As many of you may know, the month of October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. 1 in 4 women have gone through a miscarriage, infant loss or stillbirth. I know of so many women who have experienced this unbearable grief. With October 15th being Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, it’s time for me to end my silence and share my story.
I have been building up the courage to share my story for months. I am pushing myself and fighting back tears but I’m hoping and praying that my story will encourage someone currently going through this or someone who has experienced this in the past.
I finished my first official round of Whole30 in February of 2015 during a very difficult season of my life. On the first day of my Whole30, I got a call from my mom telling me that my dad was in the hospital and that his kidneys had shut down. He was fighting for his life and needed dialysis right away.
A couple of weeks after finishing the Whole30, I got a positive pregnancy test. We were all so excited! It felt like a light at the end of a very dark tunnel. I had already bought a ticket home to visit my very ill dad and had a scheduled ultrasound days before my trip. While my family was very excited about my pregnancy, I had a terrible feeling that something was wrong. I tried pushing those feelings away but the word “miscarriage” kept playing in my head. My husband kept telling me not to worry and that everything will be fine.
It was a cool and crisp early Monday morning on March 30th when our lives were forever changed. When I woke up that morning, I just kept praying and asking God to prepare me for what was to come and I prayed for God’s will to be done. The doctor began his ultrasound, “Oh look, there’s your little baby!”. My heart was filled with so much joy and love and I instantly fell in love with the cute little baby in my belly. What he said next haunted me for months, “Hmm, there’s no heartbeat. That’s strange. Your baby should have a heartbeat by now. Prepare yourself for the worst.” Then he said it, “Prepare yourself for a possible miscarriage.” He went on to explain that I was having a missed miscarriage and while my baby was probably already dead, he wanted to see me again for another ultrasound in a week.
I arrived in the Middle East with my daughter on a Saturday evening and went to the doctor for an ultrasound. I was expecting bad news but my family was hoping and praying for a miracle. “Are you sure you saw a baby? There’s no baby. Your sac is empty.” It was hard to hear the doctor confirm what we already knew. Our cute little baby that we had just seen on Monday was already gone! The doctor explained to me what had happened and since it was my second pregnancy, we decided on taking the natural route and letting my body expel the pregnancy tissue on its own.
Little did I know that the next 7 weeks would be some of the hardest days of my life. I cried myself to sleep every single night. Friends were announcing their pregnancies while I mourned mine. My husband was traveling for work and was unable to be with me; I felt so alone. I was too afraid to do much or go anywhere. While the wait was very frustrating, it was the right decision for me at the time as I was with my family. I don’t know how I would have managed on my own without their help and support.
I saw my doctor for an ultrasound on a Wednesday and he told me that my sac was detaching and that the process was beginning. A few days later on May 5th, my body began going into labor. A couple hours later, I was rushed to the hospital for an emergency D&C due to a life-threatening hemorrhage. It’s a day I will never forget. After recovering from my surgery, I began to feel somewhat normal again.
Fast forward to last Fall, I had finished my Whole100 and I was looking and feeling wonderful. I was in the best shape of my life and, according to my doctor, I was in impeccable health. Life was so great! We had just closed on our first home and found out I was pregnant just a few days later. November was a really good month and 2016 was going to be a great year. We were beyond excited! Due to our heartbreak just a few months before, we decided to only tell my immediate family about this baby. Christmas was right around the corner so we wanted to surprise the rest of the family with an ultrasound picture and then do the official announcement when we knew the sex of the baby. We had it all planned.
On December 22nd, we went in for our first ultrasound appointment. I had seen my primary care doctor for my yearly checkup a couple of weeks before and she assured me that my HCG levels were “through the roof”. By that point I was already feeling all the first trimester symptoms. I was 10 weeks along and was almost in the safe zone.
We were called back for all the tests and medical history questions. Then it was time for the ultrasound and that’s when I began feeling more nervous. As soon as I laid on the bed, my heart hurt again. The ultrasound tech began her exam and right away she said, “Are you sure of the date of your last period?” I knew where she was going and I began to get angry. I answered “YES!” I felt like I wanted to explode. She told me that I wasn’t measuring right and that she was going to go find a doctor. She left the room and my husband and I just looked at each other in shock. I just kept thinking how could this be happening again? Why?!
The doctor who came into the room to give us the bad news was an angel. She was a mom who understood what I was going through. She didn’t want me going through another miscarriage again and so she did everything she could to help me. She called me constantly to check on me and to make sure that I was okay, physically and emotionally. She wanted to help me find answers and we did. Since I was further along in my pregnancy this time, she didn’t want to risk me having another near death experience and so we scheduled a D&C for the new year.
The months after receiving the news about our baby were a nightmare. Nothing made sense anymore. I was so angry and bitter. I was frustrated and I felt so alone again. I was in and out of doctor’s offices for all sorts of tests. Since the results of my D&C were abnormal, we met with a genetic specialist who helped us understand that our baby had a rare chromosomal abnormality called Triploidy.
My husband was traveling a lot and I began developing unhealthy eating habits. My heart was so broken and I was angry and depressed. I had never gone through depression before and didn’t want to admit to the fact that I was in a bad place. I didn’t leave my house for weeks, I just sat on the couch and watched as life moved on. It felt like I was in a deep dark hole unable to get out. I could see a light but I just couldn’t reach it. It was a very dark and sad time in my life. Every time I was on social media, I saw another pregnancy announcement. I didn’t want to be in that dark place anymore so I decided to change my life for me and my family.
I would have been due in July of this year and as painful as it was not to give birth, I got to see so many friends and family members have beautiful healthy babies and that brings me so much joy. I try not to think about my angels too much but I often find myself randomly crying if I hear a certain song or see a certain picture.
It takes a lot of courage to talk about infant and pregnancy loss and I’m so happy that we have a month dedicated to it. I’m always so encouraged when I read or hear stories. Only a handful of people know about my miscarriages and for that I’m sorry. Most days it’s painful to talk about but knowing and acting like it never happened doesn’t help either. I have two angels in heaven that I long to hold and one day I’ll be able to.
Moving forward is scary. I want to have another baby and be pregnant again. I want to give my daughter the sibling she desperately asks for but the thought of losing another baby paralyzes me. One miscarriage rocked my world, the second one changed me forever. I will never be the same person again. If you have ever experienced such loss, my heart is with you. We are all in this together, and we are all moms. Let’s break the silence. Share your story today.