From Newlywed to Pregnant
When hubby and I married in 2016, we agreed to start trying to conceive in April of 2017. By May of 2017, we were elated to find that we were pregnant. Joy filled our hearts and spirits as soon as we found out.
We were bursting at the seams with excitement and having a hard time not shouting it from the roof tops. I was three weeks pregnant and my husband was literally telling people every chance he got. If a server offered me a wine menu, he’d proudly say, “She can’t drink, she’s pregnant.” He was too excited to keep it to himself and I couldn’t blame him.
At 7 weeks, my mom came to visit for a few days to attend my first prenatal appointment with my OBGYN. Sunday (the day before the appointment) while my husband was at work, I started experiencing really strong cramps and spotting. By the afternoon I was bleeding heavily and the cramps became more painful.
I called the OBGYN’s after-hours line and told the doctor my symptoms. She was kind and tried not to alarm me, but I could tell by her tone…my pregnancy was ending and there was nothing I could do about it.
To make sure I wasn’t misunderstanding, I asked her, “Should I go to the ER? Would it make a difference in what is happening?“
She softly said, “you can go to the ER, but it won’t make any difference.” Tears filled my eyes, I just sat and quietly sobbed in my bedroom closet. I was losing our baby.
Thank the Lord that my mom was visiting that weekend, otherwise I would’ve been all alone. Hubby came home from work and unloaded tons of questions about what was happening and all I could say was, “I don’t know.”
I did know. Even without a doctor explicitly confirming, I knew I was having miscarriage, but I didn’t have the strength to say it out loud.
The following morning we arrived at my OBGYN’s office for the ultrasound. While my doctor scanned my abdomen, the screen clearly showed that my uterus was empty, our baby was gone. Devastation does not begin to express the pain I felt. Once the doctor and my mom left the room, my husband and I sobbed uncontrollably for what felt like forever.
I sent a single text on a group chat to my inner circle that I shared my pregnancy with and told them that I’d miscarried. And went on to say that I didn’t want to talk, text, or hear a thing about it. My intention was to handle it on my own because I knew any discussion of it would only make it worse. Looking back, I now know this did more harm than good and I can’t imagine how difficult it was for my friends to ignore the elephant in the room.
I took one day off work and returned to work the day after. That was foolish, I wasn’t ready. I broke down as soon as I applied foundation to my face. Then broke down again when my friend (and co-worker) walked into the room to inform me what I had missed at work. I really wish I had given myself the time I needed to process my loss instead of trying to pretend that I hadn’t just lost a baby.
Some Facts about Miscarriages
In the days that followed, my doctor called to check up on me a few times and when I was ready to hear the logic behind the miscarriage, he explained:
- unfortunately, it’s more common than you’d think
- According to an article in Mayo Clinic, they estimate 10-20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, maybe even more since they’re not always reported
- my chances of another miscarriage during my next pregnancy are greatly reduced
- sometimes your body terminates a pregnancy because it knows that the fetus won’t go to full term or that the pregnancy won’t result in a healthy outcome
While none of these points changed my pain, it did leave me with some solace
Moving Forward After the Miscarriage
A few weeks after the miscarriage, my life transitioned into a new norm.
My new normal included sparatic mood swings. I was happy at times and suddenly without warning, I would break down into tears. I was finding moments of happiness in my day to day life but would still experience triggers, such as seeing a stroller at the grocery store or seeing babies in commercials. The hardest was going for my follow up appointment and seeing all the super pregnant women in the waiting room. While I was happy for them, it was a harsh reminder of what I was missing.
To add to the emotional rollercoaster, I wasn’t even sure if I was allowed to feel so sad. I mean, I was only a few weeks, I hadn’t even seen our baby on an ultrasound yet. It made me feel silly and overly dramatic to share the reason for my saddness with others, so I just didn’t. I kept it all in and cried in my car on the way to work or on the way home. Keeping it in didn’t do me any good, but I just tried to keep going as if nothing was wrong.
At the end of June, I started to have some weird symptoms. I was warm all the time, always exhausted (regardless of how many hours I slept), and my bladder would wake me up in the middle of the night. I assumed they were just lingering symptoms from my previous pregnancy.
