The very first time I found out I was pregnant, I was shocked but thrilled! It wasn’t a planned pregnancy but I wanted this baby more than anything in the world. I called my OB immediately and began my prenatal care. At 10 weeks pregnant, I went in for my routine ultrasound. I knew right away when the ultrasound technician didn’t say anything and didn’t take any measurements that something was very wrong. She took one quick look, turned the machine off, wiped the goop off my belly, and walked out of the room. Shortly after, my OB came in to tell me the heartbreaking news. No heartbeat. I was in shock. It felt like an out of body experience and something that couldn’t possibly be true. I had always wanted to become a mother so why would this be happening to me?
The next few weeks were extremely difficult to put it mildly. I couldn’t help but blame myself for the loss of my baby. Thoughts swirled around in my head that I couldn’t get rid of. Maybe it was because I took ibuprofen that one time before I knew I was pregnant. Maybe I didn’t start taking my pre-natal vitamins early enough. If you’ve experienced any type of loss in your life, you can’t help but blame yourself and wonder what you could have done differently.
My doctor told me that my body would “naturally expel” what was left of my baby over the next few days or so. That didn’t happen. Nothing happened. Every time I went to the bathroom, I would look in the toilet and cringe. But there was nothing. So, I went back to my doctor and she prescribed a medication that would force my uterus to contract and push my baby out. So, I took that and experienced MAJOR cramping for about 2 days. But still, nothing. I laid awake at night wondering why my body wasn’t doing what it was supposed to do. I just wanted this to be over with so I could have some closure and move on.
So, I went back to my doctor yet again and she scheduled a D & C (Dilation and Curettage), which is exactly how it sounds. They dilate you, then scrape the baby out. I had the procedure done a few days later. I had the option of being awake or put completely under for the surgery and I chose to be put to sleep. I wanted to wake up and for it to be over.
When I arrived home after my surgery, I was in a daze from what just happened. I lost my child and had to have it cut out of me. What shocked me the most was how quickly I was expected to just get over it and carry on with my life. I felt like everyone around me didn’t see the need for me to mourn the loss of my baby. I can only assume it was because the baby was never born and I was only 10 weeks pregnant. However, to this day I still don’t care how far along I was, I was excited to be a mom and I was already so bonded to this baby. No one wanted to talk about my miscarriage with me. I found solace in miscarriage support groups on Facebook to help me mourn the loss of my baby. It was one of the loneliest times of my life.
I tell you all of this, mama, because October is child and pregnancy loss awareness month and this is something that occurs often and NEEDS to be talked about. For women in their childbearing years, the chances of having a miscarriage can range from 10-25% (www.americanpregnancy.org). So why isn’t there more support out there when this happens? Why are we expected to simply move on and why aren’t we allowed to grieve when this occurs? I don’t have the answers to these questions but they are questions I think about often.
What I can say is looking back now, I know my miscarriage happened for very specific reasons. I was in an abusive marriage at the time and I cannot imagine what it would have been like to bring a baby into that relationship at that point in time in my life. Having that miscarriage changed the trajectory of my life drastically. My miscarriage ended up setting things in motion that caused me to move away from Arizona and to Colorado for some time. The time I spent in Colorado, single, working, and exploring the beautiful mountains and outdoors allowed my soul to heal. I’m not sure that would have happened had I stayed here in Arizona.
I know not all of you believe that everything happens for a reason. Sometimes I am skeptical of that principle myself. I do know, however, that you cannot control what happens in your life but you CAN control how you react and respond to certain circumstances and events. You can allow pain and loss to destroy you, or you can allow it to help you grow.
You choose mama, and choose wisely.