Milk and Honey Magazine's interview with a mother who endured miscarriage. Stephanie offers hope, Bible verses, advice on how to comfort those in the midst of miscarriage, and how to cling to Jesus.

Finding Hope: Miscarriage

Stephanie Nespoli

A loss of a child is considered one of the deepest pains, regardless of a child’s age. The pain of what would have been is often the most difficult to embrace and work through. Family and friends often feel helpless when someone close to them experiences a miscarriage because no one has any control over it or can prevent it from happening.

When a miscarriage occurs, society’s attitude is to not talk about it, in fear that it’s too upsetting. Our dear friend Stephanie was kind enough to open up about her story of loss to provide a beacon of hope to those in a similar position.

And to all mothers whom have endured a miscarriage: we are there for you and we love you. As does Jesus.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

You have, unfortunately, endured a miscarriage. Could you tell us about that?

Honestly, it is really difficult to explain what it’s like to go through such an experience. So many people hear that my husband and I lost our baby and only think about that one moment. They think only of the loss. Not even as a loss, but as a medical mistake that “happened for a reason.” Unfortunately, it is so much worse and deeper rooted than that.

While we never announced it on Facebook or did anything that would deem it as publicly “official,” we talked about names, we saw the ultrasound and heart beat, we heard the squeals of our parents and siblings, we cried our happy tears of excitement, we guessed hair color, we argued giddily about names… to be honest, that is only a mere skimming of the surface.

It is so much more than the loss of a life. It’s the loss of a lifelong love. It’s the loss of dance recitals and father-daughter dances and graduations and driving lessons and trips to Disney. For so many, they think of the one-day of loss. For us, we mourn the loss of the happiest weeks of our lives, our future and the first member of our family.

Miscarriages are so misunderstood – BY ALL. Yes, it’s fair to say that most would agree they’re bad, sad, etc. However, there is so little communicated and taught about this experience that I wasn’t even sure what was happening in my own body until we were actually enduring it. Some things, I didn’t even understand until the dust had settled, and I went to follow-up appointments. When we first found out we had lost our baby, I was terrified, a stone, confused, devastated. NOTHING can ever prepare you for it. My husband’s strength in these moments and the weeks to come would be engrained in my heart and mind forever.

It’s not peaceful. It’s not painless. It’s not so many things that I assumed before experiencing it. Due to my lack of knowledge, I assumed the baby would just kind of fall out? Sounds silly, but that’s all I had previously ever imagined having never thought of it seriously before. This is our first mistake.

As humans, especially all of us strong females out there, it is our duty to understand our bodies. It is critical that when we’re putting ourselves into certain situations – like becoming pregnant – that we know the risks and understand the “what ifs”… Kind of sick? Sure. Bizarre? Yeah. Useful? Maybe. Helpful when you’re the 1-in-4 women in the U.S. that experience the loss of your unborn baby? Absolutely.

I am sure it is, at least, mildly evident that this description of miscarriage is not going to be sugar-coated. It is because we ALL (not just future parents) need to understand what this all means. Whether you’re a parent, friend, sibling, co-worker, side hustle business partner, or anything in-between, you should know it all. It’s the only way that you can fully and honestly help heal, comfort and understand someone who is actually going through it. And, unfortunately, YOU could be the 1-in-4. I was.

So, before we go any further, I want you to know my story. All of it. It was the end of February/early March of 2017, and I had been having symptoms for about two weeks – cramps, lower back pain, crazy and vivid dreams (a symptom I had never heard of), tender breasts, the absolute crazies (mood swings), the works. Negative pregnancy tests for weeks had me confused, but it was a quiet and slow morning on Saturday, March 4 that our lives would be changed forever. The word “pregnant” was sprawled across my First Response Early Detection pregnancy test. My stomach hit the floor, and it’s hilarious how you begin asking yourself, “Am I ready for this? Do I really want a baby?” … Hm, a little late for that!

Telling Erik was a dream. He was over the moon, and we hugged for what seemed like hours. We immediately did what any millennial married couple would do – downloaded all the apps and e-books with baby information, went out to brunch to celebrate, and ran to Barnes & Noble for a (decaf) latte and more books. We had our first appointment the following Monday and our first ultrasound a few weeks after that. We saw the heartbeat (chance of miscarriage decreases drastically once you see this, but still not “safe”), and we immediately began planning our announcements to friends and families. Clothes were bought, gifts were given, names were tossed around, plans were made, workplaces were informed, everything.

