“Shhhh… She Had a Miscarriage”
What I am about to share with you is super personal (I am sure you can tell by the title) but I think it is important to share.
When I originally found out I was pregnant, I immediately wrote a blog post to share with you all as soon as we were ready to spread the news. I was so excited.
According to Google, the best time to spread the news about your pregnancy is 12 weeks. Apparently, this is because the risk of a miscarriage significantly decreases after the first trimester. Ironically enough, that time would actually be right about now.
In the original article, I wrote about how I’ve worked in counseling with many women over the years.
I’ve worked with women who knew they were destined to be a mom, those who were 110% sure that they did not want children and even women who were unsure. I’ve also counseled women who really wanted kids, but it just “never happened for them” and women who wanted to bear children for their own, but were unable to. Women who decided it was “not their time” to women who super duper planned and prepared, with the outcomes being not even close to their plans to others who’s plans became their reality. All kinds of women.
I wrote about how although we didn’t plan this. I joked about how this threw off the consecutive order of my so-called planned life agenda. However, this unplanned bun in the oven seemed to work well happening the year before I reached the “advanced maternal age.”
I talked about life’s little ironies and how the month I finally decided to take actions to not get pregnant, to ensure my planned life agenda could continue in it’s consecutive order, was the same month that I missed my period.
I wrote about how I did not feel prepared at all, despite being the biggest promoter of planning and preparing.
I talked about how life changes as we get older, how my initial instinct was to group message my friends a pic of the positive pregnancy test. How when I was younger, even 5 years ago, taking the test would have been a group effort, but now I was a part of a two person team, where even decisions about how and when we tell things like this are made together.
I shared the not so nice way I dropped the mic (aka. Pregnancy test) on the counter in front of him while he was brushing his teeth and yelled/cried “WTF BRO!” with his legitimate response question of “What is that?”
I talked about plans I have made and actions I have taken based on mistakes I’ve made and lessons I’ve learned that brought me to where I am and to the amazing man (not perfect, but perfect for me) that I am with today. I talked about how excited he was to be a dad and how he helped ease my “trivial” worries.
I call them “trivial” now, but in the moment they felt so big. Despite all I’ve seen and heard from other women, my worries were not consistent with what happened. I never thought it would be me that something so big and unplanned could happen to. Somewhat of an egotistical way to think, especially for a counselor, but I guess that’s how we all think sometimes and maybe need to to stay sane.
Towards the end of the article I wrote this:
“Either way, as of today, this is happening. I confirmed yesterday that I have been pregnant for 4 weeks and 3 days. I will not share this with you all until around 10-12 weeks, which is the safest time according to google. I have no idea how I will feel then, but I can and will start to prepare and plan for this, continuing to work towards achieving the goals I’ve set for myself, but being open to detours along the way.”
In the spirit of practicing what I preach, I’m always working to be open to growing and learning, I’m learning that despite our best laid plans, life happens. It’s up to me to continue to create the life I want and decide if the detours that come will have a positive or negative effect on me and those around me.
Today, I choose positivity.
Now after writing that I want to point out that I can’t always pick and choose when I “choose positivity.”
After all, it’s pretty darn easy to choose positivity when positive stuff is happening to you.
I guess this is one of those detours that I said I was going to be open to. In the original article, I wrote that maybe pregnancy is just one of those life things that you can’t prepare for or plan for too much or maybe that’s just what I was telling myself. But this detour (a miscarriage), when it happens, is something that is never planned for and even seldom talked about.
A miscarriage is also something you don’t really think about when you’re following your baby’s growth through apps and subscribing to pregnancy subscriptions. However, once something like this happens, it is all you think about.
Especially, when now you keep getting bombarded with motherhood emails and ads.
Damn technology sometimes.
With most apps there’s no option to select on your pregnancy journey for a miscarriage. Thanks to things like online subscriptions and social media ads, the digital world still thinks you’re pregnant even if you are not.
I decided to immediately delete the apps I downloaded and unsubscribe to everything I could find that I signed up for. Although some still manage to creep into my inbox. That said, in this situation, you have to do what’s best for you.
Although everything out there appears to be about happy healthy pregnancies, there are resources out there for those who experience what I have. Here’s one I found helpful, feel free to share any others in the comments of this blog.
