potential trigger warning for pregnancy loss
I am 1 in 4.
Before 2014, I had no idea what this statistic meant. It is estimated that 1 in 4 pregnancies in the United States ends in miscarriage. In 2014, I had an early pregnancy lost.
My husband and I didn’t mean to get pregnant. We had gotten married in July and were on our honeymoon. I hadn’t been on any form of hormonal birth control after realizing it had been the cause of my migraines. My husband and I had been practicing natural family planning and it had been working quite well for us. However… being on our honeymoon made us feel invincible and we were lax about our fertility.
August came and I began to feel like I wasn’t alone. I hadn’t missed my period yet, but I just knew I was pregnant. A week later and a positive pregnancy test confirmed that yes, I was pregnant. My husband and I were in shock… but knew that we wanted our baby. We had originally planned on waiting until after my husband graduated from college, but life doesn’t always go according to plans.
We went in for our first prenatal dating scan appointment and got to see the first glimpse of our 6 week baby. We were given a due date of April 20, 2015. There was even a heartbeat! It was magical and confirmed to my husband and myself that this is what we wanted.
We began the process of telling our families and friends, but tried to keep it hush since most baby sites I logged onto recommended against announcements until the second trimester – just in case. During this time my cousin and one of my client’s had a miscarriage. I felt immense pain for them, but was relieved that my baby was okay. I was feeling better too as my morning sickness was finally letting up.
My husband and I went to our 9 week check up excited to get a glimpse at our baby again. How much would s/he have grown? Would we get to hear the heartbeat? The Nurse Practitioner placed the ultrasound wand on my belly and looked around. She made comments that the baby must be hiding since she was having trouble finding them. My husband and I laughed. Silly baby! Then she fell silent. She said the fetal sac was only measuring at 7 weeks, and there was no heartbeat. She would find my doctor to confirm the diagnosis. Yes! My OB/GYN. She found him last time, surely she could find him again. When my doctor finally came, she couldn’t find the heartbeat either. She said “Sorry guys. There’s nothing you could have done,” and left us with the NP.
At this point, I was pretty numb. The NP explained it was a blighted ovum, and sometimes it just happens; no one knows why. Our options were to have a D&C surgery, take misopropal (the abortion pill) or wait for my body to do it naturally. We were still in shock, so she told us to go home and decide over the weekend.
I managed to make my way home while my husband got pizza, but as soon as I got to our bedroom, I was in tears. What had happened to my baby? I promised to keep it safe. Why did my body fail me? My best friend and roommate at the time comforted and cried with me until my husband got home.
I took the next week off of work. I couldn’t handle it. I was a social worker that dealt with families, and every time I saw something that reminded me of a child I was filled with anger and sadness. I rarely left the house during this time, allowing myself to cry and mourn. I researched and read anything and everything I could about pregnancy loss and blighted ovii. I decided to allow my body to do it naturally… in the hope that maybe the doctors were wrong. I read many stories on incorrect diagnoses, maybe I was one of them. I clung to hope; it was all I had.
I started bleeding at around 11 weeks. At this point, I had mostly come to terms with my fate, but I was still bitter. I wasn’t prepared for how intense the pain would be. My body had contractions for 2 nights in a row before it was complete. On the third day, I expelled a mass of tissue. I was too distraught to look closely at it at the time, but I wish I had. I felt empty, like a part of myself was missing. It wasn’t only that I lost a child – I lost the idea of a child. I lost the hopes and dreams that I had for this child. I lost the future of this child.
Friends and family who did know were comforting. Quite a few women confided that they had also experienced a miscarriage. Talking about our suffering together was really soothing – quite a few people cried along with me. For something so many woman experience, it’s never talked about.
But having a pregnancy loss isn’t something that women should be ashamed about. It’s a loss, and it’s something I wished was talked about more often, which is why I’m telling my story.
I am 1 in 4. I am not alone.