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Reclaiming Wife: Miscarriage


I was a mother, but I never got to hold my baby

Reclaiming Wife: Miscarriage | A Practical Weddingby Anonymous

I was a mother… but I never got to hold my baby.

My husband and I had been trying to get pregnant for a year when we visited the doctor. Our whirlwind of fertility tests started with a blood test. A few days after going to the lab, I got a call from the nurse. “Your blood test shows that you’re pregnant. Congratulations!”

I responded by telling her my name and that she must have called the wrong person. She hadn’t.

The next day, I was avoiding sushi and caffeine, understanding why I was exhausted and trying not to get too excited.

When my spotting started, I found support in forums that it could be normal. Seeing our baby’s healthy heartbeat a couple days later made it easier to believe that everything was okay. When my intense cramping started and the bleeding picked up, there was no more denying that our baby wouldn’t be making it into the world.

Even though I wasn’t far along, miscarrying has been hard. I’ve gone through every emotion from guilt to relief to despair. I’m terrified and will be until the process is complete. I feel that I’ve let my family and my husband down. And worst, I feel that I didn’t do what I was supposed to do as a mother.

We didn’t tell anyone other than our parents, so I have to act normally. I pretend I missed work for the flu and that the pain pills I’m taking are just an antibiotic. I smile when pregnant women talk about their cravings and “like” the posts of their healthy ultrasound photos.

I’ve watched my husband cry and I’ve been woken up with cramping. I avoid looking at the toilet when I use the restroom for fear that I’ll see anything resembling the little person that my body didn’t seem happy to support. My life has become a bit of a horror movie when I thought I was starting a fairy tale.

Miscarrying is lonely, depressing business. But, as I sit here looking at our story, I know that this loss is not the ending to our story. In three days, we went from thinking we couldn’t conceive to knowing that we could. Our very small child changed my life and renewed hope I’d started to lose. Even though we aren’t strong enough to try to conceive again soon, this is just a step on the way to our happy ending—whatever that may be.

Photo by APW Sponsor Gabriel Harber

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  • K

    So sorry. :(

    I highly recommend this book: Empty Cradle, Broken Heart
    http://www.amazon.com/Empty-Cradle-Broken-Revised-Edition/dp/1555913024/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1377542362&sr=8-1&keywords=empty+cradle+broken+heart

    It’s the only reasonable book I found after I miscarried, and it helped me make sense of my emotions, including the ones I was too scared to tell anyone else about. After reading it, I shared my feelings with my husband more confidently because I knew they were totally irrational (Did I dream the pregnancy? Maybe we never were pregnant? Maybe I never miscarried and this new pregnancy is the same one?) and also completely normal.

  • http://landlockedlove.com Kelly

    So, so many hugs.

  • Laura C

    Until my friends started getting pregnant, I didn’t realize how common miscarriage and other problems were. Probably more than half of my friends (to whom I’m close enough to know about these things) have had miscarriages. Add to that a couple of stillbirths or babies born too premature to survive more than a few minutes and it really seems to me like the norm is to have one or more tries that don’t work out. I never can figure out if that thought is comforting or frightening. But all of the friends I’m thinking of have healthy kids now.

    • KC

      On the comforting vs. frightening thing, I vote “both”. But mostly terrifying, because even if it’s common – and hence it’s comforting that you’re not alone – it can be really traumatic, especially if the “it happens all the time” turns into “so what are you making a fuss about?”. I don’t know anyone [who I know of, but they totally could exist] who has had a miscarriage and has been totally “okay” with it, if that makes sense; they’ve all had pretty substantial grief experiences surrounding them, even those who had multiple other children or who weren’t “supposed” to grieve due to time period, and even those who weren’t totally sure what they thought about having a kid! But maybe I wouldn’t know about don’t-care miscarriages? There’s a lot of selection bias, I guess, but scary anyway.

      • Anon

        I had a miscarriage after trying for a over a year. The pregnancy only lasted 8 weeks (and you don’t find out you’re pregnant ’til week 4, so I only knew about it for a month). Since we’d had such a hard time getting pregnant in the first place I was not overly optimistic about the pregnancy from the get go (after you read a bazillion fertility forums, you hear about some awful stuff so I wasn’t expecting a picture perfect pregnancy after the first positive test). When the doctor could no longer find the heartbeat, I was sad but not devastated. We scheduled a D&C for later that week. The whole process was sort of a whirlwind and I felt sort of empty, emotionally. But we went out for dinner with friends the next day (we didn’t tell them about it) and everything was fine. It’s not an experience I’d like to repeat, and I wouldn’t say I “didn’t care” – but it wasn’t traumatizing. I never even thought of it as a baby. It was too early. The pregnancy went bad and I wish it had ended differently, but 4 months later I’m totally fine and we keep trying …

        • KC

          That’s actually really reassuring. Thank you!

