These are stories of miscarriage. They are visceral and very intense. Please be prepared for graphic language and potentially disturbing imagery.
The first time I figured out I was pregnant was a total surprise. It wasn’t planned, it was just one of those things. I had such bad morning sickness that I could barely go to work. Once we found out, we had a conversation but decided that we both wanted to go forward with the pregnancy. We even told our parents. We had just started living together, but we knew already that this was it. It was about eight weeks in when I went to an ob/gyn appointment and they discovered that the fetus hadn’t grown. My Dr. wasn’t the best at bedside manner, so she basically said, “We’ll see what happens but we’ll probably wait for the uterus to empty itself.” So, I had to go home, devastated, and just wait for the inevitable to happen.
It was one of the worst and most painful experiences of my life. The cramps are very real. The uterus essentially contracts like in labor. There is a lot of blood, so much that I often just took a shower so I wouldn’t have to deal with it. There were a lot of tears. I played Pokemon throughout because it was simple and kept my mind occupied.
Sometimes you don’t know what you want until you can’t have it. I didn’t know I really wanted that pregnancy until it didn’t work out. And I did blame myself. I was on psych meds at the time that could have been to blame, but since it wasn’t planned there was no way to avoid it.
Afterwards I was a wreck. I devolved into such a state of depression that I eventually quit my job (for many, many other reasons as well), and sunk into a deep, lonesome melancholy. To be honest, the timeline of events after this is not fully clear to me any more. Lots of things blur together. I think I lingered in that depression for a few months, functioning but barely. I decided that the only thing that would fix this new hole inside me was to try for a healthy pregnancy. I was convinced that this was the only remedy. I explained this to my husband, and bombarded him with a host of other perfectly logical reasons why we should do this right now. He agreed. He was feeling the loss as well and thought my other reasoning was sound.
We didn’t tell anybody. We weren’t married, though I think we knew we would be. And we didn’t want to have to explain anything to anyone should something go wrong. I switched off of all of my meds and started taking only Prozac, because it is safe during pregnancy. In hindsight I don’t think that was a great idea but I was determined.
I got pregnant again in June that year, about 8 months after the miscarriage. I was miserable the whole summer but I couldn’t tell anyone except my closest friends. Husband was very accommodating. We told those closest to us about it in September, at the 12 week mark because everyone says that’s the end of the “least safe” window, when you are at highest risk for miscarriage. We got engaged near the end of September. Everything was good. I finally felt like I could breathe a little bit.
At some point in September or early October we found out that there was an odd hormonal imbalance. My PAPP-A levels were abnormal. We found out that it was a girl. So it was a girl with abnormal levels. There was also a growth on the umbilical cord. They said they weren’t sure exactly what it was but that they would keep an eye on it, and it was most likely nothing to be worried about. Around 15 weeks we saw a healthy-looking ultrasound.
The 17-week anatomy scan was when we got the news. The tech look around and around on the screen, too long, I thought. I knew something was wrong then. I was already prepared for everything to go wrong, for the worst news, so it didn’t shock me when they couldn’t find a heartbeat. She even called in the doctor to have a look. He regretted having to tell us that the pregnancy had terminated. Yes, I thought, that makes sense. Of course this is happening.
I remember tears welling up in my eyes but becoming very matter of fact, numb, in shock perhaps. I asked, my body cold, my mind detached, “What do we do next?” The options were to be induced and deliver naturally or to undergo surgery and have a D&E, because it was too late in the pregnancy for anything else. I thought about it for few minutes while I got dressed. I didn’t think I could bear the duration of an induced labor. It would devour me, emotionally, gnash me up until I was nothing but a pulp. No, the option for me was a D&E. I would have to wait a few days though. They would have to put in some small toothpick-like devices a day in advance. I was ok with this. It was a far cry from going through a labor to deliver something already dead. This way I could zone out for a few days, be depressed and detached, and then get put under for surgery. When I woke up the whole thing would be over and I could go about my life.
The most horrifying part of the surgery came as they woke me up in the operating room. I asked, “Can I see?” because in my hazy state that seemed like a good idea. The nurse holding my hand said, “No dear, you don’t want that, it came out in bits.” I think my heart went cold, I started to cry, and to this day that thought still brings tears to my eyes.
