Tonight I hug my son a little bit tighter and hold on to him with knowledge that he is a little miracle and such a blessing. So often we see pregnancy announcements on social media, yet rarely do we see pregnancy loss announcements. On my son’s second birthday it breaks my heart to share that he will no longer get to meet his brother or sister until they meet in Heaven. In Heaven, he will meet two other siblings and I cannot wait to hug and kiss them all. They will run and laugh together, while possibly playing with trucks with their big brother or perhaps they will play dress up and have a dolly. We learned today that our baby is no longer growing and we face the dreaded word again, miscarriage. We did not officially announce we were pregnant due to the circumstances. However, I am announcing the loss because I am tired of the secrecy of what happens to so many women.
Miscarriage. The scary and oh so common term that so many keep mute about, hiding their struggles because there is a stigma still attached to the term. It is a sad reality that is very common, so common that 10-15 out of 100 pregnancies will end in miscarriage (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists). Much like postpartum depression, many are scared, ashamed, and far too saddened to speak about it publicly. I understand. I have been there the past two times we experienced this loss. It is a private issue and I am in no way condemning those who keep it tucked away, that is your right and your own perfect way of healing. However, I feel the need to voice my experience and thoughts on the matter, so I can heal a little and share with other women so they know that it is OKAY to feel the way they do right now. The array of emotions and thoughts in your mind are very normal. This is also for loved ones who know someone going through this ordeal. Stand as a rock for those going through this pain. I hope to gather women together in this dark and sad time by sharing my experience. I cope by leaning on others during difficult times. You are not alone if you’re not feeling overly optimistic in this journey.
I am a blessed mom to a healthy two year old boy that loves trucks, running, climbing things, and his mommy and daddy. I find myself sitting here perplexed about so many things and the fact that I am even writing this now. I have a healthy child with no prior history of pregnancy loss, I should be able to get pregnant easily and have as many kids as possible right? Three miscarriages later, I realize it is not that easy.
I am a nurse and when I got pregnant with my son, I didn’t know much about ovulation, I was clueless. I had no understanding of what a OPK, TTC, LH, and all of those terms were that were thrown around on pregnancy forums. Fertility medication seemed like a foreign subject. I dreaded the wait to tell everyone about my pregnancy with Micah. I was blissfully naive and so fortunate I experienced a wonderful first pregnancy. However, now I have experienced three losses since the birth of my son and I know how hard it is to actually experience the initial joy of being pregnant. While waiting to find out if I would miscarry again, the past two weeks have been the longest, mentally taxing days of my life.
After each miscarriage you go through multiple appointments and lab tests to help determine the cause of your loss. Each time I have been told it was likely by chance but further testing will be done. Infertility is such a scary word to me, because dang it, I was fertile before all of this. I produced one child already, how can I be infertile now? Sadly, it’s not so simple.
All of this is difficult because you’re holding this secret in that you’re pregnant. You’re also holding in a secret that you’re possibly no longer pregnant. You’re not drinking coffee, you’re taking hormone therapy that is making you moody and bloated, you’re up all hours of the night, and for the love of goodness, you just want a glass of wine, but you can’t have it because you’re possibly still pregnant. You’re supposed to relax but you’re too afraid to take a hot bath, even though it’s considered safe, because there is a small chance you can damage your little baby. You’re told to keep exercising and keep on with your normal life, yet you’re hot, sweaty, and mentally drained from to not think about things, so you just want to curl up in a ball and go to sleep. You have a cold but you’re too scared to take even Benadryl because you don’t want to risk anything to harm the baby. You have waves of nausea but you blame it on the medicine, something you ate, or the prenatal vitamins. You’re too afraid to accept that your symptoms might actually be related to pregnancy. Then you have a few days where you feel awesome. No symptoms and your first thoughts are, “oh no. I’m getting ready to miscarry. My hormones are leveling out again.” It is an exhausting mental ballgame and you’re all over the place, while trying to keep it all in check and hidden under your normal self.
Meanwhile, your friend announces they are pregnant and you feel a tinge of jealousy. And then you feel horrible for not feeling immediate joy for others. You feel like a monster. Please know you’re not the only person going through this or feeling these thoughts. Your friends that know are asking, “how are you feeling?” You want to respond, “happy and pregnant” but you’re really feeling worried, sad, anxious, sick, conflicted, or lost. You want to browse baby items online and start designing your nursery, but you wait because you don’t want to get your hopes up. Facebook and other sites have figured out that you’re pregnant or were recently pregnant and start posting advertisements for cute maternity clothes. You get asked the dreaded question, “when are you going to start trying for more?” If you take away one thing from this post, for the love of all things, please STOP asking women when they’re going to start having kids, STOP saying it’s almost that time for them to have another, and just STOP with the suggestions. It is incredibly painful to hear the constant reminders that you are not following some undocumented timeline set forth by everyone else in your life.
So what is it that makes it so difficult to speak publicly about miscarriage? If you break your hand, you wear your cast proudly. However, with pregnancy loss we put that invisible bandaid on and just keep moving on. I hope by writing this that others will feel a sense of camaraderie and know they are not alone. While it helps to hear “there is hope,” it is not what you want to hear right now. You just want to know you are normal and your feelings are normal. I have been surrounded by so many wonderful people sending me kind messages, flowers, offering meals, and lifting us up in prayer. Lean on your community. You are not horrible for your thoughts and feelings. You are an amazing woman and you will get through this. So how do I heal? I love to grow things and I find that planting something, aka a new rose bush each time, helps me find comfort. I also talk about it. I write about it. I embrace the difficulty and the hurt feelings, with support and help from others. So lean on others and don’t hold it all in, we are all here for one another. Have courage and be strong. We are in this together!