Miscarriage: An Untold Story

GT: It was late one Monday night when I saw the name of an old friend popup on my email. I hadn’t spoken to her in years. I was excited that she was submitting a story to the blog. When I went on to read what she had submitted, her words filled me with emotion. I felt a ton of compassion, sadness, and empathy, but mostly - gratitude. I felt immensely grateful that she trusted me with her experience of having a miscarriage. I had seen close friends go through it and knew that it can be an isolating and grief-stricken occurrence. Just knowing that my blog has become a safe place for people to share deeply personal human experiences reminds my why I keep posting every week.

Our anonymous contributor hopes that sharing her story will help her heal and perhaps help others who are dealing with the same loneliness, confusion, and isolation. Definitely leave supportive and loving comments at the bottom of the article, especially if you can relate. <3

Visit to the Ultrasound Tech

    A pink sheet was laid across my bottom half and my feet were in stirrups. The ultrasound tech was probing me internally with the wand for an ultrasound to find the heartbeat of my baby. I was so focused on how uncomfortable I felt being probed in places women don’t want to be probed, that I forgot why I was rushed in spontaneously to see the tech. My appointment was just supposed to be my ten week check-up with the doctor.

The doctor had squeezed me in with the ultrasound tech to find the heartbeat of my baby when the mini-ultrasound equipment she had on hand in her room wasn’t finding anything. It was “totally normal,” she assured me.

A few minutes had gone by with the ultrasound tech when I realized she hadn’t asked if I wanted to hear the heartbeat. We went from chatting lightly, to an awkward silence. Her demeanor had changed from friendly to cold, and she wouldn’t make eye contact with me. She wouldn’t look away from the screen that projected my insides. I thought something may have been wrong, so I asked a vague question, already assuming she’d refer me to talk with the doctor instead of her.

“Is there something out of the ordinary?” which I realized was a dumb question as I said it. She replied, “Nope. Nothing out of the ordinary. You need to talk to the doctor.” What a waste of breath. That didn’t dismiss any of the worry that was building in me. My face flushed and my eyes were starting to water thinking that something bad had happened. I tilted my head up to try to prevent visible tears appearing.

I was quickly shuffled back into the examination room to wait for the doctor. She was taking a long time and the nurse came in to reassure me she’d be in shortly. I sent my husband a quick text that read: “I know I tend to think negatively, but I really think I am about to get bad news.”

The Heartbreaking News

After about 30 minutes, the doctor came in with a look of empathy, “There was no heartbeat.” My fears had become reality. Tears burst from my face as I sat down in the chair in the examination room. She awkwardly gave me a few pats on the back, “Is there anything I can do?”

Nope. Nothing you can do will fix this. I was angry and wanted to be alone in my car, not with this doctor who I had only met a few times.

After asking the questions I needed to, I ran to my car, trying to hold back more tears while sprinting out of the doctor’s office. Once I got back to my car, I resumed the sobbing. According to AmericanPregnancy.org, “the chances of having a miscarriage can range from 10-25%, and in most healthy women the average is about a 15-20% chance” though while I was crying in my car, I couldn’t think of a single woman who had a miscarriage. I felt so alone.

My husband rushed home from work to be with me and brought home my favorite wine and some flowers. He offered to pour me a glass, but I refused. I was still physically pregnant, bloat and all. Wine wasn’t going to fix a damn thing.

The following day I set up the next steps as instructed by the doctor. She informed me that a Dilation and Evacuation (D&E) was the best option as I was approaching the end of my first trimester at 10 weeks along. WebMD defines the procedure, “A D&E is done to completely remove all of the tissue in the uterus for an abortion in the second trimester of pregnancy.”

The earliest they could get me in was a week later. It felt like forever because I just wanted to get it over with so I could move on. I was nervous, especially since I had to be put under for the procedure. I thought having a friend over prior to the D&E would help. I invited a girlfriend over that knew from the beginning of summer that my husband and I wanted to start a family.

Unsupportive Friends

She knew I was pregnant from the beginning because she bugged me about it. At the start of the summer, my husband and I had a few drinks with the friend and her fiancé. I’ve always been more of a private person, and she’s always loved to tell everyone all the exciting things in her life. The drinks were flowing and she kept grilling me about when we were going to start a family. I eventually admitted that we were going to try, though I was hesitant to tell her. The less people that know the better, I thought. Turns out she was persistent in finding our plans out because she was going to try soon, too—even though they weren’t getting married for a few months. “It doesn’t matter to me if I get pregnant before!” she excitedly squirmed in her seat. “We should get pregnant together!”

Wow, what a horrible idea, I thought. “I’m sorry, but I am not committing to that.”

Confused, she leaned away from me and put her drink down. “…but why? What’s the big deal?”

“I can’t commit to that. One of us will have issues and then it will cause issues in our friendship.”

“Stop worrying,” she yelled. “It will be fine! I want to be pregnant with someone!”

I almost didn’t tell her when I got a positive pregnancy test. I really didn’t want to tell anyone yet, but abruptly she texted me, urging that I must tell her when I get pregnant, so I admitted that I already was.