      • Arachna

        I just want to weigh in, in an “I exist” sort of way, that I had very little emotional upset at my well into my first trimester miscarriage. I was sad and unhappy it happened and a little frustrated but I’m not sure I cried even once nor felt the need to. I knew going into TTC how common miscarriages were and was prepared, the only upset I did have was that it was about a week after the “likely safe” time so I felt cheated that I had just started to really think of the pregnancy as happening and safe. But I definitely didn’t think of there being a baby at that early stage and did not react as if I had lost one. (I agree with everyone else that there is aboslutely no right way or time to grieve and that the loss is very real and very painful for a lot of people – it was just my experience that I felt relatively little loss and grief.)

        However I was totally unprepared for how physically painful it was, I’d heard people talk about the emotional pain of miscarriage but no one ever said anything about the physical part. For me that </i> was kind of traumatic. It was pretty much like labor with the contractions but of course no happy purpose and shorter. Extremly painful and nothing you can do to help (I can't believe they don't prescribe/administer the good drugs for it).

      • Elemjay

        I had a miscarriage in week 5 after trying for ~18 months – had just found out I was pregnant then the next day got full blown period. Quite upset for 24 hours but then actually found it reassuring (whilst sad). I know this might seem like an odd reaction but because of medical conditions and my age (35 at that point) I was convinced I couldn’t conceive AT ALL (and my only chance was IVF) so whilst it was sad it also meant that spontaneous conception was possible. NB I think this would be called a “chemical pregnancy” ie not very pregnant at all, and probably quite different from being 8-12-more weeks along.

        I fell pregnant again the next cycle – my daughter, the result of that pregnancy, just turned 3 years old in July. And I’m now 34 weeks pregnant with my 2nd (unplanned) daughter and I will be 39 when she is born.

        So whilst I’m a bit sad the first pregnancy didn’t work out, but for me it was a sign not to give up hope. And subsequent events have more than proved that right.

        Good luck and best wishes to all those struggling with similar events…..

    • rys

      My mom had 3 miscarriages, including 2 before me and 1 between my younger siblings. I obviously have no idea how she felt or handled it at the time, as I either didn’t exist or was too young. But she always talked about them, which meant I grew up thinking they were common, even “normal.” she doesn’t talk about them as devastating losses (whether or not she felt that way 35+ years ago) but as facts/facets of life, which also gave me a sense that, for her, it was less about overwhelming grief and more about the frustration of elements of life beyond human control. I also have always assumed that if I ever try to get pregnant, a miscarriage is likely, which might be morbid .

    • gail

      The reason our grandmothers didn’t announce that they were pregnant until after 12 weeks was because there weren’t tests that showed pregnancy 3 days after conception, but mostly, they were well aware of the frequency of miscarriage in the earliest months.

      It seems like “everybody” is having miscarriages today because we know so early. 50 years ago a woman may have just thought they were “late”. The truth is, most frequently it happened because it’s makeup didn’t make it viable.

      Doctors don’t look for a particular reason you may have miscarried until you’ve had a second miscarriage, (or third, which seems cruel to me) at which time they may do some genetic testing.

      Been there. I’m sorry for your grief.

  • http://www.laughterinthelou.com Emma

    Hugs.

  • Jessica

    Non emotional side of things:

    As a scientist who happens to have studied genetics and miscarriages, it’s fairly likely that it’s NOT that your “body didn’t seem happy to support” the baby and more likely that the fetus itself had genetic problems that were incompatible with life. Only ~25-30% of fertilized eggs (conceptuses) end up being born and one hypothesis is that a large number of them have chromosomal abnormalities (Down Syndrome is actually quite mild. The majority of the time, having a third copy of any of the other chromosomes is lethal).

    • Amber

      Thanks for sharing this info. It’s fascinating!

  • http://sarahsugeon.blogspot.com sarahsurgeon

    As someone who has also now been trying (with no success) for a pregnancy for about a year, I don’t totally understand, but can imagine your grief at this. I am sorry for your loss and wish you strength through this. Who knew, when we spent our early years trying so desperately not to get pregnant that these would be the struggles down the road.

  • MDBethann

    First, big hugs.

    Second, thank you. As someone who is struggling with trying to become pregnant right now, I can’t even begin to imagine what you must be feeling right now and I am impressed that you have found some hope in your sadness. I hope you and your husband can continue to see the silver lining of possibility in your clouds.

  • http://findinglittlegeekling.wordpress.com/ Sarah

    I’ve been through this twice, though we never even got to hear a heartbeat. Though they figured out what the problem was, even on medication there’s no guarantee it won’t happen again, and I just can’t go through it any more. We’re moving on to adoption.

