Miscarriage – Mourning the could-have-beens – part 2

If you haven’t read part 1 of my story, please use this link: Miscarriage – Mourning the could-have-beens – part 1 and head over to it.

The second time I miscarried was about 7 months after my first miscarriage. I was 11 weeks, 6 days pregnant.

Facebook was a fairly new thing and I had just begun to connect with a whole heap of people online. As with the first miscarriage, I had been to the doctor and had the pregnancy confirmed. It was standard practice in Texas to come back at 12 weeks to hear the fetal heartbeat and do various first trimester blood tests, etcetera. We were excited. After the first miscarriage, I bought a fetal Doppler so I could find the heartbeat myself & after a lot of searching and much panicking, we did find it. It was all very exciting. I would go and try to find the heartbeat almost daily though, which was probably unhealthy in itself. Anyway, we were excited. We were expecting & at 11 weeks, 5 days, I announced it to the world via Facebook, what could it hurt right? My appointment was in 2 days, things seemed to be coming along nicely.

The following morning, Texas started going in to panic mode as there was a big ice storm coming. The entire city of San Antonio began to shut down. We got a call from the doctor’s office saying we would have to reschedule our appointment (it was meant to be for the next day) as the city had closed everything. They would call us back after the ice storm to find another time for the appointment. The timing was incredible.

That afternoon, I began spotting all over again. I couldn’t believe it but read that it can happen, even during a normal pregnancy. I was trying to be calm but when we couldn’t find a heartbeat, something kicked in and I knew in my heart of hearts that this was happening all over again!

It was very different this time. It’s really tough for me to explain and to tell this story, but I pretty much started to go into labor (I had a child, so I knew what that felt like). Everything was wrong. Hubby was at work again – he worked for a home improvement store so had to make sure people got the supplies they needed for the ice storm, ironically.

Our little girl was amazing! She just sat out in the living room watching tv, being the sweet, responsible, almost 3 year old, that I was so incredibly lucky to have!

But what I went through was awful! It didn’t last for that long. But imagine actually giving birth to something that doesn’t resemble a baby at all. I know you can find photos on the internet that look like a tiny baby when you are almost 12 weeks pregnanct, but this was a lump. I couldn’t mourn it, I couldn’t stand looking at it. It didn’t have limbs, it was just a lump. And in some ways it made it easier to move forward and in other ways, far more difficult. That fact that I had been through the whole process of a miniature labor, was very tough to swallow, the fact that it didn’t remotely resemble what the books showed you, made it a tad easier, I guess.

For 3 days San Antonio was shut down, even hubby stayed home for 2 of them. By the time the clinic called back to reschedule, I knew it was all over and told them as much. They wanted me to go to have a D&C (a clean out to make sure everything is out of you so you don’t have any chance of getting an infection) but I knew everything was out of me. I knew my body had done its job. I just knew.

I spent my next few weeks in a daze and thought our daughter would end up being an only child. Obviously I was too old or I had done too much damage in my earlier days through smoking and drinking. It was a tough pill to swallow as one thing I adamantly didn’t want was an only child! But I put thoughts of another baby on the back burner and focused on the child I did have. I gave up smoking (yes, I still smoked – outside – after having our first child – obviously I stopped during the pregnancy-but I stopped completely this time). I started to exercise and even started making some friends. Hubby introduced me to some of the spouses of his college cohort and we all started to socialize on a regular basis too. It was a really fun time in our lives and we made the most of the family time we got together and the quality of life our daughter had.

About 1 year later, I was fortunate enough to get pregnant again and everything seemed to be different from the get go. It was meant to be. And my second little girl is 10 going on 18. She’s a handful, but an absolute joy.

I even got a surprise third baby about 4 years after she was born, when my husband was waiting for a vasectomy of all things! Had I not though, there wouldn’t be any Hunter-isms! 😁 Check out my Facebook page to find out more info about those!

I hope you’ve found this blog helpful and in your time of need, you know that you are not alone. Please feel free to share so others understand how many of us have been through this. Come on over to Aussie Mum’s Adventures on FB and like my page: Aussie Mum’s Adventures. You can find me on Twitter: @ozmumsadventures, on Instagram: Ozmumsadventures, on Pinterest: Aussiemumsadventures.

If you or someone you love has experienced a miscarriage, please remember there are resources out there to help you.

In the USA:

https://www.gopinkandblue.org

In Australia:

https://www.pregnancylossaustralia.org.au

In NZ:

https://www.miscarriagesupport.org.nz

In UK:

https://www.miscarriageassociation.org.uk

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Screen Shot 2019-02-20 at 10.53.02 PMMiscarriage, it’s the kind of word that comes with lots of stigma. It’s the kind of word that seems to hush the room when spoken, no-one knowing what to say, yet statistically, it happens often.

According to March of Dimes:

“Miscarriage (also called early pregnancy loss) is when a baby dies in the womb (uterus) before 20 weeks of pregnancy. For women who know they’re pregnant, about 10 to 15 in 100 pregnancies (10 to 15 percent) end in miscarriage. Most miscarriages happen in the first trimester before the 12th week of pregnancy. Miscarriage in the second trimester (between 13 and 19 weeks) happens in 1 to 5 in 100 (1 to 5 percent) pregnancies.