The worst part of recovery was the blood. After surgery I bled, and bled, and bled. It seemed like it would never end. The pain would never end. It felt like I would be feeling the loss like a hole in my heart forever. On top of my normal issues, my hormones went nuts. My body was confused. I was post-partum but there was no part. What was it supposed to do? What was I supposed to do?
We told our close friends and family the sad news. Everyone wanted to do something but of course there was nothing really to be done. It’s just one of those things that happens, but that we don’t really talk about. And yet it’s an insanely common phenomenon. I think it’s something like 25% of pregnancies end in miscarriage in the first three months. Those are staggering odds. For something this prevalent, there should be a larger conversation happening. Miscarriage is a difficult experience, for me it was nearly fatal (later). But that is precisely why we should be talking about it. To learn that it is OK to feel grief, to mourn the creature that never grew, to express your feelings about that loss publicly without everyone shuffling their feet and not knowing what to say. There is something clandestine about miscarriage. We all accept that it’s there, yet we don’t prepare young women for it sufficiently and because people aren’t fully prepared, knowing what you’ll feel like after it happens, it is even harder to process than it needs to be.
I lost my mind after my second miscarriage. The post-partum hormones were devastating. We had shifted from the “safe zone” to “loss” in such a brief amount of time, I was still rebounding from the initial shock of it. I lost myself for a while. I didn’t really want to hear anything from friends or family because being comforted just reminded me that there was something wrong.
Eventually I couldn’t cope any more and wound up in the hospital. I was thinking about suicide constantly. It wouldn’t leave me for more than a moment. Every med combination we’d tried didn’t unbind me from the darkness I was mired in. This was the last hope. There I could safely try medications without the possibility of hurting myself. So we tried. It sort of worked, and it didn’t. I left finally and nothing was really better but it wasn’t any worse.
Even though everything was falling apart in my head, I opted to go ahead with wedding planning, and we set a date for the next July. I tried to wrap my head around the wedding. I made some decisions, I got a little bit in the spirit, but mostly I just felt broken. I wound up in the hospital a couple more times throughout the spring, and once very briefly about a week before our wedding. I was having issues with medications: nothing was working, the side effects were horrendous, and I had become a zombie. There was one point in every day that I simply could not keep myself awake. Taking 40mg of Klonopin every day on top of the rest of my cocktail was not helping foster a “cheery bride” demeanor.
We got married, I think. I was so doped up on Klonopin and severe depression that the whole thing feels like a dream. I remember most of it. I was living in a world of dissociation. I didn’t want anything to be real because I hurt so much. If everything was real I would just die, overcome by grief. Grief is a tricky emotion. It’s healthy and expected, but it suuucks. There’s no easy way to grieve a miscarriage. How do you properly grieve something you never even got to see or touch, but was so very real to you? How do you let go of the ideas of the future that you’d dreamt up? You grieve not only the loss of the creature but the future that you shared with it, the hopes you had for it, the family it would create. And the grief feels like being shot in the gut, over and over, every time your mind turns to the loss. Even now I have trouble writing words like miscarriage and baby because they are so visceral, so charged for me that they dredge up more powerful feelings of loss than I care to experience most days. So I refer to it by analogous, maybe metaphoric terms. It helps.
On some level I thought getting married would help snap me out of my depressive reverie. Instead I enjoyed our honeymoon, then returned to my isolated world of deadly emotions. I ended up in the hospital again. This is telling, but I do not remember when I did ECT. My husband and I think it was the spring of 2015. It was such a dark and gloomy time that neither of us remembers it very clearly. It hadn’t “kicked in” yet, though, by the time we got married. So back in the hospital, we tried again. Only this time was different. This time I wasn’t getting any better. This time, my 6th time in that ward in just over a year, I couldn’t be helped. They decided I needed long-term care. I had to involve my family, because I couldn’t finance it myself. But I didn’t want to go. I was done. I didn’t want any more. I was out of my mind with grief and frustration and anger and depression. So rather than allow them to send me away, I tried to kill myself. I broke my neck and my back, needed surgery to repair my shattered C5 vertebrae, and was in physical recovery for upwards of a year.
But I did not die.
For that I am mostly grateful. Sometimes when the grief sneaks up on me and shoots me in the gut, I wish I had died on the floor of that psych ward, just for a moment. But usually, with a future ahead of me, a mostly balanced mental state, and loving family and friends, I am grateful. Thankful that I didn’t lose my life to one moment of insanity. Thankful that I had the opportunity to learn that grief doesn’t have to be life-ending. Thankful that I had the chance to experience, even for a moment, the joy associated with being pregnant. Husband and I do want a family, but it is on hold while we pursue our independent academic and career goals. And mostly we still need to heal. Miscarriage leaves an invisible scar on both parents, even deeper when it is a late miscarriage like my second one. It takes time to recover.
