Category Archives: Miscarriage

Lifting My Guilt

After my second miscarriage, I felt guilty. I largely carried that guilt because I had gone to amusement parks and rode the most exciting and fastest rides in the very beginning implantation stages of both pregnancies. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t aware of my pregnancies at the time. Logic doesn’t show its face during the grieving process of a miscarriage. I blamed myself for lifting heavy boxes of school supplies in my garage. I regretted drinking that glass of wine with dinner. How dare I take an allergy pill before entering a house full of pets when I knew I could potentially be pregnant! I was angry that I lost another pregnancy, and I directed that anger inward. It tore me apart, and left me bitter and hollow.

What it didn’t do, was keep me from trying to get pregnant again. I was determined to get pregnant as quickly as possible, and when I did, I vowed to take every precaution necessary. As soon as I knew I was ready to ovulate, I ceased any activities or consumptions that could potentially terminate that pregnancy. When we saw and heard a beautifully strong heartbeat at 6 weeks (the first heartbeat of any of our pregnancies), I was validated in my efforts. However, a few weeks later, we were saddened to find that the only heartbeat left in my body was my own.

After shedding a few tears, hugging my husband, and making a call to my mom and my work, I felt my remaining heart dull. I shared the news with family and friends, but I wasn’t feeling much of anything. My D&C appointment the next day was business as usual. I was awake for the procedure, and did not cry at any point. I came home, and mostly felt inconvenienced by the intense physical pain. A few days later, I cried. But it wasn’t for the loss of a pregnancy. I cried for the loss of my humanity. I had never blanketed myself with such a tough defense, but clearly, I needed it. My heart wasn’t ready to process that loss.

My stoicism helped to push all my previous guilt away. I no longer took responsibility for any of my lost pregnancies. It was clear to me that something larger than my actions were responsible for them. While it was odd to not feel any sadness, I was grateful for the freedom from guilt. This freedom allowed me to keep moving forward with strength and determination. I was immediately ready to attempt a fourth pregnancy.

Unfortunately, my fourth pregnancy ended almost as soon as it began. For this one, I wept. I let out all the grief I had been holding during my third pregnancy, and combined it with this loss. I spiraled down, and sunk to a depth of pain and anxiety that has been difficult to climb out of. I no longer feel guilty. I no longer feel numb. What I feel is a complete devastation and loss of control. I am fearful that I just might never be able to hold a pregnancy to term. The acceptance of that fact has shattered me.

However, I am gently putting myself back together. I will not be deterred from trying again. I might not have control over keeping my pregnancies, but I do have control over my attempts, and how I move forward. And believe me, I am moving forward. Each loss arms me with more information than I had before. I am strong, and I am ready to conquer whatever challenges might present itself. Pregnancy number five is right around the corner, and I am ready to face it head on.

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The doctor’s office estimated nine weeks, but I knew I was in my seventh. I’d done my research, and had well charted out and planned this pregnancy. So when, at the first ultrasound, my husband and I were told that the quick, cursor-like flashing could not be absolutely confirmed as a heartbeat, I was on guard, but hadn’t lost all hope. It was still early.

The day before my second ultrasound, I was given a call. My pregnancy hormones were rising; this was a good sign. I let out the breath I had been holding for a week and instinctively rested my hand on the location of our child. (Lower left side of my abdomen.) You’re going to be all right, little buddy.

On the wall, a big screen TV displayed the ultrasound image as the measurements were taken: 7 weeks 3 days, 7 weeks 2 days. I knew it. The tech performed her trade wordlessly. Mouse clicks and the gentle, vibrating hum of the mini printer capturing each image of our baby contested the heavy silence of the room. As my husband and I were escorted to the front of the office to await the doctor, I swallowed the lump in my throat.

The ultrasound confirmed a missed miscarriage. Our fetus had died, but my body was still holding onto it. No explanation was given for how they knew our child was dead. Instead, we were immediately directed into a discussion of options for how to get rid of it. Being a Friday afternoon, the D&C procedure was scheduled for Monday morning.

My eyelids stung, raw and red, when I awoke with the sun on Saturday morning. The two of us slipped quietly out of bed and into the room that would now remain an office for a bit longer than anticipated. Silent tears trickled down my face as I revisited the texts and messages of encouragement from friends and family. I could stay strong with such a great support system.

The nurses at the hospital were exceptional. After my experience with my OBGYN, I wasn’t expecting much compassion on the day of my procedure, but my expectations couldn’t have been further from reality, and for that, I am grateful. Their empathy and tenderness made that dreadful morning much more bearable.

In the days following, there were occasional sharp, blueberry-sized stabs of pain in the lower left side of my abdomen. A physical reminder of where our child was pulled from my body. Each jab left me longing to rewrite the past, but I knew I needed to keep looking forward. Just as the bodily pain fades, so will the grief.

I miss you little buddy.

My dearest friend sent me this on Mother’s Day. Truer words…

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