In March of 2003 my guy and I decided we wanted to try for another baby after #1. We were both naively giddy about adding to our family and secretly both wanted another baby girl. The months continued to go by and nothing. A quick visit to the doctor and the normal speech…RELAX it will happen. Well it did finally happen in July. I felt different and took a pregnancy test and got a positive. A call a few days later to the doctor to confirm and I was at the hospital getting an HCG test. A few hours later a wonderful call….”Your HCG is 206.” Congrats were given and and an order to relax and enjoy the next 9 months. Well I just knew something was wrong. It felt wrong. I felt wrong. Something was wrong. After a week of worry I called Dr.’s office again and tried to convince nurse that something was wrong. She tried to shove me off but I didn’t let her. So off to the hospital I go for a repeat HCG. A few hours later…no call. I call. They avoid. A few hours later they finally call and nurse says, “MR, are you alone?” I giggled. It was middle of day and she knew I was a stay at home mom. “Yes, minus my daughter.” She says, “Can you call someone to come to your house and be with you.” I knew then my fears were confirmed. But I listened. “Your HCG is 81. It has dropped and that means you are having a spontaneous abortion.” I said, “What? Abortion? Huh?” She then blubbered on words that were lost on me and offered pain medicine for the physical loss. I refused.
I frantically called my guy at work and played brave. “Yes, I am okay.” Then I sat on the couch did what I am guessing most women do when they suffer such a personal loss. I dealt with it in my own way. A way that to put into words would be impossible. I was devastated and I was alone. After awhile I frantically called everyone I thought would be home and no one was. I was desperate to have someone hear me. I called my dad. While I certainly rely on my dad I don’t rely on him for these sorts of things. But I was desperate. “Dad, I am pregnant but I am losing the baby right now.” He took a few moments and tried to gather what he should say. He tried to be positive. “Maybe the blood test was wrong.” “Maybe it will end up being fine.” “Maybe it was just meant to be this way.” He tried. He tried really hard. I cried. I cried really hard. He offered what comfort I allowed him. I mostly just needed to have someone on the other end of the line. Eventually we hung up. And I began the long and daunting process of dealing with a miscarriage.
These are the only things I have that prove this child did exist for my guy and I. My pregnancy tests, a picture a kind friend sent me to recognize my loss, an angel sent to me through my church, a certificate signifying life from the Shrine of the Holy Innocents and my paperwork from the doctors office
To sweep it all so quietly under the rug would do my story injustice. I suffered tremendously right off the bat with the physical loss of losing a baby. When you have a miscarriage your body goes through the same things it does when you give birth to a child. Sometimes the pain parallels but on a different scale. I had chosen to have a natural miscarriage (as if natural means anything here) at home. The hormonal fluctuations, baby blues and blood loss all very similar. Your body prepared to withhold that life and therefore the ending is much the same. Then you begin to have to deal with the emotional side of the loss. For me it caused me to suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder because it came after a long line of health issues. I had been horribly sick with food poisoning only a few years before that and it landed me in the hospital and with a year or so of recovery and lasting health problems from the illness. Then I had a miscarriage and undiagnosed OCD all on my plate. It was the perfect emotional storm that told my brain that I had no control over my body and it forced me to deal with it all. With therapy and meds I was able to recover to the best of my ability.
It was a process that is hard to put into words. It is even harder to reflect on it now that I am 8 years past my miscarriage. What I take away now that I have distance from the pain is my miscarriage made me a survivor. I honestly feel like now that tremendous pain was a blessing for two reasons. Exactly 6 weeks after my miscarriage I tested positive with my #2. I sought out treatment for my untreated OCD. I never forget that precious baby existed ever. I think every May 15 (my due date) what could have been and I grieve every August 22 (the day I officially lost my precious baby).
My biggest worry going forward is just how much people minimize a miscarriage loss. I don’t believe it is ever intentional but it does happen. A pregnancy loss happens to 1 in 4 pregnancies. Just because you have no face, no name and no body does not make that loss any different. It is a loss just the same. It can’t be measured or weighed. It is hard but I am proof you can recover. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Tomorrow is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day and I plan to commemorate the loss of my pregnancy as well as many others by being quiet on all outlets of social media including this blog on Saturday. As well, I want to share sites and organizations that helped me tremendously in my loss.
Share, Inc. – An organization solely dedicated to pregnancy loss
PILARI – Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Research Institute
Shrine of the Holy Innocents – They provide necklaces that provided me much comfort
Miscarriage Help – A site dedicated to miscarriage loss/The owner even wrote an awesome book about loss
Celebrate October 15th – I am the Face