So many people questioned why we told people before it was “safe.” We talked about it, and we were way too excited to stay quiet, and we came to the conclusion that we would need the support from our loved ones in the case we did miscarry. We will be forever grateful that we made that decision.

So many more things happened in the nine weeks that I carried our baby. We spoke to her, we nicknamed her, and we immediately began living, working and breathing FOR HER. She was our miracle. I say this because we never were really sure I’d get pregnant naturally. I was diagnosed a few years back with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. It was nothing life shattering, but a frustrating diagnosis that would prevent me from ovulating regularly and cause hormonal imbalances.

It was 4:50-something in the morning on Wednesday, May 10 when I woke up with the most horrible cramps. It felt like I was being stabbed in the stomach. However, my first reaction was that the baby must be huge to be shifting everything in my body like that! I was approaching my fourteenth week of pregnancy, so I did (again) what any young woman my age is most likely to do – asked Google. I was greeted pleasantly by so many forums and Q-&-A’s online that told me my muscles and body were ripping, because the baby was moving up from behind the pelvic bone. Seemed legit, right?

The pain got worse. Much worse. I couldn’t stand, I was crying so hard, and my husband was scared. I called the doctor and, luckily, they were able to get me in. They assumed it was pain from sleeping weird or intercourse, since I had no other miscarriage symptoms. No bleeding or anything. Just severe cramps that were coming in and out like waves. In and out like contractions.

Milk and Honey Magazine's interview with a mother who endured miscarriage. Stephanie offers hope, Bible verses, advice on how to comfort those in the midst of miscarriage, and how to cling to Jesus.

That is when our midwife, who was incredible, wanted to give us a chance to hear the heart beat. We got so excited, and Erik even whipped out his phone to record it. As I laid on the bed, hearing nothing but my own heart beat, that kind and caring midwife’s face went white. She smiled at me, but stayed silent. My breathing went from slow and steady to pure on panic mode. That’s when I saw Erik put his phone down. I lost it. Uncontrollable tears that were only greeted by the sweet midwife’s voice saying, “You’re okay. You’re going to be okay.” But, how could I be okay? My baby’s heart wasn’t beating – in my body – and there wasn’t a single thing I could do about it. We were experiencing a missed miscarriage the week of Mother’s Day.

If you saw your child – someone you MADE with the one human on earth that God crafted just to fit and love you – drowning, would you want to save them? Would you be scared they would die? Yes, of course. Now, imagine finding them already gone. Already lost and nothing to do, but say good-bye. That’s the ugly, untold truth of miscarriage.

I was crying too hard to go back into the waiting room, while I waited for the ultrasound technician to become available, so the incredible staff at Prevea Health allowed me to stay in the room with my Erik. He bravely called parents, texted siblings and informed workplaces – all whom were overwhelmingly supportive and caring. We confirmed the loss in an ultrasound – in other words, we saw a photo of our lost baby on the big screen – and were brought back into a room to discuss next steps. Tears never stopped, while we discussed the options to let the baby leave my body “naturally” – even though this was anything but natural, induce the loss with medicine, or surgically remove it from what is called a “D&C.” We chose to induce the loss since my body had only just began the process. We were ready to make this happen and begin healing. If only it were that simple.

When you miscarry without surgery, you do it at home. You’re expected to push your baby out into a toilet, fish it out with your hand, place it in a Tupperware or plastic bag of your choice, and bring it back into the doctor. It is even more horrific and graphic than it sounds. It was described to me as a “really heavy period” but it is far more than that no matter how far along you are. It was unbearably painful, contractions coming in and out like a normal birth, but nothing in my entire life – that I can imagine – will ever be as painful as seeing our daughter lay in front of me, gone. It’s an image that will stay with me, haunting me, forever. If not for my husband (and snuggles from my puppy), I can’t say where I would be right now.

Milk and Honey Magazine's interview with a mother who endured miscarriage. Stephanie offers hope, Bible verses, advice on how to comfort those in the midst of miscarriage, and how to cling to Jesus.

