As I sit here drinking chamomile tea, praying the magnesium lotion keeps leg cramps away tonight, and tasting acid in my throat from incessant heartburn … I feel my daughter wiggle inside of me. There are ten weeks left until her due date and still I pray daily nothing will happen to either of us in that time. Other mamas have passed the point of prayer by now because they don’t know what it’s like. I have lost a child. I have suffered a miscarriage. I never could have imagined what that experience would be like. The nurses and doctors who I saw right before I made my way home to deliver my ten-week embryo DID NOT prepare me.
“I’m so, so sorry hun. I don’t see a heartbeat. Let me get the doctor in here to confirm.” Those words rang in my ears, but not in a chime. They rang the way you hear large blasts in military movie scenes. You know what I’m talking about. The way you hear a high tone making your eyes squint, but you also feel like you’re deaf after. I remember nothing else after those words.
After a good cry in my truck, and calls to my husband and best friend, I gathered myself and drove home. I came back the next day, still confused and dizzy from the blast. The doctor proceeded to explain my options. I could have a D&C which meant sedation, surgery, and recovery. My other option was to take a pill called Cytotec and pass the embryo at home. I chose the latter, but had I known what the experience was going to be like, I would have opted for the surgery in a heartbeat. The nurse explained to me I would begin to cramp, “like really bad period cramps” she put it. Then I would bleed and I might see the baby, or just clumps of tissue. After they confirmed the embryo had passed, it would be over.
What they failed to explain to me however, the pill literally was going to put me into labor. They failed to explain those “cramps” were actually contractions, and though a ten-week embryo is the size of a strawberry, and one week away from being a fetus, I would be in the worst pain of my life. As the process began, I was flooded with love and support from my husband, family, and closest friends. I think of them as a weighted blanket during that time. With every contraction came not only physical pain I couldn’t have imagined, but also emotional pain. I was angry the pain meant my child was dead.
After a year of trying, we had been a week away from starting our infertility journey when I got that positive test. I told my husband in a super creative way and he cried! Our friends and families cried. We announced on Facebook with cute pumpkin patch pictures.
All of the joy and excitement had promptly been stomped on with muddy boots. I was SO. PISSED. OFF. Combining anger and sadness with the physical pain, I was literally screaming. My husband held me while I clenched and fought every contraction, cried in agony, and pleaded for it to stop, saying over and over, “I can’t do this.” I remember how utterly helpless he looked, and how much it hurt him to not be able to take away the pain. I simply wouldn’t have been able to make it through without him. He stepped up. He was there for me and I will forever be grateful. Our marriage was strengthened that day and every day since.
I struggled for a month after to speak the words “I lost the baby” out loud. I burst into tears every time I said it. I was embarrassed and heartbroken. After announcing our loss, women messaged me daily revealing they too had lost a child. Wow, what a club to be in. Even women in my family told me they have been in my shoes. I hurt with them and they hurt with me.
Testing revealed unexplained infertility. I faced procedures including a colposcopy with a biopsy of my uterus, and an extremely painful HSG test where dye was injected through my Fallopian tubes using a catheter to check for blockages. It took another 7 months to conceive again.
I started eating right and working out. I balanced my hormones and blood sugar. I also found peace and came to accept I am NOT in control. I accepted when God’s timing, when He wanted me to get pregnant, I would.
I am simply meant to be a mother. Just like the first time, almost as if God was saying “I got this,” I got a positive test the DAY before starting a round of infertility treatments. I have had a smooth, healthy, and happy pregnancy.
After every storm there is a rainbow. This is my story. I was inducted into a club I never wanted to be in, but am grateful for. Today I can tell you I am ten weeks away from meeting my daughter. And I would do it all again for her.
Whether you are trying to conceive, pregnant, have suffered a loss, or if you’re already blessed to be a mother, I want to encourage you to do a few things:
1. Do your own research and ask questions so hopefully you feel more prepared than I was. This applies to loss, pregnancy, delivery, and motherhood.
2. Realize and vocalize none of this is in your control. Trust the timing of your life.
3. Take care of yourself
Breathe, mama. The best is yet to come.