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The Things You Wish Someone Told You About Miscarriage

by Kortney Campbell on August 7, 2014

Baby When you find out you’re pregnant, they always say you should wait to “announce” it until you’re out of the first trimester “just in case something happens.” I’m assuming this is so you don’t have to go through the sting of telling every person that asks, “how are you doing?” that you’re no longer pregnant. So that when you tell them and they look at you confused, you don’t have to say, “There was a baby. Now there is not.” 

No one expects to miscarry. Especially if you’ve previously experienced a perfectly healthy pregnancy. And no one tells you that, even at just 10 weeks, it will be difficult to accept.

When you’re happy about being pregnant, you make plans. You start to rearrange your toddlers toys to make room for a baby swing. You order “best friend” t-shirts for your toddler and newborn and a baby doll for your wild-first-child to practice being gentle. You search for a bigger house that feels more like “home” to make your husband more comfortable with your dream to have a homebirth. You start group texts with your pregnant friends then feel like they’re scared to let you in on their experiences once you tell them you lost the baby. 

No one tells you how alone you will feel. 

This is probably because most miscarriages happen before anyone really knows you’re pregnant. In that “just in case” time period. And it’s not like you want to say “Hey, by the way…I was pregnant. Now I’m not. Just thought you should know.” 

And this is why I feel I should talk about it. Because if you’ve gone through a miscarriage, or if you’re going through one now, you shouldn’t have to feel alone. 

“When was the first day of your last menstrual cycle?” “May 20th.” I’ve said this so many times over the past month that I fear it will be engrained in my head for life…my period…Right there next to important birthdays and my anniversary.

I had felt something was “off” since I woke my husband up with a positive pregnancy test around Father’s Day. I was sick 24-7 with my first pregnancy, but I didn’t really feel any different this time around. I kept running and doing yoga, had no food adversions, and while I was pretty tired, I have a toddler that nurses and sleeps like a newborn, so that’s really the only constant in my life right now. The baby was due just 2 days before our anniversary and I was pretty heartbroken that John wasn’t comfortable having a homebirth in our current house. 

It just wasn’t right. I could feel it.

So, when I woke up one Saturday morning and saw the spotting, I was freaked out, but not surprised. My midwife said not to worry. Everyone in the facebook mom group told me it would be ok- this happened to them and they have a healthy child. But I knew it wasn’t. I knew what was happening.

When the bleeding worsened, I headed to the ER. I had to know what was going on. 

“When was the first day of your last menstrual cycle?” 

“May 20th.” 

“So you should be about 10 weeks.”

“Yes, February 24th.”

“We found a heartbeat”

“That’s good!”

“Your blood levels are normal.”

“Awesome.”

“We can’t find the baby.”

“Wait, what?”

“The heart rate was a fluke. It’s fetal demise. There will be more blood and cramping. Follow up with your midwife this week. Here’s your discharge paperwork.”

I cried on the way home. John was in Orlando for the weekend and headed back to St. Pete. He was hopeful that they were wrong (since the ultrasound tech couldn’t find my ovaries either). I knew they were right. 

We followed up with the midwife the next week. The ultrasound was the same. Everything else was there, but the baby wasn’t. She told me there would be cramping and bleeding. I asked to work through it naturally. I went home.

Fast forward almost 2 weeks later and John is out of town again- this time across the country for work. I start to pass blood clots and figure this is the day I am actually going to miscarry. The bleeding is so much more than I imagined. I tell my midwife. She says to give it an hour and go to the ER if it isn’t getting better. Within an hour, I’ve changed my pants multiple times. 

This is not how it’s supposed to happen. There shouldn’t be so much blood.

A friend was over just to be with me and she agreed to watch Judah while I headed to the ER. Within 10 minutes of being at the hospital, I am drenched in blood to my calves. Not much longer after they get me to a bed, I begin to faint. They tilt my bed back, give me an IV, tell me that my body is just unable to “get rid of everything” or stop the bleeding then tell me an OB is on the way to do a D&C. All I can think about it how my all-night nurser is not going to be able to sleep without me there. And can I nurse him after anesthesia? How is this happening and is this my only option?

