During my first pregnancy, we were so stoic. All the pregnancy books told us that it was a good idea to wait until after 12 weeks of pregnancy before sharing the good news, and so that’s what we did. Actually, I think we even waited until the 20 week ultrasound to tell most people.
And, that pregnancy was picture perfect. Not a single problem. At 41 weeks pregnant, I gave birth to the most perfect 8 ½ pound boy that ever was born.
So, with my second pregnancy, I was antsy to share the news. I barely made it to 7 weeks before I was gushing to everyone in earshot that I was expecting my second baby. My husband had a slight problem with it, but I assured him it was okay. Although, that made me have this nagging feeling in the back of my head that something might go wrong. But I just kept shrugging it off.
My first prenatal appointment was scheduled for the day I hit the 10 week mark. And in the moments leading up to it, I just thought to myself, “I feel so pregnant. It must be all right.” My morning sickness was off the charts, my breasts still hurt, I was peeing all the time and hungry all the time. Typical pregnancy symptoms, on a much higher level than I experienced the first time around.
At the appointment, the doctor was having some issues with the ultrasound machine, and even switched it out with another one only to have trouble with the second machine as well. I remember thinking, “Someone up there doesn’t want me to see my baby.” And the doctor later admitted to having the same premonition.
When she finally did get a picture, my baby was measuring too small, and there was no heartbeat to be found. My baby had died inside of me, and I didn’t even know it. Worst of all, all those people I told about the baby I now had to tell about my baby’s death.
Later, the doctor told me that it had probably happened two weeks before the appointment. And I had told people during those two weeks. My baby was already dead inside of me, and I was still gushing, blissfully unaware of the sad news that lay ahead for us. I felt like I should have known on some level, as a mom. The way you know that your child has a fever. Or, the way you can tell if a cry is “real” or “fake”. But this time, I really didn’t know.
In the last 10 days, I have tried to sort out exactly what it is I am feeling. I had to dig below the general sadness and anger, to the core of what I felt, in order to start healing. And what I’m finding is that I just feel very empty and very alone.
Very empty, because as a pregnant woman, you feel so full of life, so powerful for being able to sustain another life inside of you. So, to find out that this baby had not survived inside of me made me instantly feel very hollow inside. I can’t exactly explain the feeling, but something was just missing. And I felt powerless.
Very alone, not because I don’t have support, because I do. My cup overflows with support, from family, friends, acquaintances, even people online who don’t even know me in real life. So many people have been through it before, and though they know they can’t say anything to make me feel better, they fully sympathize. No, I feel alone because, when my husband is at work and my son is at preschool (which he just recently started attending), I feel very alone sometimes. When I became pregnant, I felt a sense of having a little companion with me, the way I felt when I was pregnant with my son, and in his first few years of life. It’s nice to have that little one with you wherever you go, and I was happy to feel that again. So, now that the baby is gone, I just feel very alone again. My son’s first day back at preschool after we got the news, I just ached to hold him, to not feel so alone.
Because I had a “missed” miscarriage, and the baby was still inside, I had to take some medication to “get things moving”. It was a full 36 hours before I had the strength to take the medication that I knew would force me to purge my baby from my body. It was something I could not deal psychologically with, and even as I took the medication, I felt like I was having an out of body experience. This cannot actually be happening to me.
The first night was quite painful, and bloody. I wept bitterly at how unfair it was that nature would force a woman to lose her child in such a gory, physically painful manner. And, I’m still bleeding a bit today. Every time I go to the bathroom, I’m reminded. I might have a great day, when I was able to think of other things for hours, but then I go to the restroom and that is all erased. I just want to scream out, “ENOUGH!”
Sometimes, I feel very eager to conceive again, so I can get back to where I was 10 days ago. Other times, I’m so afraid of being pregnant again, I really can’t imagine going through the whole process again. It will be such a crazy mix of hope and fear. Optimism and anxiety. I will feel so brave, yet so, so scared.
The doctor also told me that I still felt “so pregnant” because my hormones were still leveling out, and it would take time before I felt like myself again. It certainly is taking its time. It’s difficult to still feel pregnant, when you know you’re not. I still have morning sickness, and fatigue, and frequent trips to the bathroom, and the headaches. Sometimes it’s difficult to bear. I have burst into tears on a public toilet more times in the last week than I ever could have imagined I would.
I might be writing “My Story” too soon, I don’t know. I feel like I should offer up some advice to other women who go through this heartbreak. But the truth is, I’m not even sure what to say to myself quite yet. Does it ever get any easier?