Today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. I don’t really need a day to help me remember this part of my journey to motherhood. But I want to talk about it. Do you know that 1 in 4 women experience a miscarriage in their lives, and yet it’s still a subject that so many people are quiet about? And I wouldn’t have gotten through what I did without the help of other women who had also experienced the loss.
A few months before our first wedding anniversary, we decided to “pull the goalie” and try to get pregnant. Within a few months, we got our first positive on a pregnancy test! But in July, while I was up in Pentwater for our family vacation I started to bleed and later that day, I had a miscarriage. I remember coming down to the great room where my family surrounded me and prayed for me. I sat numb with a heating pad until William came up to get me. The doctor said it was just an early miscarriage for no real reason that they could detect. So while I was crushed, we started trying again immediately on my next cycle. I thought it would happen as quickly as it did the first time.
But we spent the next year charting and trying every cycle with no luck. Finally, after about a year my doctor said she was willing to try Clomid. After only one cycle on this and almost exactly a year after our first pregnancy, I saw this:I was cautious, but very very excited! A couple weeks later I went for my first ultrasound. I knew immediately but the tech’s face that something might be wrong. The doctor told me that she could only see a gestational sac forming, but that it might be too early for her to see anything else. The following week I went back for another ultrasound. This time there was a bigger sac, but still nothing in it. The doctor told me that I likely had a blighted ovum, but that she needed to check the following week to make sure. If you don’t know, a blighted ovum is when there is something that causes the embryo to simply not form, however the placenta doesn’t know and keeps growing as normal, so the body thinks (and acts) like it is carrying a healthy pregnancy when in fact there is no baby. I was puking and gaining weight.
The following days were tortuous and I knew that this wasn’t going to have a good outcome. My suspicions were confirmed at my next ultrasound. Still no baby and my body still thought it was pregnant. I was devastated. Not only was I miscarrying, but it had taken me over a year to even get here. And with no “actual” baby in the sac, I wasn’t quite sure how to grieve. I was given the option to wait to miscarry naturally or to have everything removed via an operation. I waited for 3 weeks for my body to do it naturally, but my doctor decided in my 11th week that I needed to have a d&c, since my body obviously had no idea that it wasn’t really pregnant. When I got home from having the surgery, not only did I feel empty and so sad, but I was in some of the worst pain of my life. And then I had to untell people. So many people either didn’t know what to say to me and it was awkward or they said the wrong thing that just made it worse.
So why am I sharing my story? It’s because when I was miscarrying, I felt so alone. I was sure that something was wrong with me and that no one could understand my pain. I was wrong. I confided in family and friends that I was miscarrying, and they began to tell me their own stories of miscarriage. I also went online and found a support group full of women in different stages of grief after their miscarriages. I got prayer. Lots of prayer.
I just want you know know that if you have miscarried or have lost a child, you are not alone. You are part of a club that no one wants to join, but once you are a member, the support is overflowing. I also wanted to give you hope. Mine is one of the stories that has a happy ending: My two losses are a part of my life story. It’s a story that connects me with many women in a way that I never would have had a chance to connect with. I will patiently wait to meet my two other babies. I know that they are with Jesus. Happy and safe and perfect.