I already don’t like writing this post and it’s only just begun. I don’t owe this story to anyone, but I do feel that it’s an important part of our story, so I feel the need to reflect on it and open up about it in an effort to move forward. I renamed my blog “Every Little Story” sometimes after Lark was born and it’s been a diary of our life, our happy times, our trying times and it would feel incomplete if I left this part out, so here it is. I’ve gotten a lot of apologies, sympathies and “I don’t know the right words to say” kind of responses. I appreciate each one and when I tell you I’m fine, I really am…and will be. Support is necessary sometimes and I’m grateful for it.
I experienced something recently that I never thought I’d experience, not that anyone does, really, but it has been difficult to even think about in the sense that I tried to convince myself that it didn’t happen, that something else must have been going on. But it was real.
I had a miscarriage. A very early one, but still, it was a pregnancy loss. I’ve also tried to make myself think that because it was early, it wasn’t significant. But it WAS significant. I’ve told a few people about it and I find myself resorting to saying “it was early, it’s fine.” In response to their sympathies or apologies, but inside it hurts. You can call it a loss, a chemical pregnancy, or any other term that people come up with to divert from the word miscarriage, but it is what it is.
I’ll back up a bit to nearly a year ago when we officially decided to start trying for another baby. I’ve shared our struggles with secondary fertility issues, meaning I just haven’t been able to get pregnant. Month after month, the disappointment returns. The first two children were easy and quick to conceive, so this has certainly thrown us for a loop. It’s been emotional, most of which I internalize and try to deal with on my own. In general, a lot of things roll off my back, or I’m at least able to stand up, shake it off and move on. Mostly because life just goes on, other things take precedence and I just don’t have time to dwell or cry. But it has been difficult. There’s been unfair judgments made, comments that were meant to be sympathetic but really just hurt in the end…stress, worry, everything…which doesn’t help our situation, but it’s hard to not to focus on something that takes time, work and perseverance (along these lines, please don’t leave comments like “stress won’t help” or “try not to think about it” or “just have fun trying” or “just be thankful you already have kids”…I appreciate your thoughts and I get it, believe me I do…but it’s easier said than done).
Last month, I felt pregnant. The same, tell-tale symptoms with both pregnancies prior…I was having awful headaches, thirsty as all get out, feeling sick for most of the day and other symptoms that people maybe don’t want to hear about here. I tried to ignore it, because in months past, I had always been disappointed in the outcome. But this time was different.
I had cramps earlier that week, knowing that meant a period was imminent. But missing from the picture was the horrific lower back pain I get with PMS, which was weird. At any rate, I went into my “whatever” mode and gave up on the chance of pregnancy…again. I felt so off and eventually, my period was late with no sign of its impending doom. I was hopeful, but cautiously so, and ended up picking up a box of pregnancy tests. Side note: why is buying pregnancy tests to embarrassing?! Trying to hide it through the store, avoid the stares of judgment…so ridiculous, but every time I feel like I’m 16 and mom will find out at any minute, or random strangers may think it’s unplanned, or if I’m with my other two, there may think I have too many kids…it’s probably all in my head, but back to the story…
I took a test one evening. With both pregnancies previously, they were instantly bright pink. This test looked negative at first glance and I nearly threw it out. Finished up, washed my hands, casually glanced at it and did a double take…the faintest line was there. I was immediately anxiety-stricken. Mostly because I thought I was seeing things, that it wasn’t valid, the test was broken…I decided to hold onto it and put it in the box in the cabinet. I didn’t tell my husband, because again, I was sure it was a fluke and we didn’t need more hope/disappointment unless I knew it was real. So I took another one the next day. Faint positive again. At this point, I felt genuinely excited. I started thinking about how I was going to tell my husband, our other kids…it felt right and I was relieved that the process wasn’t all completely lost. I had even shopped online for a newborn sleeper for an announcement idea I had for my husband and kids, but I knew I had time, it was early and so I left them in my amazon cart because in the back of my mind, I still had doubts that it was even real. My doubts were so strong that I bought another pack of pregnancy tests. I was hoping for a darker line, thinking that somehow determined how “real” it all was. Another positive came up a full day later, again, faint…but there. We had done it. We made a baby and I was so happy. I cried a few happy tears, some tears of sadness for the journey we’d been on, but ultimately happy tears that slowly washed away the sadness, stress and disappointment of it all.
I made the decision to wait until the weekend to tell my husband and wasn’t expecting to tell our kids until weeks later, likely, once a scan had proved it all to be definite. So I went to work the next day, with a relief in nausea for a minute and relief from a few other annoyances. That fact actually made me nervous, but I brushed it off, my thoughts drifting off to places where I imagined life with 3 kids under 6…
I finally had the courage later in the week to tell my husband, but at the moment I was telling him, showing him the positive tests…I was miscarrying.