    • Julia

      Sarah, do you mind saying what they found? I’ve experienced the same thing, with no explanation given or found.

  • Laura M

    Thank you so much for sharing this. And thank you, apw, for posting it. In the month since my miscarriage, I’ve struggled to find the words to articulate the isolation it creates. We had only told our parents the day before our first appointment, and we were blindsided when the tech couldn’t find a heartbeat. I hadn’t had any bleeding at all.

    On one hand pretending everything was ok, seemed to be the only thing to get me through the initial grief. But feeling like I can’t tell people now, like I don’t want to burden them, feels like I’m lying all of the time.

    • http://eclpse.livejournal.com Kimberly

      Yep. This. It’s a weird thing — I’m not ashamed, and I actually don’t mind talking about my particular experience, but it’s not exactly something that I want to bring up in casual conversation. And sometimes I feel like throwing it back at people when they ask questions that they don’t know are hurtful, but ultimately restrain myself. (Why? Blahdunno.)

      It’s quite isolating, absolutely, and I don’t know how to go about navigating it.

  • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

    No matter how far along you were it is a loss and a death. Mourn it. Don’t read about the scientific side if things. Don’t read about the statistics. They don’t make you feel better and can actually make you feel worse.

    Our first pregnancy ended in miscarriage, but our 8 week along son gave us hope that someday we’d hold one of our babies. I pray you always have hope.

  • http://weehermione.blogspot.com Hayley

    Sending you strength and love. I have been there. It is hell.

  • Natalie

    I am sending lots of love and well-wishes your way. My thoughts and prayers are with you during this time. <3 big, big hugs.

  • adria

    Heartbreaking. I’m terribly sorry for your loss.

    After months of trying, I started to worry that we were battling infertility, which led to many sleepless nights, tormenting thoughts, depression, and at the same time, some cynical sense of hope that someday it would happen. Like you, I found myself silent in my struggles, doing little more than “liking” posts by friends about their children, their pregnancy announcements, their ultrasound photos…hoping to get some good karma on my side.

    The trying to conceive, and (the worse) miscarriage, is a silent struggle for many, and I’m glad that APW is a forum where it can be mentioned. It’s terribly common, yet those struggling feel so alone because it’s not a common topic of conversation.

    Best wishes to you…may your healing process continue, and may the plan for you unfold and bring things that your heart deserves.

  • Seanie

    First of all, huge, huge hugs. My son passed away due to a cord accident during an otherwise complete normal labor almost three months ago. To lose a child, no matter what the timing or circumstances, is a heartbreaking, gutwrenching loss that has no comparison. While our situations are different, don’t let anyone tell you that you shouldn’t mourn your baby’s loss. The second we find out we are pregnant, we start loving and hoping and dreaming of futures for that life, and your emotions are 100% valid. All of them.

    The two books that I have found to be the most comfort and help through all of this are:

    _Empty Arms_ by Sherokee Ilse (http://www.amazon.com/Empty-Arms-Coping-Miscarriage-Stillbirth/dp/0960945660/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1377549841&sr=8-1&keywords=empty+arms)

    _Pregnancy After a Loss_ by Carol Lanham (http://www.amazon.com/Pregnancy-After-Loss-Miscarriage-Stillbirth/dp/0425170470/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1377549940&sr=8-1&keywords=pregnancy+after+a+loss)

    Thank you for sharing your story. Please, please, please, seek out comfort and support from your loved ones, and know that you are strong, and *not* broken. So much love to you.

    “If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together.. there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart.. I’ll always be with you.” – Winnie the Pooh

  • Rita Loveday

    It has been over 33 years since I had 2 miscarriages, they both are still sharp in my memory. I did carry two babies to birth and have a daughter and a son. You will never forget, but you will slowly move forward. I’ve known several “younger” gals who have experienced what we have and I have always tried to reach out to each one. What you are feeling is very normal, it is a grieving process. In several months, you may be ready to try again. Prayers for you and your husband.

  • Cat

    Our first try ended in a chemical pregnancy three cycles ago. Don’t be surprised if your body takes a cycle or two to recover. I know your pain, but it gets better once you’re not in the middle of it. I still burst into tears at reading your post, but i’m not thinking about it constantly anymore. And at least you now know you CAN get pregnant. So, hugs.

  • Sarah

    My heart just pours out to you! Thank you so much for sharing this with us.
    We have also been trying for ages now and after about a year of infertility treatments we are pregnant- every second of my day is filled with fear and terror that this will be taken away from us. I love this baby so much already and we are early in the first trimester.

