I just read an emotional article on Huffington Post where mom Aidan Donnelley Rowley chronicled her miscarriage experience and encouraged other women to do the same. She said: "Now I know. Now I know this happens t so many of us. That we lose heartbeats, lives. That it is common. Most people I know have suffered this kind of loss. But that doesn't make it any easier when it happens. No, the pain is profound. And when we feel this pain, when it grips us, statistics mean nothing."
Once I read that line, I knew it was time. Time to tell my own story of loss and heartbreak, because perhaps through sharing, I could purge a bit of the stifling pain that still lingers. Perhaps with my own story, just like Aidan Donnelley Rowley, I could inspire other women to share. Here is my story:
It was the beginning of July 2012 and we had been enjoying a lovely summer. After a hectic year of moving, adjusting, changing, my little family was finally in a good place. We were happy, we felt settled, and best of all we had just learned that instead of being a family of three, we would soon add another little love to our lives. We were beyond excited. We had only been "trying" for a month and felt infinitely lucky that we got pregnant so quickly.
Then, a week later, I started spotting. Nothing major, but I was worried. Family reassured me that I was just being paranoid and everything would be ok. I read a million articles and stories trying to add additional reassurance that the spotting was normal. All this seemed to help a little, but I couldn't quite shake the feeling that something wasn't right. But, once it was time for my first doctor appointment, I put an a happy face and convinced myself everything would be fine. So my husband, son, and I all went happily to the doctor to learn about the growing baby in my tummy.
The first bad news came at the cervical check. My OB said my uterus felt a little flat to be 8 weeks along, but perhaps I had just miscalculated the weeks. She would send me for a vaginal ultra sound, just to be on the safe side. At this point a pit formed in my stomach. I couldn't believe this was happening. I knew it wasn't a good sign. During my pregnancy with Miles everything went so smoothly, and this was already so different. Something was wrong.
We waited a heart-wrenching 30 minutes until our ultra sound appointment, which only brought more bad news. The baby had a 50/50 chance. There were two egg sacs (twins!) and it looked like perhaps one would consume the other, which apparently isn't too uncommon. So, there was a chance that I would either have one baby, or no baby. The doctors felt that everything was just measuring too small for 8 weeks, unless this was a case of one egg successfully consuming the other, or a miscalculated period. We were scheduled to return the next week to check on the progress, at which point we would know the fate of our baby.
I felt sick. Absolutely sick. How could this be happening to me? I'm healthy, I'm relatively young, I'd had one successful pregnancy. No, I would not let this happen! Over the next week I embarked on a campaign full of positive energy, nightly meditation, extra healthy food, and lots of rest. I convinced myself that if I gave my baby the healthiest, most relaxing environment, she would make it.
For the rest of my life, I will never forget the date, July 13, 2012. It was a Friday the 13th. We re-entered the ultra sound room at my OB office and learned the baby would not make it. There was no heartbeat. Nothing. I lost it. I completely broke down in a pile of tears, right there on the ultra sound table. The ultra sound tech hugged me tight and told me it was nothing I did. "I've seen a lot of people do a lot of bad things, and they still have babies. This had nothing to do with you, it was just one of those things." Another doctor came in, saw my crying, and saw my beautiful Miles sitting next to my bed and she remarked "no wonder you're so sad, another one of these is what you had to look forward to." I tried to give a little smile, more tears came instead. In general there were so many lovely words of sympathy from everyone at the my doctor's office, and I will forever be grateful to them, but it didn't help the hurt.
I was then given the option to miscarry on my own, or have a procedure to remove the pregnancy. I couldn't bear the thought of waiting for my baby to die, so I opted for the procedure. But, I probably made one of the worst decisions I could have possibly made, I decided to wait a couple days. They could either do the procedure that evening or wait until the following Tuesday. I chose Tuesday. My grandma had just had surgery that morning and I felt like I needed to go visit her and be supportive (what was I thinking?).
I made it through the weekend in a state of despair and shame: my body had failed my baby, that's all I could think about. Then, Monday night I started bleeding. Perhaps I was in denial, but I ignored it. The next day, Tuesday I was scheduled for my procedure at 3PM. That afternoon Miles had a music class. Another bad decision on my part. I felt that Miles needed some happy time, so I decided to take him to his 11AM class, after all, I had plenty of time before the procedure. In the middle of class I start the miscarriage. Horrible, contraction like cramps are attacking me as I'm trying to sing "ring around the rosey." I felt so stupid, and hurt, and angry and silly, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. So I just kept singing.
My father came to pick Miles up from music class so I could then head to my procedure. I said goodbye to my dad and little boy, picked up my husband from work, and went to finish what my body had already started.
The doctors performed the procedure and confirmed that I had already passed most of the fetus earlier that day. I cried. Then my husband took me to have a steak and a glass of wine. And I cried some more. I received endless support from my mom, dad, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends. And I still cried.
I'm still crying, it hasn't stopped. For months, when I would see moms with a two year old and pregnant belly, I would cry. I thought, that could have been me. Now, I still feel a little pinch in my heart, but I've moved on, a bit. My husband and I decided to wait the recommended 3 months before trying again, so now we'll just have to see what happens. I don't like the idea of creating a stress around getting pregnant. If it happens, great, if not, I still have an amazing little boy who brings me so much happiness. I still have a supportive husband, I still have great parents. I have a lot to be thankful for and happy about. But that doesn't mean I don't have my days when I think about that little life inside me that died too soon. It doesn't mean I don't cry sad and angry tears for a life I feel like I couldn't hold onto. I just take everyday as it comes. And I think that ok. It's a sad story, so it's ok to feel a little sad sometimes.
I have to admit, nothing has knocked me off my feet quite like that miscarriage did. Life moved on, and thats the great thing about life, it doesn't stop. The week after my miscarriage I had to plan Miles' 2nd birthday, and a week after that my husband was gone on a two week work trip. Life doesn't stop moving, and in theory all that moving and shaking should help you move on. But a little piece of me never recovered. Anyone who follows my blog knows that my postings have been sparse, if non-existent for several months. It's because I just didn't feel like me. I didn't feel hip, happy, and fun loving. I didn't feel positive. I didn't feel like I had anything I wanted to share. Maybe it's because I needed to share this story first, but I was to scared to do it.
So, I have to say a big thank you to Aidan Donnelley Rowley of ivyleagueinsecurities.com for sharing her miscarriage story and inspiring others to do the same. I've had time, I've cried, I've purged with my little article, and now it's time to get happy.