My experience was more intense than most, I would imagine. Most people don’t suffer a miscarriage only to go on to try and commit suicide. No, most women experience a miscarriage and then carry on. They soldier through the grief because they have to. But not enough people talk about it. To that end, I have gathered stories from some women who were brave enough to share their perspectives. Most women wished to remain anonymous. Ideally, we could talk about miscarriage the same way we talk about any loss. With open minds and open hearts. But it is an understandably intimate subject and a lot of people don’t feel comfortable sharing it. It is compounded by the fact that we mourn something that never took a breath. I think one way to talk to someone who has experienced a miscarriage is to treat it exactly as you would any other loss. I know that everyone hurts differently, but I think we all heal similarly, and part of that is through true acceptance, in ourselves and from others. There is no easy retraction of a “We’re expecting” announcement. It simply…goes away. To those who already speak openly about this, brava. But to those who don’t, you can. And you’re not alone.
Story 1 – M.
After 5 years of marriage my husband and I decided to casually start trying for a baby. I say casual because the plan was to “see what happened” for a few months before starting to count cycle days or take basal temperature or any other “actively trying” techniques. My first month off the pill I was the walking embodiment of casual. I lived that month as carefree as ever–I didn’t even know how long my cycle was. It wasn’t until one weekend I went to the spa with my girlfriends and there was a sign warning that pregnant women should not enter the sauna that I uttered the words, “Well, I’m pretty sure I’m not pregnant.”
Sure enough the next morning I got a positive test. I couldn’t believe my luck! I woke up my husband at 5 AM and we had the happiest morning holding each other in bed, grinning ear to ear, and feeling so grateful for all the not trying we would get to do. Later that afternoon as I was leaving the office to confirm the pregnancy at my doctor’s office, I went to the bathroom to find blood on the toilet paper. My heart sunk. Panic set in and on my way to the doctor I tried to convince myself that this was natural implantation bleeding and that I would still get to hold on to the happiness I had felt that morning. On the ultrasound I saw the egg sack, confirmed the pregnancy, but I didn’t get to walk out with a printed picture. I walked out in fear. I walked out blaming myself for going into that sauna. I also walked out still clinging to the shred of hope that this was all normal.
Later that day the bleeding got worse and I ended up miscarrying. I was barely pregnant. If we hadn’t been “casually trying” I would have just thought I had gotten a slightly heavy period. Instead what I felt was guilt, devastation, and an incredible feeling of loss. In a matter of 24 hours, I had lost everything that I was so lucky to have gotten the day before.
I stayed home from work that day. Lay on the couch crying. In order to talk to anyone about it I would have to rehash the whole story. I ended up telling 3 people that day and have told more in the years since this happened.
That experience turned our “casual trying” into an intense active pregnancy mission. Thankfully, 4 months later I got the positive test. My experience meant the first few months of my pregnancy were full of caution and anxiety. I didn’t use that bathroom stall at work for about 5 months because I decided it was bad luck. Now I have a healthy and beautiful daughter who is almost 2, but that miscarriage stays with me. I have chosen to share my story not only to reduce the stigma of talking about miscarriage, but to act as a support to others who have miscarried and gone on to have healthy pregnancies after a miscarriage… both sets of women need the network and support of others who have been in their shoes.
Story 2 – Anonymous
Last summer, I miscarried at 17 weeks and experienced one of the darkest times of my life. Nothing prepared me for such undeserved violence. Despite being a philosophy major, I found myself re-grappling with age-old themes, namely: why do bad things happen to good people? There are no answers as to why and no road map on how to cope. You are left feeling guilty, ashamed, and in total despair without any sense of hope or purpose (your biggest sense of purpose has just been ripped away from your body!). I felt betrayed by the universe, by my body, and bitter towards every mother who didn’t know my pain. The best solace came from friends and coworkers who revealed their stories of miscarriage. Cliché as it was, feeling part of this club of loss made me feel less lost and personally assaulted. Reading this blog inspired and encouraged me to share my journal entry on my experience. I hope this helps others as much as I was helped by those who bared their souls to me.
