Miscarriage - The Loss of Our First Baby
My last post was about the wonderful experience I had birthing my son. This post is about the complete opposite of that experience: miscarriage. Most of our friends and family are unaware of the fact that in late 2011 we suffered a miscarriage. It was single-handedly the hardest thing I have had to go through. Here is that story…
Tyler and I had decided to start trying to get pregnant in January of 2011. We had been married for just under a year. I knew it would take a while so I wanted to give us time. We became pregnant the end of July. I don’t even remember now how we found out we were pregnant. I know I bought the most expensive pregnancy tests I could. I know I questioned the sticks’ results and kept going back to look at them just to make sure, but I don’t remember how many days late I was when I took the test or even what time of the day it was. I barely remember how I broke the news to my husband. The only thing that really pops out in my mind is that I was surprisingly nervous. I was almost upset with the positive result. I couldn’t explain it but my reaction didn’t seem right to me.
I had just finished a round of antibiotics that are not safe for use during pregnancy. The doctor at the walk-in clinic— where I had gone because it was a weekend— asked me if I was pregnant. I said, “no,” because at the time I wasn’t aware of the fact that I was. He did a urine test and the results came back negative so he put me on the medication. A few days after we learned of the pregnancy I experienced some spotting. Of course, I called my gynecologist right away. The doctor had me come in and did an early intrauterine ultrasound. I was just 5 weeks pregnant and everything looked normal so I was referred to an O.B.
Tyler and I joyfully went to our first O.B. appointment. It was pretty standard. I remember the waiting room was cold and silent. The appointment was quick and while the doctor was nice she was obviously in a hurry. They did all of their normal procedures and scheduled us for a “standard” 9-week ultrasound.
The day of the ultrasound I was very uneasy. I can’t say that I knew something was wrong but I can say I was scared. When we arrived at the appointment they escorted us into their ultrasound room. When the doctor came in she brought the image up on the screen. I was watching her face for some reason and I could tell that she wasn’t seeing what she had expected. I knew from the Internet what the image should look like and my baby didn’t match what I had seen online. Tyler hadn’t known what to expect and excitedly said, “there it is,” a perfectly normal response. I believe I immediately and timidly said, “no.” Then the doctor told us she needed to bring someone in for a second opinion.
When she came back with the other doctor they confirmed what I had already known; our baby wasn’t healthy or alive. Our precious little baby had stopped growing around 6.5 weeks. We were then taken into a little office and sat across from another doctor to discuss having a D&C. They told us we had the option to wait 2 weeks to see if the miscarriage would happen naturally. We took the offer.
I was hoping it was a mistake, that they were wrong. I went home and read stories about miscarriages that had been misdiagnosed. I gave myself the slightest bit of hope but when we returned for our follow-up the same diagnosis was made and the D&C scheduled.
The first car ride home was miserable. I still remember driving the 40 minutes home and crying the entire time. I remember feeling my lowest on the interstate on-ramp. I don’t know why but for me that was supposed to be a happy moment, speeding home to tell our friends and family that we were having a baby. Instead, it felt like loosing control, like failing, like driving into nothingness.
Tyler was my rock. I know he was heartbroken but he was there for me, and he showed me that I had chosen the perfect husband. He was my hero. As I was falling apart he was making dinner and doing dishes.
My D&C was scheduled for a weekday. It was an outpatient procedure done at the local hospital. I had never had surgery before, besides my wisdom teeth being taken out. When we arrived I was checked in and taken to the back, T had to stay in the waiting room until they had my IV in. He came to my little cubby surrounded by curtains and sat with me until they were ready. The surgery only lasted a short time. It was very surreal for me. In movies you always see the person being rolled into surgery, and you are shown their perspective of the lights going by above them. They are rolled into the operating room and the big round light is placed overhead just before they dose off. It was just like that.
The recovery was fairly quick and easy, physically. The mental recovery was a little more difficult. I hadn’t realized how attached to someone you don’t even know you can become. I also didn’t realize how many people I knew had experienced miscarriages and how few people actually talked about them. I had coffee with a really good friend shortly afterwards. She revealed to me that she too had had a miscarriage and just knowing that she understood made things easier for me. Experiencing a miscarriage is a unique feeling; it is one of those things you only truly understand once you experience it.
I have only told my close friends and family about my miscarriage until now. Another close friend of mine wrote about her experience on a blog she writes, her honesty inspired me to open up about my story.
As strange as it sounds my miscarriage changed my life for the better. It was a low that I rebounded from. It showed me that life is about living your dreams and chasing your goals. It taught me to appreciate everything, everyday and go for the gold. During the few weeks that we had known about the pregnancy I had been so worried about becoming a parent that I had forgotten to appreciate it.
With my second pregnancy, the one that gave us our G-man, I handled things differently. Instead of buying the most expensive test I took a dollar-store test. Instead of worrying about my potential parenting skills I just ran and woke up T to tell him the good news. I was excited from the very first moment. Knowing what happened the first time— and not wanting to jump the gun by telling extended family and friends— gave T and I twelve weeks of private pregnancy bliss. Only the closest family members were told prior to that mark. We got to have our own little secret; our time to dream and plan. I will forever cherish those weeks.
Our miscarriage had given us the time to explore our birthing options. Without that first experience Graham’s birth would have never happened. We wouldn’t have had Graham. Yes, we would have had another amazing child but we were meant for Graham and he was meant for us. I was meant to be pregnant at the same time as my sister-in-law, giving birth only 8 days apart. I was meant to have a January baby. I was meant to have a home birth. I was meant to know the sorrow of miscarriage and ecstasy that comes with a healthy pregnancy.
I was meant to have a rainbow baby.