Why I didn't share about my second miscarriage

Last year, the week before my 29th birthday, I went in for my 7 week ultrasound, and I left with the news that my second pregnancy had stopped progressing.

I didn't really want to share with anyone because I was embarrassed. I had felt so confident that the second time around I could get it right, that after a short "pregnancy vacation" I would get pregnant again and see it through to the end. I felt that I had the power to not fuck this pregnancy up, and that it would finally result in a baby, instead of tears. That didn't happen. Everything I had imagined and planned for came crashing down right in the middle of my favorite season.

I didn't feel like sharing because I sort of felt like people had been so nice and so sympathetic, and that their reserves for me had been depleted. I felt like I had sort of played the miscarriage card already, and I thought people didn't want to hear it from me anymore. I felt that I only got one shot to complain publicly about my health and fertility, and I had used it up.

I know that the truth is that I shouldn't be embarrassed, it wasn't my fault, and that people had enough kindness to extend to me a second time around, but it didn't feel that way at the time. It felt humiliating and so crushingly sad, I didn't even know how to reach out and talk about it.

In case you do want to hear about it, I took the time to write down the second go round experience. It has been helpful for me to walk through it with fresh eyes, and I hope sharing this will be informative for anyone seeking to feel less alone.



Maybe it was the copious amounts of almond milk pumpkin spiced chais I was drinking (man, do those taste even better when pregnant!), or it was a genetic problem, or the fact that I barely exercise or eat well, or my low progesterone, or something else, but whatever it was, it was a strange echo of my first pregnancy.

I found out I was pregnant in mid-September. Feeling that this was a pregnancy I'd want to remember, I decided to make a little sign to announce it to Alex. I feel really stupid about it now, but it was cute at the time. I put the letterboard in a basket of clean, but unfolded laundry and waited for him to discover it. It took about a half hour and a few strong hints.



It was an exciting week -- just like the time before, it was smooth sailing for the first few days, and I let myself dream and plan for a late May baby, an early June bug. But as I entered the following week, it all started feeling a bit too familiar. I began to spot. I remember literally saying to myself, "Oh no, we're not doing this again," after noticing a few deep red drops. I knew in my heart that something was wrong, but I let myself keep hoping, keep dreaming. I just kept on thinking that the spotting would go away, and we'd return to the previously scheduled programming. But we didn't.

I was able to get an early appointment with my OB at about 5 weeks pregnant to confirm the pregnancy and begin monitoring HCG. Despite continuing to spot, my HCG levels went up. I had low progesterone, however, so I was placed on oral progesterone supplements. This helped all my levels rise to the proper place. It worked well enough that on October 9th, at my 6 week appointment, I got to hear a heartbeat and get a photo of a tiny kidney shaped little lump!

This photo is almost funny to me -- like, this blurry circle is the only evidence of that pregnancy ever really existing.

It was the weirdest thing hearing a heartbeat through the monitor. I never imagined that I would be pregnant long enough to even get a heartbeat, so experiencing it was totally overwhelming and kind of confusing. I cried and the tears ran into my ears.

Alex was at the tail end of a business trip on that Monday appointment, and when the next Monday rolled around, he had already headed out for another trip. I had considered asking a friend to come with me to my seven week ultrasound, but I hadn't told anyone I was pregnant yet, and it felt like a way too intimate thing to ask a friend to attend -- for one, I would be pantsless with an ultrasound wand inside me, and I had very little faith that the appointment would go well, and I couldn't account for how I would behave.

Truth is, it didn't go well. The ultrasound tech silently searched for the heartbeat. Too long of a moment stretched out without her announcing that she found it, all was well, looking good, etc etc etc. She said nothing and I knew... there was nothing. Again, I cried on the table. She tried to say sorry but I couldn't hear anything. I just wanted her to get out of the room so I could sob.

When she left, I sat on the table wearing only my grey sweater and the sheets wrapped around my waist, hung my head, and cried. I remember inexplicably repeating to myself "what happened? what happened? what happened?"

After I cleaned myself up, and redressed, I headed upstairs to meet with my doctor. When I entered the waiting room, it seemed like it was full beautifully pregnant women as far as the eye could see. I sat myself in the most remote corner I could tuck myself into, but even under the veil of privacy, I couldn't stop the tears.

The wait to see the doctor was over an hour. I bawled as quietly as I could manage the whole wait. It was horrible. I knew the pregnancy was over. All I wanted to do was go home. But, I had to pass through the formality of meeting with my OB, having prescriptions written. Once I was in the room, I waited another 45 minutes. There was nothing that she or anyone could say. It was done.

When pulling out of the parking lot, I called my mom. All I had to say was that I was leaving the doctor's office and she knew. Then I called my dad at his office. The road I was driving on was being repaved and the rough quality made it hard to hear him, but what he did offer to connect me with every doctor he knew so that I could speak with them about it.

When I got home, it was like mind connected with body -- the floodgates opened. What I had been trying so hard to prevent from happening, happened. What I had known to be true since mid-September, finally manifested physically. It was as though I didn't even need the cytotec that was prescribed to empty my uterus. The cramps set in, I changed into my sweatpants, crawled into bed, and let what I could not control finally take place.



When Alex goes out of town, he usually asks for photos of me and Bucket and whatever else is going on. He got these.


The second time around was easier. I knew what to expect.

The second time around was harder. I couldn't believe it was happening again.

I thought that getting pregnant again right away would help heal the first miscarriage. I had imagined that this second pregnancy was the first baby, just a second time around. When it fell apart, I realized that there wasn't anything, not even a new baby, that could fix the first loss. And that I wasn't ready to face another loss, much less another pregnancy.

It's hard to believe that my most recent pregnancy began almost nine months ago. It still feels like yesterday. It so strange to imagine that if things had turned out differently, I'd be getting ready for delivery, or even holding a four-month-old.

It's imagining a different future that is the hardest. It's wishing that things were different, when they simply can't be, that hurts the most.

Some days I feel fine with it. I feel okay with reality and I accept that all I can do is move forward in faith that my turn will come. And some days I'm still angry, still confused, still broken. I guess the only thing I can do is recognize that I will probably always live in this duality, that no future pregnancy or child will repair what happened, and that nothing is guaranteed either way.

So, for now, I'm working on just living for and in today. And holding off on another pregnancy until the summer is over... in case you were wondering.

Here's a picture of me about 7 weeks pregnant at our pumpkin carving party dressed up at Ms Frizzle, Bucket as the Magic School Bus and Alex basically wearing a hat to represent a student.

XO,
Annika

1 comment

  1. Truth is, we love you, and we hurt as you hurt...but we hold on to reserves of strengths for whenever you need them. You’re not alone, even when you choose to be because you don’t know how to feel, we’re with you in spirit. Truth is, we have enough love to go around however many times you may need it, but we hold on to the hope that this will be the last, for your sake, and we hold on to the prayer that next time, is the real time, that next time it’s your turn. Truth is, you are loved beyond measure, we may not have the answers to all your questions, but we have love and compassion and prayer to last you a lifetime. Truth is you have a gift with words and it is my strong belief that you’ve been chosen to share your story to help others cope with their own stories. You. My. Friend. Are. Strong. And if you feel your levels of strength are being depleted, we gotchu!

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