I keep thinking about stats and probability. Without a belief in God, there is little else to cling to (through this experience has brought me both closer and farther from the concept—out of yearning for some higher purpose without being able to actually accept it). In retrospect, my life was so perfect before this happened. So perfect that you have to know at some point it will all catch up with you; it’s improbable to be that lucky. I had wonderful friends, a secure and just fine job, a nice little place, excellent health and physical fitness, and the most loving and devoted husband and dog. In fact, all those things still are here—minus the health snafu maybe—so I really don’t have anything to complain about in the grand sense of the cosmic universe. I’m not starving in Africa, missing family and limbs in Afghanistan, a victim of rape, or the leftover relative of a homicide victim. No, instead, I’m just a little down in my luck for the first time in a while. I’m just catching up with probability.
It still sucks though.
I started crying hysterically this morning. I even surprised myself a little bit. I hurried back as quickly as possible from the dog park, Teddy pulling on his leash, a bag covering my bleeding crotch. I ascended the elevator to my condo and slammed the door, screaming, “Fuck!” I was so angry and scared. I peeled off my shorts and underwear, revealing what I already knew to be true. Everything was soaked in blood. I cried fast and hard, a pathetic wail and gasps of air accompanying immediate tears out of swollen eyes. Why was this still happening? What exactly was happening? It had been over a week since my last bleed. Was I regressing? Again? And the sight of blood in my underwear brought up images of the still fresh wound—a month of checking my underwear for blood, fearing for the worst every time I snuck a peak. Those raw feelings poured out in atrocious, helpless sobs. Maybe I exaggerated a little bit so that Justin would hear and see my pain. See the blood. See what I have seen every time I performed the once mundane act of going to the bathroom.
Of course, Justin reacted appropriately. Better than appropriately. He approached with calm, acknowledged my pain, and said we would figure it out. I asked him to clean my bloody clothes. He obliged. He supported me without indulging my fears. I’m so lucky.
We officially lost the baby about a week and half before. We went to the OB for an ultrasound to check on the subchorionic hemorrhage (i.e. a bleed in my uterus). I watched as the tech moved her wand across my belly. The screen, which normally lit up immediately with contrasting colors and swirling movement, stayed basically still. She didn’t have to say it. No more baby. “I’m so sorry,” she eventually whispered. The rest was a blur. I believe I said something perfect, like “I knew it!” Justin started crying and holding my hand. I didn’t want that. I knew it! I knew the baby was dead before we even arrived that day. The night before, the day of, I somehow felt her absence. Of course, that was easy for me to claim with proof before my eyes; I could have been wrong. But that was not the direction our lives had gone. The baby was dead and I called it.
The tech ushered us into a different room to talk with an OB whom we hadn’t yet met. Dr. Prather was sympathetic and direct. She said she was so sorry for our loss, for meeting like this. I asked how it happened. Of course, they didn’t know, but I did have that big bleed. “You guys said that wasn’t a big deal!” I exclaimed, knowing the whole time of course, ridden with sleepless nights and anxiety at every turn in the torso, that they were placating me. “Well it was a really big bleed,” she answered, “we couldn’t do anything, so why make you worry?” It was a good point and not worth pausing over just then.
Dr. Prather went over our options as I sat on the exam table, legs shaking with anxiety, but no tears showing any remorse. She explained that a different hospital could knock me out and perform a D&E, remove the baby in pieces as I slept unaware. “YES!” Let’s do that! Get this thing out of me right away!” She then gave the only downside to this calloused little plan; I might need to wait several days and I would be with an unfamiliar set of doctors and hospital. She then gave me option number two: I could go into labor and deliver the dead baby. I looked to Justin and searched for answers. The upside to this second treatment? I could get lots of good drugs and start that night in this hospital with my doctors. I explained that I had no moral qualms about someone taking my baby out of my womb piece by piece, but that the urgency to get said baby out of my body was the priority, so option number two was sounding better. Justin knew this was the better option for numerous reasons and breathed a sigh of relief. He tried to make me wait the night, but I wouldn’t have it. This needed to be over right now. Let’s just get this done with and move forward immediately.
Of course, there is no moving forward immediately. This baby had grown inside of me for four months. She was with me every day, growing little baby feet and arms, little baby organs, and developing a little baby face; a face that at some point would have resembled a little bit of me and a little bit of Justin. She was a baby that we planned for and talked about with friends and family; a child that Justin would play sports with and I would be the perfect mom to. Somehow this was just all over—a finality I felt I needed some control over. Baby out of womb equals baby out of life.