I was terrified. This isn’t the waterbirth I had planned.  It isn’t even the miscarriage I had imagined.

Thankfully, the D&C went well. When I came out and saw two of my best friends still there, waiting for me, I felt better immediately. My mom came over and I’ve spent the past week on my couch, drinking down Floradix like it is my job to build my blood supply back up. 

When you find out you’re pregnant, they always say you should wait to “announce” it until you’re our of the first trimester “just in case something happens.” But, in my humble opinion, if something goes wrong, you want to have a support system. And I’m not talking about the people that tell you “You’ll get through it” or “It isn’t God’s timing” or just stop talking to you because they don’t know what to say.

Fuck that. 

You want the people that leave their family night to sit with you in the hospital so you don’t have to be alone. The women that watch your kid until your mother-in-law can finish dinner and come over. The ones that dig through your drawers to bring you clothes that aren’t soaked in blood. The friends that interrogate the Dr before you go into the operating room because you don’t know what to ask and she knows you don’t want it. The ones that text your husband the whole time you’re under anesthesia to keep him updated because she knows he’s freaking out. The friend that leaves her car at the hospital to drive you home. The women that you haven’t seen since high school that message you on Facebook to tell you you’re not alone and send you cards in the mail just to say they are sorry for your loss. The friend that texts you to talk about the fact that you’re going through the same thing and how you feel empty inside. You want REAL people. These people make it easier and I am so thankful for them.

I’m not writing this for sympathy. In all honesty, I am at peace with everything that has happened. I’m writing this to share my story because stories like this often get swept under the rug. We don’t have to treat a miscarriage like it’s the plague. And just because this doesn’t get talked about often, know you aren’t alone.

It’s ok to be angry. It’s ok to feel sad. It’s ok to be scared shitless if things don’t go as planned. It’s ok to feel like your body failed you because you aren’t going to have the birth you hoped for. But you shouldn’t have to feel alone.

Between my day job, Faux Moccs and these awesome trips to the ER, Vegan Housewives has been a bit of a ghost town lately. However, I’m thankful to have a place to share, in hopes that a mama out there gets some peace in knowing that other mamas are right there with her.

*NOTE: This is NOT my ultrasound. Photo via Bigstockphoto.com

About Kortney Campbell

I'm Kortney; a wife, natural mama and vegan in love with life, food and all things vintage! I've been vegan since December 2007, but have loved to cook & create pretty things since before I can remember. I started Vegan Housewives because I don't think you have to give up the joys of food when going vegan! I have a fondness for re-creating non-vegan recipes (especially my grandma's), making a healthier & animal friendly version so be sure to send me your favorite concoctions by clicking our "share a recipe" button - I would LOVE to veg-i-fy them!

  • { 28 comments… read them below or add one }

    beth August 7, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    Beautifully written. My heart aches for you.

    Reply

    Kimberly Smith August 7, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    I won’t say sorry-everyone has already I’m sure. I’ll just say I’ve been where you were, weirdly on May 20, 2012. It sucks. Entirely. It sort of gets better. I just hear you. Thanks for writing this!

    Reply

    Hannah August 7, 2014 at 8:23 pm

    I’m sorry for your loss, and appreciate your openness. Thank you so much for sharing this!

    Reply

    Kristin August 7, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    So sorry for what you have gone through. Thank you for sharing, beautifully written.

    Reply

    Dee August 7, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    So grateful for those friends who were there to help you through! A beautiful sharing of your story. I love you much!

