When my husband returned from his first deployment, he made it abundantly clearly that he was ready for children. At the ripe age of 30 I wasn’t quite ready myself but I knew I wanted children and I loved the thought of my husband as a father. So I obliged. We tried for several months before his formal medical freak out began. He was worried about everything; my egg production, his sperm counts, the moon alignment with mercury – anything that could help us achieve pregnancy faster. I was relatively calm throughout the whole process knowing that we had plenty of time to develop our family. And honestly, the thought of becoming a mother was still a difficult topic for me to internally tackle.
Last November we took a trip to Europe and on the flight over I felt awful. When we arrived I thought I had the flu but then the thought hit me – I’m pregnant. Sure enough all five of my drug store tests were positive. Holy shit. Was I ready for this?! I had no idea how to be a mother but my husband was so excited I went along with the plan and eventually found my own joy.
We weren’t going to tell anyone until after the 12 week mark but my mom and sister were coming to our house for Thanksgiving and we couldn’t bear the thought of not spilling the news. They were overjoyed. My sister more excited than I had ever seen her before – it made my heart so warm. This was it. Having a family was everything.
In early December my husband joined me for my eight-week appointment to see the baby for himself. As the technician probed me looking for the baby’s heartbeat on the ultrasound screen, the silence in the room told me everything I needed to know. There wasn’t a heartbeat. I had miscarried our child. I was so unexpectedly devastated. It was sadness I had never felt before, deep rooted and heavy in my stomach. How could I ever recover?
It amazes me to say this but I didn’t have any friends who had gone through a miscarriage (at least that spoke about it) so I had no idea what to expect. As I learned there are three choices for women in this position: 1. schedule a D&C procedure where a physician surgically removes the remains; 2. take a medication that induces the passing of the remains or; 3. do nothing and wait for the remains to pass naturally. The doctor advised me that if I could proceed naturally, that was the best option so I elected to let things ride out.
Now the waiting game begins and your mind begins to play crazy tricks on you: maybe the child is still alive and the doctor messed up! Then on Christmas Day 2014 reality hit and I started heavily bleeding. It’s not pretty and I’m sorry for those readers who are easily upset by the thought of blood but I need to be real here: there is so much blood. No one prepared me for the level of bleeding that would occur. In fact, I bled to the point where I passed out and had to be taken by ambulance to the hospital for an emergency D&C. Merry Christmas.
My recovery lasted a few weeks and my normal blood levels didn’t return for months. I had low energy, couldn’t work out and felt really sad most of the time. The mental recovery road is long but it gets better as time moves forward. I still feel sad at unexpected times, like running through the park and seeing children or Mother’s Day. Although the pain subsides I will always consider my first child as this unborn baby and it will always bring a tear to my eye.
As women we need to talk about this more. Roughly 1/3 of all women will experience a miscarriage in their lives and it’s one of the most unspoken issues of our modern culture. In my recovery I have made it my practice to tell people of my personal experience with child loss if they ask me when I am planning to have children. I figure if they are close enough friends to ask about my future family planning, I owe them the truth. Every time I have told my story I gain something special back from that person. I encourage you to share too.