The funny thing is, I miss being pregnant. Everything I hated about that miserable pregnancy, I now yearned for. I had shingles, morning sickness for a month, limited exercise, rationed access to alcohol and friends, a fattening body, a month of worry associated with the bleeding. And I wanted it all back. How stupid I had been! I was so lucky! I had a baby growing inside of me! Who cares what else I was going through? I would give anything to get it back and have it all go in a different direction. I wanted my baby back in my body. I missed my growing belly, stroking it with a sense of purpose—my little companion inside.
The bleeding started basically a month before I went into labor and delivery. I felt achy all night. I didn’t sleep well. And then around 6 am I awoke with a start, feeling liquid squirting out of my vagina. I ran to the bathroom. My fears were true—blood everywhere. “No, no, no, no!!!” I shouted. I yelled for Justin. He was dead asleep, unaware of what had befallen. I wiped and went back to the bedroom, dragging him into this new drama. I was losing the baby. Justin had just posted our happy announcement on Facebook two days before. I didn’t want him to—it was too soon. Something could go wrong. I wanted him to wait another month. Funny how right on I was. We called the doctor. She told me that bleeding sometimes happens, and only to go to the ER if I continued to bleed. I continued to bleed for the next hour. So we went. I didn’t feel any cramping, but I knew this was wrong. I was preparing myself for the inevitable news. Justin clung to hope by reading on the Internet about how bleeds can accompany healthy pregnancies. Sure.
We waited for three hours in the ER to get our ultrasound. The tech said that she wouldn’t be able to tell us anything, probably to avoid telling us about the loss. We waited for fifteen minutes as she swiped her wand inside my crotch and looked at her screen, snapping photo after photo. Eventually she turned the screen towards me and Justin and exclaimed, there is your baby, and there is the heartbeat. We cried. Baby was somehow still alive! She took more photos and pulled the speculum out of my vagina, covered in bloody pulp. But what was this bleeding all about?
I was wheeled out of the ultrasound room and back into the ER, where the Doctor told me about my subchorionic hemorrhage. He explained that there was a large bleed between my uterus and my placenta, a totally random phenomenon of unknown cause. He explained that there was nothing that we could do to fix it, that they sometimes heal on their own, but that if it got bigger, then I risked losing the baby. He told me to schedule a follow-up appointment with my regular OB the following week. I left feeling relieved. My baby was living to fight another day; we would get through this.
Looking back, I wish the baby had just died just then. Instead, mother and child clung to life for a month, mother worrying every day, child slowly loosing access to her food source. I stopped all exercise and improved my diet with Vitamin K products to clot my bleed. Not realizing the high probability of loss (was I that naïve?), I told people at work that I was pregnant, but dealing with some “complications” in order to work from home for a week. I soldiered on for a month, tethered to our apartment and to Justin, unable to do anything for myself, unable to have fun, to pee or sleep without worrying about the amount of blood on my pads. I was a frequent caller of the on-call OB, but each time was reassured that all would be fine. I enlisted the help of others to convince me of this fact. But the pit in my stomach remained. I knew.
The month of this stress was finally resolved in death. My calloused reaction to losing the baby, I’ve since been assured, was a normal shock reaction, sealed in trauma by the delivery. I went into labor that night of the fateful ultrasound. The nurse gave me the promised drugs—in the form of Ativan and an epidural. They inserted powerful pills into my vagina to induce contractions. I lay in the hospital bed, attached to multiple tubes, and for 20 hours my body worked to push the dead baby and its house out of my body. After hours of bleeding and the occasional doctor’s hand in my uterus, I was finally able to “give birth” in the afternoon of the following day. The doctor instructed me to push like I was going to the bathroom. Two shoves and the baby and placenta were out in one piece. Thanks to the bleed, this was relatively easy as the placenta had already detached before the labor.
Justin and I opted not to look at the baby. And we didn’t want to know the sex—at least not then. We reasoned that this distance would help keep the process less personal. As if that would help. Pain of attachment was spared at the moment, but the lasting result has been the same; we miss our baby.
