20 August

Miscarriage on Mother’s Day

First of all, I consider myself one of the lucky ones. Yes, I’ve had three miscarriages in the last year, and yes, one was on Mother’s Day and put me in the hospital due to hemorrhaging. But, I still feel lucky overall. I have a healthy and happy almost 2 year old baby, and she has been my bright light through this hard season. Now that I have experienced how common a miscarriage can be, I am in even more awe of my daughter, and therefore so very thankful. For those of you who have miscarried on their first pregnancy, I have high respect and deepest sorrows for you. That is a fight I cannot imagine, and although I may not know you, I am rooting for you.

About a year and a half ago, I went from the happiest season of my life to the very worst.  I had recently given birth to my baby girl and was loving my new life as a mother.  But, disaster struck my family when my sister unexpectedly died, and that has been by far the hardest thing I have gone through. Grief is hard, tiring, emotional and complicated.  I am still recovering from that and probably always will be.  My sister was kind, giving, and she was such an amazing Auntie to my baby girl who was four months old at the time she passed. My sister had taught me about compassion and acceptance, and I still feel robbed that her impact will be missing from my daughters life. To get me through, I pray that I can use my sister’s memory to inspire my daughter.

About 8 months later I had my first miscarriage. My husband and I went off birth control around our daughter’s 1st birthday, and the pregnancy happened quick. We were a bit surprised but still very excited. Our kids would be 21 months apart, and that was the same age gap as my husband and his next sibling. He loved having a sibling so close in age and as crazy as it might sound I was excited to join the “2 under 2” motherhood club.

But, at the 10 week appointment I found out what a “missed miscarriage” was. We were devastated. I remember keeping it together just long enough for my midwife to say, “it’s ok to cry,” and then losing it. We heard the options and decided to do expected management. The baby had stopped progressing around 9 weeks and so my midwife said I could try this for 2 weeks safely. This was a weird season and I felt like a ticking bomb. Not knowing if I should go out cause what if it happened? Would I be comfortable there? What were the bathrooms like? But, I remember getting lots of support from family and friends. It was sad, but I was ok. I entered into a new group of womanhood, those who had experienced the pain of miscarriage, and I came out wiser and stronger.

After 2 weeks of this, my midwife said it was time to take the next step. I decided to go the medicine route verses getting a D&C.  For me, the medicine worked smoothly and was not that painful, I bled for 4 weeks and was able to move forward.  We were advised to wait 1 period and then try again when ready.

Again, I got pregnant quickly. I was shocked, so so excited, but then scared. What if it’s too soon? What if I miscarry again? But NO! I decided not to do that. That would not help. I prayed and moved on. I told my husband and we encouraged ourselves to be excited not scared. Even through Covid19 and all the unknowns, we decided to not worry. We were happy.

But then, on my husband’s 30th birthday I felt cramps and then experience bleeding. I cried, I assumed miscarriage. This was not spotting, this was too much bleeding and obviously a miscarriage to me.  I drank beer, I cried, I told family and allowed myself to grieve. The next day I called my midwife to cancel my upcoming appointment and report that I was miscarrying. But instead, I learned a new term: “Pre-gestational bleeding.”  Basically, it might be random bleeding from implantation? I honestly still don’t quite understand what it is, but she said it “could” be that. I was suppose to take another at home test in a week and see if the line fades or goes away.

That was the longest week ever. I sometimes felt sick and questions and thoughts would race through my mind- “is that morning sickness?! Am I pregnant? Or am I just stressed? Don’t get too excited. It’s probably a miscarriage.” And the bleeding was pretty impressive. I remember thinking- there is no way everything is ok with this much bleeding. Every blood clot I passed I checked to see if it was the baby or placenta. It was a very weird, hard and long week. But at the end, I took another test and the positive line was bold and clear.  I told my midwife and she had me go get a blood test. My HGC was high and so she ordered an ultrasound.

I waited for the ultrasound, I went in, I “emptied my bladder,” as they say, and I stripped my clothes. I explained that I was bleeding quite a bit and the radiologist put down extra towels. I prepared my heart for a confirmed miscarriage. By this time, I knew how to look for a heartbeat. Radiologist aren’t really suppose to say much, just take their measurement and send you on your way.  I knew she wasn’t going to say “miscarriage,” but I knew I would know just by looking myself.

But then, despite my lack of hope there it was- a heartbeat! I kept closing my eyes and checking again. But yes, it was there! I couldn’t help myself, I exclaimed out loud, “That… That’s a heartbeat!”  She smiled and laughed softly, “yes, it is, and it looks healthy, 155 beats per minute, measuring at 7 1/2 weeks.” I started crying happy surprised tears.

After my midwife saw the results she explained another new term, “pre-gastational hematoma.”  Apparently, it was the biggest one she had ever seen in her 20 years of experience. But, she was very positive. Most of the time these hematoma resolve on their own and don’t cause miscarriage. But she did say I was at a slightly higher risk for miscarriage and encouraged me to take it easy. I was nervous, but mostly excited. I had seen the heartbeat! I felt encourage and I refused to live in fear. I cried lots of happy tears and started to allow myself to dream about this baby.  This baby must be extra strong to survive all this, and I daydreamed about names that would reflect that strength.

