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Thursday, October 15, 2015

a miscarriage story : I didn't think it could happen

"It could be that your dates are wrong, and the baby is too small to see on the ultrasound. Or this is the beginning of a miscarriage. It's so early, this could be a go, it could not be. We just aren't sure."

I was numb. I almost didn't hear the doctor speaking to me. I sat still, taking it in, yet at the same time, not really accepting what she was saying, and yet more of my being knowing it was true. This was happening. I was losing this baby.

We left the doctor's office, talked, tried not to panic. My husband told me we'd know when it was time to panic, right now was not that time. We needed to be strong, to stay focused and positive. I tried. But I knew. A mother knows all, right?

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I had a thousand questions. I didn't understand. Why couldn't we see it on the screen like we had with our other two babies? I knew my dates were accurate, that could not be it. What was happening? A waiting game… trying not to panic, trying not to Google too much, having nobody to talk to because we hadn't told anyone yet. We wanted to wait for that first ultrasound to make sure everything was OK. Well, was it OK or not? It's not feeling OK.

The next morning, after feeling mild cramps in the night, I found red. I burst into uncontrollable sobs in the bathroom. My husband came rushing in, and everything was in slow motion from there. We crawled back into bed, knowing what this was, that this was happening, that we couldn't do anything about it besides cling to each other, cry and realize that something we had was now leaving us, and that this part would be painful…

I sobbed saying things like "I really want this baby. I was excited. This isn't fair. Why? I don't understand… Is it my fault? Did I do something? Why? Maybe it's not real, maybe this is spotting… spotting is normal, they said… maybe… Why?"

Hearing my doctor say the word miscarriage, it felt like some other foreign language. I've never uttered that word thinking it meant something I'd go through. 

Sure, with all three pregnancies I worried in the beginning "that something could go wrong," or "that we'd lose it." But I never once imagined the M-word applying to me. I just didn't associate the word with the action. Somehow, hearing that word applied to my situation, saying it out loud myself when I told my mother and sister, it hurt unbearably. It was like being shot through the heart. It didn't make sense. Why would this happen to me? How could this happen? It's not like I'm immune to bad things, but it's like cancer or car accidents- you just hope and pray it never happens to you, to the point of believing that it never would happen. It's shocking.

And yet it's more common than I ever knew before. So many people have gone through this. 20% they tell me. Especially being less than 7 weeks along, they say, it's common. It happens sometimes for no reason at all. Things don't form properly. They don't grow. Things don't progress. Is that what happened? I'll not know for sure, but yes, that's what they say. And yet I search for answers. I want to know why, what happened here. Did I cause it? My heart knows I had nothing to do with this… but my mind, well you can't stop a runaway train and that is exactly what my mind has been for the last 24 hours.

My friends, my husband, my doctor, Google articles, they all say the same thing: Nothing you did, thought, believed, wondered or anything about yourself caused this to happen. You did nothing wrong. You are not to blame. I am not at fault. Hearing this helps… yet the mind still wonders. Did I run too much? Did I eat something bad? Is my body messed up? Is something wrong inside me? Was I too stressed out? Did I not rest enough? Is this a sign that says we should not do this, we're not ready?

The heart knows there is nothing to this…. the heart trusts that it's something bigger, somehow there was something not right here, so it's gone… and it's hard to understand, difficult to accept, not having answers or control over the situation… but it's another part of life.

Life doesn't always make sense. Miscarriages are just one more part of that overwhelming equation of life.

When we went in for the ultrasound there was a yolk sac. That is what forms first, the embryo forms in that, and then you see the heartbeat later. Our sac was empty. They could not see anything. I read online - one of the first times reading on Google actually made things better versus worse - that sometimes a sperm and egg fertilize but nothing grows, develops. Or sometimes an embryo does develop but stops growing almost instantly due to chromosomal issues. This information actually made me feel better. While it's sad, because yes of course we imagined a baby growing, imagining that no baby even formed, that actually is easier to accept.

Now I'm left with an empty belly and an aching heart. I'm left with dreams that won't be fulfilled. I'm left with questions that won't be answered. There are worse things, I know this to be true. My good friend tried for 4 years to conceive. When she did, she saw a heartbeat, then went in for her next ultrasound and the baby had died. She could not leave her house for weeks after this traumatic experience. I know it is different for each mom who goes through this. I'm grateful to have two children. I didn't see a heartbeat. I don't have to imagine that picture in my mind over and over. It can always be worse.

And yet a good friend told me not to minimize this. She said, grieve, feel what you feel, don't minimize it and make it feel better just yet. Someday that's good, do and say what you want to make it feel better. But for now, FEEL it.

And that's what I've done. I'm going through it. "It's happening," I kept thinking. This is happening and I have to go through it.

I'll never understand why women are faced with this terrible situation of a miscarriage. I feel odd now considering myself one of those in the 20% statistic I've heard about before.

And yet, I know this to be true: you don't know how strong you really are until being strong is all you know to be.

And so I move along. I move through this, not around it.

I had a miscarriage. And I never thought it could happen to me.

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