They whisked the little body away and I didn’t look. Then I waited around for food (I hadn’t eaten in nearly a full day!) and for the epidural to wear off. The Ativan kept me chill—I hardly cried. I laughed, even, at my wobbly legs, which struggled to come out of their coma. Justin and I were finally allowed to leave the hospital 24 hours after we entered. We went home to eat, drink a little bit, watch Lost, and pretended none of this had ever happened.
The next day was a surreal mix of dullness and physical and emotional pain. I cried, I bled, my boobs swelled and ached with milk, my stomach seized in cramps. I started confronting the reality that my baby was gone, that all I had worked and planned for over the past four months was over. We quickly made plans to visit my dad the following week, to bring in new countertops (nothing like a fresh start!), and to tell our colleagues and friends in a series of impersonal, matter of fact emails: we lost the baby, we are sad, we will be out for a while. I received a prescription for Xanax and me and my trusty little side-kick sailed through the week, blind to what was supposed to happen next.
Two weeks after the morning of the re-emergence bleed, nearly a month after the loss, and I am still not fine. For some reason I thought I should feel better by now. I started counseling, worrying about slipping into a depression, or about the effect of this anxiety on the next pregnancy, should we be so lucky. It’s an unsolvable problem—you must try again in order to have a child, but trying again means opening yourself up to the possibility of another miscarriage, heartbreak. I still cry every day, have periodic flashes of anxiety, and hives sometimes pop up on my belly. I nervously check my underwear all the time (even through there is no baby to be worried about) and wear pads and tampons, just in case. I have irrational fears of loss and danger, convinced that I will lose Justin, that I will never have a baby, that I will die in a terrorist attack or a plane crash or in a building explosion. Anything is possible and likely now that I have had such bad luck with death.
The pain never really goes away, but rather becomes absorbed into part of your story—a new you woven from a refreshed narrative. My capacity for empathy has expanded and my perspective on what matters and what to be stressed over has changed. I’ve joined a club with millions of other women, which helps, but my grief remains my own.
Story 3: First comes love… then Marriage… but where’s the baby carriage?
by Jessica Caissie
Who knew getting knocked up was so difficult. I mean, when we started this “journey” we didn’t think it would take this long. I started writing this blog as a kind of journal, Dr suggested I start journalling to reduce stress and essentially, calm the f*ck down. This particular “entry” will probably be a bit too honest, and I’m sorry if it makes anyone uncomfortable.
For those who don’t know, Chris and I have been together since we were basically kids. 15 & 17. When we started dating I was pretty straight forward about never wanting to get married, I mean c’mon 50% of marriages end in divorce so why bother? 5 years later I’d changed my mind, I’d realized it’s not about how it might end, I wanted to share his name (corny, I know). We got married in August 2014, with plans on holding off on kids until things were super stable (job etc). It didn’t take long to realize we really wanted kids, and if you wait until it’s a perfect time, it will never happen. We started not preventing in October of 2014, and officially trying in January 2015. We never thought it would be hard, it was something we took for granted I suppose. Figured we were two young, healthy people and we’d get a bun in that oven no problemo. After 6 months we were a bit worried, but you can’t really get any Dr help or testing until you’ve been trying for a year.
At the end of May 2015 we found out we were pregnant. At this point we had been trying for 8 months. Everyone’s story about how they realized they were pregnant is different. For example, my friend found out she was pregnant while she was in labor, I shit you not. Best story ever. But, honestly, I never believed the “I just knew” shit, I mean c’mon, it’s like an apple seed at that point, how could you “know”?? But, I knew. I wasn’t even late but I took a test because I knew. I’d been to a friend’s sister’s rugby game that day in Saint Stephen, we’d been out in the sun all day and I’d ended up with a miserable sunburn. I know how normal that sounds but I DON’T BURN. In my current 25 years of existing I have had a sunburn twice in my life; once when I had my wisdom teeth pulled and was on antibiotics and demoral, and when I was pregnant. When I got home and saw how bad my burn was the first thing that went through my mind was “something is different, I don’t burn.”
