I started this blog because I needed an outlet. I needed to write about things that made me happy. I wanted something to take my mind off of what was going on in my life. After about a month of blog posts, however, I stopped writing. Every time I thought of writing, I could only think of one topic – a topic that had nothing to do with Doctor Who or singing or fun, nerd things. It was the reason I started my blog in the first place. Here goes:
I found out on October 8, 2013 that I had had a miscarriage. I was supposed to be eight weeks along, and due on May 1, 2014. Today. Lying in that ultrasound room and staring at the silent monitor was the worst moment of my life.
The pregnancy seemed to be going smoothly – although I couldn’t have known for sure, as I had never been pregnant. We went to my 8 week appointment on September 24; my doctor measured the fetus and stated that I was only 6 ½ weeks along. She said she could see a heartbeat, but I couldn’t see it. We scheduled an appointment for two weeks later.
The week before my appointment, a feeling of dread started to come over me that I couldn’t explain. I can be a rather dramatic person, so I assumed my mind was playing tricks on me. I watched videos on YouTube of women at their 8 week appointments – to see what an 8 week old fetus was supposed to look like. But then I started to watch videos of appointments where the woman found out she had miscarried. I think I subconsciously wanted to prepare myself for what would happen.
I ran a fever of 100 that weekend and lightly spotted for the week prior to the appointment. I called my doctor, but she stated that the spotting was normal and the fever wasn’t high enough to worry.
My appointment was scheduled for October 9. The day before, I was getting ready to leave for an afternoon teaching job. I decided to hit the bathroom one more time before I left (and I’m so glad I did or the revelation would’ve been so much worse). When I realized I was bleeding – more than just spotting – I took a moment to sob before calming calling my doctor to make an emergency ultrasound appointment. The appointment was in 45 minutes, which was just enough time to bury my face in my dog’s fur and cry for a few minutes, call my husband to pick him up at his work, and head to the hospital. I drove, and I did so with tears silently creeping down my face.
The ultrasound technician seemed chipper. Or maybe it felt that way compared to my feelings at the time. As I undressed behind a curtain, I could feel dread with a tiny glimmer of hope. Maybe this is normal. Maybe I’ll be lucky.
I sat down on the chair for the (unfortunately, transvaginal) ultrasound. We could see immediately that there was no heartbeat. The technician stayed calm (which kept me from bursting into tears immediately) and she used the wand to check out my ovaries. It was slightly painful, which for a brief moment kept my mind away from the other pain. After what seemed like years, she finally went back to the fetus and said something along the lines of, “I need you to see.” I don’t really remember her exact words (my husband probably does), because the second she started speaking was the moment that it became real. I was inconsolable. My husband held me and never let go.
When we left the doctor’s office, my husband asked me what I wanted for lunch. I immediately said sushi. Sushi is my favorite food, and yet I hated every bite that day.
I had choir rehearsal that evening. I decided to go, and I immersed myself in the music of Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes. Nothing like singing about death on a day of death.
For the next week, I watched all of the Harry Potter movies and reread a couple of the books. I needed to be in a different world. I needed something else to talk about when people approached me at choir rehearsals, because I couldn’t tell them the truth. My conversation skills started to wane: “Hi, how are you?” “Fine.” “What’s new?” “Not much. Reading Harry Potter again.” And my head is screaming, “I had a miscarriage, and I feel lost!”
I lost the idea of my child. While the fetus wasn’t big enough for me to consider it a “child”, the idea was planted. I had plans. Plans that were ripped from me on October 8. In my head, I had lost my daughter. My daughter that would’ve been so much like me.
People try to comfort with words. It’s hard to explain to someone that their “words of comfort” aren’t really much comfort at all, and sometimes make it worse. I had someone say to me that it was “God’s plan”, and that he saw I was getting busy with my new teaching jobs and wanted to lighten my load. It took me everything I had not to punch her in her stupid face. Whether I believe in God or not (I don’t), that comment was so ridiculously asinine. Really? Your God thought killing my future child would make my life easier? I think most of these words of comfort make the person speaking them feel better, because it’s them trying to make sense of why something like this would happen.
Word of advice: Don’t give words of comfort. The best thing that was said to me was this: “That sucks. I don’t know what you’re going through, but I am so, so sorry.” Seriously, that’s all you need to say. Don’t say anything that starts with the words, “At least…” Just listen. And give hugs. Hugs are good.
It’s strange to go through so much pain and realize that so many women have gone through the same silent mourning. It seems to be understandable to grieve for the death of a child publicly, but when the child dies while still in the womb – whether or not you believe the fetus to be a child – it’s not “appropriate” to speak of it. Like, I’m going to scare new and expecting mothers if I speak about it. Death happens. Yes, it sucks and it’s scary, but it happens. And when it comes to miscarriages, it happens quite frequently. (My doctor says 1 in 6 pregnancies end in miscarriage, and 1 in 2 first pregnancies.) Nature happens.
For those of you reading this that are currently pregnant or new mothers or new fathers: Don’t think you have to hide your joy because miscarriage exists. When I finally become a mom (heck, when I get through the first trimester), I’m going to be posting baby and baby bump pictures like everyone else. And while I wish I could be you right now, I’m still incredibly happy for you.
For those of you who are in my position: I’m sorry. It sucks. It will get easier with time, but it will never go away. Let me know if you ever need to talk about it. Have a hug.
And for those of you who have gone through miscarriage and finally made it to parenthood: You give me hope, and I am thrilled for you.