Mom to a little one
Due June 1, 2012, lost October 29, 2011
University Place, Washington
I found out I was pregnant on September 17th. I was so happy, and a little shocked! It’s kind of funny, because even though we were trying to get pregnant, when I saw that positive test I was in a little bit of disbelief. I was thrilled, and my husband was so happy and excited.
We told our immediate family within a week of finding out. Our parents were so happy for us and excited to be grandparents. I joked to my husband, “I think my dad is more happy and excited than we are.” Our sisters and their husbands were excited to become aunts and uncles, and they were really happy for us to become parents.
It’s hard not to tell good news. In those early weeks, you really do want to tell everyone you see. We had some friends e-mail us that they were expecting and my husband said, “I want to email them back so bad and say, ‘Us too!’” I told him I did, too, but that we should wait until we’re out of the first trimester when we know that the baby has a good chance of making it. Then we could tell our friends that their baby would have a playmate two months after he or she was born.
When I was a little over five weeks pregnant, my husband and I went out to dinner at The Adriatic Grill. Of course, a lot of our conversation was about the pregnancy and the baby, and I said, “Isn’t it crazy how someone we don’t even know yet is going to make such a huge impact on our lives? I mean, think about how we changed each others’ lives so much and how we can’t imagine life without one another and how we love each other so much. It’s going to be just like that. There’s this person who is going to change the rest of our lives!” This statement is still very true, just not in the way I anticipated when I spoke those words.
This night was the last night I really felt pregnant and was confident in my pregnancy without worry in the back of my mind. At five weeks three days, my breasts were the most sore they’d been, and even my husband hugging me caused me to grimace. Although I didn’t have nausea, it was too early, so I wasn’t worried about it.
The next day I had some weird cramps in my side, and that got me Googling and worrying about an ectopic pregnancy, then a day later I got a cold sore, and I worried about that causing harm to my baby, then my breast soreness decreased quite a bit, and I thought, “This isn’t right.”
We went to our first prenatal appointment on October 7th and the nurse assured me that it was normal for my breast tenderness to go away, that if they were constantly hurting the whole pregnancy, then your breasts would be bigger than your baby bump. I never totally bought this and wasn’t completely reassured because I thought, “Yes, that’s true, but they shouldn’t stop hurting this early.” So, the next two weeks I spent worrying constantly and wishing the hours and days away.
On October 21st we had our dating ultrasound appointment. I was 8 weeks and 2 days pregnant. I was so nervous for this appointment. Although I had worries and doubts for the past two and half weeks, I’d convinced myself that everything was alright. I was pregnant and I loved my baby. My husband was worried too. I think I’d gotten to him, but he reassured me that everything was going to be fine.
I imagined telling my grandparents after this appointment, and e-mailing my cousins, and how we could really start enjoying this pregnancy without worry and doubt.
Before the appointment I’d looked up 8 week ultrasounds on the internet to see what they looked like so I knew what to expect. I did this because I’d read stories of women who were totally freaked out on the table because the tech didn’t say anything for a good two minutes, then finally, “There’s your baby.” I knew I was nervous enough, and if I could recognize what was normal on the ultrasound, I could relax right away.
The tech inserted the ultrasound camera in me and as soon as I saw the screen, I knew we had lost our baby. There was a big circle, a ring image, and I thought, “That’s not right.” The tech didn’t say anything and then she asked me if I had irregular periods. My husband said he thought my response was odd, because he still didn’t know what was going on. I said, “Well, I charted, so I know when I ovulated.” She marked “left ovary” and “right ovary” on the screen and then said, “Well, what I’m seeing here is a fertilized egg that has implanted, and has all the genetic matter for a baby, but it didn’t develop properly, and so I can tell you that this is not a viable pregnancy.” I nodded and asked her when the pregnancy stopped developing. She said she thought about 5 weeks 3 days, which is the last day I felt really pregnant.
My husband and I were holding hands and I looked at him and he had tears in eyes. I said, “Yeah, well I guess it’s not a complete shock, I didn’t really…” as I burst into tears, “have any symptoms.” The tech was really cold from the beginning of the appointment, and it’s kind of awkward crying in front of someone who shows no emotion, won’t even hand you a tissue. She said we would see a midwife who could answer any questions we have, but if we wanted we could ask her any, too. I told her I would just wait for the midwife.
My husband and I were led to another room and waited for the midwife, Kim, who I hadn’t met previously. Kim was very sympathetic and caring for us and told us she was so sorry for our loss. I asked her what caused the miscarriage, was it just a chromosomal abnormality? She said that’s what we assume, but we really don’t know. She said that unfortunately she sees this a lot, that since we are detecting pregnancy so early these days, she estimates that 50% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. She said that there’s no reason to believe this would happen again, that sometimes she thinks the body just needs a “test run” to know how to handle a pregnancy. She said we would need to wait at least one cycle before trying again.
She explained to me that I had two options for this miscarriage: I could either wait and see if my body would miscarry naturally, or I could go in for a D&C where they dilate my cervix and scrape the remains of the pregnancy out of the uterus. I wasn’t really sure what the best option was, so I said I would just wait and see what my body does. Kim asked us if we wanted to leave through the back door and I quickly said yes. Walking puffy eyed through the lobby of pregnant ladies would just be rubbing salt in our fresh wounds.
We got home, got into bed, and cried some more. We decided that we should probably tell our parents, especially my in-laws, because we told them we’d have lunch with them as long as everything went well at our appointment.
