Yesterday, a girl I don’t even know miscarried, and it’s all I can think about. She’s not a friend or collegue, I don’t even know her last name, but when I heard her story through the grapevine it brought back every memory of the day I found out that my very first pregnancy had ended in a miscarriage.
I had never planned to write in any detail about my miscarriage. Until yesterday. Because I realized that this girl, who I don’t know, was feeling exactly like I did after I lost my first baby. Alone. Scared. Devistated. Angry. Hurt. And, while what I write won’t take away a lot of the emotions that one feels after finding out they have lost a pregnancy, maybe it will help her to know that she is not alone.
You feel so much emotion when you find out you’re pregnant for the first time. Nothing is more exciting (and nerve-wracking) then that first doctor’s appointment. The one that will confirm what all those at-home pregnancy tests have told you. You are really and truly pregnant.
I was 11 weeks pregnant when I went for my very first OBGYN appointment. Everything was looking amazing with my pregnancy thus far. I was sick as a dog, gained weight, felt like crap…you know, all the awesome symptoms of pregnancy. When my doctor went to check the heartbeat of the baby, she had trouble finding it. “No problem,” she said. “It’s still very early. We’ll send you for a quick ultrasound to just double check that everything is ok.”
As soon as Chris and I walked out of the doctor’s office I turned to him and said, “something’s wrong.” I knew. He was really sweet and kept telling me that everything would be fine, but I KNEW. I was literally shaking as we went in for an ultrasound. I lay on the table and prayed that the technician would tell me that everything was fine. I was willing her to cheerfully chirp that my baby had a strong heartbeat. But the room was very silent. And she finally said that there was no heartbeat. My pregnancy had stopped at 7 weeks…my body just didn’t know it.
I can still remember exactly how I felt, lying on that table, hearing that my baby didn’t exist anymore. I left the room and leaned against a wall in the hallway, unable to breathe. I literally felt like the walls were moving in on me and I was gasping to get any air in my lungs. I couldn’t think or breathe or move. I had never heard of a missed miscarriage. I had only met one other person that had had a miscarriage. I had no idea what to expect.
In the end, I decided to have a D&C in order to complete the removal of the pregnancy, as my body had not done it on its own. It was the right decision for me. Although it was day surgery, it allowed me to feel a sense of closure and a bit of peace. I bled very little and had almost no recovery time to speak of. In fact, I returned to work the next day.
The next months were spent with a feeling of emptiness and sadness that I had never known. I would tear up for no reason. I had trouble looking at pregnant women. I didn’t want to get out of bed on the weekends. I ate three boxes of Flakies in one sitting (thus discovering that I eat my pain…great!). I could not stand people talking to me about my pregnancy that I had lost. It was all too painful.
In hindsight, I wish I had talked more about it. I should have reached out to people who had gone through a similar experience, if only through email. If I had, I would have learned that I was not the only person who had suffered through a missed miscarriage. I was not the only person who felt the darkness and pain of losing a baby before you could even really feel like you knew it. I was not the only person who got angry at God for taking away something that I had wanted and was so excited for. Most importantly, though, that I would get through this and the pain and sadness that a miscarriage left me with would lessen over time.
I have two amazing boys now. But I still cry every single time I hear someone has had to suffer through a miscarriage. I still feel the sadness, not as deeply as I once did, but it’s still there and I can picture exactly what other girls are going through as they begin to deal with the loss of their pregnancy.
I hope that they know that they are not alone. They should feel as sad and angry as they need to and take as long as they need to feel ok about what has happened. It is sad to lose a baby. It does make you angry. But please know that you will get through it (even though it doesn’t feel like it at the time). And that you are not alone.