I’ve been struggling with how to write this post, or even whether to write it at all. Should I write it just for me, or write it to share? And I’ve decided to share it because this type of loss is something that is all too common among women, and I feel like we just don’t talk about it enough: I have had two miscarriages in the past year.
Andrew and I have been very lucky with our pursuit of expanding our family. Griffin and Maggie were conceived and birthed with very few complications. Two for two made us confident in the decision to try for a third, albeit a little more cautious considering our ages (I am 37, Andrew 42).
Miscarriage number one happened in March. I knew it was a statistical probability, but when it actually happened, I was a little stunned. It was still early in the pregnancy (I should have been around 8 weeks), and I was just starting to wonder about the baby and how it would change our family. After we found out the pregnancy wasn’t viable, I mourned the loss of a possibility more than an actual baby, and told myself to feel thankful for the two healthy kids we already have, feel thankful that I didn’t lose a baby later in pregnancy or at birth, or god forbid, lose a living child. I truly was thankful for all of those things, AND there was still a sense of loss that was greater than I expected. Much greater. It really threw me, including making me question whether we really should try again for a third child. I struggled with rocking the boat of the good thing we’ve got going on with the four of us, whether I wanted to risk going through a miscarriage again, how far I would be willing to go for another child…
In the end, we decided to try again. I got pregnant again at the beginning of August. The estimated due date would have been Andrew’s birthday in April, and we joked about how it seems like we’re destined to have all of our babies in April (Griffin’s birthday is April 8th, Maggie’s is April 24). I hoped the baby could wait until May, just to make life a little less crazy in April. I was relieved that this pregnancy felt different from the last: I had nausea, I was exhausted, and just overall, felt more pregnant than the last time. Then I had an early ultrasound, and the dating showed us off by about two weeks. This was a bit of a worry to me, but there was a heartbeat, so I clung to that. Then, three weeks ago, I began to bleed. We found out a few days later that this pregnancy was also not viable. I should have been 11 weeks.
I am mad. I am disappointed. I am weepy. I feel a little broken. I wish I had some answers. I am holding my two kids, whom I adore, adore, adore (even when they’re driving me nuts), tighter and making sure they hear me say, “I love you,” all of the time. I am marveling at the wonders they are, and thankful for the relative ease with which they came into our lives. I am in awe of how other women do it: those who keep on trying and do not succeed, those who lose their babies later in pregnancy or shortly after birth, those who lose their growing babies or children. This LOSS. It is deeper than I ever knew possible. To be attached to a being who doesn’t even exist yet feels so strange, and yet, there it is. There is truly no amount of logic that can explain the sadness of losing the idea of what could be, especially in the face of the richness that I already have.
There are many ways that people explain or deal with this type of loss. Many people take comfort in the idea that their unborn children wait for them in the afterlife. I respect that belief, but I do not believe in divine intervention, heaven, or an afterlife. What brings me comfort is the idea that women have held this loss before me. They have held it, grieved it, and pass on the knowledge of the struggle to me. I have met a lot of women since revealing I have had a miscarriage who have this knowledge, and while I don’t think it should define us, it is a part of who we are. This kind of knowledge deserves to be shared, whether it is a quiet acknowledgement or detailed processing with friends or family, I encourage people to talk. I hope it helps.
This post was written as a way to talk about my miscarriages, and I had started writing it before the second miscarriage had passed and completed. (For those unfamiliar with miscarriage, it generally takes a few weeks to pass, from the start of bleeding to the end.) This second time around, I did pass most of the miscarriage naturally, but unfortunately, not all of it passed cleanly and I started to hemorrhage in the middle of the night. This resulted in a large amount of blood loss and a visit to the ER. While in the ER, as I was being assessed, I suddenly started going into hypovolemic shock (shock caused by an excessive loss of bodily fluids). It was the scariest event of my life, and for a few incredibly terrifying minutes, I felt like I might die. Thankfully, the ER team at HCMC stabilized me quickly, and with fluids and a procedure to stop the bleeding, I was discharged to go home six hours later. This fact, that I was in serious medical distress at 5am and discharged on my own two feet by noon, continues to baffle me. Luckily, I did not need a blood transfusion, but I am anemic and have been slowly recovering with lots of rest, nutritious food, iron supplements, and TLC from family and friends. Frankly, my ER experience has eclipsed my feelings about the pregnancy loss. The potential for loss had I not gone in to the ER has haunted me the last couple of weeks, and I have spent a lot of time feeling grateful for trusting my instincts to get medical help when I just didn’t feel right, grateful for the support network we have, and most of all, deeply thankful for my life and three of the most important people in it.