Friday, September 27, 2019

What I Didn’t Know About Miscarriage + My Experience

I wanted to write this post because I know some of you are in the trenches, and sometimes it helps to read other people’s experiences and also to know what to expect. There’s so much I didn’t know about miscarriage and loss before experiencing it, so I wanted to write out the things that stuck with me most in hopes that this knowledge can be power for you. Also, please note: every experience is completely different. This is just how mine looked, and what caught me most off guard as I navigated these turbulent months.

1. That you don’t have to bleed much, or at all, to lose a baby. I never bled a lot, and I never had any cramping or pain, which isn’t how miscarriage stereotypically looks. I was 6 weeks pregnant when I started bleeding enough to wipe onto toilet paper. I called my OB who ordered a stat ultrasound. When I went in later that day, the scan showed a baby that had stopped growing at 5 weeks with no cardiac activity. My experience was CLOSE to a “missed miscarriage”, or when your body gives you no indication that anything is wrong. I did have some spotting, but others don’t experience anything at all until they go to a regularly scheduled ultrasound to find out that their baby didn’t make it. Something that hadn’t even crossed my mind in prior pregnancies.

2. How long and mentally exhausting the process can be. After my initial ultrasound, the doctor tried to be reassuring. “It may just be too early”, she said, but I knew. She told me to come back in 2 weeks to confirm. I had to return another 2 weeks later to stare at that same blank ultrasound screen. I still hadn’t passed the baby on my own. My OB told me to give it another 2 weeks before electing a D&C, which meant a 3rd ultrasound, that same silent screen. This put me 6 weeks out from the day I started spotting. I carried a baby for over a month that I knew was not viable, but still just wouldn’t let go. I finally got scheduled for a D&C to be able to move on. As I was prepped in for the OR, the physician went through possible complications, and ended on a nonchalant sentence to make sure we didn’t try to conceive for 3 months, if we decided to try again. This put the whole process at just over 4 ½ months.

3. Your pregnancy symptoms continue post miscarriage. Same sore boobs, same bloated belly, same nausea, same fatigue. On top of that, the bleeding didn’t stop for nearly 2 weeks post D&C, and what’s worse, I still got glaringly positive pregnancy tests for over a month. My body couldn’t catch up to what was happening and was SURE I was still pregnant, that this was a fluke. My hormones were all over the place, up and down a million times a day.

4. Life doesn’t stop. Which is totally obvious, but so difficult in the moment. Miscarriage is changing your blood soaked pads (there’s no hiding what’s happening: tampons are a no as you navigate this process, by the way) while your 2 and 4 years olds barge into the bathroom, asking you to please come play LEGOs already. It’s such a strange space to be in, and I often times felt like I was watching a loss happen to somebody else.

5. Several months after my D&C, I experienced a chemical pregnancy, or a loss that occurs shortly after implantation.  Two losses in a row aren’t statistically supposed to happen, and I took this part hard. I had very little empathy from my OB, who told me that they would have to wait until a third loss to move forward with any kind of testing (which I fully realize is the medically correct decision to make). It felt like an extremely frustrating, slow moving, eternity—like I was just waiting to lose another baby to potentially get some answers on what was happening to me. Even if that day came, my OB warned, we didn't always get answers when we wanted them. From somebody who wanted to control the process, this was difficult to hear all around.

6. I’ve found that the feelings came much later for me. Months down the road, especially when there was still no baby, all of the emotions really settled in. It got harder, not easier, with time, so give yourself grace. There is no “right” way to grieve

In summary, the whole experience, even though only a year, gave me so much empathy and understanding to those going through the same thing, be it a shorter or exponentially more difficult journey than ours. “Fertility privilege” is a term I had never known before, but there’s so much more that I know now, and truthfully, am better for it. If you’re walking this path, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Don't lose faith. The baby that is meant to be yours will find you. Remember, even miracles take a little time <3.

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