19 Jun My Miscarriage Story
In hopes, it helps others feel less alone.
When a woman conceals the first 12 weeks of their pregnancy who are they trying to protect? I’ve always heard: “Wait until you are past the first trimester because if you have a miscarriage, you don’t want to have to share that news with everyone.”
Got it. If my pregnancy does end in a loss, keep that painful secret of heartbreak to myself.
I wondered whose anxiety women were trying to protect in concealing those first few difficult months. Is it suppose to be for my sake? Are we really trying to save me from having to share the news that my pregnancy ended in a very painful and heart-shattering way week 8?
Why is pregnancy loss not talked about more? 1 in 4 women have a miscarriage. Did you know that? I didn’t.
I have always wanted to be a mom, and after almost 2 years of trying to conceive, I felt a shift in my body and I just knew. I found myself wide awake at 2 am and decided to take a pregnancy test. I was pregnant, and I was so excited. I took about 8 pregnancy tests thereafter. Once you get that first positive result, it turns into a fun and expensive game. Oh, look! Another plus sign!
I scheduled my first ultrasound appointment for week 8 because that was when I could, potentially, hear the heartbeat, and it was what was recommended by my ob-gyn. I told my immediate family, my closest friends, and my work family.
When I would share my excitement I could see the fear in some of these women’s eyes and I would immediately respond by saying, “but it’s still early on so…” Now looking back on these interactions, I wonder…. did they also experience a miscarriage? Or did they know someone that did? Or are they just surprised that I’m sharing this when I’m still in my first trimester?
My plan was to share the good news with my extended family during the holidays, as that was when I would have some fun pictures of little baby peppercorn (the name stuck after week three) to share. I was really enjoying sharing the news in person too. It was fun to see those who love me be excited that our family would be growing by one. Those who know me know how much I want a baby. My purpose in this life is to be a mama.
I picked out baby names. Researched cloth diapers vs. disposables. Saved my favourite nursery pictures. My social media feed was filled with baby ads and still is. I bought maternity pants and was looking forward to my 8-month waddle. I read up on my districts policy regarding maternity leave. We talked about our work schedules and what that would look like once little baby arrived. Discussed selling or not selling the guest bed. I had a strong desire to deep clean our home and to donate clothes and “stuff” that wasn’t sparking joy. My focus moving forward was my health and my babies health. Nothing else mattered.
I cut out caffeine, sushi, deli meats, soft cheeses. Took my horse pill-sized vitamins. Everything I put in my body I made sure it was going to nourish my growing little baby.
The one thing I didn’t research or think about though, was miscarriages. Why would I? It’s never talked about and I only knew a handful of women that have had them. It wouldn’t happen to me.
My body felt pregnant. I was exhausted, hungry (more often), forgetful, emotional, and nauseous. My pregnancy app would explain it as my hormones raging. I went to bed every night at 8 pm even after I had my daily nap.
Oh, those pregnancy naps. Let’s spend a small moment and talk about those. I’d come home from work and would just rest my eyes for a few short minutes…and I’m out. Snoring, drooling, who cares. Those were quite possibly the best naps I’ve ever had.
I felt like I was leaving the house with my refrigerator every morning. Bananas, yoghurt, nuts, crackers, chicken, carrots, hummus. 2 servings of protein-packed smoothies that would last me till noon. Sandwiches-meat or veggie. What was little baby going to crave this afternoon? I wanted to be prepared. My coworkers would joke with me when they’d catch me eyeing their pizza. “Is that the baby talking right now or you?” They’d say. I’d laugh because my hunger intensified after getting pregnant.
Every morning I would look at my pregnancy app to read the new facts about little babes development. I looked forward to my morning read. Each week we hit a new milestone and I was just so fascinated by everything that was happening inside my body.
Week 8 was when I read about the amniotic sac. This week was busy for me. Lots of work meetings and moving around, so it was comforting to know that little baby had a smooth and very rough bubble surrounding him or her. I read this on a Sunday, and as I was preparing for my week, I felt some relief knowing that my little baby was snug and safe inside my body.
That particular Sunday was a little different though. I have always been very in tune with my body and I felt a very small shift in my body that day. I couldn’t pinpoint what was happening, but something was different. “It probably was work stress,” I thought. I did some light stretches because my lower back was hurting, and I said a little prayer.
What followed hours later was the most excruciating pain and heart-shattering experience that has ever happened to me physically and emotionally.
There are a lot of things no one tells you about miscarriages, but one of them is that they may last for days- just as having a baby takes hours and sometimes days, losing a baby does too.
It took four days and the fourth day sent me to the emergency room.
The start of my miscarriage began on Monday, November 18, 2019, at approximately 1:30 am. I screamed and sobbed until I no longer had the energy to cry. I am still processing what happened. I spent the rest of the night researching miscarriages and came across so many blogs by women who have experienced this unimaginable loss. I read their stories. I joined a podcast and listened to their stories. That’s all I could do. I felt so much shame.
My pregnancy symptoms vanished almost instantly. Making the weight of this loss feel even heavier.
In everything I read though, I kept coming across these 5 words: THIS WAS NOT YOUR FAULT. It was not because my workload was stressing me out, or because I decided to stop by in n out a few days before. It was not because I wasn’t eating enough fruits or vegetables. Or because I wasn’t working out enough. I had no control over this and this was not my fault. There was nothing I could have done to prevent it. Wow. I don’t know if I should be feeling a sense of relief or if I should feel even more anxiety and fear. Knowing that this was not preventable. Fear. knowing that there was nothing I could do. Fear. Not having that control over something that you want so badly. Fear. Knowing that I did nothing wrong. Relief.
My sister and mom came to stay with me. I really needed that and am so grateful that they showed up. The texts and phone calls from friends, I needed that too. To cry and to have them cry with me, I needed that even more.
I am so glad that I made the choice to not wait until that 12-week “safety zone” timeline to share the most exciting and now the most painful news. If I would have waited then I would have missed out on the wonderful experiences and conversations that I got to have with my family and friends. If I would have waited, then I wouldn’t have had the amount of support and love that I have been getting throughout this whole experience.
No woman should ever have to go through a miscarriage alone. They are painful and can be accompanied with many different emotions: shame, guilt, anxiety, anger, confusion, sadness, jealousy, and even more sadness topped with even more anxiety, shame, and fear. Maybe this tsunami of emotions is the reason we don’t talk about it… but it’s also the reason we need to talk about it.
Someone I love was never born. And for me, writing about it and talking about it helps me process and grieve. Listening to other women’s stories helps me process and grieve.
If every woman who has lost a pregnancy to miscarriage or who has struggled with fertility told her story, we might feel less alone.
Sharing my story has helped me process and work through these emotions. I so appreciate whoever is out there listening.
As I was reading blogs online, I came across this thoughtful advice by a woman named Catherine Newman, about how to help a friend who is experiencing a miscarriage:
The kindest thing you can do—and I say this from personal experience— is to treat your friends’ miscarriage the same way you would any other bereavement. Acknowledge it directly and compassionately. Send flowers, comfort food, or a card, or tell her in person, “I’m deeply sorry for your loss, and I’m here to listen if you ever need someone to talk to.” It might feel uncomfortable— and she might not want to discuss what happened, which is fine— but do it anyway.
Sending so much love your way