  • http://www.marjmerges.com Marj

    Sending you hugs and love.

    I too had a miscarriage early in my first pregnancy and felt pretty alone in the aftermath.

    Trying again was scary because I did not want to go through a miscarriage again and wasn’t sure I could emotionally handle it. For the first trimester I wasn’t really willing to fully embrace the pregnancy or that we’d eventually actually have a baby. Today we have a healthy and goofy ten month old but I still am reminded of the miscarriage on occasion and acknowledge to myself when the date of the miscarriage rolls around or when that baby would have been born.

  • Anon

    For the extent to which miscarriage is common, it’s so rarely talked about. I only told three or four people about my own, but each of them knew at least one other person who’d had one. My mom had two. I think if more women were prepared for this possibility, it might be easier to handle. A huge number of first pregnancies end in miscarriage. Almost half of all women will experience one. And yet none of them is prepared to handle it. It blindsides us like it came out of nowhere. Of course I say this, but I’m nowhere near prepared to talk to anyone about my own (except those few trusted people I already told). So, I guess this is all to say thanks for sharing. Really. Maybe someone reading this will be a little more prepared should it happen to her someday …

    • Jenn’s Mom

      After the examination confirming I was pregnant with my first child my doctor had me dress and sit with her in her office while she explained the frequency of miscarriages. It was a real eye opener for me. We waited until 3 months before sharing with any family members that we were expecting, (although me not drinking wine tipped them off pretty quickly the second time) Fortunately both my pregnancies ended with my lovely daughters but my sister had a late term miscarriage and my sister in law had several early miscarriages before successful pregnancies. I’m still grateful to my doctor for taking the time to explore the potential outcomes.

  • Erika

    I am approaching the first anniversary of my miscarriage. It will always be a part of me and a part of my marriage. Like other kinds of grief there is no timeline for when you should be “done” with grieving, but from the perspective of a year I can say that time does heal. Please give yourself permission to feel whatever you are feeling.

  • http://unexpected-moments.blogspot.ca/ Sheryl

    That just sucks. I’m really sorry.

    I had my own miscarriage about a year ago, and was absolutely unprepared for just what processing my way through it and healing would involve. A year in I’m at a point where I’m mostly fine with it, but there were weeks of nothing but crying, points where seeing other babies made me cry, and the due date and anniversaries were absolutely awful points. It’s rough.

    For me what helped the most was just talking about it. Talking when it was appropriate, talking about it when it didn’t feel appropriate and just being insistent on not being quiet about what I was going through. I felt like I was required to keep quiet about things, especially because we hadn’t told anyone precisely because of that “just in case” scenario and it was probably the most devastating grief I’d ever experienced – which wasn’t something that I could just be quiet about without making it harder for myself.

  • Katie

    Thank you for sharing. For a world where so much trite information is over-shared, miscarriage and infertility is not talked about enough.
    We’ve been TTC for 10 months being quite deliberate (shout out to APW – here I first discovered Taking Charge of Your Fertility years ago and it’s been so insightful!) and I’m starting to get uneasy. I’ve got three close friends who all share the “he just looked at me!” experience and I’m starting to do the odds in my head…
    If there is one thing I could change about my marriage situation it’s that we would have started trying sooner (together since 22, married at 29, currently almost 32). I’ve known forever that I’ve wanted kids. He needed time to prepare for the idea, and then my work schedule made me attempt to time things. We went into TTC with the attitude that it could happen right away so we want to be ready, and instead we’re facing the opposite. I’ve already told him that even should it happen, I will be so extremely cautious about being happy since I know so much about miscarriages now.

  • Hils

    I’ll echo everyone who is grateful this post is on APW (and to the writer for being willing to talk about it). I wish there had been more frank discussion of the physical and practical (heh) implications of miscarriage that I could have read then. Instead there were just message boards with people talking about their angels. And that’s not my… view of the world.

    My own miscarriage (at five weeks) was last February (the day of the Super Bowl, thus preempting my our annual Super Bowling tradition (trademark pending)). I got pregnant two months after our wedding, unexpectedly, since we were still having protected sex. The positive pregnancy test was a shock. But the miscarriage leveled me flat. (I had actually been planning to write A Wedding Graduate post when it happened, but it completely changed our story, I thought, and I didn’t know how to make it work: the wedding that we built together and the baby that we lost together.)

    I didn’t talk about it much at the time, especially to friends. And especially to friends with babies, (except those who had their own miscarriages and had told me about it). It wasn’t out of shame, but rather not wanting to bring people down. It’s sadness that no one can fix. And I hate being the bearer of bad news. Also, it seemed like the entire world around me was pregnant, which hurt almost as much as the cramps, and left me too jealous to say anything other than “life is so fucking unfair.”