I went and bought a test within 30 minutes of being home. Took the test and then sat there staring at it. Now, I know when you’re trying to get pregnant, and then you do you should be ecstatic but, I wasn’t. I was shocked, I even texted my friend and asked about the possibilities of false positives and sent her a picture of the test. She cried, I was still staring at it emotionless. Eventually, I went downstairs to find Chris and tell him “it says I’m pregnant” and HE was overjoyed enough for both of us. The happiness eventually showed up, in pieces though. Between the dizziness, headaches, insane hunger and feeling like I couldn’t eat enough to fill the void, and exhaustion. Don’t take this to mean I wasn’t happy about being pregnant, I definitely was, but I’m a bit emotionally stunted. I don’t deal with emotions the same way some people do. I don’t like hugs, I don’t tell people I love them often, I don’t express gratitude well and I don’t like asking for help. I don’t like being called sweety or having someone be really nice to me. If I do express these things to you, or get really sweet just act like I’m a little baby deer who is going to run off if you move too quickly and just carefully say thanks. Basically, I revert to humor as my emotion, and annoyance. So my happiness at being pregnant did eventually come, in spurts when I was looking at baby clothes, or imagining how we would tell our family and friends. At this point, we had told 2 people, and then I had to tell my boss because my Dr had 100000 appointments already scheduled. I came home after telling my boss feeling good, telling someone else made it a bit more real. And that’s when it happened. It was June 8th, I’d known I was pregnant for 9 days, and was 6/7 weeks along. And there was something wrong, I knew something was wrong 2 days before on Saturday. I just didn’t feel pregnant anymore, I wasn’t hungry or tired anymore, everything was gone. And I said so to Chris and Erin, something was different. They told me I was being paranoid, I was fine. Then Monday night I knew for sure it was happening and I told Chris we needed to go to the hospital NOW. Now, I will spare you the details but, miscarriages aren’t typically short sweet unpainful events. Imagine your regular period that doesn’t phase you, now multiply by 10 and add heartbreak and the loss of a future. We sat in the ER for 4 hours crying, before I was in too much pain to sit there anymore and we had to leave. We went back the next morning, to ensure I didn’t need a D&C and confirm the miscarriage. At this point, I think Chris had accepted it (ish) They bumped us to the top of the list after seeing I’d been there the night before and a Dr found us relatively quickly. You know it’s not good news when they close the door to the little room you’re in. The miscarriage was confirmed, and I was given the option to have a D&C or allow my body to do what it wanted to do, and I chose the latter. Sans pain meds, cause I’m a moron. Was put off work for a week and I sat at home for that week eating ice cream, not moving much and doing a whole lot of crying. Thankfully, I have an amazing husband who was nothing but supportive and understanding through everything.
We started Dr appointments again 2 weeks later, told everything should go back to normal and silver lining: easier to get pregnant after you’ve already been! (pretty sure that’s how my mom ended up with twins though sooo….) We learned that miscarriages are unbelievably common, 1 in 4 actually. 1 in frigging 4 women have to go through this. And there are no concerns unless you have more than 1, because they’re so common. Shouldn’t this be something we’re told when we start trying?? To know what we’re up against and it’s not always going to be rainbows and sunshine’s and onesies. To know it’s NOT YOUR FAULT. It’s nature, and it’s 25%.
We were given the go ahead to start trying again once we confirmed my cycle was normal again. We were also informed later that once you have a miscarriage/get pregnant, you need to start back over and wait another year before they’ll test you/ investigate. Awesome, So we would have to wait until June 2016 to find out more if we didn’t get pregnant this year either.In November of 2015, Chris got a job in Edmundston, NB and we moved him up here for the time until we figured out another way to do it. He came home Friday nights and left Monday mornings around 5am. No doubt the guy loves me, it’s a long drive at 5am. Especially for 10 months. You’d think that would put a kink in our trying but we made it work as best we could. Obviously didn’t work, 10+ negative pregnancy tests, and who knows how many ovulation strips, and millions of tears.
Right now the consensus is that I’m too stressed. That I want it too much (yeah I don’t know how to stop that part….) So I started this to calm my shit, to be less stressed. To want it less, take my mind off of the fact that I would give anything for my office to not be an office, but a nursery. I watch other people’s babies grow through my FB newsfeed and it cheers me up a bit, thankfully my friends tend to have pretty cute kids. And I drink some wine, though I’ll be happy when drinking wine is no longer allowed 😉
Story 4 in three parts – Patricia
To Eva and Max Valantin
A few months ago, I considered myself a ‘realist’ (pretty much a pessimist in denial of their somewhat negative outlook). I didn’t conform or give into any beliefs easily unless there was evidence. Faith was something I dropped on my journey to adulthood whilst facing challenging moments in my life. Hope went right along with faith and love started to become too sentimental. It corrupted logical thinking and often appeared temporary. It’s clear I was unlucky in that department so for me it partially became equivalent to the unseen big monster children fear once the lights are switched off at night, however during the daylight, playing monsters energetically with one another or adults is a favourite game that brings about the sweet sound of innocent and joyous giggles that could light up the darkest village with love.
