I never envisioned launching my blog like this– In fact, I thought my first post would be discussing something very different, indeed. But my intention with this project is to be as real and honest as I can be and to write from where I’m at... So here goes:
I had a miscarriage.
There, I’ve said it. Up until this point I’ve texted and emailed and softly uttered between tears or in a hushed voice the weak euphemism, I lost the pregnancy, more times then I can remember or care to count because when I was getting close to the coveted “three month mark” I started telling everyone that I was pregnant. Even as my body was letting go and showing the undeniable evidence of the loss, I couldn’t bear to say it... even to myself.
For years I was on the fence about parenthood–about my desire, or for long stretches... lack there of–to become a mother. My husband too, our timing and inclination to “go for it” never seeming to match. But when I turned 34 something changed for me and I broached the subject again. It landed this time, for both of us. We pulled the goalie and went to work...
The next month, two parallel lines confirmed my already knowing body’s wisdom.
We were excited and terrified. We decided not to break the big news quit yet... but by the end of the week our close friends and parents all knew.
My body started to change and my belly grew. I bought a pair of maternity jeans and craved fried chicken with a fierce vengeance. I attended prenatal yoga classes and was even getting accustomed to running to the bathroom at a moment’s notice. The first few trips to the doctor’s office went well and it felt like our hardest decision was going to be what color to paint the small office we had already began calling the nursery.
Then I woke up and saw the blood. I was 12 weeks and two days pregnant, it was a Monday. I phoned the doctor on call and she calmed me down– she seemed certain it was nothing to worry about– a normal outcome following the sex session my husband and I enjoyed the day before. She sent me into the office just for reassurance. I felt so confident everything would be fine that I told my husband not to come, that I’d be back within the hour.
Instead, I laid there, trying to breathe and listening to the booming silence as my doctor searched for the heartbeat. I knew something was very wrong when she asked if I could drive across the city for a immediate sonogram.
Again, I laid back and tried to breathe but my breath stalled completely when the screen and the sonographer’s face showed no sign of life.
I heard pieces of her kind but practiced words: still inconclusive, blood tests needed, very normal, nature’s way, a missed miscarriage, you’ll get through it, it is a good sign you were able to get pregnant...
The next twenty-four hours are a blur... I cried with my husband and hugged my parents and texted my friends.
When the second round of blood work came back the worst was confirmed and I had to decide if I wanted to let nature continue to take its course or schedule a procedure to clear out what remained. I felt paralyzed by the choice. I called a dear friend who experienced the same impossible decision a year ago, her words were gentle and caring, as she shared the details of her story with me.
The surgery was set to happen in two days– giving time, I secretly hoped, in case my body wanted to let go on its own– which it did. It started slow–like the monthly bleeding every woman is accustomed to by 16–but then it became something else. It was scary and messy and sad and cathartic. It continued through my sobs and wails and even through the laughter when a brave friend dropped by. It continued as my husband held me and my mother cried. It continued in the car to the hospital and on the bed in the pre-op room... and then that part was done.
I woke up from surgery and cried a little, not knowing how to feel but certain that I had to be gentle with myself as I attempted to mend.
I’m finding that there is no ritual, no roadmap for moving through this so I’m using the tools I have: I’m getting to my yoga mat to move, I’m sitting still, I’m crying when I’m sad, I’m letting myself laugh if something strikes me as funny and I’m talking about it when I have the words.
I didn’t expect my pregnancy to end like this. But what I’m learning is that I’m not alone. As I continue to share my own story others chime in... women (and few men)– some who I’ve known for years, start telling me a tale so similar to mine I could fill in the blanks for them. These people– my colleagues, mentors, friends...a few strangers– including the anesthesiologist who put me under– and even members of my own family are part of this strong chain.
I don’t know if I’ll go on to have a baby but I now know so many others who have lived this loss (some multiple times) and have become parents and some who haven't... but they’ve all moved on.
What I do know in this moment is that hearing other’s accounts is what is getting me through these hard days and this is why I’ve chosen to share my own experience as I become part of this circle of healing.