Over the holidays’ something wonderful and terrible happen to us at the same time.
I became a mother and in the same week, I lost my first child.
I was just 5 weeks along, so they called it a chemical pregnancy. Where the egg is fertilized but never implants properly and so the pregnancy terminates on its own very early on. After 5 years without a period, I was so focused on whether I could get pregnant the thought of a miscarriage was never something I really entertained.
Here is my story: We use NFP so I know that my cycle post ovulation is 12 days in length (called the luteal phase.) By day 15, I was sure I was pregnant but the Amazon and First Response pregnancy tests were not showing positive. I purchased a clear blue pregnancy test on day 18, which showed a faint positive. I took another test again in the morning, another faint positive. I was confused, shouldn’t it be getting darker? But in our excitement, we told our parents. I then went to the doctor and they did two urine tests. The first show negative, the second turned after the five-minute mark showing only a faint positive. The doctor seemed unconcerned and said some women never show in urine. She gave me the congrats on your pregnancy paperwork and sent me for bloodwork. She called back with the blood work and the news was not good, an HCG level of only 7 (anything above 5 is considered pregnant) and progesterone of 2 (they want it to be 11). The next day I miscarried, just short of five weeks. Bloodwork confirmed the miscarriage two days later. The levels were so low that you could almost say I wasn’t pregnant. Except for two things: My naturopath drew my blood on day 22 of my cycle which showed first-trimester pregnancy levels of progesterone. Second, I’ve been tracking my cycle for months and my luteal phase is NEVER longer than 12 days. Oh, and I’ve never had a cycle with cramps that are so bad you can’t stand up. I know some people do because of conditions like endometriosis, but I haven’t.
I am in awe of the bloggers who were immediately able to open up and write the most beautiful words of remembrance just a day or two after their miscarriages, some much farther along than ours. I don’t know how you did it.
Over the past few weeks, I struggled with an immense amount of shame and guilt that ate away at my soul. I was convinced it was the medication for my back or something else I did I shouldn’t have that caused the issue. Why couldn’t I just handle the pain? Why did I continue to drink coffee every day? How could I let this happen?
People keep saying, it’s not your fault. It’s VERY common. My favorite (aka my least favorite) is “at least you can get pregnant.”
I’ve been told that women don’t talk about it, but that they should. I’m here to tell you that at least for me, it wasn’t that I didn’t want to talk about it. I wanted to honor my angel in heaven, I wanted to name him or her, I wanted to acknowledge what had happened and I wanted to explore potential causes so I could do my best to prevent it from happening again. But, I couldn’t. Mostly because I couldn’t stand the look on their faces or the awkward silence. Plus, it was the holidays, a time for cheer not mourning. So, instead of feeling my pain, I mostly ignored it.
When the dust settled and the holiday visitors had gone, I was left feeling numb. Leading me to google “How to get over a miscarriage,” when I found this article. She described herself as an invisible mother, this was the acknowledgment that I needed. I think because the loss was so early, I’m expected to get over it faster. I mean I was barely pregnant, right? Or because it’s just a chemical pregnancy, I shouldn’t count it. I don’t care that about any of that. I chose to acknowledge my pregnancy and not sweep it under the rug. I chose hope. I chose compassion. I chose to remember what was lost. I chose to identify as an invisible mother because my invisible child has changed who am I am for eternity. I was a mother, even if it was for only a few short weeks. I will continue to be an invisible mother from now until the day my rainbow baby is born. (and because I had to google what rainbow baby meant – it’s a baby born after a miscarriage because a rainbow comes after a storm.)
The fear that I used to get when people asked me “if I wanted children” has even changed. I was afraid because for so long I was not having a cycle I was unsure of my ability to conceive. Now, when people ask me that question I literally don’t know what to say. I’m no longer afraid, I’m almost numb. I did have a child but I can’t tell you about them or you will become uncomfortable. I don’t have any living children. Yes, I want a child more than you will ever know. None of those are socially acceptable, so instead, I respond “God willing.” And change the topic.
As for getting over a miscarriage, that’s not gonna work for me like I thought. Instead, I honor and acknowledge our loss through sharing our story in this post. The approximate due date would have been my grandma’s birthday, a day I celebrate each year anyway. Mr. Hungry and I also talked about tattoos. The point is, I’ve spent the last few weeks trying to get over it, but that only makes me feel worse. The most comfort and solace I’ve found is the acknowledgment, so thank you for giving me a very special way to acknowledge our story, it means the world to me.