Belly

Sharing Your Miscarriage

I never understood why miscarriages were such a hush-hush topic. When you go through your own, it feels like you’re one in a million dealing with this type of loss, when really it is sadly much more common. In fact, according to americanpregnancy.org, 10-25% of pregnancies end in miscarriage.

My husband and I weren’t trying to have a baby when we went through our miscarriage. We had a 6 month old baby at home to snuggle, which I can only imagine made the emotional healing easier. We had just moved across the country for my husband’s job, and I felt alone. I could have kept the news to myself and dealt with it silently like so many women do. But with my husband’s crazy long workdays, I wanted to reach out to my friends and family for support. I am so glad I did! Rather than call all my friends and cry while telling the same story over and over again, I wrote an email. Maybe it wasn’t the best way to go about this type of situation, but when you are dealing with this type of fear or grief, all bets are off. Here is that email:

January 1, 2012

Hey there. I know this is probably not the best way to share my news, but honestly, the thought of calling the people I want to tell and sharing the same story over and over again seems pretty awful. Truth is, I am kind of a mess and am just asking you for some thoughts and prayers.

We found out about a week ago that I am pregnant. This came as a HUGE shock as I was on the pill and am still nursing. Whoever said you can’t get pregnant while breastfeeding is crazy. The only reason I even took a test was that I had been bleeding/spotting for over 10 days. After talking to a midwife, I went into the emergency room on Thursday. They did some blood tests and 2 different ultrasounds. During the ultrasound, they noticed a mass in my uterus, which should be the baby, but it was too early to tell. There were also residuals in my right ovary, which they weren’t too concerned about. The blood test showed that I was in fact pregnant, but my HCG levels were really low… 250. The doctor informed me that I must be very newly pregnant. Also, with the bleeding, I was at a high risk for miscarriage. I had a mandatory 48 hour check up scheduled for Saturday. During my 2 day wait for the next set of results, I began “feeling” pregnant. The bleeding has also stopped. It felt identical to the beginning of my pregnancy with Eli. I almost got to the point where I wasn’t even worried about Saturday’s tests.

Saturday finally came, and we went in first thing in the morning. The blood work showed that my HCG levels went up from a 250 to a 290. I thought this was good news until I found out that it should have doubled and came in around a 500. They didn’t do the ultrasound as planned because the doctor told me that if the HCG doesn’t double, it is a very good indicator that I will not carry this baby to term. I am now scheduled to meet another OB-GYN and get a bunch more blood work done on Tuesday morning. He then told me that I will probably start to notice cramping and bleeding again. If my body can’t figure this out on its own, we will have to do a D&C.

We are really confused and sad about the whole situation. Yeah, it seemed like horrible timing with a 6 month old and Andrew starting his new job soon, but it’s crazy how quickly you get excited and love the surprise of having another baby to look forward to. The doctor did tell us that there was a very small chance that this could still work out, but he kept telling us over and over again not to get our hearts set on it. It is a very weird situation and one I would never wish on anyone. I planned on keeping this to myself and my family, but I realized that I needed the prayers. Please do not spread this around as I do not really want to get a bunch of calls and have to explain it over and over again as the word passes around.

Sorry again for the horrible way to tell you the news. Please do not be offended that I am not calling to tell you, but it just seems a bit too much for me right now. I will keep you updated with what I find out on Tuesday. Until then, thank you for keeping us and what we are hoping to be our “little surprise” in your thoughts and prayers.

After I hit send, I started to worry. Did I share too much? Am I making a bigger deal out of it than it really is? Will they think I did something to cause this? My worries began to fade away as I started to see replies filling my inbox. What I got was an outpouring of LOVE. And to my surprise, a few friends had been through their own miscarriages. Why wasn’t this talked about before? Why so hush-hush? I felt better sharing the news with those close to me and their words of encouragement were huge!

Some friends met me where I was with the “it sucks, I know” responses and some were super optimistic telling me about these freak stories where the baby was totally fine after they thought it was gone. Some responses were a simple “I’m praying for you” and some I can imagine didn’t know what to say so they didn’t respond at all. There wasn’t one response I liked more than another, just feeling like they were walking with me down this sucky path was very comforting.

