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Monday, June 29, 2015

strength & courage: a miscarriage story - Jillian Brooks

I am so grateful to Jillian Brooks for being the first mom to answer some questions for me about miscarriages. She has gone through several of them. Her determination to grow stronger from those tough times and reach her happy ending of delivering a healthy baby boy #2 this spring is inspiring.

I hope Jillian's story helps another mom out there to keep the faith.

Thank you, Jillian.


Pictures shared from Jillian Brooks

1. When did you experience a miscarriage? 
I have had 4. 1 was a year before my first son (unplanned pregnancy) and then 3 back to back before I conceived my newest babe in February. 

How far along were you? 
Between 5-8 weeks for all 4.
2. What do you remember physically about the process? What was the most difficult part physically? 
It's very painful, and lots of bleeding. You aren't allowed to use a tampon obviously, so you are basically gushing blood into the biggest pad that exists in the grocery store. It is nothing like a period (as the nurses say) way more painful, way more clots. The worst part about that for me, was every time I went to the bathroom there is a HUGE reminder staring at you all day long. And you never know when it's going to start. Even if you know through bloodwork that you are carrying an unviable pregnancy, the bleeding can begin any time. 
3. What do you remember emotionally about this process? What was most difficult emotionally to consider? 
The first time I didn't even know I was pregnant until I ended up in the ER in pain, that process was emotional because I had the news YOU'RE PREGNANT! Which was a shock, and then a few hours later learning it wasn't viable. The last 3 were emotional differently, because we were trying really hard to conceive. 

With each back to back loss, you feel like it might actually not happen for you EVER.
4. What feeling words would you use to describe this experience? 
Lonely, sad, exhausting
5. What were some of the thoughts you had in your mind that maybe at the time didn't make a whole lot of sense, but still you were thinking them all the same? 
You always have this small amount of hope, even when the doctors tell you it's not viable. You always hear those stories where they went back in for a D&C and it turns out there is a heartbeat or something crazy. So I guess that was sad and silly at the same time. The hope just makes you even more disappointed. 
6. What medically happened for you? Did you have any procedures? What helped you through this process medically - medicines, baths, sleep, etc.? 
I am RH negative, which means if I miscarry, or when I'm pregnant I need a shot of Rhogam in case baby's blood mixes with mine, which could cause antibodies to attack baby or me. So on top of having to get bloodwork every time I got a positive test, to make sure my HCG levels were high enough for a viable pregnancy, each time I miscarried I had to get the Rhogam shot within 48 hours of bleeding, which is just the icing on the cake when you go through that.  
7. What helped you emotionally through this process? Do you remember things someone said to you that helped you feel better? 
My husband kept telling me that we would just keep trying, which was good and bad. My family of course was supportive and loving. 
8. What are some of the worst things you heard from people about this time? 

I think the normal reaction is for people to say "well better it happened early on," or "something must've been not right with the baby" but it's still not great to hear. No reason is ever good enough to go through it. 

Someone said me to me while going through it "isn't your one son enough?". That was a real killer. If you want another baby nothing will get in the way of that, and you will figure it out somehow.
9. What is your advice to a mom who has gone through a miscarriage? What do you hope they remember? 
It's ok to remember, whatever special something you need to do for that loss is ok too. Some people remember dates, make a name, etc. 

Whatever helps YOU get through it and move on is what you should do. 


10. What is your advice to a friend of a mom who has gone through a miscarriage? What do you want to encourage them to do or not do to be supportive? 
Just be the helpful loving friend that you probably already are. 
11. Why do you think moms don't talk about miscarriages? Why do you think they SHOULD talk about their experience? 
I was amazed as I had my 3 miscarriages how many clients of mine would tell me stories of how many they have had or their girlfriends had. 

I think once you open up and talk about it you realize how many other people are going through the same thing. I'm not sure why people don't open up about it more- it's nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about, it's life. Literally.
12. Do you do anything to honor the baby you lost, the due date, or another part of this experience? 
I don't personally. I almost wish I sort of did write down the dates or something. But I was so focused on getting that baby no matter what. The one thing I do is call my newest son my "rainbow baby" which is a baby born after loss. 

I do think of what all of those little souls would've been like, or who they would be or if they were girls or boys, but I try not to dwell on it too much.


13. How has this experience made you a stronger mother? 
I think in a weird way I am that much more obsessed with my littlest guy. I went through HELL to get him here, so I was thrilled to be pregnant, thrilled to be in labor, and am still just over the moon that he's even here.



14. Is there a happy ending to your story? 
We did discover after some fertility doctor appointments, that my husband has a normal sperm count, but the morphology of them is bad. Less than 4% of his sperm are viable. So if there is a next time around for #3 I think we will go straight to do IUI where they take his 4% and use that instead of chancing the 96% fertilizing and making me miscarry again. 

And my happy ending is that after almost a year of trying, and 3 back to back losses I naturally conceived and gave birth to Griffin in February. We actually had an appointment for IUI scheduled for the week after and I ended up pregnant the old fashioned way, with no help needed!



15. Anything else you want to share? 

It's awful in the moment, that week, that month, even that year. But you WILL get that baby you are dying for. Whatever it takes! And each day you move forward, the losses are in your mind a little less and you feel a little better. Promise




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