I both feared and craved love but still I lacked hope. I didn’t see the use of it. Before one day the lights were switched off in my world and my big unseen monster caught up with me. Although it all happened so quickly, the intensity in the euphoric moments left unpredicted evidence I thought would last a life time.
As anticipated, the monster disappeared as soon as the sunlight rose but there was no atmosphere of the joyous laughter a child would bring left behind.
Realising I was alone and without any plans I found myself beginning to hope for a better outcome. For the first time as an adult I really wanted to believe in hoping as I had nothing else.
I took every day as it came just hoping to make it through with my sanity and counting down the weeks. The growing bump was a daily reminder that I wasn’t alone anymore. Even beneath the inconvenience of the unstable hormones, lack of appetite, vomiting, painful back and leg, constant toilet breaks, tight chest and the urge to nap every 3 hours I felt an overwhelming love I can never put into words so I won’t. I begin to hope even more. I had a hope list.
I hope I will be the best mother to you both.
I hope you’re not able to feel my panic attacks
I hope I get my driving licence sorted by March because you deserve more than public transport
I hope I love you both equally and if I have a favourite, I hope it never shows
I hope one of you is a girl and one is a boy
I hope the boy carries Sankara’s ideologies and the girl has the fight spirit of Nzinga
I hope your father comes around eventually because I didn’t want to do this alone, I miss him, you’ll need him and he will be a good dad.
I hope at least one of you has my smile so I can see what the fuss is about from another person’s perspective.
I hope none of you get my height
I hope you don’t turn out like those fatherless two-year-old who scream down the street in public and humiliate me because I might just walk off and leave you behind.
I hope the next scan goes as well as the last one
I hope you both have an immense impact on other people for the better and change their views on life as you did with mine before I’ve even set my eyes on you.
I hope I feel that love every mother speaks of when they hold their baby for the very first time.
I hope I can at least carry you up to week 35 and the stress doesn’t mess it up for me.
Week 18 and 7 days………….
After having life tragically taking you from me I am currently trying to accept that things don’t always turn out the way we want it to even when we have hope, but my little time with you have made me strong enough to carry on hoping anyway so my last hope is that one day you’ll come back to me so I can do this properly and smother you with all the love you have left in my heart because you made me believe in things I didn’t have to see. Having simply felt your existence alone was all my evidence.
I love you forever and a day more.
Everyone seems to think their apology will bring some form of comfort. It doesn’t, in fact it does the opposite. Because just when I’m able to think about eating, washing, sleeping or being able to walk perfectly fine again, I am reminded of my loss. My greatest loss and no sorry from anyone else is bigger than my own.
I’m sorry they didn’t make it.
I’m sorry they never got to hear me read to them.
I’m sorry they never got to experience my joy about their existence because I spent too long worrying about the inconveniences they have caused and the sacrifices I would make inorder to be good enough for them.
I’m sorry About my lack of excitement but rather irritation the first time I felt them move inside of me because all I wanted was some sleep after a long night of crying about the fears of raising two children by myself
I’m sorry I didn’t run to the doctors as soon as I leaked because I chose not to make a fuss over their safety and I’m sorry that when I chose to act it was too late.
I’m sorry I only realised just how much I wanted you until I was told I was going to lose you.
I’m so sorry the only moments I appreciated how precious you both were was on a hospital bed all alone trying not to move too much to avoid my water breaking.
I’m sorry because I don’t know how many things I can be sorry for anymore because I’m not sure why or how it happened. It just did so I’m sorry I can’t even explain to them.
Perhaps I’m sorry I didn’t eat healthy enough nor pamper myself more or exercised, maybe I didn’t walk enough, drink fluid, and read more on pregnancy
I’m sorry my last efforts just weren’t good enough to save them.
I’m sorry I couldn’t carry him and her full terms. I’m full of sorries so I don’t need anybody else’s. Keep your your sorries. My bag of apologies is full and I’m yet to empty them in this dreadful journey because it doesn’t matter how many sorries anyone else says. No one will be sorrier than me that I’ll never get to breathe the same air as my angels.
To the boy whose cry I never got to hear and to the girl whose smile I never got to see…..
I hope we meet again.