I hope sharing my story will help bring light to this sensitive topic. I wasn’t prepared for how physical a miscarriage could be – I thought it was mostly an emotional experience, until it happened to me. If you can relate to my story at all, I’d love to hear from you. You are not alone.
One of my biggest fears came true as I just turned 11 weeks pregnant – I started bleeding and my heart immediately sank to my stomach. The next day my OBGYN had me come in for an ultrasound and there wasn’t a heartbeat. After hearing that news, the only thing I remember him saying was that nothing I did caused this to happen.
Since I had made it through the majority of the first trimester, I had already begun to tell friends and family. I was now dealing with this loss and had to fill everyone in on this devastating news that was consuming me.
As I left the doctor’s, all I could think about was how my body still felt pregnant (my breasts were larger, my hips had started to widen, I was still hungry every 2 hours and I was even starting to show). Since this was my second pregnancy, my body reacted more quickly this time and my uterus expanded very early on in the pregnancy.. How could there not be a heartbeat, but my body still felt pregnant?
My D&C was scheduled for 3 days from when I went to the doctor’s. Now I was just waiting around the house for surgery. For those of you who don’t know what a D&C is; it’s a procedure called “dilation and curettage” where they remove the tissue from inside the uterus to help with heavy bleeding during certain uterine conditions or to clear the uterine lining after a miscarriage. I was oddly looking forward to the procedure because then I could get some type of closure and focus on healing physically and mentally. It was an unsettling feeling knowing that I had to wait 3 days. I felt conflicted on how to spend these 3 days while I was grieving. Should I stay busy, or should I rest and mourn?
What happened next was something for which I wasn’t prepared. The next afternoon, I started feeling contractions that were 3 minutes apart and the bleeding got heavier. I called my doctor and he said that my body was getting ready to pass it on its own. He said that I could pass it at home or go to the ER. I was scared, confused and in immense pain. No one prepared me or told me that having a miscarriage could feel like childbirth without pain medication.
Minutes later, I passed it on my own which was something that I hope no one ever has to experience (if you can relate to this, my heart goes out to you and the pain you felt physically and emotionally). Panic and tears struck me. I was losing a ton of blood and had to go straight to the ER. When I arrived, they immediately got me on pain medication, did an ultrasound and decided to do an emergency D&C, which fortunately was successful.
When I got home from the hospital, I began reflecting on what had just occurred. I never knew how physical a miscarriage could be – maybe it was ignorance, but I always thought miscarriages were mostly emotional. Clearly, I was wrong.
As I told the women in my life what happened, I immediately felt an overwhelming sense of support and love. Friends and family sent me the most thoughtful messages, dropped off meals, sent flowers and gifts and offered to watch P while I recovered. It was a kind of support that I didn’t even know existed and I’m starting to tear up as I’m writing this. As alone as I felt while grieving from home, I really wasn’t alone at all. Since I told a lot of people about my pregnancy, the more people that found out ended up telling me their miscarriage stories and motherhood struggles. The challenges create somewhat of a secret society that no one talks about.
Why are women afraid to tell their miscarriage stories out loud? Are we embarrassed? Ashamed? The more that I talk about it,. the less I feel alone. So why are we hiding from these horrible experiences and feeling even more isolated? Miscarriages are out of our control, so we should be sharing these experiences with our loved ones to speed up the healing process. So many people in my life have had similar experiences, almost none of which I had previously known about.. If you’re reading this right now and don’t have a support system in your life, reach out to us at bumblebaby. The bumblebaby team supported me in ways that I didn’t know were possible, both as friends and colleagues.
My biggest takeaway from this experience is that miscarriages are just as physical as they are emotional for the mother and her partner. Despite not undergoing the physical portion of the experience, our partners grieve too, which is sometimes easy to forget.
Now that I’m physically healed, the emotional healing is something that I am dealing with every day. Little triggers throughout the day remind me of our loss and it hurts. But this is now part of my journey and it’s a part of me. I’m stronger now because of this experience and have found a support system that I didn’t know existed until a few weeks ago.
Just remember: You are not alone.
Other helpful blog posts:
- Renée’s pregnancy after loss feelings
- 5 ways to support someone experiencing a miscarriage
- A story on infertility
- A story about ectopic pregnancy
- Kate’s parents’ story on infertility and adoption
- A letter to the mom’s in waiting on Mother’s Day
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**This post is educational and not meant to take the place of your provider.