January 3, 2012

Well, I wish I had a bunch of good news to report, but unfortunately, I’m not much further than when I wrote the last email. I went in at 8:00 this morning for the blood work and had my appointment at 10:00. The blood work showed that my HCG went to a 450. So, it started at 250, went to 290 and is now at 450. The doctor informed me that this is likely to end in a miscarriage because my numbers are not doubling and it should be around an 800 at minimum. She then did a sonogram and only saw a thick lining in my uterus… nothing more than what they saw in the ER last week. 

The doctor informed me that I will be repeating everything I did today on Thursday. If my numbers aren’t where they need to be and she still can’t find anything when doing a sonogram, she believes I should get a D&C right away. I have very mixed feelings about it, but she keeps telling me that if this is ectopic I need to get it removed ASAP or I could die, making her the 3rd doctor in 1 week to tell me that… oh joy! The reason she didn’t recommend one today is that she said in 5% of pregnancies, they can start out this way. Who knows… I am really just frustrated from the lack of real information at this point. I have no idea what is going on and each day feels like a week. 

Thanks so much for your love and support. I will keep you informed and let you know if I get any more information. Thanks for all of the thoughts and prayers.   

I was not in the 5% of pregnancies that start out this way. For us, it was an ectopic pregnancy. I was terrified. I didn’t want to be going through this; I hated every minute of it. I was still glad I shared my experience and my feelings with my close friends and family. I didn’t have to pretend to be chipper on the phone when friends called to see if we liked our new house. I didn’t need to pretend to be anything. I could just be me, the huge mess that I was.

January 5, 2012

Unfortunately, the news I have to share isn’t what I had hoped. The doctor found the baby today during the ultrasound. As she suspected, it was on my right ovary. Due to the location, there is no way this pregnancy would survive, and it also put me in danger. After a bunch of blood work today, I was given 3 shots. Two were of a medication (Methotrexate) that will hopefully remove the baby from my ovary without surgery. Evidently, if we had to do surgery, there is a good chance I could lose that fallopian tube and ovary. The shot was something I was not on board with at first, but after talking with the doctor, it seemed like the best decision for me and for the future children I pray that Andrew and I will have. The second shot was the birth control shot, again, something I didn’t want. The doctor insisted on this because if I get pregnant in the next 3 months it would be “catastrophic”… in her own words. 

 As far as things go emotionally, I have spent the afternoon making peace with God. Of course, I don’t understand why this happens to anyone, and I probably never will. I am not done being angry or sad, but I believe that things happen for a reason. I am thankful for the friends and family I have to support me. I’m also holding on tight to Andrew and the rest of my family. It may seem weird, but I actually feel lucky to have been pregnant again. In that short amount of time, I feel like I bonded with that baby, and it will be in Heaven waiting to meet me someday.

Thank you again for your prayers and support.

My body was wrecked from the medications they gave me. I was given methotrexate shots during 2 different ER visits, had to have the birth control shot, and had to have bloodwork done every couple days until my HCG levels reached 0, which took 5 weeks. It was hell on Earth. I bled for months. When physical pain and emotional pain meet, it is a dark place. Thankfully, my friends and family knew what was going on, and they could be there for me, lifting me up.

It wasn’t even a month later when my best friend called me out of the blue and told me she had just miscarried. A few months after that, I got another call from a friend who was going through the same thing. I hated that they were going through it, but I was so happy they felt comfortable sharing with me.

It’s now been over 3 years since my miscarriage, and I have been blessed with 2 more children. So please, if you are going through this right now, don’t keep it to yourself. Share your journey with someone, anyone. Miscarriages are not meant to be hush-hush.

Don’t make your friend with the new baby wonder why you aren’t talking to her. Don’t skip a night out with your girlfriends to avoid hearing your friend talk about her pregnancy. Your true friends will be sensitive and supportive. And who knows, they may need you in the same way down the road.

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