Our First Date
Going into our first ultrasound at 9 weeks, having already chosen names, we were ready to meet the little guy or girl. We were joking about the possibility of twins with the sonographer when all of a sudden my uterus is on the screen.
Now, I’m not a medical doctor, but I’ve seen what an ultrasound looks like with a baby in it.
It was an immediate thought of “oh shit, something is wrong” to an even quicker statement of “Fuck” followed by a question of “Wait, where is it?”
Before she responded, I knew. But hearing her say, “I’m so sorry,” confirmed my worst fear.
I didn’t know as much as I know now of course, but basically I had what goes by many names, to include an anembryonic pregnancy, a missed miscarriage, a spontaneous abortion and my personal favorite, a blighted ovum.
In the medical field everything “miscarriage” is actually called an “abortion.” At which they ensure to explain that they are not saying I chose to have an abortion, but one way or another the pregnancy aborted itself.
Which when I finally understood what this was, it weirdly made me feel a little better as the embryo had just never developed. The gestational sac and the egg yolk (no, I did not know these names before this day) were there, but there was no embryo and no heartbeat.
I did however get to feel pregnant and acquire all of the pregnancy hormones and symptoms as my body created the potential baby’s environment and started to create some of the tissues needed to develop a baby.
According to science, they just don’t really know why a thing like this happens. We can put a man on the moon, but… this is due to a “fluke,” possibly chromosomal abnormalities, not the best egg or sperm chosen which will result in a non-viable baby. This results in your body not creating an embryo, however your body doesn’t quite realize this and it’s full force pregnancy until that initial ultrasound.
The initial ultrasound, a day that is supposed to be filled with joy for most excited expecting parents unfortunately was quite the opposite for us. Truthfully, I did wear waterproof mascara. But solely under the assumption that I would be crying tears of joy that day.
I heard a lot of, “It’s not your fault” after this happened to me. I wanted to yell at everyone who said that, “I’m a counselor! I know what you’re doing. Stop trying to make me feel better and just tell me what the fuck is wrong with me!”
I may have even told others the horrid “It’s not your fault” before. But let me tell you, those words weren’t something I was ready to hear just yet, at least.
I do understand that people don’t know what to say in these types of situations. Being a counselor, I’ve naturally heard about these types of situations more than most and truthfully, there really isn’t a right thing to say. Nothing makes this feeling better.
But, I will tell you some things make the feeling worse. Like hearing “I’m so sorry” from everyone and their mother immediately after partially learning the news. I must’ve heard this 10 times at the doctor’s office that day and every time, I felt the need to give some kind of response, but what does one say?!
“It’s okay,” or “thanks?” Better yet, I’ll just burst into tears every time you say it or when you try to hug me again.
This is one of those things that you go through physically while both you and your partner go through it mentally and emotionally. Something that is also not talked about much is the grief a man or partner that is not physically pregnant feels following a miscarriage.
Going from seeing a grown man who is not a cryer to crying tears of excitement and joy multiple times over the past couple weeks to now holding back tears of sadness to be strong for me was one of the hardest parts of that day.
Yes, I understand it’s not my fault, blah blah blah. But, the truth is I felt like I just ran over his puppy and he was trying to tell me it was okay.
There’s just no way to “feel okay” about this. In the moment or maybe ever, I’m not sure yet.
What I am sure of is that I hope I never have to see those type of tears of sadness coming from him ever again.
I’ve had so many mixed thoughts, feelings and emotions about this. From feeling better that a baby was never created, thinking that it could be so much worse, knowing of women who’ve miscarried at 3 even 8 months to feeling stupid that I’m sad because in reality there was no baby, to being mad that I have to go through all of this without a baby to not caring what’s “realistic” and wanting to throw away my damn thought log to never be spoken of to another client again.
I now more than ever stand by my theory that “a loss of something/someone is more than the loss of what was, but also the loss of the future expectations that we’ve created in our minds.”
That all of a sudden the future you are expecting no longer exists. This leaves a void that nothing can fill.
To add insult to injury, it’s not over. I had to wait a few days to go back and do another ultrasound just to be sure and then I have options.
