October is miscarriage awareness month. This month is also the month that our first child was supposed to be born. My entire being aches for what should have been. I decided to share my story and a few blog posts related to pregnancy loss this month to help others understand miscarriage and all that comes with it. I didn’t want my grief to silence me.
To the Mama that has empty arms today, I am so very sorry. I hope that my story helps you in this time of loss. I understand what it is you are feeling. You are not alone. You are a #fiercemama with a profound love for her very real child.
To the friend or family who is here to get a grasp on this trauma. Thank you for trying to understand and help us navigate through this experience.
Before I get started, please stop reading here if you don't want to know the details about the physical pain and loss of a miscarriage. My intention is not to sugarcoat my story, because I would have benefited from knowing how to navigate through the physical and emotional stress of a miscarriage instead of being left alone to figure it out myself.
...you're still here? Okay, take a deep breath. Here we go.
I found out I was pregnant on the exact same day in the exact same hour that my sister found out she was pregnant. I remember it clearly. I was about to take my pregnancy test when she called. When it showed positive I was so overjoyed that I ran out to the porch and began waving the stick at my husband who was taking our dog out. "WE DID IT!," I screamed over and over again as if I was trying to convince myself. I couldn't believe it! My husband and I had both looked forward to this day for so long with overwhelming anticipation. It was finally happening!
Everything was progressing normally. I felt nauseous and my chest was tender to touch. Until it wasn’t…
We were finally past the suggested time to announce our pregnancy. I was so anxious to tell everyone the great news! It wasn’t until after we announced that I started to bleed. I called our doctor's office immediately. They told me to call back if the bleeding got worse. It could be that my uterus was just stretching. The bleeding didn't get heavy, and I had a check up scheduled a couple of days later so I proceeded like normal.
We headed to my doctor's appointment. I remember taking the urine test when I saw a lot of blood in the cup. I knew something was definitely wrong.
The ultrasound tech called us in. I was relieved when she said I should be far enough along to do the ultrasound on my belly instead of vaginally. I saw her expression when she was having a hard time finding baby. She proceeded to insert the probe vaginally, and I just knew. She hesitated and paused. I could tell she hated this part of her job. Finally, she said, "Hmm. Umm, I'm so sorry. Your baby no longer has a heartbeat."
Silence. Shock. Sadness. Anger. Fear. Ache. Confusion.
She left the room, and she went to get the doctor. More silence. I put my clothes back on, and my entire body felt like I'd been hit by a truck. I was in shock. No tears. No words. We were moved to a different room to wait. We sat in silence until finally all I could muster to say to my sweet husband was, "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry." To which he insisted, “Absolutely not. It was out of your control.” As my lips moved and the sound began to come out so did the wail of my heart. I flooded the room with tears and words that could not be understood. My husband was hurting just the same.
I had a billion thoughts bursting in my head at a million miles a second. It was like they were shooting at me, and I couldn’t barely catch my breath. “We just made our announcement. How do I tell my family? I need to call in to work…” on and on it went. Though the loudest one was, “My baby!”
The doctor finally came in. I couldn't have asked for a better doctor to help us get through this. She sat there and lovingly stared while I cried and asked her why. She said that sometimes it just happens, and she comforted me as best she could. She then gave me three options and asked me what I wanted to do. Everything was happening so fast.
D&C (Dilation and curettage)
Doctor: It is a surgical procedure that could be done asap. You will have the peace of mind that you are totally cleaned out. This one is an out-patient procedure.
Doctor: This one could be done in the comfort of your own home, but it's painful. Also, this option doesn't work for everyone. Sometimes the baby doesn't completely pass. Sometimes it doesn't work at all.
Doctor: Let your body do it in its own time, and let baby pass on his/her own.
I had to think. I only just found out that my baby wasn’t safe and sound. The life that I anticipated was gone, and I had to figure out what I wanted to do with him/her not 10 minutes later. I asked her to give us 15 minutes. My husband wanted me to make the decision. He would be there for me with anything I decided to do. These were my personal thoughts on the three options.
If this has happened to you, I am so sorry. I understand your hurt. I know that you remember this like it was yesterday. If you chose an option that I didn't, that's okay. You need to take care of yourself the best way that you can. This is just what I reconciled in my own mind at that moment. I am not telling you what the best option is/was. This is just my story.
D&C (Dilation and curettage)
Me: I don't want the doctors to tear baby away from me with cold tools. I don't think I can show up at the hospital willingly knowing what's about to happen. Recovery time is longer. There is always risk involved with a surgical procedure. No, that's okay. I'll pass.
Me: I can't. This can take weeks. It can happen at any moment. I can’t live with that kind of anticipation. I just can't do it.
Me: I'm scared, but at least I can do this at home tonight. My husband will be there with me. Okay...I think this is the one. I'm not sure, but I'll pick this one.
My doctor finally came back in the room, and I hesitated. "I"ll take the medicine," I said. She prescribed me two different medications, one of them was a pill to begin the process and the other was a narcotic to help with the pain.
This is the part of my story that is very vivid in detail.
We went to pick up the medications, and we made the calls to our family. We let our bosses know that we would be missing work. With every call, my eyes swelled and my head pounded, while my heart broke into tinier pieces. My doctor recommended taking the medicine during the day, but I was comfortable in the dark. After we finished contacting our family and close friends, I took the medications.
It was a long night. Unseen. Unheard. Untouched by light. Suddenly it was happening. The contractions that I had no experience or personal knowledge of began. I wondered if the pain medicine was helping at all, because I had to breathe through it. I was experiencing labor pains, and my body ached like it never had before or since. I wasn’t prepared. I had to learn on the go. I was sweating. I was vomiting. We were scared. My dear husband was right by my side for every second of it, experiencing miscarriage in his own way while trying to comfort me all at the same time the best he knew how. I was trying to catch my breath in between it all. I tried to find comfort in every position I could. The physical pain was almost overwhelming, but the human body is resilient even still. Finally, I passed my baby after 8 hours.
The days following my miscarriage I felt as though I was absent from my body. My grief swallowed me up. I bled for another week after. It was like a heavy period. With every visit to the restroom, I was reminded of my loss.
My body still had a good amount of pregnancy hormone after the miscarriage, but my brain knew I wasn’t pregnant. My levels needed to go back to normal on their own. In other words, my body thought I was still pregnant. Your hormones are out of whack. It can make you feel like you are crazy. I didn’t know even though your baby is gone that the pregnancy symptoms don’t just disappear with baby. I felt pregnant still. And I had to give myself grace. As much as I wanted it to be over, it still took time for me to get back to normal not just emotionally but physically too. And time stood still. I had to figure out a way to move forward.
This is my story. I’ve shared it the best I know how with hope that it would help you navigate your hurt in some way. Though the details may be different, we share the same loss, the same hurt. I am so very sorry. You are not alone in trying to navigate through miscarriage. You are seen.
It’s not a fairytale ending. It’s not pretty. But I don’t want to leave you here. So, when you are ready, here are a few ways I came up with that helped me memorialize my baby and take my first step towards healing. Here are a few ways to memorialize the child that was lost.