October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, and while there is considerable attention given to this horrible experience, it doesn’t change the fact that it is so hard to talk about miscarriage.
Not only has it been a taboo subject for generations, but the sheer heartache that surrounds each story of loss can feel suffocating.
And while many people think that miscarriages are rare, they are sadly commonplace; one in five pregnancies will end in miscarriage, which equates to roughly 750,000 miscarriages in the US every year.
So, when Alicia Gatz, an ultrasound tech in Mississippi, posted a short video clip on Facebook describing her perspective of seeing a miscarriage on the screen, it went viral pretty fast.
The video, which has 1.9 million views, gives a detailed perspective on Gatz’s thoughts and feelings when she realizes that she is about to break the news to an expecting mother that her fetus has died.
It has struck a tender nerve with Facebook users.
The trending “I could be brown, I could be blue” song plays in the video while Gatz’s thoughts appear in text bubbles above her face.
“I am a diagnostic medical sonographer. I have an amazing job and am blessed to look at fetus in utero every day. Until days like today.
I was the first person in the room to realize I was about to completely shake this moms’ world and create the worst day of her life.”
But then, the video gets even more heartbreaking.
“Today, I scanned a 38-week fetus demise. Today I hugged a mom while she quivered with sadness. Today I reassured her she did nothing wrong.
Today I remained strong and held back tears till she left the room. Then I sat and cried and composed myself before my next happy mom who was only interested in the baby gender.”
The video sparked thousands of responses from women sharing their heartbreaking stories of loss.
Many wrote about their own experiences of learning about their loss from an ultrasound tech. Still, many took issue with the final line in the video in which Gatz tried to explain her emotional state and how quickly she must compose herself before switching gears and working with a new patient.
One Facebook user wrote,
“I hate that we’re judged for ONLY wanting to know the gender. Like come on, we obviously care to hear the heartbeat and know they are safe.”
Gatz told TODAY Parents, “What I was trying to say is that I have to recompose myself quickly after I see a loss, I have to come into the room chipper and excited even though my heart is still broken for the mama that just got awful news.”
When asked how many miscarriages Gatz sees, she reportedly told TODAY that she estimates at least one a day.
It sure blows the myth of miscarriage being rare right out of the water when you read that in black and white. It is sad to think that Gatz and others in her profession see miscarriage often enough to build up an emotional response for having to deliver the terrible news.
“I’ll be looking at the screen and feel this sadness come over me. I’m aware that this woman is about to have the worst day of her life. It doesn’t matter if she’s in her first trimester or two weeks from her due date,” Gatz shared with TODAY. “It’s awful.”
When she knows the bad news is coming, she braces herself emotionally.
She explained a typical experience to TODAY like this,
“I almost go into robot mode — I need to get the correct measurements. If she senses something is wrong, starts crying or shaking, I won’t be able to do that,” Gatz said.
“When I’m done, I’ll reach down and touch her. It’s a way of connecting. Then I’ll say something like, ‘Things don’t look quite the way I expected them to look, so I’m going to go get the doctor.'”
If there can be anything good in talking about something so tragic and sad, it is that we are normalizing the fact that miscarriages happen every day.
Because when we remove the stigma of miscarriage, we can begin to help women and families feel supported mentally and emotionally.
If you or someone you know is looking for even more resources on miscarriage check out our resources below:
If you or someone you know is suffering from child loss, be sure to check out the book, Unexpecting by one of our Filter Free Parents Contributors, Rachel Lewis. It’s an amazing read full of real talk on pregnancy loss to help the women you love who have experienced this tragedy.
For more articles relating to miscarriage, check out:
More websites dedicated to miscarriage:
You can also reach out to NationalShare.org for resources relating to pregnancy loss.
The International Stillbirth Alliance (ISA) is a coalition of stillbirth awareness groups and organizations that work to promote stillbirth research and awareness of stillbirth.
For even more resources, check out this list at verywellfamily.com