Rachel Pearce thought she knew how it would feel to suffer a miscarriage. The heartache of a life lost; the physical pain from the bleeding; the fear that it might happen again. It turns out she had no idea…


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I breezed into my 12-week scan, excited about seeing baby number three for the first time and pondering how to announce the happy news on Facebook. I stumbled out, minutes later, having been told there was no heartbeat.

The first person I saw was a glowing new mum holding a sleeping baby. I made it back to the car and texted my husband, then wept like I had never wept before. When I was finally ready to head home, my car wouldn’t start. I couldn’t even get home to hold my beautiful kids.

I thought I’d hit rock bottom that day, but I was wrong again. A couple of days later I started to bleed. Home alone with my littles, age three and one, I went into what felt like full-blown labour. I did my best to hide the pain, but I had to keep balling myself up on the floor, then rushing to the bathroom to expel gallons of blood – all the while praying that God would stop this nightmare and let my baby live.

It was then that my daughter started rubbing my back. “Dear Lord Jesus, please make Mummy better,” she prayed earnestly. Seconds later I ran to the bathroom and it felt as if my waters broke. I instantly felt some relief and was able to get the children down for a nap. Then I ran back to the bathroom and out came a teeny tiny baby, the size of a raspberry. I was so grateful the children hadn’t witnessed the full horror of it.

I was so grateful the children hadn’t witnessed the full horror of it.

Days of agonising cramping followed. Then, completely unexpectedly, my milk came in. Milk for a baby I would never get to feed. I still had the usual (for me) baby-related indigestion, weight gain and carpal tunnel syndrome, but no baby. I couldn’t face telling the kids that the baby they’d nicknamed “Cupcake” was gone, so they were still kissing my belly morning and night, telling her they loved her. And then there was the horrible pain of telling other people I had lost my baby. I was so miserable I wanted to die.

But there were also glimmers of light. I was so touched that my little girl had thought to pray for me – and glad that she had seen God answer her prayer. And when I took my little raspberry baby into the hospital the next day, the lovely midwife told me it was the first time she had ever seen a miscarried foetus like that, on its own, without the pregnancy sack. She said, with tears in her eyes, that she had found it moving and strangely beautiful. In truth, the baby looked like a weird, waspy alien. But Cupcake was my waspy alien, and those words brought comfort to my heart.

Then my milk came in. Milk for a baby I would never get to feed. 

I got back to the car (which thankfully started) with a pop song going round and round in my head – as it had been ever since the scan nearly a week earlier. I found it on YouTube and whacked the volume up. When it ended, I turned it off and popped the radio on. Weirdly, the same song immediately came on. It wasn’t a Christian song by any stretch, but I felt as if God was reaching down into my pain and saying: “I hear your heart. I’ve got you. I’m going to hold you the way you need to be held.”

I also know that in heaven there is a little girl waiting for me. And she won’t be a weird, waspy alien or a raspberry or even a cupcake. She’ll be my perfect, beautiful daughter. And I’ll get to hold her in the arms that feel so empty right now. Because God is good, even when life is unspeakably cruel.