I could wait and hope that I naturally officially miscarry aka self-abort at any moment (with a max of a week of wait time to prevent infection at which point I’d need a Dilation & Curettage (D&C aka. surgical abortion) to remove the pregnancy tissue if it doesn’t happen on it’s own) or I could choose to take a pill, another option with the desired outcome being a bloody miscarriage or to just pull the trigger and have a D&C immediately.
The next few days before the final ultrasound were probably the most emotionally draining days I’ve ever experienced.
Although I did cancel all my counseling and coaching sessions the day I found out, (I was hot mess) the world doesn’t stop when bad things happen to us.
Attempting to continue life as is when something like this happens may be the strongest test of will a person can be given.
As I believe in what I preach, I know that talking about the hard stuff, that working through it and not around it, will only help me.
I immediately reached out to everyone close to us that we told we were pregnant and to my best friend who I was planning to surprise in person with the news that weekend. I texted and talked through it. I knew that trying to keep it in or avoid it or distract myself was only making things worse, so I bit the bullet and started reaching out.
Although no grieving process is as linear as life despite our plans, life does not always go according to the consecutive agenda. The grieving process for me started ASAP.
First came denial at its finest.
“Well, maybe it’s just too early, they just can’t see it yet,” I told myself.
I should definitely Google this theory and find a million and one women who did have ultrasounds too early and then show up a week later and hear a heartbeat. I knew I was at 9 weeks and this was pretty much not the case, but that little bit of hope was there mixed in with the sadness of what I knew was my reality.
Today, I’m getting a little closer to acceptance. However I’m finding it the most difficult to not fear this again, to not think something is wrong with me and that it will happen again despite what the doctor and the Internet say.
I have no idea if it makes me feel better or worse that what happened to me is actually the most common form of miscarriage or that this happens to 20% of known pregnancies or that 60% of first trimester losses are due to improper pairing of chromosomes or that Most women who go through this go on to have healthy pregnancies/babies.
I remember multiple staff members at the doctors telling me that this is common, that I probably know people who have gone through this and if I tell people I will likely often hear “that happened to me too” or at least that they miscarried in some form or fashion.
Again, I’m not sure if this makes me feel better or worse. With the high percentages, I now fear that something is in the water and this will happen again.
I fear that in my attempts to do what I do, to plan and prepare to be pregnant again in the very near future (lesson learned: sometimes losing what you didn’t realize you wanted shows you exactly what you do want), that I may go a little off my rocker.
I fear Fear the most at this point. This is something that I will have to continue to work through and do my best to not allow fear to take over my life or control my future decisions.
I know that something like this that we have very little control over can make us feel very much out of control. I know that identifying what we at least think we can have some control over and taking some action can be helpful to feeling like we are at least somewhat in control. I know I will take whatever steps I think/feel are necessary to take some control back, how I best think I know how to at least.
For me, it will be starting with going as natural as I can with cleaning supplies to skin care and improving my diet. I figure a step in a healthy direction never hurt anyone, but we’ll see about that as well I suppose. However, this has emphasized that despite our best laid plans, life can and will happen and not always according to plan.
Planning is not about controlling our future beyond our control, but about creating the best foundation and life for ourselves that when things like this happen as they will that we have a strong foundation to stand on to get us through.
I am sharing this personal story with you for many reasons.
First, to be true to who I am and what I preach. I will not only share the positive mumbo jumbo stuff with you. I will share the real life stuff, the stuff that makes staying positive so damn hard sometimes.
However, the predominant reason I am sharing this is that I now personally know how horrible this experience can be (horrible is the word I’ve chosen for my experience, but I’m not sure there’s really a word for it).
That figuring out how to work through this experience is so important in even beginning to start moving forward. If you are going through anything like this, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
I’d also love to connect with those of you if who’ve gone through anything like this. I’m a strong believer in human connection and a collaborative relationship. I’d be lying if I said I don’t learn as much from my clients as I teach and I’d love to hear from you.
I’ll finish here with how I finished the original “baby announcement” article, but with a little *addition.
“In the spirit of practicing what I preach, I’m always working to be open to growing and learning, I’m learning that despite our best laid plans, life happens. It’s up to me to continue to create the life I want and decide if the detours that come will have a positive or negative effect on me and those around me.”
Today, for me, I choose positivity…” *as well as totally being okay with feeling really sad at times and laying around crying while binging sad movies and eating Chinese food and ice cream.