Then one night, I was watching American Ninja Warrior and every single warrior’s interview was making me teary eyed. I’m not typically a crier, especially not for the stories of strangers. It was definitely out of character for me. I sucked back those tears in confusion, then it hit me…Am I pregnant???
I didn’t want to get worked up for nothing so I decided to just push that thought out of my head and simply take a test the next day.
The next day comes, hubby is at work and clear as day the digital pregnancy test reads, Pregnant. Contrary to last time, my first emotion was fear. Fear that I would lose another baby, fear that my heart would be broken again, fear that I wouldn’t be able to have a successful pregnancy…maybe ever.
Previously, my doctor told me to wait a couple months before trying to get pregnant and while we didn’t intentionally “try“, I knew if I was pregnant, it certainly happened within a couple months of the miscarriage. I just knew that couldn’t be good. My body couldn’t have had enough time to heal. My mind was flooded with doubt. Suddenly a spirit of confidence came over me. It was as if God wrapped me in his arms and said, “Trust in me, this baby is here to stay.” I leaned into that feeling, prayed for a healthy, full term baby, and gave my fear and doubt to God.
Back to the OBGYN
Two days later I was back in my doctor’s office. This time, I was alone. Although I almost told hubby ten different times, I kept this secret to myself to protect him from another potential loss. While it was too soon for an ultrasound, they were able to run some blood work to confirm my pregnancy. My nurse called me with the results and when she gave me the “all signs are good,” my mind was taken back to my bathroom where I stood over the pregnancy test in disbelief, then an overwhelming sense of peace came over me.
As soon as I got off the phone, I hopped onto my Etsy app and ordered a onesie to announce the good news to my husband. His birthday was a few weeks away so I ordered a onesie that said, “Happy Birthday, your gift will arrive March 2018!” Needless to say he loved it.
If I’m being honest, I didn’t really allow myself to experience joy and true excitement until our 12 week ultrasound.
At 12 weeks, I saw our baby on the TV screen, swimming around in my uterus and the burden of doubt just lifted from my shoulders. I finally made it and my baby wasn’t going anywhere! And sure enough God blessed me with a healthy pregnancy, healthy delivery, and healthy baby boy!
My Advice for Women Experiencing a Miscarriage
It’s not your fault, you did not cause this loss.
Unfortunately, sometimes miscarriages are out of our control. You can be the perfect weight, taking your prenatals daily, stress free, coffee free, avoiding seafood, skipping red meat, and everything else everyone tells you not to do and a miscarriage can still happen. Do not blame yourself. It is not your fault.
You are not alone.
While miscarriages are a topic that you won’t hear many people discuss, it does happen. According to the American Pregnancy Association, anywhere from 10-25% of all clinically recognized pregnancies will end in miscarriage. You’re not the only one, but it can feel like it when you don’t know anyone that has gone through this loss. There are a lot of support groups out there, here are a few that I found that offer online support:
If you’d prefer to speak with others in person, check with your local hospital, they usually have support groups that meet regularly.
Take as much time as you need to grieve.
There is no set recovery time. Grieve and process as long as you need, take your time allowing your spirit to heal. This is likely a loss like you’ve never experienced before, take your time and don’t rush back into your normal life before you’re ready.
Open up to someone, friends, family, partner, doctor, counselor, or online support group.
I can’t tell you how therapeutic it is to share your feelings. Whether you’re sharing your feelings with family, friends, a counselor, your pastor or an online Facebook group. Just let it out and get it off your chest.
Be honest with yourself and those around you in regards to your needs.
Going through a loss in pregnancy is such a confusing time. Take a moment and reflect on what you need to get through the day. You may want to sit in a silent room and just think or maybe you want to blast some music, whatever you need…do it and let your loved ones know if they can help. If you’re feeling lonely and want company, call or text them.
You can have a successful pregnancy post a miscarriage.
Your chances of having a successful pregnancy actually increase after a miscarriage. So don’t doubt your ability to carry a baby. When you’re ready you can try again.