in that afternoon and “officially” got the news. This is when it really hit me.  Nikkie’s grandmother did what I call, “voodoo”, and could predict gender and numbers of kids you would have by tying a pencil to a string and holding it over your arm (fairly common I guess but weirded me out, especially now given its been accurate).  For both of us it said a Boy was first.  While we didn’t know the gender, we both knew it was a boy.  I remember sitting there with the crushing blow of I lost a son.  Why did this happen to us, being asked with sympathy, anger, fear, and sorrow all at once?  I asked what could I have done differently.  There was a lot of processing that I was trying to overcome, but I kept coming back to this isn’t about you it’s about your wife.  She’s the one going through this, you are just along for the ride.  She’s still in pain, every time she goes to the bathroom the blood reminds her.  Quit thinking of you and focus on her. Honestly, the next several days was more questions with little emotion, I went to work, my colleagues asked why I was there, but it was how I was dealing with it.  Looking back I didn’t know how to deal with it.  I felt like I was putting too much on Nikkie at the time by putting my emotions on top of hers, I was still focused on protecting her.  Learning Experience 3: Prayer and Support Systems are more powerful than you think.  Both of our families were around a lot that week, mostly checking on Nikkie brining things over she may need, checking on us but giving us space.  This helped a lot by taking the stress of “life” while trying to cope with everything.  We had also been involved with a great Sunday school class at church full of young married families.  The women in this class went above and beyond to be there for Nikkie, as several had already been through this before, don’t want to speak for her but they came over daily to just sit (you two know who you are).  But for me the men in the class were equally as important, they provided unbiased ears for me to express emotions without judgment while helping to guide me forward.  It took time for me to talk to them but after the next weekend (below) it became a bit easier. Another side note…..this same group were the prayer warriors for Lola (Nikkie has shared her story).  It wasn’t until that next weekend (5 days from that night) before I remember really hitting the wall at home and just not being able to hold back the emotions and Nikkie and I just cried as we thought about the loss and how to move forward.  This was the weekend of remembrance but allowed me to let the weight off and provide me the ability to begin to move forward.  The next several weeks were not easy a lot of do we want to try again, when would we try again, is this pain worth trying again.  My “closure”, if you ever really get that, came when we decided on a name.  Not knowing the gender but know it was a boy, we chose the name, Noah.  While it made it more real, it also gave us great hope as we knew God had bigger plans for him, we were right given how Lola needed him.

Learning Experience 4:  Time Heals All Wounds, some scars are forever.  Any family that has ever been through a miscarriage never forgets the pain, emotions, challenges that come with it, but more importantly, they don’t forget the when.  I’ve tried to put away the day we got the news of the miscarriage because of all of the emotions tied to it, but the “scar” that remains is Christmas Eve which would have been his birthday.  The first couple of years we didn’t talk about it, a little bit of no see no fear.  As time has progressed Nikkie and I have both embraced his birthday.  This has helped us cope and manage, but still 6 years later it’s as real as it was in 2013.

Lola and Barret won’t ever physically know Noah, but Lola knows of him as we have told her many times he is her guardian angel. They will grow up knowing they have a big brother who protects them.

For the dad’s out there, there will be things/ dates that trigger memories and emotions, embrace them.  What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, talk to your spouse about them.  I promise you if something sets you off there is a very good chance your wife feels the same way. We all want to be strong for our wife and family but remember this impacts you and your life as well.   I was surprised at the number of couples who had been through this and sharing stories helps you understand and cope but you’ll find sharing your story is likely to help someone else as well.  To the wives out there, your husband won’t ask for help and he won’t share his feelings to protect you.  He will break and need your shoulder at some point, so be there for him. You are not alone. You did not do anything wrong for this to happen. WE are 1 in 4. 1 in every 4 couples will go through a miscarriage. It has taken time to be able to talk about it but we share our story to give hope to other families going through this, past present and future. We are here for you and don’t want you to ever feel alone.

-Blake Hancock-

 

 

 

 

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