the silence of miscarriages
"The only source of knowledge is experience". - Albert Einstein
I've tried to live my life honestly and truthfully. I only give advice when (a) asked for it and (b) based on my personal experiences.
Miscarriage, unfortunately, is something I experienced twice in one year.
The first time was really a fluke. We weren't trying but we also weren't avoiding it either. And just like that, it happened. I was shocked, scared, emotional, happy, uncertain, shocked, happy, panicked, unprepared. Did I mention I was shocked?
All of a sudden, you're preparing for this life that is happening and thinking about how your life is going to change. When do I tell my employer? What can I eat? Should I exercise in the 1st trimester? How much should I exercise? Is it safe? Not to mention, Google became my best friend and my worst enemy (FYI, I highly recommend NOT Googling everything because honest to god, it will scare the shit out of you).
But that's just my honest opinion.....based on my experience of course.
Then we started to get excited for this next chapter in our lives. I've never seen Nate light up the way he did. He was truly excited because fatherhood was something he so greatly desired and we knew that we wanted this together. We were already in it for the long haul, and I couldn't have chosen a more supportive man to have a child with.
We did everything we thought we had to - multiple blood tests, doctors appointments, ultrasounds. You name it, we did it. I just started to see my body as this temple creating another human being and felt compelled to wrap myself up in bubble wrap to protect me from everything! I felt that sensitive and vulnerable because it dawned on me that I was creating a HUMAN BEING. Talk about shock. No one ever really tells you that or its hard to imagine until you're actually experiencing it yourself.
Then it happened. I went for my dating ultrasound at (what should have been) 9 weeks and there was no heartbeat. I was completely caught off guard because although I knew it was a possibility, I didn't think it would happen to me (seriously, this really did go through my mind).
But it did. I was shocked and not quite sure how to react because it didn't feel real, then I felt saddened. Then the blame happened. What did I do to make this happen? Was it something I ate? Drank? Did I exercise too much? The blame was ever so present in my day to day. And I was alone. Nate and I were still living in different cities at the time and I just felt like I was completely alone in this, although I wasn't. After the fact, it dawned on me that it was just as hard for him as it was for me and hard for him not being there. He still felt so much guilt for not being by my side. That was probably the toughest for me.
How I decided to deal with my loss before, during and after all the medical stuff you need to go through, was to talk about it. It's really the only way I know how because I'm naturally an extrovert and I tend not to bottle things up inside. Its just my nature. I look for the support and healing by talking about it and luckily I had the support system around me to do so.
What surprised me was when I honestly, freely and willingly talked about my miscarriages, I often got this reaction of "holy cow, is she really telling me this?" followed by "whew, finally someone is talking about it" then followed by "I've have a miscarriage(s) myself."
The second time we experienced a miscarriage, I was very guarded and kept telling myself that another miscarriage is a possibility. We didn't tell anyone for obvious reasons because I didn't want to re-live the heartbreak of telling people if I miscarried again.
I went for my first dating ultrasound (oh so nervous, with sweaty palms pacing around the waiting room). Then it happened again. I should have been 10 weeks along but I had only made it to 7 weeks. I think Nate was more upset about this one because he felt this was actually going to happen. It broke my heart to see the sadness & disappointment in his eyes. But once again, we were there for each other every step of the way and I couldn't imagine going through this with anyone else. These two unfortunate incidents made me fall in love with him all over again. He was the one I wanted to experience everything with. The good, the bad or the ugly.
In light of all of this going in my life last year, I just happened to stumble upon a few articles on miscarriage, and really how a lot of women just don't talk about them. The first one I read was this article in the NY Times and it was an honest look at what women go through when they miscarry. And then I read this article in The Boston Globe on why we need to talk about miscarriages. Even Mark Zuckerberg wrote a heartfelt post about their past miscarriages. I felt like all of a sudden because I had gone through this tragedy and was open about it, it was everywhere. And Mark hit the nail on the head - it is truly a lonely experience no matter how many people are around you. Talking about my loss, being honest and vulnerable helped in the healing process. I personally was more encouraged when other women just opened up about their past experiences - good or bad. And knowing that most went on to have healthy, happy pregnancies instilled more confidence in me that it will happen for us when the time is right.
Here's what I did learn through both these tragedies:
- I'm VERY fortunate that I can even get pregnant. Many women have a far bigger struggle ahead of them when they cannot even conceive.
- I have THE most supportive fiancee who was with me every step of the way and kept me smiling, not to mention, optimistic throughout. When someone is at the hospital with you post surgery, when you're at your weakest and look your worst, and they just smile at you like you're the most beautiful creature, THAT is love.
- I have THE most unbelievable family and group of friends who also supported me through this and allowed me to talk about it. More importantly, they listened with open hearts.
- I was proactive and did my due diligence - finding out medically what I could to make sure everything was a-okay. I eliminated the things I had control over and learned to embrace the ones I did not.
- You just have to leave it to fate and the powers-to-be. Timing is everything.
- I'm healthy.
- I will be a mother one day, and a damn good one.