You’ve all been with me on my emotional journey thus far this year. The blighted ovum miscarriage in January was jarring, but as the months have slipped away, I have become more in tune with my body and my feelings on the situation. But, just because you are coming to terms with one lesson, doesn’t mean life is done teaching you.
August 9th, I went out before Zach got home and I bought a pregnancy test. While waiting for Zach, I mulled it over in my head. The last week and a half the all too familiar pregnancy symptoms were creeping in. I tried to contain myself and convince myself I would get my period, it was just going to come late. I stashed it in the bathroom and talked myself out of taking it.
When Zach arrived home, I revealed to him the symptoms that had been increasing. He smiled that wonderful smile of his and told me to take a test if I wanted to verify my suspicions. His excitement fused with mine made me unable to wait. While we were watching TV, I snuck upstairs and took one.
The instant joy and excitement that I remember experiencing in December surged through my veins. I looked at myself in the mirror and I smiled, but the longer I stared the more I could see the doubt in my eyes. I shook it away best I could and kept the smile steady as I went downstairs to show Zach. We embraced in a hug and laughed to ourselves with tears. I could not hide the feeling of uncertainty that lingered and I expressed it to Zach. He convinced me this time would be different. This time would be okay.
The next day I could hardly contain myself. We told my parents at their house and the following night we called Zach’s parents. That weekend we went to the shore and, rather than keep it from my brothers, which would be impossible for me, we planned on revealing the news down there. After the miscarriage in January, I had gone back and forth with what I would do when I got pregnant again. Should I hide it from my immediate family? Should I wait it out and not tell them until I get an ultrasound? Zach insisted we not do anything differently than before. He reminded me it is in our nature to share good news, so we were going to share with our families. Since the first miscarriage, I have made an effort to believe that we cannot let fear of the unknown dictate how we live our lives. It’s become a mantra of mine.
Our families were thrilled, as expected and it made us more excited to tell Zach’s sisters. We had a nice weekend at the shore and when Sunday rolled around so did the Sunday blues. We went to the beach that day with everyone. I was sitting in a chair catching some sun while watching the kids play with Zach in the water when I became overwhelmed. I began to cry, right there on the beach. My sunglasses and fedora masked my emotions, but I could not understand why it was happening. Is it my hormones? Am I being overdramatic because I don’t want the weekend to end? I excused myself from the beach and went back up to the house. I went inside and I searched around to make sure nobody was there. I sat on the living room floor and I cried. I was unsure of where it was coming from, but it came full force. After ten minutes or so had passed, I heard the back door open. I wiped my face and blew my nose. It was Zach. He asked me why I left the beach and I collapsed again. We went downstairs to the basement for privacy and I sobbed. I had no control over it. I was afraid. I was afraid of what was going to happen. I didn’t know what I would do if something went wrong again. He reassured me and comforted me the way he always does when I am down, which seems to be more often than not these last few months. Again, we hashed out my fears and Zach reassured me that no matter what it was going to be okay.
The day wore on and it was time for us to leave. I went upstairs to my mom to say goodbye. The waterworks began again. I sat in my parents’ room with them discussing my doubts. They too reassured me it’s going to be okay. My mom urged me to focus on the good things and to stop thinking about what could go wrong. I appreciated their advice, but it is so much easier said than done. The feeling of dread came from deep within me. It could not be shaken.
Monday afternoon I arrived home from work. I was very tired, so I took an hour nap to try to boost my energy before Zach got home. I woke up and I cried. I couldn’t stop crying. I was surprised I had any tears left from the day before. I paced the apartment, unable to settle myself. What was going on with me? I was pregnant, I should be happy. I shouldn’t be thinking negatively. I should be googling baby stuff and thinking of ways to tell all my extended family and friends when the time was right. When Zach got home, I collapsed again. That night I hardly slept.
Tuesday morning I felt different. The symptoms I had were gone and new, unwelcomed ones had arrived. Later that morning at my desk, my stomach began to cramp. I stared hard at the computer screen, willing myself to hold back the tears, attempting to hide my feelings from those around me. I went to the bathroom and faced my fears. I was spotting. I immediately texted my mom and she reassured me that spotting in the first trimester is common and I would probably be okay. My brother Brian texted me the same thing. “I’m sure you’ll be fine. This is normal. It could be implantation bleeding,” he said.
I threw my mind into work, trying to forget about it, but my body wasn’t letting me forget. The bleeding increased. I called my doctor and they said they could squeeze me in that afternoon. I called my mom and she told me she would come pick me up. The office was down the road from work, so I sat with my dad while I waited.
“I know what’s happening,” I said. “This isn’t good. I don’t feel right. I didn’t feel right this morning.” He tried to remain positive, but I couldn’t accept it. My body told me the day before. At least this time, I would be somewhat prepared.
I had texted Zach and told him to come back to the exam room when he arrived. I sat on the table in the room with my mom and I felt a strange calmness. I felt disconnected. I felt as though I was watching myself go through this rather than actually experiencing it. Zach arrived and stood in the corner of the room. It was the same room we were in when we found out about the first one.