I now fully understand why you don’t tell everyone your good news the moment you find out you’re pregnant. Telling people is so hard, just the vocalization of it. Thinking about it in your head makes you sad and makes you tear up, but telling people and explaining what happened…you just can’t get through it without your voice breaking. Watching my husband tell his parents what happened was so sad. He doesn’t get emotional often, and watching his chin quiver and his eyes water as he explained what we were told at our appointment was just heartbreaking.
Often when I call my mom she’s in the middle of something or with people, so I thought rather than just calling her and telling her I should check if she was actually available to talk, so I texted her, “Are you available to talk?” She didn’t respond right away and about forty five minutes later I texted her, “We got some bad news. : ( ”
My mom called me an hour or so after that text and explained that she’d been to my little sister’s school because she’d gotten a bloody nose and the nurse had called her. She said that she was glad to have the warning text because her heart sank when she found out and she needed some time to compose herself before calling me.
My mom was so comforting to talk to, and just said all the right stuff. At one point I said, “It’s okay.” And my mom said, “Don’t say that Carrie. It’s not okay! It’s not okay when you want a baby and you don’t have one.” Though it’s not the same, she told me about how hard it was trying for nearly a year before she got pregnant with the twins and how every month when she realized she wasn’t pregnant how she cried. She didn’t try to make me feel better or tell me that everything will work out. She just said that sometimes life sucks, and that I should grieve and feel sad.
A little later we went to Fred Meyer to buy some raspberry leaf tea, because I’d read online that it supposedly helps “hurry up” a miscarriage, along with heavy exercise and sex. I thought that I’d try to go the natural route and let my body miscarry on its own. As soon as we got to the health food aisle where the tea was located, wouldn’t you know, there’s a very pregnant woman in the same aisle, and another woman with a baby. Yeah, sometimes life sucks. Here I am buying my “miscarriage tea” surround by babies.
Later that night we ordered Mexican food from one of our favorite restaurants and picked it up and ate it at home while having some wine and beer. I told my husband about how my dad told me something in July. He said he’d read a book about souls one time and about how when a soul is ready it chooses its life and its parents. The book also talked about how souls go through life after life and you’re always with the same souls in your life, married to the same soul, your children are always the same souls. So that made me think, maybe in other lives I’ve had more children than I’m going to have in this life and unfortunately that soul could only be with us for a very short time.
But I loved my baby. I loved him from the moment I knew about him and I wish I could have known him. All the hopes, dreams, and plans we had are gone. We had names picked out. We had gotten started on the nursery. I imagined giving birth in the beginning of June and then being able to bring him to my grandparents’ 60th wedding anniversary in July. There was so much to look forward to.
For five days I went back and forth as to whether I should get a D&C or wait it out. I always had a preference for the natural route, but I worried my body could hold on to the pregnancy for a while, and part of me just wanted to get it over with and move on. I read sometimes experiencing the actual miscarriage can be traumatic, and sometimes not all the tissue comes out and you end up needing a D&C anyway, so I thought maybe I should just have the D&C, get it over with, and try to move on.
I started spotting on Tuesday, October 25th, at 8 weeks 6 days. I would only bleed after I emptied my bladder and I usually had clots. I had mild cramps during this time and this pattern of bleeding and cramping continued through Friday.
My husband and I stayed up late on Friday October 28th watching TV and talking. I fell asleep watching TV around 2am, but woke up about a half hour later with intense cramps. The cramps got worse and worse and I was not comfortable anywhere but on the toilet crunched over pushing. If I laid down or sat down I was in so much pain. I was in pain on the toilet, but it was more manageable. Now I realize that I was in labor and my cervix was dilating. The intense cramping continued for another hour and a half. I emptied my bowels and felt like I was going to throw up too. I was hunched over sitting on the toilet with a trash can in front of my face. I kept saying, “I hate this so much.”
A little after 3:30am, after I had just flushed the toilet I felt something fall out of my cervix and I said to my husband in the bedroom, “I think I passed it.” I turned to look and there was the sac. It was about a two to three inch white sac with a black dot or something in it. It was hard to look at but I wanted to look at it. I asked my husband if he wanted to see it and he said he did. He came in and looked at it from where he was standing and said, “Yeah, that’s it.” I said I felt weird just flushing it down the toilet but I didn’t know what else to do. My husband said yeah, but he thought that was best. Part of me would have liked to have buried the tissue and had some sort of memorial, but I think it would have been hard to get my husband on board with it, and it scared me to get the sac out and look at it up close. My husband left the bathroom and I got down next to the toilet and said, “I’m so sorry. I love you,” and I flushed the toilet.
I got back on the toilet and some more really large clots fell out and I think that may have been the placenta. I was dripping blood like a faucet and I was worried that it was too much so I put on a pad so I could monitor how much I was bleeding and make sure it wasn’t more than a pad an hour. I sat in bed and we tried to watch a TV show but I still was in a ton of pain and couldn’t sit. I went back on the toilet and let some more clots fall out until my cramps became more manageable and then went to lay down in bed. I think I finally went to sleep around 6:00am.
I am glad that my body took care of everything on its own. I don’t know why doctors/midwives say that a miscarriage is just a bad period, because many stories I’ve read are similar experiences to mine where the woman goes into labor. I would still choose to do it the way I did rather than the D&C, just because I had a lot fear about scaring with the D&C and I wasn’t a fan of going under anesthesia when I had my ACL surgery, so this was the best option for me. I hope this story helps some people to know what to expect. Miscarriage is painful, emotionally and physically.
I had no idea it could take so long physically to get over a miscarriage. My hormones didn’t go back down to a normal pre-pregnancy level quickly. It took 29 days from the time I miscarried naturally to the time I got a negative result on a pregnancy test. That’s 8 weeks after the baby stopped growing. Then my hormones were still all out of whack and I had to induce my first period post miscarriage three months later.