Recurrent miscarriage…its wild to me that I’m writing those words. That recurrent miscarriage is now a significant part of my story. I think its shocking to anyone it happens to. It takes you by surprise and you’re left feeling hopeless. Yet here I am, looking back at my past experiences, reminiscing on our 3 angel babies.
I wanted to write a post that encapsulates the 3 losses. I have written individual posts about the experiences from the surgery to taking the pill to how I’m feeling. But with each loss I didn’t know what the future held and wrote from a place of matter of fact, as if this was just a stepping stone to our next child. But today, I’m not sure what any of it means. Today I don’t have that same naivete.
If I’m being honest, its all just a LOT. Women have it hard with all that we physically take on. From our menstrual cycle and pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum and menopause, as much as we wish men would just understand what its like to bleed every month, I also cannot help but think to be a woman is a treasure. Its truly one of the most remarkable gifts we could receive. To be given the opportunity to connect to life on such an ethereal level is something that I don’t take for granted.
My first pregnancy, the only one so far that has gone to term with a successful baby, was hard. I think what made it so hard for me was that I was so disconnected from myself, from the world, from others, which in turn lead me to be disconnected from my son while he was in the womb. Once the fog of pregnancy, postpartum and newborn life lifted, I began to realize I missed out on so much. I didn’t really talk to him, I didn’t take photos, I didn’t celebrate what my body was doing, I hated it. All I could concentrate on was how I didn’t feel….just in general, I didn’t feel much at all.
Its like it all clicked for me one day. I wanted to get pregnant. I wanted to feel life growing inside of me. I wanted to go through the pains and hardships of pregnancy because I finally understood the true magnificence of it all.
If I’m speaking truthfully, the first miscarriage was the hardest. It hit me like a ton of bricks out of nowhere. I speak about the connectedness I felt in the first few weeks of that pregnancy in my blog post here. I had such a spiritual dream the night I discovered I was pregnant. Its a dream that I will never forget. It was like the pregnancy came flying in a light speed and smacked into me, physically waking me up in the middle of the night. I took a pregnancy test the following morning and low and behold, I was pregnant. I was elated. I was so connected to this pregnancy. So excited to “re-write” history so to speak and embrace my baby, my pregnancy, my body, the changes… all of it!
When the doctor at the Imaging office came to tell my husband and I that the pregnancy was no longer viable and I was going to miscarry I just froze. The world around me became fuzzy. My body was tingling. All I wanted to do was get the hell out of there yet couldn’t move, frozen, sitting on the imaging bed. I hardly spoke for days after. My sons second birthday was days away and I couldn’t go through with it. We ended up cancelling the party and just having his aunt, grandpa and great grandma over.
People try to make you feel better by telling you that its common. That these things happen and it doesn’t mean anything for future pregnancies. They send their well wishes but also minimize your feelings and experience by saying things like “at least you know you can get pregnant” or “many people miscarry and go on to have healthy pregnancies.” When really, all you want to hear is that people recognize your pain and are there in support for you.
Our second miscarriage was a little different, yet kind of the same. The process started off the same but as I started to recognize where it was going, I made sure to advocate for myself to help minimize my anxiety. I got pregnant, we waited for our first ultrasound, was told we would have to go for a second ultra sound and also test my HCG. Within 5 days of my first ultrasound I knew I was going to miscarry again.
It was Mothers day and I was downtown with my son with plans to stay the night in a hotel. My midwife called me while we were down at the beach looking at seashells to confirm I was going to miscarry again. I remember feeling really numb to it all. Stuck. Out of control. A little lifeless. But I also couldn’t ignore the fact that I was in a penthouse suite, downtown with my first born, my earth side angel baby. This life we live is so complex. So confusing. How you can feel sheer despair and sadness while simultaneously joy and gratitude. I go into more details in two separate blog posts here and here.
For our first loss, I took a pill to help me miscarry naturally. It was hell. Looking back, I think I lost way too much blood. I had no idea what I needed, what I would be going through and the emotions that would pop up. Watching what should be your baby drop into a toilet is something I wouldn’t wish upon a single soul. I lost apart of me that day in that bathroom. For our second I did not want to go through that experience again so I was rushed in for an emergency D&C. The surgery went well. Being knocked out helped keep me numb to all the emotions that were present the first time while going through the physical loss.
This third time around there was no pill, no surgery. There was no ultrasounds or doctors appointments. I’m not sure if it was the trauma of the first two or just an inner intuitive knowing, but from the moment I saw that positive pregnancy test I knew It wasn’t going to go full term. The first two losses my body didn’t recognize what had happened and needed the extra push through the pill and then the surgery. For this one though, it was quick at 5.5 weeks. A chemical pregnancy. You can read more about it here.
With having the gift as a woman, of being so connected to life at its core. To have these beautiful highs of feeling your baby cocooned inside of you, growing and expanding with you, shifting and dancing and kicking around, hearing your baby coo for the first time, also comes with some of the greatest lows in this life. Knowing how amazing something can be, yet having it ripped right out from under you without choice. Its a low I never wanted to feel, but I hope it comes with an even greater high.
As for right now, my feelings flip back and fourth rapidly. One minute I want to keep trying, keep the faith, have hope, stay positive. But the next minute I find myself asking, what’s the point? Will I just face another loss? I don’t know how long this journey will be or if it will ever have a baby at the end of it all.
Whenever I’m lost, confused, stressed, anxious, depressed… I ask myself “what would my therapist say?” She would tell me that I don’t need to know the answer right now. That if I don’t know, I can’t force myself to know. How can I support myself in guiding myself to an answer? By getting more information. So information I shall get! I have been referred to the top fertility clinic in all of BC (the area in which I live) and I have an appointment for a pelvic ultrasound as a first step to see how everything is looking on the inside while I wait to get in with the fertility clinic. As I said, I’m in a research gathering stage. Collecting information to help guide me to the decision that best suits our family. When I put myself there, in the clinic, talking to a fertility specialist, having follow up appointments and such, I instantly get flooded with emotion.
I’ve really been made aware of that fact that I need to ensure I continue to take care of myself. Having a well rounded care plan so I hit every aspect of my being. I already live with anxiety and depression. Anxiety is my baseline. To know I’m walking towards a journey, even in the stage of collecting information, that is going to be challenging and anxiety inducing. Being as grounded as possible with other things to focus on feels like something I have to do. Like its not even an option for me to not at this point.
For those who are faced with recurrent miscarriage, I see you. I feel your pain and sadness. To have your babies life end inside of you, regardless of the stage, is traumatic. To have it happen again and again and again truly feels cruel. Do not feel guilty for anything you think and feel. I cannot promise a baby, but I can promise the days DO get easier. You won’t forget but you learn how to live with it as a part of you. I have two pieces of advice: One, is to do something to commemorate your babies. And two, do something for yourself when you’re ready. A mini getaway, a girls night, whatever it is. Do something that will bring you some joy.