The doctor did her exam and told me she saw nothing in the uterus. I was only 5 weeks, so seeing nothing shouldn’t be alarming. She then explained I needed to get labs drawn that day and then 48 hours later to measure my HCG level. If the level continued to go up, there was a tiny glimmer of hope this could turn out to be a normal pregnancy. If the level decreased, it meant I was miscarrying. I nodded and said thanks. Before the doctor had come in, my mom tried to prep me and told me to ask questions. I had no questions as to what was happening. As much as I wanted to hold on to the “tiny glimmer of hope” that this could go on to be a normal pregnancy, I couldn’t. I couldn’t lie to myself. My body wouldn’t let me.
The next few days were painful and exhausting. I took off work for two days, spent the afternoons with my mom and some of my family and the evenings with Zach. I napped a lot and ate way too many Yodels and Oreos. That weekend Zach’s family was in town. We spent an enjoyable and relaxing weekend with them.
Every day, Zach and I were surrounded by the people we love most. It was such a comfort to have them around and we so appreciate it, but at the same time that awful feeling of isolation crept up inside me. I felt different than everyone. I didn’t have the energy to be myself and the feeling of disappointment overtook me. I kept saying sorry. Sorry for not being myself, sorry for crying, sorry for being tired, sorry for once again letting them all down, especially Zach. Of course I was told I was being silly and to stop feeling that way, but I can’t. I can’t make those feelings go away. There are times I don’t have control over my feelings. Just like I don’t have control over these miscarriages. That’s one of the hardest aspects to handle, the reality of the lack of control I have over my what’s happening in my body.
Even though I am disheartened, the way I feel about this miscarriage is different. I felt better physically quicker and I am having an easier time emotionally. That’s not to say I haven’t broken down, but I am strangely more optimistic most days. After my lab results came back, the doctor called me and confirmed what I had thought. It was a chemical pregnancy, an early miscarriage, much different than the first one. She said it was so early that in these situations people don’t even know they’re miscarrying and they think it’s just a late period. If I hadn’t taken a test, I may not have known. I didn’t quite believe that, because I knew I was pregnant before I took the test. The symptoms were strong and I knew what they meant. The difference in the two was a comfort. I’d be more worried if it was two of the same thing. She told me she didn’t think that the first one caused this one. She explained that she can’t 100% guarantee this won’t happen again, but she honestly thinks that I’ll be okay. She assured me that I have youth on my side and it hasn’t even been a year of trying yet. She said women often have two of these and go on to have a healthy pregnancy. She reiterated once again, this is more common than people think.
She then went on to explain what it means for me going forward. In the past, once a woman had a 3rd miscarriage, that’s when worry would begin. In today’s world, with all the advancements in technology, women who have two miscarriages are opting to get blood work to see if there is a reason for them. She told me it was up to me what I wanted to do. I don’t know where the positivity came from, but I told her I wanted to keep trying. There is something in me that thinks a 3rd time could be the charm. I don’t want to go searching for a problem just yet when there might not even be one. Sometimes doctors do extensive lab work and still can’t find a reason for these things. My doctor sounded encouraging and agreed with my decision.
I think I am more okay with this one because of how it occurred. The first time was shocking. To go nine weeks thinking something is growing inside of you and get all the appropriate symptoms along the way, then to find out there is nothing in there, is just, I still can’t fully understand. I can’t figure out why my body didn’t react appropriately. This one though, I bled. My body naturally cleared everything out.
Having two miscarriages makes me feel like I’ve been given a special knowledge about what can go wrong in life. At least that’s my way of trying to think positively or give a reason for these. It’s not a knowledge anyone would ask for, but I was chosen to experience it. I am constantly searching for my purpose in this world, constantly reevaluating what it is I am supposed to be doing. I want to have a purpose and I want to make an impact. Maybe this is one of the things I am meant to do, I am meant to write about my experiences to help others. Even though it hurts, even though I can’t bring myself to understand it fully, maybe that’s why this is happening. Who knows though, right? Things happen in our lives and often we truly don’t know why, but we stick a reason to it to make ourselves feel better, to make ourselves okay with it. But in reality, we just don’t know.
I have to be at peace with the unknown. I struggle with the unknown. I have to be at peace with a “higher plan.” I’ve been struggling with faith and prayer since the first miscarriage. People keep telling me they’re praying for me and while the sentiment is greatly appreciated, some days I don’t think it’s worth it and that it doesn’t work. Then again, some days I have all the faith in the world. Saying these feelings are a roller coaster is not descriptive enough. It’s a loop de loop roller coaster, with sharp turns and tight curves that’s close to going off the rails on occasion. It’s a rollercoaster that would fail every safety inspection if it was actually built.
It’s been just over two weeks since I was at the doctor. Physically I am feeling well again. The human body heals and gets back into its own routine so quickly. My heart and mind however, I know they will take longer. They were getting back to normal and now they are faced with another loss, another disappointment. This time Zach and I as a couple are wiser and stronger, and we are more willing to understand. What will we do with this new wisdom, strength, and understanding? We will chin up and we will try again.