    The only people I did tell, strangely, were my co-workers. I needed them to know why I wasn’t myself, why I wasn’t doing my best work. And it helped so much to not hide it from them, but to also not have to talk about it. It was like any other family loss or illness. I got condolences, but I also had space. (Plus, I ended up having to go for weekly HCG blood tests for WEEKS while my levels sloooooowly went down and it was nice not to lie about those appointments or have them think I was interviewing for another job.)

    I luckily ended up getting pregnant again almost immediately, in April (our awesome son is almost eight months old) and like previous posters, I had trouble enjoying my pregnancy until about 20 weeks, too worried about losing this baby too. But it did get better as I finally realized that being pregnant again meant there were only two options: having a baby or losing a baby, and it was all completely out of my hands. The only way was through… and god, I’m so grateful to be on the other side, with my amazing kid in my arms. My friend told me at the time that the only thing that helped her after her miscarriage was having a baby. And I think that was ultimately true for me too. He healed me. I wish that for everyone who loses a baby.

    Oh, and it super super sucks for your partner too. My husband was wrecked, to see me in pain, to lose his child before he could even blink.. And there wasn’t a soul or resource in the world available to him.

    • J

      I felt the same about all the angels references – I’m sure that this is very comforting to lots of people but it didn’t resonate with me at all and left me feeling quite isolated. A good friend also sent me a very religious poem about miscarriage that left me completely untouched. It just didn’t feel like anything to do with my experience. I did stumble upon a poem that brought me a lot of comfort in the end, it’s below in case anyone is interested (I interpreted the ‘flame’ as optimism, strength, human kindness although I imagine there is a religious interpretation also if that suits):

      You must not shut the night inside you,
      But endlessly, with light, the dark immerse.
      A tiny lamp has gone out in my tent –
      I bless the flame that warms the universe

      Friedrich Rockert

      • hampton

        this poem is lovely – thank you for sharing this.

  • K

    I’ve been talking about my early pregnancy in the Friday Happy Hours for the past couple of weeks. I’m about 6.5 weeks along and have had some very minor spotting, plus I already knew I was at a high risk of miscarriage (PCOS). We haven’t told anyone yet, at all. We found out I was pregnant 15 days after my grandmother died, and it’s just far too soon to drag my family along on the emotional roller coaster that early pregnancy can be. If we could, I’d wait until the first trimester was over before we told our families at all, but that won’t work for a couple of logistical reasons. I’m adamant about not telling anyone until we’ve seen an ultrasound, though, even though I know that one good ultrasound is no guarantee of another one.

    Still, being pregnant is a lot *harder* than I thought it would be – and it’s getting tougher to do in secret, without support.

    I feel like I’m stuck in some sort of weird middle ground, where I’m both getting overconfident (“The spotting never came, everything’s fine!”) and at the same time so afraid that it won’t last that I won’t tell anyone about it, won’t let myself get attached to the baby, won’t let myself think more than a couple weeks in the future.

    I find myself walking through the streets of Manhattan wondering how on earth all of these people could possibly have made it through the minefield that is the first 12 weeks of gestation.

    • K2

      I didn’t realize someone else was posting as “K” when I tried to semi-anonymize my comment, and now the comment editor won’t let me change it and I can’t seem to request deletion (so I can repost under a different name). Sorry, K!

  • http://www.koruwedding.com Koru Kate {Koru Wedding}

    Hugs! My miscarriage is still one of the most heartbreaking things I have gone through in my life; my miscarriage is definitely the most heartbreaking things my husband & I have gone through in our marriage. I wish everyone who has experienced this heartbreak much comfort, peace & strength~

  • Amy

    Thinking of you and sending love your way.

  • TGal

    Miscarriage is definitely a difficult subject, but I agree wholeheartedly that there needs to be more preparadeness for what is (statistically) a very possible outcome to a pregnancy. As a recent immigrant to the US, I have been very surprised at the lack of knowledge here about miscarriage. My husband and I are now trying to get pregnant and have shared this exciting news with some close friends who seemed genuinely surprised when I also shared how we had discussed the possibility of miscarriage and had read up on what to expect physically if that happens. I was quickly shushed and told not to think about that, and told not to dwell on the possibility of losing a pregnancy. I was a bit shocked. I grew up learning that 1-in-5 pregnancies don’t last beyond the first three months and this is why you don’t share the pregnancy in public until then. But that being said, a miscarriage is also not something you should have to hide or feel guilty about. I remember collegaues being off work for this reason, and even remember a schoolteacher explaining to us that she had been pregnant but the pregnancy had not been viable and so she miscarried (this was during sex-ed, to be clear, not just a passing comment). In all, I understand that this might not be a popular opinion, but miscarriages are all too common for us to ignore the possibility and to be shamed in silence and guilt if it does happen.