Back to the D&E; I had her over the weekend before my procedure. I made a bunch of appetizers and opened a bottle of wine—after all, I could technically drink again. I was uneasy about the procedure I had to face and wanted a friend by my side. We talked about it lightly, but mostly talked about her. Not exactly the vent-sesh I had hoped for. After she was a few drinks in, she started complaining about how she hadn’t been able to conceive yet. “It’s so annoying taking my temperature every morning to try to see if I am ovulating!” She moaned.

Steam was coming out of my ears. “Excuse me?!” I screamed. “I have to get a baby suctioned out of me this week!”

All she slurred was, “Touché.”

Aftermath of Attempted Healing

Finally, I had the D&E procedure. It was invasive, and annoying. I bled for two weeks after. Then just when I felt normal, I started bleeding again. Then I got a spontaneous cold, which led to an annoying sinus infection comparable to being punched in the face. To treat the sinus infection, I was on antibiotics. Then GUESS what, the antibiotics caused a yeast infection. Fan-fucking-tastic. I felt like I was being kicked when I was down. I didn’t feel physically normal, and I didn’t feel emotionally normal.

Emotions were high. Social media is the worst when you are trying to get away from something. It remembers your search history. Every website has cookied the shit out of you so they can sell you crap they think you need. Facebook still shows me ads for maternity clothes. Pinterest still shows me cute baby rooms. Instagram still shows me fit pregnancies. When I deleted my “What to expect when you’re expecting” app, it asked me if I need to report a loss. An application was trying to console me for my loss. An application. If I didn’t worry about my phone breaking it would have been thrown across the room.  

I thought the next best thing was to return my maternity clothes. My husband thought I was crazy, “cmon babe, you’ll get pregnant again!” I felt the need to get rid of crap I didn’t need and get my money back. I definitely didn’t need a shirt that had room for a belly and said “We’re adding a pumpkin to our pumpkin patch.”

When I went to return it to the maternity store, the cashier asked me why I was returning the shirt. After I told her I didn’t need it, she asked why I no longer needed it. Can you use your brain for a minute lady? I felt like screaming at her. Though instead, I remained collected and I told her I had purchased it for a friend who already had the same shirt.    

It was really hard physically and emotionally healing at the same time. My doctor encouraged me to open up to family and friends when I met with her again. I wanted to open up, but I didn’t want a pity party and those close to me never said anything that made me feel better. I didn’t tell many people; my dad still doesn’t know anything. I wanted to tell family and friends in a fun way and was waiting for the right moment.

Every time I tried to open up to family again, they always said things that made it worse. Granted, they don’t know what it feels like. They’ve only heard. Like folk tales. No one talks about it, so they only have one story tucked in the back of their mind of this one person they heard who had a miscarriage. Telling me about your friend’s sister’s roommate’s cousin who you think had a miscarriage doesn’t help.

I opened up to someone close to me— she was like a sister to me, and she said, “Maybe you were too stressed and that is why you lost it.” IT had a heartbeat and IT was my baby. Telling me I am too stressed and I was the reason the baby left wasn’t helping in the slightest. Thankfully, since this woman is so close to me I immediately told her how upset her comment made me and she realized how vulnerable I was. She apologized a million times after.

It wasn’t until I was drunk and sobbing in my mother in law’s car that I actually completely opened up to someone. She told me that her sister had 11 miscarriages. E-LEV-UHN. I couldn’t imagine. I had a heartbreak after one. I realized I could have it much worse. My mother-in-law’s sister’s story has a happy ending and I just need to wait for mine.

Lessons Learned

When I was pregnant, it was the best feeling in the world. I am sure it had something to do with all the hormones, but I felt like I was on cloud nine. Even when I was frustrated with a coworker, I still had a smile on my face. It was a natural high. I floated through my days and I didn’t have a worry in the world—besides not being able to have cold cuts. I actually missed cold cuts more than wine.

I’m normally timid and nervous around important people in my company, but I wasn’t any longer. I was growing a life inside of me. I felt like I had a higher purpose. My body was doing something amazing and I realized how trivial everything else was that I worried about.

When I was pregnant, I cared about what entered my body. I cared about exercising. I cared about treating my body the way it should be treated. Reflecting, I realize I shouldn’t just care about my body while it's growing a life. Right now, it already hosts a life—my own. I need to take care of it now so when I get the chance to carry a new little life with me, I can be the best I can be.

I was initially nervous to reach out to Ginelle and ask to submit a story. I am so thankful that she agreed and allowed me to post on her site. Submitting this story to her has had a cleansing effect. I am not crying every day anymore. I am not hiding tears and hiding in the bathroom when a friend asks when we are hopping on the “baby train.” I am not bitter when a family member bugs my husband and I about having kids soon. Getting my story out without interruption and judgement has helped me move on.

Ladies, we need to talk about this! I hope with this post that you can help your loved one when they have a miscarriage or if this ever happens to you (which I hope it doesn’t), please know that you are not alone. Miscarriages suck and it’s okay to talk about them. We need to raise awareness that this happens, and it doesn’t need to be swept under a rug.