The Post I Never Thought I'd Write: My Miscarriage Story
I hadn't planned on returning to this space of mine until my comprehensive exams were over. But I need to. I need to write what's on my heart in hopes that it will help me focus on my tests for the next few days.
I had planned to come back to this space after my exams and write about how we were trying to conceive. During the process, I realized that it's not something women talk about. They don't talk about the hoping and heartache that are tied up in what the world views as a seemingly "easy" task. The world tells us to keep it quiet. I find that completely invalidating. Getting pregnant is not easy. In fact, it made me completely crazy. I carefully and thoughtfully told a few people close to me that we were trying, knowing that I would need the love and support in the midst of it. Hopefully those of you that have stuck with me know by now that I try to genuinely share my heart in this space. I felt called to write about this topic and I had planned to immediately after my exams. Then things changed.
In July, after a particularly hard month of emotions related to trying to get pregnant and the stress of my exams quickly approaching, I got a positive test. I got a positive test really early. I just "knew" as some people say. So I took a pregnancy test nearly 4 days before my missed period. Pregnant.
I was shocked. It was the most surreal feeling ever. I was literally at a loss for words. As a woman, you can't help but get excited about something you've been desperately wanting for over a year. At the same time, I was terrified about how early it was. My husband and I tried to guard our hearts as we made arrangements to find a doctor, to talk about finances and insurance costs, and how a baby would fit into my school schedule. I started to think about a nursery, the fact that my brother and sister in law were just two months ahead of us and we would have kids close in age like I was with my cousins, and about my husband becoming a dad. I have never prayed more fervently than I prayed for this baby after I knew it existed.
I want to warn you all that this might get graphic. If you're sensitive about blood and stuff, this might be a good time to stop reading.
Then, about a week later, I went for a run and noticed some spotting. I knew that could be normal, so I tried not to panic and went about my day. The spotting stopped until I took my dog for a walk that evening. Then it started again. I went to sleep trying to put it out of my mind. The next day was Saturday and Matt and I decided that we would go for a bike ride. I had been studying a lot and feeling really stressed and I figured it would be a good stress reliever. When we got home, I started to spot again. At this point I realized it might be linked to the exercise, so I texted a good friend and she told me that was normal and unless I'm having really bad cramping, it should be alright. But, I had been cramping since I found out I was pregnant. It wasn't any worse at that point, but still not comfortable. So, I tried to go about my day but as the day went on, the spotting turned to bleeding. I had to wear a pad because a liner wasn't enough. I have never been so terrified.
At this point, I was still telling myself it could still be alright. Plenty of women bleed and have healthy babies. My husband and I went to a coffee shop so I could study and he could work on his sermon. We needed the distraction. I must have gone to the bathroom every 15 minutes to see if I was still bleeding. It hadn't stopped.
I knew if I was having a miscarriage that there was nothing they could do for me. I messaged my doctor's office which was closed for the weekend, knowing I wouldn't hear back until Monday. About 30 minutes after messaging them, I went to the bathroom and saw tissue after wiping. I knew exactly what I was seeing. I tried to tell myself it wasn't what I thought it was, but I just knew. I knew I had a miscarriage.
The rest of the day I tried to stay distracted. I was so uncomfortable and literally felt like I had no control over my body. I went to church the next day and did my best to be present. I went and saw a movie with the same friend I had texted about the bleeding, just as a distraction. I'm so glad I did that because it gave me a few hours of emotional relief. Sunday night, however, was bad. I was so emotional which caused me to be completely impatient with my husband. I couldn't believe what was happening.
The next day, Monday, I heard from the doctor's office. They told me that if I didn't know my blood type or if I was negative that I needed to go the ER. At this point, I had just started spotting again. The nurse told me that's totally normal so not to worry about going to the ER unless the bleeding or pain increases, and that they would see me next week for my appointment. Great. There was no way I was going to go sit in the ER for who knows how many hours.
The next day, the doctor's office called me again and told me they wanted me to go get my blood work done to find out my blood type. I asked if they would also test my hcg levels and they told me "the doctor isn't asking for that at this time but I'll check with her." Talk about a punch in the stomach. They were going to have me go in and get blood work done but not check on my one huge concern. I went to the doctor's office and the lab told me that the nurse had gone ahead and ordered my hcg levels. Praise that woman. I got my blood drawn and came back home to try and focus on studying.
Two hours later, I got the call I was dreading. My blood type was negative but I didn't need to come in for a shot because I was no longer pregnant. My hcg levels were higher than they should be, but nowhere near where they should have been to be considered pregnant. Especially considering I was nearly six weeks along. The woman told me this was considered an "early loss" and that I didn't need to keep my appointment for the next week. She told me I would continue to feel bad physically for the next week or so and basically sent me on my way.
I was in shock. We weren't going to be parents after all.
The emotions that I have felt in that moment and in the days sense have been nothing like anything I have ever experienced. However, somehow, in the middle of all of this I just have a desire to glorify God. I don't know what that looks like right now, but I know that He is still sovereign and good and that He has a perfect plan for our family. I might not understand it, but I know it's true.
I also had this conviction to share my story. So many women hold the pain of this kind of loss inside themselves and I've seen so many break from it. It's not something women should ever have to deal with alone or feel shame about. It's normal to have thoughts like "did I do something" and "what if I hadn't gone on that bike ride?" It's normal to have your heart ache at pregnancy announcements and people complaining about pregnancy aches and pains. That's valid. That's grief. At the same time, however, I can still feel my grief without invaliding someone else's joy of a new pregnancy or struggles with a changing body. It's not their fault that I won't get to meet my baby. I don't want to be that person that can't celebrate someone else's joy with them. Their joy doesn't minimize my grief.
I never once thought this wasn't a loss because it was so early along. It wasn't until after I started hearing other's stories that I realized some women feel like they shouldn't be allowed to grieve or feel guilty for doing so if it's an "early loss." But an early loss is still a loss. We still lost a baby. I will grieve for this baby we will never get to meet and for the plans that we made that won't ever happen.
For me, the hardest part has been the physical pain I am in. I am so sick. I have been trying so hard to stay focused on studying given my exams are this coming Monday and Wednesday, but I am being constantly reminded that my body is rejecting my baby. I'm still having pregnancy symptoms and I will continue to until the hcg is out of my system. Even when I can emotionally compartmentalize, my body is grieving too. It's torture.
I'm left with so many questions. When will I feel better? Will I be able to focus enough to pass my tests? Will I ever have a healthy pregnancy? Will I be high risk if I get pregnant again? And so on and so forth. That's another hard part about this. I don't have, and probably won't ever have, answers.
For those that are wanting to know what you can do. You can pray for us. Pray for my body to be healed, for our hearts to be healed, and that we would mourn in a healthy way that glorifies Jesus. Pray that I can focus on my tests the next few days and that they go well for me next week. You can also check in on us. We will continue to feel this long after the texts have stopped and the flowers have died. We will need people to ask us how we are feeling months and maybe even a year later.
For those wanting to know what NOT to do. Don't invalidate our experience. Comments like "at least it happened early" or "my mom had two miscarriages and she was able to have us" are not helpful right now. PLEASE don't ask us when we will start trying again. It's like someone's dog getting hit by a car and then someone immediately asking "when are you going to get a new one?" Even if we are able to have children in the future, no child can replace the one we already lost. Please think about that. And if you have a few minutes, I highly suggest watching this video: