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Motherhood, Reflections

Miscarriage and What it Taught Me

“I have to be honest. It doesn’t look good, kid.”

We’ve grown a good, trusting relationship, my OB and I. He’s one of the best around, and I trust him. He walked me through my entire first pregnancy with my son with ease. So, when words like this are said, they kind of start ringing in your ear.

“It doesn’t look good, kid.”

Tunnel vision. Shock. Heartbreak. Confusion. Despair. Kind of mix that all together and that’s what I was feeling – the intensity increasing each minute.

I was on the fence about sharing this (literally this has been sitting in my drafts for 2 months), but after going back and forth several times on it, I wanted to share my story for 2 reasons.

  • Because in my eyes this little one deserves to be remembered
  • Because someone out there may find this, read it, and feel less alone

Miscarriage is an incredibly isolating experience. Pregnancy, labor, and motherhood can, at times, feel very isolating, but these things are readily talked about with friends on and offline. Miscarriage however is more often kept hidden because, I believe, of how deep and unique the pain is which just consequently makes you feel just that much more alone.  You lost someone you loved, and it’s someone only you got to know.

One month off birth control, and I was pregnant. It happened a lot faster than we expected, and we were thrilled. From the very beginning I had a gut feeling that this was our girl. I was nauseous for several weeks, had meat aversions, and food cravings – things that I never experienced with Dominic. We went to the doctor to get an official test done and had our 8-week appointment scheduled.

At our 8-week appointment, everything went well. When the ultrasound was done, we saw our tiny baby with a fluttering heartbeat. The doctor said the baby looked like it was measuring small – about 6.5 weeks. She asked us to come back in 2 weeks to get another ultrasound done.

I didn’t think much of it. When we went in for Dominic’s first appointment, I remember that he also measured small and that the doctor did the same thing asking us to come back in 2 weeks. I figured it was normal for us. Our babies start off slow, I ovulate later than average, or something else. Who knows. I just figured it was normal.

Heart art made with love by Dominic & the only photo of our baby.

During those two weeks, I found myself pining over girly baby things. I remember seeing a wooden calendar shaped like a house in pastel colors that I wanted to put in the nursery. I remember browsing Insta looking at all of the cute clothes and hairbands from small shops. Little things. Everywhere. I resisted though mostly because I had no guarantee that it was a girl. I had dreams of her being daddy’s little girl and Tristan being so excited to have a little one adore him the way Dominic adores me. Tristan is often jealous with how much of a momma’s boy Dominic has become and has been hoping for his baby girl.  Dominic has also been so great with babies.  I knew he was ready for our family to grow.  I had so many visions of them playing together.

At the appointment, about 10 weeks in, I got to see the doctor that was with me for most of my pregnancy with Dominic. It was good to see him again. He was happy for us, excited for things to come, and did the ultrasound. From here it went downhill. He couldn’t find the baby. There was no movement, no heartbeat, just what looked like an empty sac. “It doesn’t look good, kid.”  He had me go for an ultrasound with radiology and get blood drawn at the lab to test my HCG levels just in case. Waiting for the results almost 24 hours later was torture. What’s worse is that it was Dominic’s actual birthday, so I had to suck it up and put a smile on my face as we celebrated with some friends and family an hour later over dinner. I let myself cry on and off before and after. The day was a roller coaster, but I realized I had to keep moving.

When the results came in, my HCG was definitely dropping and our baby had measured only a little over 5 weeks with no heartbeat. They offered cytotec to help the process move along or I could just let nature take its course then see the doctor for a follow up. Considering I had already started cramping that day, I figured to miscarry naturally. My doctor knew well how far this was. He figured I was going to miscarry over the weekend – Christmas weekend. As if it couldn’t get much more challenging, I ended up miscarrying Christmas evening. We were out at The Grove taking in some Christmas sights and planning for dinner when I told Tristan we needed to go home soon. After much breathing through pain and discomfort, it all happened around 5pm and ended around 11pm. Our girl had moved on.

Despite how heart-wrenching this whole process was, I learned a few things.

I learned that anything can happen to anyone. We’re completely healthy, active adults who eat lots of fresh food and somehow we thought it couldn’t happen to us. Well, it did. The doctor mentioned that often times when things end this early, it’s due to chromosomal deficiencies and basically nature’s way of working things out. I’m sure he says this often so that women don’t blame themselves, but I’ll be honest that no matter how hard I try to convince myself that it was nature’s way, it’s hard not to blame myself sometimes.  Be gentle to your loved ones who have gone through this.

I learned what a truly beautiful miracle it is to have a healthy baby in our lives. I used to look at Dominic like he was a million bucks, but now my eyes really see his true value at a million times infinity bucks. Better than winning the lotto. Hands down.

I learned that it’s possible one may mourn forever for the baby they never got to meet. And that’s okay. The moment I saw that tiny baby with the fluttering heart, she was in my heart and mind forever. I feel like there’s always a tiny part of me that’s sad. No matter how happy I am or how much fun I’m having or how preoccupied I seem, there’s always a sad bone in my body. It’s like I’m missing something.

I learned that grief isn’t consistent. It isn’t 3 months of mourning and then you’re done. It comes whenever it feels like. It’s like a sneeze. It just happens, and sometimes it can be triggered by the most minute things.

I learned to respect others with their decisions on who to tell and when. Some people can handle the heartbreak better than others. I told close friends and family before and after because I knew I needed support from loved ones regardless if this happened or not. I think it’s good to let people know, but it’s important to let them know at your own pace because a woman’s mental health is incredibly vital to the health of the family. This isn’t a competition on who can be more brave or who can be most secretive to share everyone the news. Tell the people that your soul just needs to tell. Tell people when the time is right for you, and remember that you have no obligation to tell everyone everything.

I learned that telling people about loss can be most difficult because people don’t know how to respond. The comments people will say will always be an attempt to be helpful, but it will sting. If you are going through this, just remember that no one is purposely trying to diminish your relationship with your child and the situation.

I learned that slowing down is everything. Feeling the breeze. Smelling the scent of fresh flowers.  Cuddling on the couch with my boys. Playing and inventing new activities with our hands for Dom. Nature walks. Taking more time to cook real food. Stop getting caught up in the hustle for money.  Making a few extra bucks will not buy me time back.  Slowing down. Time is fleeting and you never know when something that truly makes your soul human will be gone the next day.

The reality for me is that… a lot of the innocence of pregnancy is gone.  I still hope that one day we will be able to hold another baby in our arms and add to our growing family, and I know it’ll be truly amazing, but it’s different now. I have many friends who are pregnant right now, and I am ecstatic to see the beauty bloom right before my eyes, because now I know. Now I know that it doesn’t always come easy.

I would never wish this experience on anyone, but if you happen to find yourself in this position, please feel free to reach out to me to talk if you need someone to talk to. When I had told some friends about what happened, some had told me that they’ve gone through it too, and it was therapeutic to be able to talk to someone who had gone through it as well.

“Shared joy is increased, shared pain is lessened.”

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