    Reply

    ~ Carmen ~ August 7, 2014 at 11:53 pm

    This was such an enlightening read. It’s very vivid & touching. Thank you for sharing your journey. :]

    Reply

    Hannah Mae August 8, 2014 at 9:03 am

    Much love to you, I haven’t met you but Katie talks about you all the time when I get my hair done by her. Thank you so much for sharing this, some women in our church are going thru this and have been touched by this post. -hannah marrero

    Reply

    amy August 8, 2014 at 11:28 pm

    thank you for writing this. it helps to talk about it with others who are going through the same pain. unless you have lost a child even as small as 8 weeks, people don’t get the pain. the pain of un fulfillment.
    love you kort

    Reply

    Paw August 9, 2014 at 12:21 am

    AS I OFTEN TELL YOU, “YOU ARE WORLD CLASS”

    Reply

    Jayne August 9, 2014 at 12:38 am

    Wonderful insight on such a sensitive and usually quiet topic, I hope things are smooth(er) sailing from here on out :-)

    Reply

    Kelly Kittel August 9, 2014 at 8:41 am

    So sorry. Thanks for helping to shatter the silence. I’ve had 13 pregnancies and I have 5 living children so this is a pain I know all too well. Two books are circulating right now trying to do the same. One is my memoir, Breathe, the other is Three Minus One, an anthology created to accompany the film, Return to Zero. Please consider reviewing them? Namaste.

    Reply

    Nicole August 9, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    Thank you… for sharing, for being so real and transparent, for being honest and open. Although I have not been through a pregnancy yet, I am at the age where I have started thinking about kids, and I find such great comfort in hearing your story and knowing that in case everything doesn’t go as planned, everything will be ok. I’ve just stumbled upon your blog today, and I’m so grateful for it. :)

    Reply

    Courtney August 9, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story. I had a feeling something must have been wrong. Much love to you and your family <3

    Reply

    Katie August 9, 2014 at 11:12 pm

    Love you guys. You are both such strong people and I know you will be fine. Let me know if there is anything I can do.

    Reply

    Lisa August 15, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    You are loved! I have been through a miscarriage as well. When it happened, I felt like I was the only person who had ever experienced it because no one was willing to share their stories. I was also so young at the time and just didn’t understand. So thankful that you shared yours!

    http://www.happyjoyfulday.com/p/miscarriage-story.html

    Reply

    Brittney August 15, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    I found your post through Design Mom… I had an ectopic pregnancy. I knew I was pregnant but didn’t realize how far along. The day I planned to tell my hubby was the morning I woke up in excruciating back pain and he took me to the ER. He found out when the doctor told us what was to happen. I am an RN (I knew exactly what it ment) and just started crying (then was heavily medicated for the pain) while my hubby googled what exactly was going on. I was 8 -9 weeks. No one knew. Everyone knew I had emergent surgery, but no one knew why. I wish I had told everyone the minute I thought I was pregnant for these very reasons you say. I had the support I needed for my kids and hubby, but emotionally it is hard. I love that you wrote this. I thought I was being selfish for feeling like this. Thank you.

    Reply

    Dina August 15, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story, I admire your courage.
    I’m very sorry for your loss.
    I shared that I was pregnant days after learning I was pregnant, and for this very reason…if something happened I wanted my people to be with me.

    Reply

    Robyn August 15, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    12 pregnancies for me – 4 take home babies.

    I 100% believe that waiting to announce a pregnancy until “it’s safe” is foolishness. Pregnant is pregnant – whether it lasts 1 week or 9 months. Pregnancy should be celebrated and supported no matter how long it lasts.

    If something does go wrong and a miscarriage happens, that is most definitely NOT the time to be making a “was pregnant, now not pregnant and could you please drive me to the hospital?” announcement. Nor is it the time to be keeping a big secret and to be going through the physical and emotional loss alone.

    Miscarriage is extremely emotional. Love for your child begins the instant you see that positive pregnancy test. The loss of a pregnancy is the loss of a child and that needs to be more widely understood and supported.

    I give your opinion a hearty AMEN.

    Reply

    Sarah August 15, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    I’ve lost 2 pregnancies. I eventually told most people about the first one. The second was earlier this year, and only a couple people know. It’s been long enough now that I kind of wish more people knew, but how do you even have that conversation? “Three months ago I lost a baby?” Talk about a conversation killer.

    In any case, I loved this post. The most important thing I’ve learned from my 2 experiences is that everyone reacts in their own way, and there is no right or wrong. Your feelings are your feelings, and whatever they are, they are exactly what you should be feeling.

