My Miscarriage Story – You Are Not Alone
By Jennifer Schultz for MommyBrief.com
The weekend before Mother’s Day last year, I learned that was going to be a mother for the third time. I was elated, a little surprised and giddy. I couldn’t wait to tell our kids ages 9 and 18 that a little brother or sister was on the way! They were so excited. And I remember the first day I found out and my husband just kept smiling at me when I was talking to him. I think half about the fact that we had another child coming our way, and half in shock because he realized while we were a little older than before, we still had the goods to make it happen.
So then began our announcements to our families in the weeks that followed. The congratulations and hugs and of course, I had to write a blog about it and how people initially reacted to me being 43 and pregnant.
Then, there were lots of things to think about. Was the baby going to share a room with one of their siblings or have their own room? What did we need to buy since we were starting all over again and had no baby stuff? What needed to be baby proofed in the house? What was the best prenatal vitamin today?
Next came the call I made to by OBGYN and the first round of tests they wanted to send me for because I couldn’t remember when my last cycle was. Normally, I am very organized, but, this time I was not.
I had my first blood test and my levels were through the roof. Yes, they confirmed I was pregnant, which I already knew after three urine tests, but, they wanted me to come back a week later and get retested. Before that, they wanted me to get an ultrasound to confirm the pregnancy, after which my doctor called and said that I should prepare to miscarry. I was like “Well, I don’t even know the date of my last cycle couldn’t it just be too early?” He said of course, but that with my age, I should prepare myself for potentially miscarrying.
The following week I had another blood test and my levels were dropping. One of the other doctor’s in my practice called me, told me I was definitely going to miscarry and she wanted me to immediately get scheduled to go in the hospital for a D&E. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t understand it. I have only ever been pregnant two other times in my life and they both resulted in healthy babies. I asked to have another ultrasound to confirm as I could not just go and have a procedure without absolute proof that I was losing this baby that I so very much wanted.
We were able to get an ultrasound the same day, and needless to say, both my husband and I didn’t do much talking on the way over. I was very nervous and tried hard to keep all the liquid I had drank inside by bladder, but, repeatedly snuck to the bathroom to let a little pee out. Then, we were finally called in for the ultrasound after what seemed like a lifetime of waiting. We explained to the tech what was going on and that we were asking for her to take her time so that we could understand what she was going to find.
And then it happened. She gave us the news that we were hoping for. The sac had grown and she had found the baby’s heartbeat. She went on to say that there of course, were no guarantees, but that my due date would be January 13th, 2016. We went home and I waited for the doctor to call me that night, but nothing. The next day I had to call and finally the doctor called me back. And she was shocked. She said that she had never had this happen before. We talked about the possibility that the loss in levels could be due to a “disappearing twin”. And she of course, warned me that something could still happen. I explained that I just wanted to focus on the positive, she humbly agreed.
The following week we had to repeat the ultrasound, and we were certainly not as nervous as the week before. Then, it happened, another tech could not detect a heartbeat, but, she did not tell us this. She left the room and had my doctor call me. My doctor said again, “you are going to miscarry”. I didn’t know what to believe. We were on such a roller coaster from week to week. And I explained this to her. She went into detail to say that the sac was smaller, that there was no heartbeat and the miscarriage now was unavoidable. She then proceeded to ask me what I wanted to do: did I want to have a D&E, did I want to take a pill to force the miscarriage or did I want to let it happen naturally. I didn’t know. I didn’t want to decide. How do you decide right after you find out the baby that you wanted is gone?
I really didn’t know what to believe either. Especially since the doctors were not positive from the beginning and wanted me to terminate the pregnancy when they didn’t even know there was a heartbeat. I ultimately decided I could not go through with a D&E procedure. If I was going to miscarry, I wanted it to happen on its own so I could be sure that it was supposed to.
I was numb all the way home from the ultrasound office. When we got to our front door is when the tears started flowing. I now was faced with telling my children the horrible news. I knew that my daughter who was the oldest would somewhat understand as she knew what was going on with all the testing. But, my son, who was nine, did not. I tried to calmly explain to him and he just cried and cried. He kept saying how much he really wanted to be a big brother. And he wanted to know why. Again, I tried to not give too many details, but, that sometimes this happens. And he mentioned that he had names he wanted to add to our list of baby names. He just kept crying and then my daughter was crying. We all cried together.
The hard part was yet to come. No, it wasn’t telling other people – at first we really only told our parents anyway. The hard part was the waiting. Waiting for the miscarriage to happen. People still telling us congratulations in the coming days and walking around wondering why everything wasn’t starting.
In the meantime, I had to try to go about my daily activities with the kids and run my business, like nothing was going on. It would be almost 8 days later before the miscarriage would start. And yes, while I won’t go into full details, it took a while. Light bleeding followed by heavy bleeding, 8 hours of cramping and passing of all the tissue. And then crying, lots of crying. I didn’t understand – quite frankly, even now, I still don’t understand.
The first week after the miscarriage, I hovered between normalcy and bouts of depression. Sitting on the couch crying, watching TV, typing emails, calling clients and even attending my grandfathers and uncle funerals in the coming weeks. Then came telling other people. And like before when I first announced my pregnancy, I dealt with a mix of compassion and then well-meaning people who felt the need to share their comments like: “Well I guess it wasn’t meant to be; god must have another plan; you are getting older anyway”, and so on.
And the light was gone from my husband’s eyes, which he may not have noticed, but, I did. And my children were quieter and we would sometimes just hug and not speak, all the while knowing what we were thinking. I had sent my son’s teacher an email to ask for her to look after him to see how he was dealing with it at school, and she called me and told me how my son went up very quietly and told her that I had lost the baby and that he had really wanted to be a good big brother. I felt so bad for him in that moment, yet I was so proud that he had trusted her enough to share his thoughts with her.
Then there were the growing women around me who were all of a sudden pregnant. Even my son’s teacher announced she was pregnant and I was worried how he would react. It was bad enough I had to fight back tears while I congratulated people on their pregnancies. On the flip side, when I told people I had miscarried, I was surprised to learn a number of women in my circle also had experienced not just one, but in some cases several miscarriages.
I was exhausted. Exhausted of trying to figure out why this happened. Exhausted trying to keep thoughts to myself. I felt so alone. Alone in my loss, even though my husband and children were there. I felt punished, but wasn’t sure what for. This child I had lost was wanted. I had always wanted more children.
With time, of course, I have come to terms with the loss in the sense that it was out of my control. But, things have occurred that have stopped me in my tracks: I came across the list of baby names that our family had written down and the endless emails from expecting mother sites or just recently two boxes of formula that had arrived in the mail. The longing is there.
I wonder every day was our child going to be a boy or a girl? Would she have looked like me or my husband? Would he take after his brother and play soccer? And as January 13, 2016 has come and gone, I have realized that I have had many conversations with God and I have examined and tried to think about the purpose in what has happened. And I still have no idea.
I have never been someone who takes my family for granted, on the contrary, each and every day I build my life around my children and my husband. It has taken me a while to get to this stage, to turn my thoughts and emotions into words. I have not forgotten yet the loss that I feel, as clear as the tears streaming down my face, as I type my story right now.
I know that many women have gone through a miscarriage and in many cases more than one. I hope that if one of them reads my story, they will find comfort in that they are not alone.