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?”
“So you should be about 10 weeks.”
“Yes, February 24th.”
“We found a heartbeat”
“Your blood levels are normal.”
“We can’t find the baby.”
“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.
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