We are dedicating this week to Pregnancy and Infant Loss. We shared Stories of Miscarriage on Monday and had an overwhelming response in all forms. Friends shared our post, tagged their friends, left comments of their own experience and emailed me privately to share their thoughts. This was our intention, to create a dialogue where we are free to share and free to heal together. Today, we continue sharing stories of miscarriage. If you would like to be included, it’s not too late. Email us here and I will update throughout the day.
Here’s the thing…to try and process multiple pregnancy losses isn’t easy. I’ve had 5. It isn’t east to explain what you’re going through, what your thoughts are, why your body seems to hate you and your dreams of having 3 or more children. My first loss was actually an ectopic pregnancy when I was in my early twenties. It was unplanned, and resulted in an emergency surgery. I didn’t realize how this would affect me for years. My second loss was the most difficult, and the most haunting. This one was 4 years after a healthy, seamless and in fact, ‘unicorn’ pregnancy. I’d gone to several specialists and had many, many tests and painful procedures done in that 4 years to try and figure out why I couldn’t get pregnant again. And then out of the blue, I was…and we were ecstatic. We didn’t wait to tell our families and close friends. It was early, but we were bursting with excitement. And then, at 7 weeks, while I was at work, I started cramping and bleeding. It was horribly painful and I was incredibly scared. I called the dr and they said they’d see me the next day. I’ll never forget this because I’d gone home and my husband couldn’t leave work to get to me for several hours, and I had to pick up our son during all of this. I walked into that preschool with swollen eyes, and an excruciating vagina. I asked the manager at the front to get him for me and she could see that I was struggling with something and she jumped right up to get him out of class and bring him to me. Though she didn’t know what it was that I was going through, this gesture meant the world to me. The next days were sad…I heard a lot of “Well, at least you weren’t that far along” and “At least you have one kid.” And in all honesty, neither made me feel any better. I think the general consensus is the earlier the lose your pregnancy, the easier it should “feel.” I can’t speak to later term losses, as all of mine have been “early” at 6-10 weeks, but I know several friends that unfortunately can. And what I can tell you is that loss is painful, and it’s not easy. Loss sucks. Once you know that you’ve created life, it’s there. And though I didn’t approach my subsequent pregnancies and losses with the same blind and unabashed optimism, there is always hope. It’s crazy how much you can feel from a positive pregnancy test. And much like your hcg levels, it grows and doubles by the day.
After all the years or trying not to get pregnant, you never know the challenges you will face when you are actually trying for a baby. So we were elated that after only 3 months, I was pregnant! I made our first doctor’s appointment for after I hit 8 weeks, which happened to be right before Christmas. The following weeks were spent juggling a full-time job, wrapping up a major renovation to our new house, moving in and getting ready for Christmas. Two days before our appointment I felt “off”. I had a migraine (which was not abnormal) and felt sick to my stomach. We went to dinner for my father’s birthday and I didn’t really eat (which was abnormal as the Lemon Sole at Eddie V’s would be my last meal on death row). I had been getting extremely dizzy but read that was a normal pregnancy symptom so didn’t think anything of it. When I woke up to bleeding Monday morning, I immediately knew something was wrong, but hoped for the best since bleeding isn’t always abnormal. I called the nurse who advised me to watch and wait. I went to work to try to not think about what was potentially happening and ended up walking out shortly after when the bleeding and pain got worse. My husband and I headed to the doctor where we instantly knew from the lack of information the ultrasound technician was giving. The doctor was very matter of fact about things — telling me I would need bloodwork to check my levels to rule out ectopic pregnancy — but she didn’t think I needed a D&C. We went from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows.