Say It Ain’t So

This week has been tough. No. This year has been tough. Those close to me know why, but I want to share my story for two reasons. 1. Sharing = Healing. I’ve learned it helps me to talk about it. I don’t feel so alone. Last time I slipped into a bit of depression after I got the news. 2. Sharing = Helping. I do post my good moments on social media, but my life is far from perfect. I’m not ashamed to share my not so perfect moments too. I’m sharing this to help heal, as several have shared their stories publicly and they have helped me so much. It helped to know we weren’t alone. It gave us inspiration to not give up.

I recently became a member of a group that I didn’t ask to join and would never wish on anyone, but I’ve learned I know many members of this group. It’s something not often talked about, but I’ve learned that unfortunately miscarriages are more common than we think. About 10 to 25% of known pregnancies end in miscarriage, and less than 5% of women are likely to have repeat miscarriages. So now I’m a member of an even more exclusive group. Yay me! It’s so crazy that once we started sharing our story how many friends and people who we know have endured this pain as well. I also feel blessed because I’ve met several angels along the way who were put in my path at the right time and shared their stories with me.

It’s crazy to think you spend a chunk of your life trying not to get pregnant, and you just assume when you start trying it’s going to happen. I’ve learned several things about pregnancy throughout my journey. It’s outside of your control – from how you feel to what’s going to happen. Something hard for a semi-control freak to handle. 

#1                                                                                                                

At the end of August, I was laid off from my job. I loved my boss and my co-workers. They were like family. As much as it sucks, I knew it was business and to the company I was just a number. Plus, I had bigger things to focus on and that I was excited about. Who cared about the job…because we were expecting!!! We were due March 17, 2020 with our little lucky clover 🍀. We were 12 weeks along and had just shared the news with our families. They were beyond excited especially my parents as this would be their first grandchild. Brett and I were over the moon as this was a first for us and something we wanted so much. We looked forward to starting our family. 

But unfortunately, life took another turn. A week after being laid off, I learned our baby no longer had a heartbeat at my weekly check-up. I had read stories and heard about miscarriages, but thought I was in the clear. We waited 12 weeks like we were supposed to, to share the news. I had no symptoms. In fact, I was still having morning sickness (more like all day sickness). This was news I never expected to hear at the doctor especially after seeing the sonogram picture and seeing and hearing the baby’s strong heartbeat at 8 weeks.

It’s crazy how fast you feel connected to your baby. I felt like a huge piece of me was gone and it was heartbreaking. I missed the baby already and being pregnant and even the sickness I endured. We were already planning. And to think it was just all gone in a single moment. I never felt so alone. It took me several months to process what happened and deal with the grief and all the emotions it brought. I couldn’t have gotten through those dark moments without my amazing husband, family and great group of friends we surround ourselves with, and a little bit of therapy (that’ll be a later blog post).   

We are getting ready to celebrate our first year of marriage in exactly 2 weeks, and we’ve experienced a lot of ups and downs in one year. Maybe more in our first year than some ever experience, but I know it will only strengthen our relationship. 

#2

After the first of the year we were lucky to get pregnant again after 3 months of trying, but any pregnant woman knows the anxiety that goes along with pregnancy or the feeling you have at each appointment until you know that the baby is okay. But quadruple that when you’ve already suffered a loss. I was nervous about every ache and pain. I was literally sick to my stomach the day of my appointments praying that we’d get good news. But this pregnancy was completely different (I believe the first was a girl, and this was a boy – just a feeling I always had with each and a little based on how I felt – nausea/no nausea). I didn’t have the nausea I did last time. But unfortunately, I couldn’t shake the feeling of what if this happens again. The doctor told me that unfortunately we wouldn’t know until it happened again, if it did. She explained that my anxiety was normal considering what I’d experienced and assured me that it wouldn’t harm the baby. As happy as I was about this baby, I was afraid to get excited. I didn’t want to buy anything because I didn’t want to jinx things. I wanted to be happy, but I’ve always been the type to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. I’d say I had one-foot in. I was afraid to get my hopes up. I knew it was completely out of my control, but I was worried I couldn’t carry past a certain point.  

