Two days ago while scrolling through my usual news sources, I got completely emotionally side-swiped by this article: Saying It Loudly: I Had a Miscarriage.
It felt like someone had socked me in my stomach and the dull but constant grief of my miscarriage in January of this year surfaced to the top and became all I could think about. And then I realized I needed to share my story. So I let the cursor blink on the Facebook status update field for a few minutes before I slowly typed out a short message about my miscarriage experience. I was nervous because not everyone on my Facebook network is a close friend. Some are from my past, some from recent or superficial connections. Was I over-sharing? But in the end, it really made me feel better and unburdened. And I got an overwhelming positive response from so many different people, many of whom I hadn’t heard from in years and some who had gone through miscarriages themselves. Then I debated, do I share it on my blog? With strangers? Of course there are several of you readers out there who I feel a real kinship with, even if we’re just internet friends. But where do you draw the line between privacy and social sharing? I don’t know, so here I am. If this is TMI for you, please stop reading here.
Russell and I found out we were expecting the day after Christmas. It wasn’t exactly a planned pregnancy and I was in complete disbelief of the positive pregnancy test sitting on our hotel sink (we were in Southern California for the holidays). I cried happy and nervous tears and immediately went to my laptop and googled “next steps when you find out you’re pregnant.” Cut the alcohol, cut the coffee, cut certain foods, wait to see your doctor in a few weeks. But what about all the alcohol and coffee and bad foods I had already consumed over the last few weeks? Most articles said not to worry and just make the adjustments once you find out you’re pregnant.
But I continued to worry and I was cautious about getting too excited or ahead of myself. However as I made my doctor appointments, started reading more about what to expect and writing down notes in my pregnancy journal, telling my close friends, and making plans with Russell, we got more and more used to the idea of finally growing our family and bringing our baby into the world. Russell and I have been together for 12 years and we’ve talked about the right time to have kids for many of those years. We weren’t sure if this was really the right time, but moved forward like it was.
I was hardly having any pregnancy symptoms, and deep down I could tell something was wrong. I texted my friend, “I don’t think I’m pregnant anymore.” She reassured me that everything was probably fine, that a lot of women experience pregnancy differently. But the next morning I was spotting. I called the hospital right away and made an appointment for later in the day. Progressively my cramps got worse and the bleeding became heavier. I sat through meetings at work with a calm face while internally freaking out and physically coming apart. By the time I got on the train, I knew I was miscarrying and braced myself against the waves of cramps until I got into the doctor’s office.
I was oddly calm throughout it all. The doctor was very sympathetic and frank about the common nature of miscarriages. She told me I shouldn’t blame myself and that I could still most likely have a healthy pregnancy in the future, though she recommended we wait at least 3 months before trying again. I went back to my car, alone, called Russell, called my mom. Sat in the silence and finally cried.
One of the hardest things was continuing to bleed for the next several days. Dark, red, mean reminders that I’d killed my baby with my reckless behavior. It doesn’t matter how many times you’re told it’s not your fault. I still believe that I’m completely responsible for what happened. If I had been healthier, if I hadn’t gone out clubbing that one night, drank so much champagne at the parties, my baby might have survived. I failed in my very first duty as a mother.
I’m thankful that the miscarriage happened early in the pregnancy before I’d had more time to attach to my baby. And I’m thankful for Russell, my friends, and my family for being there for me. And I’m thankful for the months I’ve had since to prepare myself better for motherhood. I’ve taken advantage of this time by going on fun trips with girlfriends. Russell and I threw ourselves into nesting mode and found ourselves a home. And I created some time and space to really “prepare my vessel” so that we could try again.
Would I be sharing this story now if I didn’t have the confidence that I could get pregnant again? Maybe not.
But good news. 8 months after my miscarriage, I’m so happy to announce that Russell and I are expecting again! I’m 14 weeks pregnant today and officially in my second trimester. Baby Satski (as we’ve nicknamed him/her) is due in April 2015. I’ve been so scared these past few months that I’d miscarry again. I won’t believe I’m in the “safe zone” until I meet my baby face-to-face.