Just as a heads up: This post is roughly 2,000 words long, but if you do read it; I thank you for sticking with it. It is a very personal piece, but I believe it is also an important topic to discuss; as society seems to view miscarriage as some sort of Taboo.
On October 27th, 2015 my world fell apart.
On October 27th, 2015 a part of me left.
On October 27th, 2015 I found out I had a miscarriage.
It’s funny how I suddenly noticed all these pregnant women and women with newborn babies. Before I lost my baby, I was excited for the women who would lovingly rub their stomach as they stood in the candy isle right next to me trying to find that perfect brand of chocolate to satisfy the immense cravings. I was excited for the women who would hold their newborn babies when they cried, even though one could tell that bending over to pick up their child shot pain through their bodies from the trauma the delivery has placed on their bodies- but they held their children with such love.
I was excited to have the opportunity to enjoy this pregnancy, as my first was very unplanned and came at a very trying and difficult time. It seemed as though everyone around me was able to live their dream of having a big family and having children that were relatively close in age; so they could play together and bond as siblings. I, on the other hand, thought I was doing right by not having more children during a time we were barely able to take care of our small family. We were in the midst of fighting for benefits and treatment for my husband. Our financial situation was quite unstable and every time I tried to work full-time, my Caregiver duties would interfere with my work schedule and vise versa. So, I opted to continue school in the hopes that I would be able to start a career that would allow me more flexibility once I was done with my schooling. I did that. I was very successful in my academics and I still am; in my current Master’s program.
I made sure my husband and son were taken care of. I made sure our little family was taken care of. I made sure we straightened out our financial situation. I made sure I stayed the course with my academics (with major encouragement by my husband). I made sure I wouldn’t get pregnant in the meantime! Because a pregnancy would have meant certain doom for our family and any future improvements to our lives. I did everything right; at least I thought I did. While women all around me were getting pregnant, carrying their babies full-term, being trusted with the privilege of carrying a wonderful and beautiful new life in their wombs and bringing that life into our world, I did nothing more than yearn for the same privilege. I’ve always wanted a big family. I’ve always wanted my children to be able to play together, grow up together, get in trouble together, make memories together! But for 7 years, I had to refrain from that. I had to place my wishes on the back burner, much like I have done and currently still do with many other things in life; since being a Caregiver to two people isn’t always the easiest path one would imagine taking.
However, after so many years of waiting patiently and presumably doing everything right, I would finally get my chance to provide a safe haven for a new life to form. And after all of these I would finally see that + sign on the infamous stick. I also bought one of the tests that specifically says “Pregnant” or “Not Pregnant,” just to make sure I am not hallucinating and seeing a line where there really wasn’t one. Low and behold, I was Pregnant! It was FINALLY my turn! All the waiting for the right moment had paid off!
We would be able to grow our family.
I was on cloud 9! My husband was getting the benefits we had fought for, he was getting the treatment he needed, our son was already making friends in our new neighborhood, we had just moved into our own house and I was on track to studying for the MCAT and applying to local colleges to take a few science classes I still needed before I made an attempt to apply to medical school. My husband was excited, and at times I thought he was more excited than I was.
Finally, I got to see and hear my baby’s heart beat for the first time. I was instantly filled with undying love for this little peanut that looked more like a curled-up alien than human being. Then the Tech pointed to the little flutter right in the middle of that peanut. “There’s the heart beat,” she said with a smile. There she was. My baby. Her heart just a fluttering away. The Tech printed off a picture and said she’d give me a CD as well. I walked out of that office walking on cushioned white clouds, floating around my realm of motherhood. This feeling would last for another few weeks. The things that pregnancy does to a woman’s body and overall feeling toward oneself is nothing short of amazing.
Then, one morning I wake up and found some spotting. Since this wasn’t my first pregnancy, I wasn’t too concerned; as I remember my doctors explaining to me that spotting in the first Trimester is fairly normal in some cases. The next few days I started to feel a lot more tired and exhausted and the spotting wouldn’t go away. On the other hand, my nausea that pregnant feeling wasn’t letting up. Just to be safe, I called the nurse and explained my symptoms. She assured me that spotting is fairly normal, but also told me that IF anything was to go wrong with my pregnancy, there is nothing that anyone could do about it. She was very thoughtful, nice and empathetic. In that moment, I felt reassured. I was OK.
But deep down, something just didn’t feel right. I kept going though, with a smile on my face. I still had all these other responsibilities that needed to be taken care of. So I decided to slow it down and prioritize. I tried to schedule VA appointments in a manner that would reduce stress on me, I started to create a schedule for Elijah in the hopes that this would help with his anxiety, I ate healthier and I didn’t try to exert myself by going 90mph at all times. Again, I thought I did everything right. Then October 27th rolled around. The day of my 12 week appointment.
Things were going normal. I told my doctor about the bleeding and my phone conversation with the nurse. She checked my cervix, the growth of my uterus and gave me the all clear; until she tried to find a heart beat. No matter where she placed that machine on my belly, she couldn’t find a heart beat. At that moment, I knew! I knew I had a miscarriage, but I didn’t say anything. I kept my composure, as she continued to look for a heart beat and tried to reassure me that sometimes these little peanuts just decide to hide; which can make it difficult to find a heart beat. But I knew! I still didn’t say anything. I chuckled and just lovingly called my baby, my little Hellion; because she had given me so much trouble the first couple weeks with the intense nausea I experienced. But I knew!
My doctor then suggested I get an ultrasound done: “I just want you to see your baby’s heart beat before you leave my Office,” she said. So I complied. The entire time I waited in the waiting room, walked back to the room, got undressed and waited for the Tech to come in I KNEW I had a miscarriage. When the Tech checked on my baby I could see the life-less peanut sized alien! There was no blood flow, no flutter, no movement whatsoever. She said: “I’m sorry honey!” I don’t really remember anything about the 5 minutes after she said those words. I know she was very empathetic and she tried to comfort me and she was the angel I needed at that moment.
I had a miscarriage
All I could think about was: “How am I going to tell Elijah?” He was supposed to have a sibling and now that sibling is gone. We had enough trouble explaining an abstract concept of a life growing in mommy’s belly; how were we supposed to explain this even more abstract concept of a miscarriage? How is he going to deal with this? He’s been wanting a sibling for so long; and he does so well with babies and smaller children. He’s such a sweetheart. How were we supposed to explain this to him?
What about my husband? Hasn’t he endured enough death in his relatively short life? He is supposed to be safe here. He shouldn’t have to worry about losing his child. Now he’ll worry not only about his own demons, he’ll worry about the demons that will follow me from this point on.
I did everything right! Why would I be punished like this? For what? My doctor said that miscarriages are fairly common and many women have them, but it still doesn’t help the feeling of utter failure I have! I was supposed to provide a safe haven for this child. I was supposed to enable this life to grow and develop into a beautiful human being.
I did everything right!
That day, a part of me began to slowly detach from myself. I felt betrayed by my own body. I felt like an utter failure. The one thing I am supposed to do as a woman, I failed to do. The oddest part about this was that my body still seemed to feel as though I was pregnant, but my cocoon of a uterus wasn’t safe enough. My baby was about 9 weeks when she passed, but my uterus was still growing and was the size of a uterus at 12 weeks of gestation! My body thought I was still pregnant, but my baby was already dead! That one particular fact really did a number on me. How could I have gone 3 weeks thinking and feeling that I was pregnant, when I really wasn’t pregnant?
When I had my D&C, which in itself was a really difficult decision to make, I laid on that hospital bed, freezing, trying not to cry. I could see the despair in my husband’s eyes. I could tell he tried his damnedest to not break down in front of me. I saw his mind racing as he was faced with the task of explaining why mommy was in the hospital and why she was having surgery. Most of that day is still a blur. I don’t remember getting to the hospital. I don’t remember checking in. I barely remember the nurse escorting my husband and I to the room where I’d be changing. I do remember the anesthesiologist coming into the room and talking to me. He was nice and attentive, but when he got to the question pertaining to pregnancy it hit me.
He said: “Well, technically you’re not pregnant; so you don’t have to worry about this part.”
How could this man be so attentive and nice, yet when it comes to the question that is probably the most difficult part of this whole process, he would be so dismissive? I remember my doctor telling me she’ll see me in the OR and that everything will be fine.
She is an angel!
She truly is.
The rest of that day is a total blur, with only bits and pieces being clear enough for me to remember.
The weeks following were excruciating.
Our anniversary was ruined.
Thanksgiving was ruined.
Christmas was ruined.
But more importantly, my self-esteem and well-being were ruined!
I fought with so many demons over these last few months and it’s not getting any easier. As a matter of fact it feels as though it’s getting more difficult, but I seem to be able to cope and negotiate with these demons. I’ve tried for so long and so hard to suppress my own loss and grief and I continue to do so, because my experience seemed so trivial in comparison to the things my husband has endured. It seemed so trivial to the challenges my son will face for the rest of his life. He will always have to find the balance between his Asperger’s and what society deems as appropriate or normal. My husband will forever be haunted by the demons of war and he will always have to deal and cope with the effects of his injuries.
But this last week has been particularly difficult for me. Mother’s Day was incredibly draining. I’ve tried to suppress my feelings. I’ve tried to be happy for all the pregnant women I see and know. I’ve tried to tell myself that it will all be OK. I’ve tried to be OK. I am finally to the point at which I am acknowledging that my loss and grief is valid; and that my feelings are valid. It is a very real circumstance and it happens to so many women around this country.
- How many women feel lost and alone during such a trying time?
- How many women are Caregivers and are already relatively isolated, which makes this situation even more difficult?
- How many women have a support system that will allow them to shed as many tears and fits of anger as needed without judging or minimizing their pain?
- How many women have to listen to comments such as: “At least you have a child already,” “At least you’ve only had one miscarriage,” “There are women who have multiple miscarriages or are infertile,” and the list goes on and on.
I felt lost, and still feel lost and alone. I am angry, frustrated, hurt, livid; just plain and simply pissed off! My feelings, my grief, my sense of loss are all valid! I am trying to be OK and I am working on it every day. It’s hard, but at least I now acknowledge my grief and loss, acknowledge that a part of me is gone and accept that my feelings and pain exist and are completely valid.
Disclosure: Everything I share is solely based on my personal experience and is for informational purposes only. Some posts may contain affiliate links. For more details please view my disclosure policy.