Trigger warning: miscarriage
January 28, 2019 was the day I got my positive pregnancy test — the best day ever. We did everything right: pre-conception doctor visit, vitamins, healthy diet, working out…you know all the adult-like things, including charting and OPKs (ovulation predictor kits) to make sure we had our best chance possible.
And guess what? It worked!
I was SHOCKED, truly more shocked than any other emotion, because I just couldn’t believe it happened so quickly (month one) and that my pregnancy test showed a positive so very early – at just over three weeks. My shock quickly turned to excitement, and Brandon and I shared the news with 8-year-old Maci – who cried the happiest tears I have ever seen. We were thrilled and our little poppyseed was due October 13.
Then, we decided to keep things quiet – it was early, and we decided to wait and share the news after the first trimester. The next couple of weeks flew by and it was pure joy – particularly the parts where Maci made plans for her new sibling and told us all about how she would dress her (wishful hopes for a sister) up and drive her around, though I was convinced he was a boy.
It was pure joy…until it wasn’t. On February 18 toward the end of the day I started spotting at work and everyone said, “Don’t worry it’s normal” — but it wasn’t. I knew my body felt different and something was off. The doctor called me in the next day to draw betas (for those who don’t know it measures the HCG level, the hormone you produce when you’re pregnant), and I saw the results before they called and was devastated. My numbers weren’t doubling as they should. A couple hours later, I went to the bathroom and the spotting had turned worse. I immediately called the doctor who told me to go to the ER. I cried, Brandon arrived, and I cried some more…and then we were shocked.
After hours in the ER, our baby had a tiny fluttering heartbeat of 110 beats per minute. I was even more shocked (not sure how that was possible), and we had a false sense of hope. My betas came back and had lowered within the day, crushing the little hope we had, yet leaving some glimmer of a miracle. The next day, I was lucky enough to work from home and the spotting slowed, and my hope again reappeared. But once again, the bleeding ramped back up the next day, sending us on a journey of calls with the doctor, trying to decide whether or not to go back to the ER, and then eventually letting reality set in and taking a trip to Target to buy pads and underwear that no one wants to deal with. Totally crushed.
Early the next morning, at our doctor appointment, we saw… well, not what we expected, but also not good news. There was our baby, its heartbeat slowly fluttering and pausing at only 90 beats per minute, in a shrinking sac – ultimately dying in front of our eyes and measuring less than the seven weeks I should have been. The technician apologized and explained that she had never seen this situation result in a healthy pregnancy, followed quickly by hugs from her and our amazing doctor who must have sat with us for 20 to 30 minutes explaining that it was nothing we did, and what we could expect over the next few weeks.
We were devastated. How can you do everything right and have this be the result? I know (I KNOW!), it is nothing we did, but that isn’t what you feel in the moment. We made an appointment to check back in with our doctor a week later, for an ultrasound to confirm the miscarriage and “hope” to see an empty, healthy uterus and dropping hormone levels. And then we went home.
I cried, we cried, and Maci cried the hardest. Then I was sad, angry, depressed and found myself in an emotional state I truly can’t even describe. I would go from crying to yelling to staring in the matter of five minutes and then that would repeat every hour. I shut everyone out. I did the bare minimum, went through the motions – and “luckily” it was the weekend, so I was able to grieve. We shared the horrific news and heard everything from “I’m sorry” (the only thing I could stand to hear) to “when are you going to try again?” (WHAT THE HELL!). Our friends sent us flowers and gifts, and we did our best to reach out to those close to us…as I dealt with my continued emotions with an incredibly supportive husband by my side. I thought, Okay, I can stay busy and push through this.
And then things got shitty – you know there are a decent number of things no one tells you about miscarriage – like what you are going to see. And I will leave it at that, BUT I saw things NO ONE SHOULD EVER HAVE TO SEE, which shocked me into another round of heartache and anger. Fast forward to the next doctor appointment, where we went in to see my empty “unremarkable,” as the test results showed, uterus. No baby, no leftover tissue, and what should be a fresh start.
But the thing is – I AM NOT THERE YET. Do I know I will be fine? Totally. Do I know things could be worse? Sure! Should I hug my healthy 8-year-old and thank god she is perfect in all ways? Of course. I will move through it, like the millions of other moms who have experienced the heartache too. For all the times I never knew what to say…. I get it now. There is nothing to say, other than I am so sorry for your loss.
To those who have stuck by my side, my therapist, and my coworkers and boss, thank you. One day, my hormones will adjust to some sort of normalcy and I will not be a person filled with grief, sadness, anger, resentment, and fear any longer. But for now, I am taking it a day at a time – and that is okay.
Remember that any loss is a loss – not just a “miscarriage.” Even at just seven weeks, he was our BABY, and we couldn’t wait to meet him.