Reina Flores-Robinson said she and her husband had not been trying to start a family when she learned she was pregnant. But as soon as they found out, they began making future plans for their baby.
The infant’s due date was Dec. 24, but Flores-Robinson had a miscarriage last June.
There had been complications early in her pregnancy, Flores-Robinson said, but she’d been to the emergency room and had checked out OK.
Because of those previous complications, though, Flores-Robinson was nervous when she and her husband, Tim Robinson, went in for their first scheduled ultrasound in June.
It was a supposed to be a happy occasion. Her mom and her grandmother came along and waited outside, while Flores-Robinson and her husband made sure everything was fine.
Once the technician got started, though, Flores-Robinson knew something was wrong. The technician confirmed there was no heartbeat.
“I just tell people, ‘It’s one of the most painful silences you’ll ever hear,’” Flores-Robinson said.
The couple had pictured this Christmas Eve as a joyous time, celebrating the holiday with their new baby, she said. Instead, they found themselves faced with enormous grief.
“At first, it was just hard to even understand, just the initial shock,” she said. “I have an amazing doctor. He told me, ‘You’re going to recount every step you took because you’re going to try and figure out what you did wrong.’ He said, ‘I’m going to tell you there’s nothing you could have changed and nothing you could have done differently. You’re never going to find an answer to it.’
“That, I have to remind myself time and time again,” Flores-Robinson said.
She has gone through various emotions, including sadness, guilt and anger. While some people never talk about it, Flores-Robinson said she and her husband wanted to share their story. They want to help others who are suffering in silence.
Flores-Robinson said she found help at her church, Exciting Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz. She has talked with women there — her age and older — who have experienced miscarriages.
They understand the sense of loss, Flores-Robinson said. As one put it, “Once women find out they are pregnant, they already have that baby in their arms.”
The same is true for men, Flores-Robinson said.
“It’s very easy to forget that men also grieve,” she said. Her husband also had pictured their future life with their child.
And, Robinson has been a source of strength for her.
“My husband is an amazing, Godly man,” she said. “He was that rock for me for several weeks. He stayed strong.”
When he finally broke down, Flores-Robinson was relieved that he could release his feelings. Having experienced a miscarriage has given her new insight about the questions she asks to married couples.
“I know myself, before I miscarried, I may have been one of those women who asked the question. ‘Are you guys going to have kids?’” Flores-Robinson asked.
Now, she realizes that may be a sensitive subject. She recalls her response to a woman who had experienced a miscarriage shortly before she had her own. She told the woman: “I can’t even imagine.”
That turned out to be true, Flores-Robinson couldn’t imagine the pain and grief she would feel.
“Going through a miscarriage, I can say, is one of the loneliest feelings,” Flores-Robinson said.
She said a booklet she received from Peter Castellani, executive director of Oasis Pregnancy Care Centers, was a big source of help. Called “Embracing Hope: Comfort & Encouragement After Miscarriage,” it was produced by Focus on the Family.
The booklet “goes through how to handle the hurtful comments that come up, and the clichés that people say, well-meaning things that people will say,” said Debbie Hamby, client services director at Oasis.
People who have suffered a miscarriage are hurting, Castellani said.
“I’ve had a lot of people confide in me that they’ve had miscarriages, and it’s very difficult to deal with,” Castellani said. “I’ve had at least a half a dozen people or more — through the Christian Business Connections or the (Central Pasco) Chamber, or just when I’m networking.
“We want them to heal,” he said.
Besides the booklet, his office has a DVD that can help people who have experienced a miscarriage to process their grief.
Some people who have received help at the pregnancy care center are reluctant to come back to a place they associate with their baby, Hamby said, to receive help for processing their grief from a miscarriage.
One of the things that the Focus on the Family booklet discusses is the idea of creating a memento box that may include items such as a sonogram picture, the results of their pregnancy test, or other items, Hamby said.
Flores-Robinson and her husband have kept the sonogram picture and a small stuffed bear they bought shortly after learning they were expecting. They plan to light a candle every Dec. 24 to remember the baby they lost.
As difficult as it has been, the loss also has yielded blessings, Flores-Robinson said.
“My husband and I have grown so much in our marriage,” she said. “We literally would hold each other and cry. Both of our walks with God grew tremendously.
“When the miscarriage happened, we stood in that parking lot and said, ‘All glory go to God, in the good times and the bad.’”
December has been a tough month, she said. “Once it hit Dec. 1, I was just thinking about Dec. 24.”
“I think about Dec. 24, and I think about how I’m going to be that day,” Flores-Robinson said. “Am I going to be OK? I think about the baby I wanted to have in my arms.”
But then, she also thinks about the true meaning of Christmas.
“It’s so special to think about what that does mean, with a savior being born,” Flores-Robinson said. “That image in my head is what I have been clinging to.”
Published December 17, 2014
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