This week I suffered my second miscarriage in the last 6 months. This time we went in for our 10-week check-up as I started having some spotting. Not always something to be concerned about, but I just had a feeling. Brett, my mom and my best friend said to stay positive and that they were praying hard. After my last miscarriage, I was being watched more closely which meant more appointments. We went in at 4, 6 and 7 weeks and the baby looked good. I was measuring 3 days ahead and the heartbeat was getting stronger. We had seen it, but wouldn’t hear it until the 10-week appt. This appointment was HUGE, as this was the point where our baby stopped growing last time. I was so hoping that we’d get good news and would do the gender blood test and make it out of the first trimester, but unfortunately, we didn’t get the news we had hoped for. We learned we had again lost the baby. There is nothing to describe the heartache and enduring it again doesn’t make it any easier. I had just gotten to a good place after my first miscarriage and to be experiencing it again was something my husband and I just couldn’t believe. Again, I was wondering why. I was sad and angry and confused. This angel was due on September 28th (my mom’s birthday). I was hoping that was a sign and meant good luck for us, but unfortunately not.

It’s crazy because at about the time both babies probably stopped growing, I had a feeling. For some reason, I felt my pregnancy symptoms lessen. I mentioned it last time to my husband and this time to my mom and him. Maybe it was in my head or maybe it was intuition.

Lessons Learned

After suffering two miscarriages in a row, they call it recurrent pregnancy loss. As hard as this has been, I’m trying to find peace in knowing that there might be something wrong. There are so many advances in medicine and science that I’m hoping that we can find answers. I know that it may seem strange to be so positive that there might be something wrong, but it gives me hope. We may not find an answer – they say 50-75% may never know why, but the doctor says there are several things we can test for and try. I feel like I may have a little less anxiety going forward if we have a plan. We won’t be going into it again so blind.

Again, I try to focus on the positive – that I can get pregnant on my own.  I just can’t seem to carry past 10 weeks. I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older and watched friends start their families, that sometimes the journey doesn’t go as planned. I’ve had friends who couldn’t carry and adopted. I’ve had friends who suffered multiple miscarriages to get pregnant on their own. I’ve had friends who struggled with fertility and went through IVF to have their babies. What has this taught me? That pregnancy isn’t easy for everyone, and that it can be a touchy subject. People often don’t realize the quiet struggles that people are dealing with, so please be gentle and kind.     

I have my moments and probably always will. They say the hardest is the anniversary of the due date, and we’re less than 2 weeks from when our first baby would have been due – March 17th. Some know that as St. Patrick’s Day, but to my husband and I it will always bring back a flood of memories. I’ve learned that a loss never leaves you. Right now, I’m grieving again, and I’ve learned that the best things you can say to someone are 1. I’m sorry, 2. I’m here for you, or 3. This sucks!!!

Who knew that 3 months could seem like forever, but it does when you are so excited and can’t wait to announce the good news. I think one of the hardest things is that we got so close to only have to start over again. I’m not a jealous person, but it’s hard living in a world surrounded by strollers and babies and pregnant women. It feels like they’re everywhere. It’s not that I’m not happy for them. It just hits me like a dagger because I just want what they have.    

Again, I write this because I know it wasn’t my fault which was hard for me to grasp at first because I’m such a black and white person who needs a reason for everything. I write this because I‘m not embarrassed to share this or ashamed. It’s part of our story and now we have two angels watching over us. I’ve had a hard time understanding why this happens, but I’m also not writing this for sympathy. I know I am lucky to have such an amazing support system. I only hope my story can help someone else who might have dealt with this or is dealing with this, and if you need someone to talk to or listen, I’m here for you.

And lastly as I told my husband in our vows – I know we will walk through life hand-in-hand tackling life’s challenges because anything is better when we’re doing it together. We remain hopeful and won’t give up.

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