    Reply

    Nicole August 15, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    We hadn’t told the whole world on Facebook, but HAD told friends. I felt so very, very alone until all my lovely coworkers told me that I wasn’t, that they had gone through the same thing. And then, when I was eventually pregnant again, they helped normalize my anxiety too.

    I was so grateful! Posts like this, and friends like ours are EXACTLY what women need. Thank you.

    Reply

    Laura Ingalls Gunn August 15, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    Yes too all of it. Not to mention that when you do have a miscarriage and need the few days to recover you don’t have certain members of your husbands family that just decide to drop in ask “Does she always just lay on the couch like this?”

    Be prepared that you may think about how old your baby would have been. Even after I went on to have another healthy baby I still sometimes think about it…. 14 years later.

    Reply

    helen August 15, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    you nailed it. and i so appreciate it.

    Reply

    Carrie Willard August 16, 2014 at 6:25 am

    I love this post. And I totally agree with you. And I’m so sorry for your loss.

    Several weeks ago, I was convinced I was having a miscarriage. I was about 10 weeks along, had strong cramping and bleeding (and fluid loss), and didn’t know a fetus could survive that. Turns out it was a subchorionic hemorrhage (blood clot inbetween the placenta and uterus).

    When I shared my story, people came out of the woodwork to tell me of their miscarriages. Some of these were close friends, and I had no idea they had lost a baby. Why don’t people talk about it more?

    I also never understood the “wait until your first trimester is over” bit. I agree that if my baby died, I would want everyone I care about to know! I wouldn’t want it to be a ghost baby that only I knew and loved. I would need that support emotionally (and maybe, physically as you described).

    It’s almost as if women have shame about their miscarriages. Perhaps they blame themselves? I don’t know. But I loved this. Thanks for writing it.

    Reply

    Sarah August 17, 2014 at 7:33 am

    I agree with you 100% I sadly lost my first born due to fetal distress at full term! and as I watched my very best friend swirl around my husband and I like a small army that had been training for this day I was beyond thankful for them. My mother in law also had to finish what she was doing before making her way ;) and when I was thinking of trying to conceive again, “people” also advise me to not say anything “just in case” you said it best! Fuck that! I need that army! Seven years later my heart swells with gratitude and I can never even find the words to thank our friends to this day. Wishing you hope and happiness. Sarah

    Reply

    Sinem August 18, 2014 at 9:27 am

    I had a miscarriage too.We learnt that the baby was not alive on 26th of june and got the abortion the next day. Me and my husband, we cried all the time, couldn’t sleep, cried again.. Now we are better but don’t talk about trying to have another baby, just not yet. During this time I understood that your real friends don’t ask about anything, they just cry with you, prepare you “happy baskets” full of cards, notes, gifts, they try to be with you all the time but don’t keep reminding you how bad it felt. I know that both you and I will have babies again. I know that mother nature wanted it that way and there was nothing we could do about it. I am so glad that I had the chance to read your story right in my home in another part of the world and felt that I am not alone. Thank you very much for sharing.

    All my best wishes are for you and your family

    Reply

    Layne August 18, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    I can not agree more. I came across this post via Design Mom’s site and am so grateful. I miscarried a month ago at 12 weeks, first pregnancy, and it was all completely new to me. I’m grateful for the people that did were open with me about their own experiences as well. Somehow it made me feel less alone.

    Reply

    Mrs. T August 28, 2014 at 1:42 am

    Thank you for being courageous and brave enough to share your story with the world. Thinking of you, your amazing friends, and family you are blessed to have help you get through this. Sending the biggest hug your way!

    Reply

    Lydia September 5, 2014 at 12:23 am

    It’s been a year since my third miscarriage ( and final – we’re no longer trying) and I still cry a little when I talk about it. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever truly be at peace over this.

    I really appreciate your post – I think it’s crazy that something that causes such pain ends up being treated hush-hush.

    And yes. Real people, saying and doing real things. Seriously, platitudes do more harm than good.

    Reply

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