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.