The rest of the day was a blur thanks to the copious amounts of medication I was on – not to mention the insane hormones and emotions going haywire within me. The next day, we brought her in and found out I was having complications with the loss. My body was refusing to let go of the pregnancy. That is the crazy thing about missed miscarriages – your body wants to have that baby so bad that it is holding on for dear life. Even my cells and organs wanted this baby as much as we did. So, I was put on more medication to move things along. A week passed and the contractions and bleeding oddly began again. The doctors told us over the phone this could be normal, but to keep an eye on it. Well, it took us back to the hospital for the fourth time in two weeks to find out my body had maybe only passed half of what it should have and I would need a D&C after all. The surgery went well, and I cried upon waking up. I cried because I was happy it was all finally over, and I cried because I was devastated that it was actually over. She was gone – every last bit of her. Now, I remained a shell of a mother with no baby in sight. A few days more were spent at home, but the weeks to follow included crying on the kitchen floor, in the shower, in the yard, in my car, at my desk and everywhere else. Nothing felt normal. How was I supposed to stop being a mom to our baby? How was I supposed to think about anything else? Even now, as I type this nearly three months later, I am still confused. Being me just didn’t make sense anymore. I fell hard onto my husband, my friends, my family and God. Ironically, I hugged a dear (and 8-month pregnant) friend of mine the day of our loss in my driveway. Tears streaming down my face, I looked at the sunset and I said “God please take all of this. I am thrusting it onto you. You have control.” But, then I made a simple prayer, “Please make sure that baby stays safe. Please.” My dear friend’s water broke that night and little Walter joined this world the day my baby taken from us. #LookAtGod

Every day is a struggle. Every day hurts in some type of way. It’s random things that spark sadness and tears, while others remind me of hope and days of happiness. Gabriella Rose Nespoli will forever be a blessing to us. The photos that we secretly took with the incredible Shaunae Teske Photography are evidence of just how excited and in love with our baby girl that we were/are. Her life meant and means SO MUCH. It always will.

Miscarriage seems more common than we think. Agree?

This is even more common than I originally thought when I heard that 1-in-4 women and men that experience it… Every single doctor and nurse that I worked with during my four visits told me about their losses. I met with six different medical professionals. I had five family members, at least a dozen friends and acquaintances and a co-worker all come forward to open up to me about their losses. I even had a wonderful friend who suffered a loss a few short weeks after us.

It surrounds us, but it is so hidden. Keeping it hidden is understandable – we wanted privacy for awhile too. However, we need to support each other. No one fully and truly understands what it is like to endure unless they’ve been through it. If we continue to hide from what we’ve lost and experienced, then we are alienating our fellow mothers of angel babies. We were not meant to walk these types of roads alone.

Milk and Honey Magazine's interview with a mother who endured miscarriage. Stephanie offers hope, Bible verses, advice on how to comfort those in the midst of miscarriage, and how to cling to Jesus.

Do you find women have a difficult time talking about their experience?

I have definitely noticed that more women and men keep their losses private. Whether it is because they’re too hurt to discuss it or just want to keep their privacy – I am not sure. We wanted it to be quiet until we were strong enough to understand it ourselves. However, maybe three days after our loss, I saw a Facebook post online from Jenna Kutcher. I followed her podcost and social media pages, and she posted an article all about her first miscarriage. It was so raw, honest, open and genuine. It said words to me that others were too afraid to say. It opened my eyes to ideas and thoughts that my brain and my negative feelings were pushing out. Also being an openly Godly woman, she talked a lot about her prayers and her discussions with God through her podcast and future posts. She reminded me to fall and call on him. She has now experienced two miscarriages, and it is HER openness that was what truly pulled me out from my darkness. She reminded me to talk to Erik, God and others, and to be open to begin healing. It is hard, gut-wrenching and painful, but talk. It DOES help.

I will say that the medical field does not help make women feel like we can open up about our experiences. We’re immediately hit with words like “spontaneous abortion” rather than saying “your baby passed away.” Even the word miscarriage has a horrible connotation to it. I will tell you that I did not miscarry our child. I carried it to the best ability and beyond that I could. I cared so much that it took two rounds of medicine and a surgery just to make me let it go, so miscarry? No thanks.