As many as half of all pregnancies may end in miscarriage. We don’t know the exact number because a miscarriage may happen before a woman knows she’s pregnant. Most women who miscarry go on to have a healthy pregnancy later.”

This might be a tad tough to read, it’s certainly tough to write, but sometimes we need to share our stories to help others through their struggles. it’s that spoken about, yet unspoken thing that so many women have to endure. The United States is currently in the midst of an abortion debate, but we seem to forget about those who tragically lose a fetus, particularly when they are trying to conceive.

Unfortunately I know this from experience, twice. The first time, I was 8 weeks pregnant, we were super excited. Life was good. We had moved to Texas from Italy, my husband had left the Navy and started school to earn his bachelor’s degree. He was working a part time job, our eldest daughter was two and we were ready to increase our family. Money was tight and we didn’t have great insurance coverage but it was good enough to cover a pregnancy and we knew that once my husband had finished his degree, we would be ok. Life had other plans at that point in time though. 

I was approximately 8 weeks pregnant. We had confirmed the pregnancy at a doctor’s appointment when I was approximately 6 weeks pregnant. They told us to make another appointment at 12 weeks, we were delighted. One of my hubby’s friends was having a party and I was designated driver (obviously). We were having a good time when suddenly something didn’t feel right. I went to the bathroom and had some fairly prominent spotting. We left the party shortly thereafter. I was concerned, but tried to remain as calm as possible.

The following morning, I dropped my husband off at work and was driving home when all of a sudden the bleeding became fairly heavy. It was scary. My two year old daughter was in the car. I was alone. We got home and she saw the blood and started crying asking if Mummy was ok. I was more scared for the scarring this could do to her than anything else at this point in time, so I tried to reassure her I was ok. Even thinking about it now makes my heart beat faster. With only one car, it wasn’t even like I could physically go and pick up my husband from work, so I sat there with my little girl and cried and miscarried throughout that day. Alone, in a foreign country, not knowing anyone close by. 

When I did go and pick up my husband, who was blissfully unaware of all that had transpired throughout the day, he saw me and seemed to understand something was terribly wrong immediately. We decided to go to the emergency room to make sure it was a miscarriage and that nothing further was wrong. Unfortunately, it was all but confirmed (another blog to come about this whole ghastly experience) so I went home with a heavy heart. 

I’m pretty sure I cried for the next week or so. I felt lost. I felt like I had failed. I felt alone. I wanted to give my Mum a hug and have her tell me everything was ok, but unfortunately she was on the other side of the world. Thank god I could at least talk to her on the phone! My husband tried to be there for me, but he didn’t really know what to say or do. I couldn’t help him either, I was a little lost and trying to hold my shit together for our daughter. He was doing his best to hold down the fort in every possible way. 

What do you say when someone has a miscarriage? Well here’s what not to say, “it was obviously for the best as something must have been wrong with it.” Um, no. Just no. (and yes, people felt the need to say this to me). That might be true, but when someone dies after suffering incredible pain, you don’t tell their family that it was for the best, it just doesn’t work! Just listen. Say you’re sorry. If you’ve been through it yourself, share that information. Tell the person you have some understanding of what they’re going through. Remember that everyone feels pain differently, your experiences are probably different to theirs and if you’ve never been through it, then you honestly don’t understand. Be honest. Let them talk or sit in silence. Its similar to grieving for a loved one. You didn’t know that child, but you lost the promise of all that could have been. When you find out you are pregnant, you are excited, you can’t help but wonder what this child will be like; is it a girl? A boy? Twins? Will they be a prodigy? Will they be funny? Sweet? What sort of mother will you be? How many adventures will you have? So many things run through your head the minute a pregnancy is confirmed. And it’s all the could-haves that break your heart when you miscarry.

I mentioned earlier that I had a second miscarriage and I will share the details of that in part two of this blog. Miscarriage can be terribly lonely. Women feel ostracized by it. But you are not alone and it’s ok. You will get through. You will be ok. We will be ok. More than likely, you did everything right. No-one can really explain why miscarriages happen, but what we do know is that everyone experiences different emotions when they go through a miscarriage; you doubt your own body, you question what you’ve done to deserve this. Some people grieve immediately, others later. At the end of the day, it’s painful, but you are very much allowed to mourn your loss; to mourn the could-have’s. 

I hope you’ve found this blog helpful and in your time of need, you know that you are not alone. Please feel free to share so others understand how many of us have been through this. Come on over to Aussie Mum’s Adventures on FB and like my page: Aussie Mum’s Adventures. You can find me on Twitter: @ozmumsadventures, on Instagram: Ozmumsadventures, on Pinterest: Aussiemumsadventures.

If you or someone you love has experienced a miscarriage, please remember there are resources out there to help you.

In the USA:

https://www.gopinkandblue.org

In Australia:

https://www.pregnancylossaustralia.org.au

In NZ:

https://www.miscarriagesupport.org.nz

In UK:

https://www.miscarriageassociation.org.uk

Resources:

March of Dimes