This year I’ve been very open about my miscarriage(s) and will continue to be as transparent as possible. Countless women have sent me messages thanking me for being so honest because it’s made them feel not as alone during their loss. So many women suffer in silence and hopefully, they can find solace in my story.
It happened again.
Last Thursday I headed to my first midwife appointment at 13 weeks. At the end of the appointment, you get to listen to the heartbeat on the doppler. After having a loss this past February at 19 weeks, I had been nervous about this part.
Here I was laying in the same spot as last time, praying my midwife would find the heartbeat.
Jackson was with me and was so excited to hear the baby. He held my hand and gave me a thumbs up with a big smile, “Good job, mom.”
We waited. And waited.
After 20 minutes of trying to find the heartbeat, my midwife suggested I go for a viability ultrasound that afternoon.
Overwhelmed with fear, I headed to the ultrasound clinic for my quick appointment and was told, “Your midwife will follow up with the results.”
An hour and a half later I received the same phone call I had six months prior.
“Unfortunately, it’s not good news. Your baby didn’t have a heartbeat and most likely died this morning or yesterday. But there’s more…and it may be hard to hear.”
I was preparing for the worst.
“Your baby has a birth defect called gastroschisis which means the intestines are on the outside of the body. And this part might be more upsetting…the baby was missing its right arm, too.”
I felt like I was in a nightmare that I couldn’t wake up from.
I listened to the midwife talk through my options and next steps. She suggested a dilation and curettage surgical procedure (D&C). I agreed since I didn’t want to have to go through induced labour like last time. I also didn’t want to wait for it to happen naturally because it can take weeks. I wasn’t emotionally ready for that.
Since my baby was too big for a regular D&C, my midwife tracked down one of the two obstetricians in our area that can perform the one I needed. I got in to see him the next day. He suggested the induced labour because there was less risk than a D&C. Confused, and starting to feel guilty for wanting a D&C, I agreed to the induced labour.
I walked back to the car and Frank asked how I felt about what had been decided.
I didn’t feel good.
I still haven’t recovered mentally from the last induced labour I had at the hospital. Every day I replay the horrific experience in my head over and over.
Frank suggested I go back in and ask for the D&C because my mental health was the most important thing right now. I was relieved and thankful he spoke up and gave me the courage to go back in and ask for what I knew was best.
The D&C was scheduled four days later on Tuesday (yesterday). We told our family and close friends who checked in with me over the course of the weekend. Tuesday came and Frank and I headed to the hospital.
I was admitted, changed into my gown, and waited in a hospital bed for my 2:30 PM surgery. When the time came, I was wheeled in my bed to the door outside the operating room. As the cheerful nurse verified my information, I began feeling incredibly anxious and overwhelmed.
I held back crying as I situated myself on the operating table.
As they started strapping my arms down, the sadness I had been working hard to keep inside came bursting out. Hot tears streamed down my face and I tried my best not to start hyperventilating. The last thing I remember before going to sleep was the nurse holding my hand while she wiped my tears away.
I woke up an hour later in recovery to another nurse checking my vitals and placing warm blankets on my shaking body. I still had tears in my eyes. She told me everything went well and I would be okay.
Every nurse I interacted with before and after my surgery was not only incredibly kind but also shared their own story of pregnancy loss. One nurse told me about her sister who had two miscarriages and now has two healthy children. Their stories made me feel comforted, hopeful, and not so alone.
While the physical recovery from a D&C is only a few days, I know I have a long journey of healing my mind and body ahead of me.
I think I rushed into getting pregnant after my last miscarriage in February. I thought seeing those two pink lines again would take away my grief and sadness. It didn’t and was one of the lessons I shared in last week’s blog.
I don’t think I was physically, mentally, or emotionally ready for another pregnancy.
For the next year, I’m going to be focusing on deeply healing my mind, body, and soul. As the months go on, I’ll make sure to share what I’ve been doing in all of those realms. When I feel healthy and stable, we’ll try again for the rainbow baby that will complete our little family.
It happens to women every single day.
Ethnicity, religion, or socioeconomic status do not matter when it comes to pregnancy loss. It’s an unfortunate experience that unites women around the world.
While they say miscarriage happens to about 10-25% of known pregnancies, I think the real statistic is much higher. As sad as it is, I know more mothers than not who have had a miscarriage.
Over the past six months, countless women have contacted me to share their stories of loss.
Both women I know personally and many I don’t that have sent me through social media. Dozens of comments have been left on my posts from women who’ve experienced their own miscarriages.
I’ve been very open about my losses. If somebody asks if we’re trying for another baby soon or wondering if we’ll have more than one, I tell them the truth.
“We’ve been trying but have had a miscarriage(s) recently.”
Why am I so bold?
Talking about miscarriages shouldn’t be taboo.
Women all around you have suffered in silence because they’re too scared or ashamed to tell people. Nothing breaks my heart more than hearing a woman say me this. A time when they need the love and comfort of friends and family most, they are too fearful to ask for it.
Pregnancy loss cannot continue to be a topic that we avoid talking about. Women need to feel supported and understood. Because even though a mother’s baby died on the inside, it doesn’t make the pain or experience of losing a child any less real.
You’ve spent weeks or months imagining what your baby will look like and picked out names.
You’ve decorated the nursery and started picking up sweet little onesies.
You’ve envisioned the life you will have with your child.
When you’re told the heartbeat is gone…all of those hopes and dreams slip away, too.
So please, let’s not sweep miscarriages under the rug. It’s a painful loss that hundreds of women experience every day. And we need to be offering them love and support.