But this was short lived. 3 days later I went to bed with lower back pain and around 2am I experienced my first of what I ended up calling “episodes.” I got to the toilet and a trail of golfball sized blood clots streamed out of me, at least 6 of them all at once. I cried out to my husband who is a firefighter and explained. I was sad, there is no way this wasn’t a miscarriage now right? He calmed me down and asked how I felt. It was hard to answer. I felt so emotional and my physical feelings seemed unimportant in that moment. He asked if I needed to go to the hospital to which I said no. They can’t do anything for a miscarriage, and that was probably the worst of it. I’ll be fine. But an hour later another episode. But, I didn’t bother waking up my husband. I was focussed on my emotional status and his concerned for my physical well being frankly annoyed me.  I wanted him to talk with me, cry with me, to just be with me. But, in a way his absence was a good thing. I pictured Jesus there with me instead, sitting on the bathroom floor next to me, crying with me. It brought comfort.

Around 6 am I faced another episode and passed out. My husband thankfully caught me and got me safely to the ground. I was only out 5-10 seconds but it was enough for my husband to decide to take me in.

The car ride was a blur. I remember feeling another gush of blood while I was walking through the emergency room doors. A nice man brought me a wheelchair, apparently I didn’t look so good. I said goodbye to my husband (Covid) and eventually got seen by a nurse. By then I had bleed through my pad, underwear, and sweat pants. I apologized for the blood I got on the wheelchair and the floor. They were about to give my fluids, but then the ultrasound room became available so they wheeled me there to check on the baby. This time I couldn’t see a heartbeat. I couldn’t even see a baby. I cried quietly till the radiologist finished. I had to ask, “miscarriage?” to which she simple said, “we definitely aren’t seeing what we were a few days ago, I am so sorry.”

She left the dark room and I allowed myself to cry and cry. Oh, did I mention it was mother’s day? The tears streamed down my masked face as I processed what was happening. That the baby was gone, really gone this time. Another miscarriage. I missed my husband, and so kept envisioned Jesus there with me; being sad with me and crying with me. I strangely felt no anger, just a whole lot of sadness. I got discharged later, and was told that the worst of the bleeding was probably over. I just needed to go home and rest.

But, I started feeling faint again on the drive home. I put my feet up on the dash and was able to stay conscious. We made it home, but then the bleeding picked back up. Another episode left me shaking and I bleeding though all my layers again. My husband helped me to the bathroom. But, I didn’t make it. I started going down, and so my husband helped me lie down on the bathroom floor. He took my blood pressure and realized it was dangerously low, so he called 911.  It was scary.  My mom who had been watching my 18 month old came over and held my hand for a while. I kept assuring her that I would be ok, that I wouldn’t die. We had lost my sister not that long ago, I didn’t want her to be scared she would loose me too. I got to get a quick snuggle from my daughter before I got carried away.

The firefighters gave me fluids while on the drive to the hospital and it made me feel immensely better. I showed up at the ER feeling pretty ok at first, but had two more episodes while there, and so got more fluids and some medicine that should help slow the bleeding. If the medicine didn’t work they were going to preform an emergency D&C.  But, thankfully the medicine did work.  They gave me the option of doing the D&C anyways, just to get the miscarriage done with safely.  But, I opted out, I didn’t want to do surgery unless absolutely necessary.  It was a hard day, and with any day in the ER there is a lot of waiting.  To help, I kept picturing Jesus there with me. I even once pictured him sitting on the commode, it gave me a good laugh.  Eventually got to go home around 12am. Mother’s day was over and so was my time at the ER.  Home never felt so good.

The night was still a little rough. I had an awful headache and still heavy bleeding, but thankfully no more episodes. That next morning, holding my baby and being home was immensely up lifting. I was so sad about my loss, but overjoyed that I was still alive and that I had my daughter and husband. I got to talk to a very experienced OB, who went over all of my lab results and ultrasounds with me.  He made me feel assured that the worst was over and that recovery would be smoother from here on out. And he assured me that none of this was my fault and that we should keep trying.  “Third times the charm kids.”

So this time we decided to wait 2 cycles before trying again. It took my heart awhile to decide if it were ready, but mostly it came down to just letting go and trusting God. Come what may I knew He would be with me.

Again, I got pregnant right away. Again I felt nervous but pushed away my anxiousness and focused on the joy. We really really felt this time everything was gonna work. We told family and close friends early to get the prayers rolling. Every night I touched my belly and said a prayer. Life was hopeful.

But at 5 weeks pregnant, I started bleeding, and got it confirmed through blood testing that I was experiencing another miscarriage. I went through the motions of talking to nurses over the phone, telling family the sad news, and exploring the next step. Once you have three miscarriages in a row it’s recommended to get some testing done.

I made a sad joke to my husband that at least this day wasn’t marked with a birthday or holiday this time. (My sister had died on my niece’s birthday, I started bleeding from the hematoma on my husband’s birthday and my second miscarriage happened on Mother’s Day.) And when my husband made me grilled cheese and tomato soup that night, I laughed at the bowl of red liquid, thinking it was very appropriate. Hey, sometimes dark humor helps.

And now I wait, preparing myself for the journey ahead. I’m not looking forward to all the testing but am looking forward to answers, hopefully they will come. Hopefully there will be a solution. Hopefully I can have more children. I do not pretend to understand God’s plans or His timing. I fully accept I have no control. All I can do is wait and pray.

And to help me through, from here on out, every time I pray for myself I will also pray for you. For any women going through this journey, for any family experiencing this pain. Whether you find comfort in that or not, I will be thinking of you, my new sisterhood of hardened mothers.  I believe there is a beautiful strength that comes from hardship, even if you do not feel it, may you eventually except it as yours.

Thank you for listening to my story.

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