A miscarriage story, 2013
I’ve been putting of writing my next blog post, as I share my birth stories. I’ve told my nearest and dearest the story of my miscarriage, but many people haven’t heard any details. It’s been 4 years now. And I can still remember as if it were yesterday. Every year, as July 4th rolls around, I think of the day I lost my baby, at 9 weeks. I’m a very private person. I don’t like to get all personal about much … Birth and Breastfeeding are easy for me to talk about, but when it comes to how I feel, it’s hard. I keep it ALL in. For so long. I don’t want people to know what I’m really feeling, or even thinking at times. I sit here typing this, on the computer, on the chair, at the desk, where I spent hour upon hours, hiding, being alone, for over 2 weeks after. I couldn’t face the world. I felt as though the world stopped spinning, but I was the only one who noticed.
When I found out I was pregnant, our 4th baby was 15 months old. I wasn’t thrilled, but wasn’t upset either. I wanted to have a special way to tell David. I made a sign, had our youngest hold it, took a pic: “In February, I won’t be the baby anymore”, and I texted it to David. When he came home later, I asked if he was mad. He said no, and hugged and kissed me. I knew he meant it. It was always easier for him to accept than me. He always says “it is what it is”. And I have learned, over years of hearing him say that about so many things, that yes, “it IS what it is”. I very quickly was happy that we were having another baby. I couldn’t wait to birth again, as Jonnie’s birth had been amazing and I wanted to have another amazing birth.
David had to go out of town for annual Army training, so he would be gone for 2 weeks. We attended a wedding while he was gone, and in the bathroom at the reception, I discovered I was spotting. I couldn’t breathe. It was very dark, and just a bit of blood, so I told myself all was well, it was old blood and nothing at all to worry about. I tried to enjoy myself, but we left earlier than I otherwise would’ve. The bleeding didn’t get heavier, but kept coming. Just a bit. And after a week or so, it was then pink, instead of brown.
I still said nothing, knowing that there can be many reasons for first trimester spotting, and most are nothing to worry about.
I was time to get David. All the way to the Grand Island Airport, I kept wondering which hospital might do an immediate ultrasound in the ER. But I kept silent. I knew, but I was wasn’t ready to “know”.
The next day, I told David I was spotting, and was going to Hastings to see the midwife. That if I was miscarrying, there’s nothing they could so anyway, but I needed to know.
I knew. In my gut, I knew. I told the midwife what was going on, she said they’d have to have a doctor do the ultrasound. He confirmed. He said I had a blighted ovum. Which means that the egg and sperm met, formed a placenta and sac, split a few times, but didn’t make it any further.
The doctor left the room, and the midwife came back in. We talked a bit. Mostly her. I told her I was “still processing”. I remember she said “if this had been 100 years ago, you’d have just thought your period was starting late”
But it wasn’t 100 years ago. We have these modern magical sticks that we pee on that tell us we are pregnant. And we start to plan an entire life time of how things will look now.
I didn’t cry until I got back to my van. I then sat in the parking lot for awhile. I even feel this same feeling in my gut, now, as I type this, 4 years later. The life I never met. The life I never knew. The diapers I never changed. The baby that wasn’t meant to be held. The baby that didn’t even form a body. The hopes and dreams were just gone.
That was the longest drive of my life. That hour and a half back home.
I went home, went straight to bed.
A few hours later I asked David to come outside so we could talk without little ears around.
The next day was the 4th of July. I left the house early, went to Walmart. I bought paint. I should’ve stayed in bed. It’s what would’ve been best physically, but my mind NEEDED to be busy. So I painted the living room. Partway through. I had a sharp, VERY sharp pain in my uterus. I burst into tears, grabbed my tummy and ran to the bathroom. I got in the shower, where I cried and cried. I checked my cervix. I felt the amniotic sac. That pain was the placenta finally finishing separating from my womb. Soon I held in my hand, a tiny yolk sac and placenta. It was the size of a chicken egg yolk. Clear. I just stared. And cried. And stared. I got out of the shower. I found a tiny little box. I laid my ring beside, took some pictures. I then drove into my friend’s house. I couldn’t speak at first. When I could, all I could say was “I’m not pregnant anymore” and she cried with me. She hugged me and cried with me. She said some things that helped her when she had miscarried. I heard some of them.
We went to buy a potted plant, for a memorial. I cried more. Still not feeling it was real. I only knew I was pregnant for about 5 weeks. I had this baby deep in my heart already. And yet, there was no baby. There would be no baby. My baby was dead.
I shut down. I don’t even know how long. Almost a month I think. I really don’t remember much of it. My heart hurt so much it was a physical pain. My friend moved, and I needed a change of scenery, so I went to her new house soon after that. I started my period. And cried and cried. I was glad to be at her house.
A month later, I was lying in bed, rubbing my tummy. Palpating myself. Feeling where my uterus should’ve been, as I should’ve been pregnant. I should’ve been able to feel …. … I sat up in bed. Straight up. Then laid down again and felt my tummy again. I felt a little round ball. The size of a softball. No. I’m imagining.
I ran to get my Doppler, and the very moment it touched my belly, I heard it. The distinct sound of a fetal heartbeat. I was pregnant again. But I hadn’t stopped grieving.
I didn’t believe it. I still bought a pregnancy test and had to pee on it. And then I called to make an appointment with the midwife. I told David “I think I’m pregnant again” … hearing the heartbeat apparently wasn’t enough for me. I had to ask for an ultrasound to SEE a baby on the screen. I needed that closure. It turns out, that I hadn’t started my period. This baby was conceived 2 weeks after miscarrying, so the bleeding had to be implantation bleeding.
I had so many mixed emotions. How could I welcome a new baby when I had just lost one? It was hard for a few months. I so much wanted a baby, but I kept crying because I’d lost my baby. But I had a new baby. But it wasn’t the baby I had lost. There were so many mixed emotions. I don’t know that anybody who hasn’t been through that could know. I didn’t know. Not before. It’s so interesting to me how we think we know things. Until we actually know them, and then we realize how much we don’t know. Then we repeat the cycle with the next even. And our emotions come and go. All over the place.
There’s no right way or wrong way to grieve. Nobody can tell you how. Or how long. Or anything. You just need to do what it is that YOU need to do. It’s similar to birth in that regard. You need to be left to your own devices. To your instincts. To your desires.
To this day, I look at my 3-year-old. And I feel so many things at once. We literally can’t have her and the one we lost. I literally can’t know both of them. Every time I think about it, it’s hard to wrap my brain around. So many thoughts and emotions that go with it. Had our baby we lost been meant to be, we’d have never known Lyzza. And I’d be a different person. Events change us. Circumstances change us.
Birth and death change us. Loss and gain change us. Life changes us. The world doesn’t stop spinning. It just sometimes feels like it.