This is obviously very personal. I went back and forth before deciding to share this. However, I believe that in order to end the stigma that surrounds miscarriage, we must be comfortable talking about it. Women should not be expected to remain silent about something as life-changing and heartbreaking as losing a preborn child. We should talk about our babies often.
Here’s my miscarriage story:
I got married in May 2016, a week after graduating from college. We found out in July that I was pregnant. It was a huge surprise! At the time, I was nannying twin infants full-time while my husband finished Physical Therapy School. I had mild symptoms: tiredness, a little bit of nausea, food aversions.
The OB wasn’t able to see me until I was 10 weeks along. We arrived for the first appointment, excited and nervous. We sat in the waiting room amongst the women with beautiful bumps and I couldn’t wait for mine to look like that. I was called back and peed in a cup then was told to wait in the exam room.
The OB came in and started the ultrasound. She had the screen turned towards her so I had nothing to look at. After a few minutes, she curtly said, “There’s no heartbeat. Did you want to talk about your options now or did you need a minute?”
Did I need a minute? Did I need a minute to process that my child was dead? Did I need a minute to understand that I had lost a baby before I ever got to meet her? A minute was not enough. There is not enough time in the world to fully process this type of loss.
We sent the OB out and my husband and I cried together. After a few minutes, the OB came back in and told us our options. We could either wait to miscarry naturally, take a pill to bring on the miscarriage, or schedule a D&C surgery. She said that baby was measuring at 8 weeks so it’s likely that she hadn’t had a heartbeat for a few weeks and my body had not yet gotten the signal to miscarry. It’s called a missed miscarriage. Because baby had been there for a couple of weeks already, the doctor was afraid of an infection happening if we waited too long. She pushed for the surgery. Told me if I chose the other options, I would likely be sitting on a toilet, cramping and unable to do anything else for days. How would I work? Looking back, I think that she wanted to go that direction because of the financial benefits to her. That may be harsh, but I did not feel that she had my best interests in mind at all throughout the entire appointment.
We scheduled the D&C for a few days later.
During the time before the procedure, I was distraught. I felt like a tomb. I was still pregnant, but not really. I still carried another human inside of my womb, but that person was no longer living. I wanted to crawl out of my body and escape it.
My husband and I went in for the surgery center together. Every time I interacted with someone, I thought “Can they tell? Can they see what kind of failure of a mother I am? Do they have any idea that I’m carrying a child that is no longer living?”
I was doing okay until the anesthesiologist came in. After she told me all that she was required to for the procedure, she confided that she had also had a D&C because of a miscarriage and she was so sorry for my loss. Didn’t she know I was pretending that I was just there for a surgery on my knee or to get my wisdom teeth extracted? She shattered my false reality and it broke me.
D&C stands for Dilation and Curettage. The procedure involves dilating the cervix and either scraping or suctioning the uterine lining and removing any abnormal tissue. I remember being given the anesthesia and being rolled into the operating room. Everything goes a little fuzzy after that. I woke up in the recovery area and my bed was rolled back into my room where my husband was waiting.
We headed home and I was determined to put it all behind me, act like it never happened. (Anyone who has gone through trauma knows that this is not a healthy way to handle it.) I baked cookies, ate mac and cheese, and acted like it was just a day off of work. At 2am I woke up with the worst cramping and nausea I had ever experienced. I was in so much pain and couldn’t function. I remember my husband watching me from the bathroom doorway, trying to figure out how to help. Talk about newlywed bliss.
I was passing blood clots and cramping for days. My body was constantly reminding me that I had lost a child. I returned to work to care for two beautiful babies; it was somehow heartbreaking and healing at the same time. I was not able to care for my own baby, but those babies needed me then.
There is so much guilt surrounding miscarriage. You think: “Why couldn’t I protect my child?” “I let everyone down. I’m disappointing so many.” “How could I let my baby die?”
So many lies. These are from Satan. Miscarriage happens in about 1 in 4 pregnancies. Usually, there’s no explanation. With ours, we were told that the lab work came back normal and that the baby likely had some chromosomal abnormalities that would make it incompatible with life. It was no one’s fault.
You may also like to read: Fear Shouldn’t Stop You From Announcing A Baby On The Way.
While I have gone on to carry two healthy pregnancies to term, I will always remember my first baby. Going off of my inkling that baby was a girl, we named her Olive. It’s hard to go past the anniversaries of the miscarriage and the due date. You never really move on or get over a loss like this. Although I was never able to hold my baby in my arms, I carry her with me always.
Thank you for taking time to read my miscarriage story. I find freedom and comfort in sharing it.
We love you, Olive. We can’t wait to meet you in heaven one day soon.