“My miscarriage story” is a phrase I naively thought I would never have to vocalize, yet here I am…
On Monday morning, I woke up and instantly knew something was wrong. I had cramps and lower back pain. My body felt completely different—it felt empty. My husband had gone to work early that morning, so I got out of bed and got my toddler ready for the day, just like normal. As she was eating breakfast, I went to the bathroom and when I wiped, I saw blood. I instantly texted my OB-GYN sister-in-law, who tried to reassure me that bleeding does not automatically mean the worst, but I could feel it in my soul. The little baby that had been growing inside of my body was gone—I was having a miscarriage.
As the cramping and bleeding increased, I called my OB’s office where they immediately scheduled an appointment to get my blood drawn for a base level reading of my hormones. I was to come back in 48 hours for another blood draw to see if my levels increased (meaning there was still a viable embryo) or decreased (which would confirm my thoughts of miscarriage). The next day, I got the news from my OB that I didn’t need to come in for my second blood draw. The hormone levels from my initial sample were so low that there was no doubt in her mind I was miscarrying. Even though I knew it in my heart, getting that final, definite message from my OB was crushing, sending me through a whirlwind of emotion.
I felt deep sadness. While the embryo inside me was only six weeks old, it had already claimed a piece of my heart. I had known about it long enough to start thinking of my family as a family of four. I imagined what it would be like the first time Lu met her little sibling. My tiny embryo, although young, had a beating heart—a heartbeat I would never hear.
I felt ashamed. I am a very practical, logic-based person, so I was trying to reason with myself in accepting the fact that a miscarriage, especially so early in pregnancy, is the body’s way of getting rid of a non-viable embryo. It’s nature. It’s science. Yet, I still couldn’t help but blame myself. I kept trying to convince myself that even though this is the most natural of processes, it was MY fault. It was MY body that provided a toxic environment. It was MY egg that could have been defected. It was MY actions that caused this loss.
I felt guilty. Of course there was guilt like: “Should I have been eating healthier?,” “Should I have worked out more/less?”, “Should I not have spent 6 hours outside on a 90+ degree day?” And to beat myself up even more, I added another layer of guilt by trying to compare my experience to others’. My mind was flooded with: “You have no right to cry! This embryo was only six weeks old. Think about how traumatic it is for women who miscarry much later in their pregnancies” and “You don’t deserve to be sad! Some women spend decades dealing with infertility issues and this is your very first miscarriage”.
I felt alone. The few people that had known about the early pregnancy tried to comfort me with statistics on how common miscarriages actually are, but the fact that miscarriages are something society still keeps hushed made me feel incredibly alone. My husband was as supportive as possible, but yet it still felt like this loss was solely my burden and problem. I went to work the next day (Yeah… I have NO idea why I thought that was a good idea!) and was in my head all day long. I didn’t want to participate in the normal water-cooler chat of how my weekend was, because I didn’t want pity—and quite honestly, I didn’t want to break down in tears in the office and not be able to stop crying.
Now that I’ve had a few more weeks to process everything, I still feel all the emotions above, but I am allowing myself to feel grateful. I have a beautiful, smart, kind toddler who is healthy and thriving. I have a husband who dropped everything to rally behind me and give me compassion, empathy and space to grieve. I have a flexible job where I was comfortable taking a day off, no questions asked, to pamper myself with self-care to help start cleansing the negativity. And I’m most grateful that I know my family will expand and grow in the future one way or another.
While miscarriage is more common than most know, (research suggests 1 in every 4 pregnancies will end in miscarriage) it is still a deeply personal experience. There is no “right” formula for grief or comfort. I encourage you to lean into the sadness, anger, confusion, blame, guilt you may be feeling, but I also encourage you to think long and hard about what you need to start your healing process. For me, this included ClusterTruck on the couch, a therapy appointment, a massage, buying new angelite and moonstone crystals and going on a solo movie date. For you, it might be different. While even the best self-care day won’t erase the loss you’ve experienced, I hope it helps you, like it helped me move toward acceptance and grace in acceptance. Just like me, you are not alone. You are not to blame. You are strong and you will survive.