There’s an unexpected gift in trials—we get to comfort with the comfort we’ve received. If you were sitting across the table from a woman who has just experienced a miscarriage, how might you comfort her?

It is so hard to say how to comfort a woman who has experienced this, because each woman, baby, pregnancy, etc. is different. So, first I would simply say I am sorry. Acknowledgement for me was huge. You didn’t need to tell me about your sister’s cousin who miscarried and now has ten kids. I just wanted all who talked to me to acknowledge my baby’s life and be sorry that she was gone.

Then, I would ask if they wanted to talk about it? Me? This is when I would unload on people, giving them all the unsolicited details that I could in order to life the weight off my shoulders and heart. Erik and I talked about it nonstop, but he knew everything that I felt and what happened. It was incredible to be able to talk to people who had no clue about the situation, and I was so empowered and inspired by the fact that Gabby’s short life could be positively impactful on others. She taught so many people so many things – about loss, about understanding, about comfort, about appreciating life. She was truly sent by God to do amazing work and that she did.

Lastly, I would make sure I told them these things that I desperately needed to hear:


Milk and Honey Magazine's interview with a mother who endured miscarriage. Stephanie offers hope, Bible verses, advice on how to comfort those in the midst of miscarriage, and how to cling to Jesus.

Some of these things were told to me and others were not, but every week I am learning that I am not alone. That message I think is the most important to share. There are lots of us and while that doesn’t mean anything good initially – it really helped me feel less hopeless. Less like a shell. Less like a loner in this world that no one understood. Less like a woman aimlessly looking around for some sort of unknown answers. Less like a crazy person who either cries or glares at pregnant women. We’re going to think and worry about our babies forever – we’re moms after all.

Ways we can encourage and comfort husbands who endure this trial?

The men in these situations have it so, so hard. They not only watch the woman they love so much going through this horrible ordeal, but they’re also feeling the pain of it as well. Worse yet, they feel like they can’t express it.

My advice is to not force your husband to open up right away. Mine went into major protector-mode and caretaker. Maybe that was his way of coping or maybe it was his true form when seeing me in such a state? Either way, I knew that forcing him to be emotional was only going to hurt him. When he was ready, he faced that with me. Secondly, let him talk to people about the situation. Even if you want it private between you, he needs to get support and help in being strong for you. My husband is so supported by his fellow officers at the Green Bay Police Department. So many co-workers came to him with their own experiences and offered him comfort, support and advice. It is easy to get caught up in the mentality of that women have the “hard part” of the situation. However, I quickly learned that mothers are lucky enough to have such a strong and linked bond from the beginning. Men only get to hear us talk about the baby inside us. They only have their imaginations. Doesn’t that seem even sadder? I had nearly ten weeks of pure time together with our baby – never leaving one another. Men don’t get that.

So, ask them soft questions, give them opportunities to take breaks and talk when they want, but BE OPEN. Don’t let yourself be scared to be open because you don’t want to make him sad or hurt. For better or for worse, you two need to stick together. This does NOT need to be something that breaks you. It brought my husband and I closer than we’ve ever been, and we just celebrated our 10-year anniversary in June. Be gentle, you’re both going to do the best that you can.

Milk and Honey Magazine's interview with a mother who endured miscarriage. Stephanie offers hope, Bible verses, advice on how to comfort those in the midst of miscarriage, and how to cling to Jesus.

Bible verses/quotes/songs you cling to?

  • “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.” Isaiah 43:2
  • “The pain that you’ve been feeling, can’t compare to the joy that’s coming.” Romans 8:18
  • “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:17
  • “Jesus replied, ‘you don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will’” John 13:7

Quote I also prayed around: “It is in your broken places you are most often used by God.” I have also found a lot of comfort in Christian music. Here are a few that helped me cry it out and feel comforted:

  • Hope in Front of Me – Danny Gokey
  • Lord, I Need You – Matt Maher
  • The Maker – Chris August
  • Your Great Name – Natalie Grant
  • Cornerstone – Hillsong
  • Oceans – Hillsong
  • What a Beautiful Name – Hillsong
  • Forever – Kari Jobe