It was right before lunch one day at work and I headed to our office kitchen to rinse out my water bottle. It was that exact moment that I felt the gush, the trickle…and my heart sunk. I had started my period, I thought, and once again, I wasn’t pregnant. Once again, my cycle was going to be messed up, just to spite me. I immediately ran to the bathroom and when I saw red, I was devastated. I sat there, on the toilet, and let a few tears run down my cheeks. I then told myself the usual “oh well, maybe next time.” Straightened myself out and went back to work, although, I’m sure I didn’t focus the rest of the day.
So many thoughts were in my head, I was bummed, irritated, frustrated…but in my head, there was still hope because the amount of bleeding was minor. It was similar to when I was pregnant with Arlo. I had spotting with him early on, which prompted a hospital visit and doctors saying “threatened miscarriage, there’s nothing we can do.” And sent us on our way with a $2000 ER bill. So I decided I’d let it run its course and call the doctor if anything got worse. I had no cramping, just some light bleeding, so maybe everything was okay, just like with Arlo.
That evening, I tried to lay low and rest, but my kids were extra needy and no one around me knew what was happening. I was sad and scared, but trying to stay hopeful. I kept going to the bathroom to see if things had changed…still bleeding…I laid down on the couch at some point, because I was hit with another headache from hell…shortly thereafter, I started cramping, but they were different than period cramps. I still kept telling myself that it was fine. A little cramping is fine, it’s not my period, just pregnancy spotting…then five minutes later, it’s just late period, you idiot, you’re not and never were pregnant…I didn’t sleep well that night and woke up to heavier bleeding.
I decided to take another that day. It was still positive, but the line was so faint, more so than previous tests. I decided to call my OB just to ask, plus I knew I needed to get in to them anyway, to ask some questions about possible fertility issues going forward, since everything else has been inconclusive so far. The nurse consulted with the doctor and called me back, asked a few questions of me and eventually stated, very unsympathetically “it’s likely your hormone level is not enough to sustain the pregnancy and if it hasn’t ended, it will likely end in the coming days.” She offered to have me come in and get some bloodwork done, but again, I decided to let it run its course as there’s nothing we can really do to prevent it from happening.
So that night is when I told James. I laid out all the tests, four in total, each labeled with the date, written in sharpie to see the progression of positives, or lack thereof, rather. They got lighter in, as the pregnancy was ceasing to exist. Likely not enough hormones to begin with at a time where hormones should have been more than sufficient. He was surprised, examined the tests one by one, his body language had shifted a bit and he just hugged me while I cried. He went and got us Thai take-out, because we tend to be emotional eaters and it made me laugh days later when I remembered that we had the same Thai take-out the previous month after a previous failed cycle, so it must be comforting food for us…
I continued to have bleeding over the next few days. It was different than a typical period, I’ll spare you from the TMI, but I knew it still was not the type of bleeding you’d want to see in pregnancy. Part of me still hoped any pregnancy that was there was hanging on. I was letting myself realize I was, in fact, experiencing miscarriage, trying to come to grips with the reality of that notion. It WAS early, but it WAS awful to go through and I definitely needed a few days to process it. Especially since I’d still been experiencing pregnancy symptoms. I had one night of nausea so bad, James had to run to the store to get 7up, I didn’t eat much and had to lay down most of the evening. That was toward the end of the bleeding, so I don’t know if it was some sort of hormonal shift or something…who knows…nausea continued for a few days, so much so, I decided to take another test. The bleeding was sort of off and on and I was having pain with it, not typical all over cramps, but burning, stabbing pains toward one side of my abdomen.
I knew in my heart it was likely to be negative, given the circumstances, but I still just felt so sick and seeing as how I stayed pregnant with Arlo, I knew I needed to know in the event I still was. The test was negative. So obviously negative, it was a stark contrast to the tests I had taken over a week before that point. Thus proving that I was, indeed, pregnant. That was the point where it truly hit me with what I had just been through. I experienced a miscarriage. A miscarriage.
I lost the baby…the baby we have been so desperately trying to create.
“It was early. It’s fine.”
I told myself and others that for days. But it was real, the experience was painful for physically and emotionally and it did really happen.
But again, life goes on. I can’t dwell, though I won’t forget. And my hormones are still out of whack with the whole thing that it’s still fresh in my mind that my body had changed for a brief moment in time. The moment has passed and we will soldier on, but I went through it and I’ll get through it. On the bright side, it proved I CAN get pregnant, so there’s that. But what it all means, I don’t know. I did try some different things leading up to it, like cutting out dairy for a bit and adding Maca Root powder to my smoothies and coffee…whether or not those things worked, I don’t know, but they are a reminder that I need to be healthier, in general, for a multitude of reasons, fertility being one of them.
I tried to go it alone, at first, but when it came time to grieve and feel, my husband was there every second and my babies reminded of so much that is good in our life. Maybe our time for another baby will come, maybe it won’t…but I loved this baby as much as my others and I won’t forget our short time together, no matter how small…
Remember the little things in life….For one day you may look back and realize they were the BIG things