  • J

    I can testify to the isolation and shame. I have just found out I am pregnant with my 9th baby (the other 8 didn’t make it) and am feeling so alone and scared. I am pleased for the people who don’t feel it’s a baby until later in the pregnancy. Sadly, my husband and I do not feel this way. I spent my 40th birthday staring at a scan of our previously lively baby who died aged just 10 weeks. Whilst in my head I know there is a (small) chance this one could go ok, I feel I am just waiting to find out when this one will die.

    My heart goes out to all others who are going through this.

    • Amanda L.

      Oh J. If hugs could be sent from one internet stranger to another, mine would go straight to you. You are so courageous to keep trying after what must be so much heartache. I pray (literal prayers… not just the figurative ones!) that this baby is the one you get to take home from the hospital with you.

  • http://www.hungrybruno.com Adrienne

    Thanks for sharing your story, and I’m so sorry for your loss. I’ve had three miscarriages in the last 9 months, and while they don’t get easier, per se, they get… different. The first one leveled me flat, completely. We were so overjoyed that we got pregnant (after trying for 3-4 cycles) and the holidays were a great opportunity to tell people in person instead of over the phone, so we shared that one at 7-8 weeks. At 11 weeks, when they STILL couldn’t find a heartbeat, they did an ultrasound and declared it a missed miscarriage, and did a D&C since my body was still holding on, 6 weeks after the baby stopped growing. I missed an entire week of work and sobbed every day for weeks.

    Two months later I had a natural miscarriage at 5 weeks (I wouldn’t have known I was pregnant if not for the early response tests). I knew from the beginning that it wasn’t going to stick, so I only cried a couple of times, though I was pretty blue for a while.

    The next cycle I got pregnant again, and I thought of course I won’t have a THIRD miscarriage! We went on vacation (and I didn’t drink! in California wine country!) but after my nausea disappeared two days after we got home I called and scheduled an earlier ultrasound (after two losses they still weren’t counting me as “high risk” so I had to be a bit of a pest to get an ultrasound before 12 weeks). One more missed miscarriage, one more D&C. And then I bled for a month, and they had to repeat the surgery because they didn’t get it all the first time. The first surgery was easier to deal with because I had felt going into the ultrasound that I wasn’t pregnant anymore. The repeat surgery was devastating, because I was so terrified that this many D&Cs must be damaging to my uterus, but given how much I was bleeding and for how long, the doctors said there was no other option.

    Now, a year after we started trying, I’m finally getting some testing done. So far they’ve ruled many, many things out about what could be causing my RPL (recurrent pregnancy loss) but no determination yet about what’s actually the cause. I’m hoping it’s just shitty luck, and we plan to start trying again next month. I’ve been pregnant for the better part of the last year, but I still don’t have a baby. I talk about it all the time, and I don’t sugar coat it when people ask me what’s new with me (well, not strangers on the street, but friends I haven’t seen in a while or something), because I wish more people talked about it. If I had known going into TTC how common miscarriage is, I would have been more cautious with my heart the first time. I’m angry that this experience has robbed me of the unbridled joy I first felt at a positive pregnancy test, but all I can do is hope the next one sticks.

    • C

      “I’ve been pregnant for the better part of the last year, but I still don’t have a baby.”

      Ugh, just reading this made my heart ache for you. I truly hope the docs can find out what’s going on so you can have a successful pregnancy. So many internet hugs your way.

    • J

      Urgh, your story so closely mirrors my own through 2011/12 that I feel the need to speak up. I’m so sorry that this is happening and I know that anything that ends with “and now I’ve got ten healthy babies!” isn’t actually helpful when you don’t know how your own story ends yet, but things did turn around for us and after two years of near-constant pregnancy, I finally had a healthy little girl earlier this year. Those first poached eggs and soft cheeses tasted preetttyyy sweet :)
      I was really mixed about going for testing too (everyone around me seemed to be hoping that there would be a ‘problem’ that could be fixed, I just so much wanted it to be shitty luck) and actually fell pregnant with my daughter before the results came back as it felt like it might be my last chance to have a normal pregnancy without all kinds of medical interventions. A small act of defiance I guess that luckily worked out.
      I’ve also been very open about my experiences (first missed miscarriage at 11 weeks, second at 8, third at 6) and have actually found that it’s led to some really amazing conversations and genuine deepening of several friendships.
      Sending very best wishes and hopes for better days to come to you, the author and everyone in the comments

  • Amanda L.

