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Monday, July 13, 2015

strength & courage - a miscarriage story - Nicole

Thank you to brave mama, Nicole, for sharing her story of strength, courage, determination and defeated feelings. Her story has a happy ending, but for a time it was pretty challenging for her as a mother, going through two miscarriages that made no sense to her. The guilt she felt is something I hear many moms talk about regarding miscarriages. I'm grateful that Nicole was able to put this to words so other moms know they are not alone. 

Thank you, Nicole.

Images shared from Nicole 

1. When did you experience a miscarriage? How far along were you?
The first miscarriage I experienced started on my first born's 2nd birthday. I had only just taken the test the week before, was about 5.5 weeks along. The rest of my answers will mostly speak to this first miscarriage, but I did experience a chemical pregnancy a few months later, taking a test on a Thursday only to start bleeding a few days later.
2. What do you remember physically about the process? What was the most difficult part physically?
Physically - I bled first. I was at work when it happened (it was a Wednesday), and went to the bathroom to find blood on the toilet paper. I called the doctor's office and they had me come in for an ultrasound/blood draw. Ultrasound showed an empty sac, although at that point it could have been too early to see anything (they also did vaginal ultrasound). We decided to wait a few days to have me come back and get another blood draw, but before that happened I ended up miscarrying. Unfortunately the day of my son's 2nd birthday party we were hosting at our house. Physically the most difficult part was the bleeding with cramping. There was a lot of heavy bleeding, with large clots. Looking back, I do believe I was lucky in that my body responded immediately to the miscarriage. I know there are some women who go in for their ultrasound and find a fetus that has been expired for weeks.
3. What do you remember emotionally about this process? What was most difficult emotionally to consider?
Emotionally - I was a wreck. I held it together during the party, but inside I wanted to crawl into bed and hide. 

I remember my hormones just being on a wild swing, and I was along for the ride. I felt almost bipolar, except I wasn't coming down from any high, but my moods would change in an instant. 

I also remember thinking that I had caused it, because my husband and I had had somewhat "rougher than normal/tender" sex a few days before the bleeding.
4. What feeling words would you use to describe this experience?
Devastating. Tragic. Empty.
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?

I know now that there is nothing I did to cause the miscarriage, but I believed it for a bit. I know this is a common concern that many women have, but very rarely is it something we can prevent.
6. What medically happened for you? Did you have any procedures? What helped you through this process medically - medicines, baths, sleep, etc.? 
My body passed everything on its own - I did not need a D&C. What helped me through it is honestly just being open about it and talking about it. My own sister and I did not speak for my entire pregnancy with my first because she had experienced her 2nd miscarriage right around the time I moved into the 2nd trimester. It was Christmas 2011, and we didn't see each other or speak until May of 2012. She never made it to my baby shower because it was too hard for her. I was sympathetic/empathetic, even when others weren't, because I have dealt with many things emotionally over the years.

Because of her experience, I was able to talk to her a bit about it, even though she still didn't like to say much about it. I also spoke to my friends, even posted it on Facebook in case anyone else had silently gone through it and wanted to reach out. I received alot of private messages from friends that had experienced a miscarriage/multiple, and it was healing.

7. What helped you emotionally through this process? Do you remember things someone said to you that helped you feel better?

One thing that I found to be the most helpful, and seemed like a turning point to me, was when the therapist/clinical worker that I spoke to in the OBGYN office said "it's devastating because its not what you planned for". 

I don't know why, but it resonated with me. My own mother experienced two miscarriages and lost twins early (they were born at 22 weeks); my sister had her two; so even though I always felt it was in my future, you always have hope. And the miscarriage shattered that hope. My husband and I had been trying for 6 months before I got that positive pregnancy test, so it was really devastating to finally get what I wanted - to be pregnant - only to have it taken away.
8. What are some of the worst things you heard from people about this time?
I really don't think there was anything bad I heard directed at me. I think the most upsetting thing was to get lost on the world wide web searching for answers, searching for hope, and then coming across stories of women having 3, 5, 7 miscarriages. To me, of course I knew miscarriages are common, but I always thought it stopped at 2, max, I never could imagine going through this again!!
9. What is your advice to a mom who has gone through a miscarriage? What do you hope they remember? 

My advice, and something I heard from my sister, was that "this just wasn't your baby. when you get pregnant again, and when you have your baby (because you will have another) that will be YOUR baby, it will be the one you were meant to have". 

And it's so true - my 2nd son was conceived the month after my chemical pregnancy, and he was absolutely the child I was supposed to bring into this world.
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? 
Feel everything you need to feel. Let it out. Talk to someone. Do not hold anything inside, because it festers, it ruins you if you let it. Have hope, as hard as it is, have hope that you will become pregnant, if it's what you want. But you know what? Even if you don't, as heartbreaking as it may be, focus on the good things that you have. Don't think about the things you don't have but focus on the things in your life that you can nurture.
11. Why do you think moms don't talk about miscarriages? Why do you think they SHOULD talk about their experience? 
I think it's just hard - nobody wants to sit and be a downer. But your friends are there to support you. If you don't use your friends for these low times, what do you have them for? 

You need to talk about this - if it's not with a friend, definitely with a professional, at least just once, to hear just how common it is. It helps to know you are not alone, and you certainly are not in the case of miscarriage. It's far more common than anyone thinks!!
12. Do you do anything to honor the baby you lost, the due date, or another part of this experience? 
I don't personally. Every now and again I will think of it, but mine was so early that I didn't have anything to bury. I have heard of people planting a tree in the baby's honor, which I think is a nice gesture (though I kill most plants and I don't know how I would feel if I planted a tree after a child that never was only to have that not thrive as well - might be a cruel reminder, but that's just me with the NON-green thumb).

13. How has this experience made you a stronger mother? 
I just worship my kids. Not to say it's a love contest with mother's that have never experienced a loss, but I believe that having lost the one/two, that it makes me realize just how precious life is, how difficult pregnancy really is, and that I shouldn't take a second of it for granted. I'm also more aware of others and watch what I say in front of certain people.
14. Is there a happy ending to your story? 
Yes! As I mentioned, after my chemical pregnancy in September 2013, I was on a girls weekend in October in Nashville (annual trip with college girlfriends) and I didn't feel quite right, kept feeling dizzy. Turned out I came back from the weekend away and took a pregnancy test and it was positive! Baby boy arrived in July 2014 (shhhhh, we won't tell that I drank in Nashville).

15. Anything else you want to share? 

Just let yourself feel what you need. Take care of you! and try not to stress - stress only makes it harder to get pregnant.

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