    My husband and I have been trying to conceive for 14 months now. We waited for me to go off BC until after the wedding, because we just *knew* we’d be those people who got pregnant right away. NOPE. This post has been eye-opening for me, and I can already feel my view on my eventual pregnancy changing. With miscarriage such a prevalent outcome of pregnancy, it would be naive of me not to consider it a real possibility. Thank you, OP, for sharing your story, and thank you, commenters, for sharing yours, too.

    • MDBethann

      Amanda, you sound just like me. This post and the subsequent comments were a real eye-opener for me too. As another commenter noted, our society does not talk about miscarriage AT ALL and treats it as something to hide. Therefore we don’t know and we can’t help each other heal or provide support. I think a couple who miscarries needs just as much support (and casseroles!) as one who is welcoming home a new baby. Yes, their needs are different, but they still both need love and emotional support.

      If/when we do get pregnant, I’m definitely going to keep things close to the vest. As much as I’d like to tell family immediately (I’m horrible at keeping secrets & they all know we’re trying), I think I’m going to hold out as long as possible. Why get everyone excited before we’re sure?

      • http://www.hungrybruno.com Adrienne

        That was my thinking initially, but I’ve found it really helpful to have my friends and family know what’s going on with me. When my husband and I were deciding whether to tell family about the first pregnancy we thought well, who are the people we’d want to support us if something bad happened? Of course, we didn’t actually expect anything bad to happen (and oh how I pine for our innocent selves), but it helped us decide what to do. Then, and will all the subsequent sadness, I’ve been glad about the people in my life who are there to support us when things go wrong.

        • MDBethann

          It isn’t that I wouldn’t tell them about a miscarriage if it happened, it’s just that my family are (1) planners and (2) love babies, so there will likely be instant celebrating and planning when I have good news of that sort to tell them. I just figure they’ll have a bit less of an emotional roller coaster if the worst-case scenario happens if I wait to tell them. The good news will be good no matter when they hear it from me, but bad news might be easier to digest if they haven’t gotten all excited. If that makes sense.

        • J

          Agreed. After my first pregnancy it was so helpful for me to have a small number of people to share the (cautious) excitement with early on as it’s pretty rough to be sharing news that you’ve miscarried when no-one knew you were pregnant. It also makes sure that you have at least a couple of people who you HAVE to tell – this sounds mental but actually breaking the silence and speaking about what had happened with my closest (or most supportive/kindest) people was very healing for me even though it was hard to find the words and I don’t know if I would have done that if no-one knew.
          The caveat to that is that it still upsets me that close family told other people when I was pregnant the first time, so now lots of people I definitely wouldn’t have spoken to about the miscarriages know. Once people know you’ve miscarried, the fact that you’re trying for a baby isn’t exactly a secret!

  • Brigid

    Oh, darlin. I am so sorry for your loss.

  • K2

    I’m so surprised by how many people are saying that we don’t talk about miscarriage enough, that no one knows how common it is, etc. It’s practically all I’ve been able to think about in the weeks since I learned I was pregnant. Not many of my friends have started trying to have kids yet, so I don’t know any of them who have had a miscarriage, but plenty of my relatives have, and while there might be some I don’t know about, there are also plenty that I do know about. In my experience, it’s never been something that was considered secret, and although it’s not talked about often, because it’s hard and emotional, it’s still considered a fact of life that most people will experience at least once. Doesn’t the widespread avoidance of sharing the news until 12 weeks reflects a fundamental concern on the part of the majority of pregnant women that things could end badly and often do?

    Is my experience so different from the norm?

    • Catherine McK

      K2,
      I’m in your boat. 10 weeks today, and the number of times that I have googled, “Rate of miscarriage after X,” is…quite high. I’m scared all the time, and have only recently started to feel like I can get excited. My friend had one at 12 weeks, another at 20, so it’s definitely a reality for me. I try to remind myself that worrying about it isn’t going to make it easier or better.

      Best of luck in these next 34 weeks or so; we’re cheering you on from afar.

    • http://www.hungrybruno.com Adrienne

      Of course everyone’s experience is different, but before I started having trouble getting a pregnancy to stick, I only knew of one other family member or friend who had experienced a miscarriage. She was in her mid forties and has a chronic health condition that made it unlikely she would ever have gotten pregnant in the first place, so I associated pregnancy loss with older women and those who had ‘special circumstances’ or whatever. All of my peers (I was 29 when we started trying and otherwise completely healthy) were the type who got pregnant the minute they stopped using birth control.

    • adria

      While it’s common, and while I knew about it when we were TTC, the thought of how it would feel to go through a miscarriage didn’t go through my mind until I was actually pregnant. And, at 38 weeks, it still goes through my head (now it just leans more towards stillbirth).

      From my experience, it’s common to know about miscarriage, but it’s still kind of a hush-hush thing – the same can be said for pregnancy in general. So many things happen, so much of it seems to be totally personal/unique to our own story, that it becomes really hard to open up about it. Especially if we are good people with friends and aren’t totally self-absorbed…while I’ve had some really scary moments of pregnancy, I’ve been quiet about them because I know I have friends who would do anything just to be pregnant, you know? It’s a tricky situation with a lot of social stigma attached…

  • Anon for this

    My heart goes out to the OP and to all of the commenters who have survived losses…

    I had a miscarriage just ten days before my wedding. The pregnancy was a total surprise, and in the unexpected flurry of it all we decided not to tell anyone, not even our parents, until after the wedding. This meant that when we lost the baby we were adrift in our grief with only each other, and at a time when we were supposed to be so very happy in such a public way.

    I remember being on our honeymoon and simultaneously feeling so in love with my new husband and grieving the loss of my baby so very hard. It was a very, very intense and difficult time, and the grief was isolating and horrible, and it also made us feel like a family in a way I never could have imagined. There’s a lot more I could say about this but I don’t think I have the words yet.

    Anyway, fast forward to this summer, we went back to the place where we honeymooned, and I sat on the porch of our hotel overlooking the sea, rocking my 4-month-old baby girl. The last time I had been in that place I never, never thought I would really be ok again, and I had so many fears that I would never have a child or that I would never learn to stop being afraid of what I could lose. Never once on our honeymoon did I imagine I would be so happy and so really-truly OK just a year later.

    So I guess all I want to say is you never know what your life has in store for you, and if you are in a sad place now know that your story isn’t over yet. It may take a year or it may take ten and there may be more losses and more pain before there is joy, but your life has so much more for you yet. Trust your life to unfold as it should. Some day you will be sitting somewhere feeling happier than you ever thought possible – trust that that time is coming and let it be your strength as you walk through grief and healing.

  • Bee

    Big hugs to Anon and to all the commenters. I had a miscarriage this summer bang on the ‘safe’ 3 month mark, but of course being my the first pregnancy my husband couldn’t contain himself and told all and sundry at the 2 month mark (which co-incided with Christmas and various family birthday’s, so it became “Merry Christmas / Happy Birthday, we’re going to be parents / you’re going to be a grandparent!). Huge fuss was made, which made it even harder when one month later we had to go back and tell everyone that the pregnancy wasn’t viable. I made my husband do that part. I agree that hearing the statistics didn’t help, especially when I heard them four, five, six times in a row from a variety of different doctors and nurses, and *especially* when around the fifth or six repetition the tone of the ‘advice’ began to take on the ‘it’s a common occurrence, no reason to be so upset (mostly from male doctors/nurses – the female doctors/nurses would follow up the stats with encouragement about me being young and healthy and getting back on the horse….). I was lucky, I got pregnant again rather quickly and am now in my 21st week, but the earlier miscarriage changed my experience of early pregnancy: every day I was inspecting my panties for blood, panicking at the slightest twinge in my abdomen, and generally not being excited or wanting to talk/plan/celebrate or tell *anyone* about the pregnancy until I got to the 3 month mark (not even my mother, who was rather hurt) and saw my baby’s heartbeat and flailing limbs on the ultrasound and it became ‘real’.

  • K down under

    this post is beautiful. thank you

  • Laura M

    I was surprised at how hard it was to find other people’s stories online. Posts like this help. And this woman’s description of her experience at Scientific American was also helpful: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/context-and-variation/2013/08/27/motherhood-won-and-lost-on-miscarriage/

  • Lydia

    I’m so sorry. I’ve had a very early miscarriage, which meant I only told a select group of people. The result of only telling some people is that I still have good friends who don’t understand how hard it is for me to see them pregnant. It’s not their fault, it’s not mine, it just is. And it sucks.

    Take gentle care of yourself.

  • http://www.alainabos.com Alaina

    My thoughts are with you. A close friend of mine had a miscarriage a while back and she had a hard time with it. She felt like it shouldn’t be hard (because it was early) so she didn’t really feel like she discuss it with friends and family. It does get better. She has a healthy 18 month old daughter now. Just wanted to say that you’re not alone, even if you feel like you are.

  • Claire

    Thank you for writing this post.
    The feelings you are experiencing are perfectly normal and you will find you will heal, eventually. You will probably never forget, but one day when you are holding your baby in your arms it won’t hurt so much.
    I had to have a termination recently when we found out at our 12 week scan that all was not well with our darling baby.
    It still hurts me think about what I did and the decision we had to make.
    I came around from the GA in tears.
    I think about it less now than I did straight afterwards but I will always remember my first angel baby.
    xxx