Here is a sentence that just shouldn’t be part of anyone’s vernacular;
“This miscarriage is way worse than the first one.”
Yet, it’s recently become part of my almost everyday speech. And it makes me cry pretty much every time I have to use it.
The decision to try and have a baby wasn’t really a decision. It was more a by-product of not having a family doctor and my birth control prescription running out. I’d been patiently waiting for a certain sparkly ring, but I’m 33 and the BF is 38 and I don’t have all day. Besides, it wasn’t like I was going to get pregnant immediately.
I got pregnant immediately.
My initial reaction was a complete freak out. It’s the end of my life! I’ll never wear cute boots again! Or lipstick! And my hair will always be terrible!
Within a week, I figured out that actually, my life didn’t have to end and a baby was pretty exciting. A baby!
It was within that same week that I was laid off from my job and I had a miscarriage.
Nobody talks about miscarriages so it’s not really a surprise that I had no idea how physically painful it is and how emotionally traumatic it is. One day you’re planning maternity leave, thinking about baby names and hoping your kid has his dad’s big brown eyes and the next you’re clutching your stomach in pain and bleeding profusely from your lady parts.
Oh, and there is no more baby.
And a miscarriage is not just one isolated event. You bleed and bleed and bleed for weeks. It’s like an everyday reminder that you’re body is broken and that thing you were so excited about is no longer. The plans you suddenly had for the rest of your life literally go down the toilet.
At first, I was pretty excited about the layoff. Although I liked my job, the people I worked with and I made a lot of money, I was commuting four hours a day and it was making me crazy. I threw myself into a yoga teacher training course, reading all the books we were assigned, and then some. I mastered my virabradrasanas, perfected my chaturanga and learned how to align my chakras. Sort of.
There are a couple rules about trying to get pregnant again after a miscarriage. It depends on who you talk to. Some people say wait a full menstrual cycle, some say wait six months and my doctor said because the miscarriage was only at six weeks and relatively uncomplicated, I didn’t need to wait.
Within a month, I still hadn’t gotten my period. Huge, sore boobs indicated that perhaps it was on its way. A pregnancy test revealed otherwise. I was knocked up again.
I heard the heartbeat at six weeks and Googled the shit out of “six week heartbeat”. My sister, who has two kids and suffered two miscarriages, told me the chances of a miscarriage are cut in half if there is a heartbeat at six weeks. I clung desperately to that statistic. I continued to Google each twitch, pain and burp. I so badly wanted this pregnancy to work out and I so badly wanted to be aware of how to protect the baby. I counted down the days until the 12-week mark. I called it the safe zone. If I could just make it until that day, the baby was going to be okay. If I could just make it to the three-month ultrasound, I would sleep at night. I reasoned with myself. It had to work out this time. It just had to. There was no other option.
I went on to have all the pleasant pregnancy symptoms. Morning sickness, which is actually all-day sickness, constant peeing, constant napping and a vampire like sense of smell. I developed an affinity for citrus. And donuts. As awful as it all was (except for the donuts), I was also thankful that everything in my body told me I was pregnant.
At eight weeks I started to tell people. I reasoned that the universe wasn’t cruel enough to send me a second miscarriage in a row so it was safe to share the news. Plus, I couldn’t really hide my need to run to the bathroom anytime someone ate their lunch in front of me. I started to think about colours for the baby’s room. I strolled the aisles at Babies 4 Us. I dedicated time to thinking about the growing baby in my belly. We called it lima bean.
A few days before Christmas, I had some spotting. The BF was at work. I tried not to freak out, rather unsuccessfully, and went to yoga anyway. I cried into my lavender scented eye pillow and drove home shakily.
When I got home, I had a bath, consulted my plethora of pregnant lady books and calmed myself somewhat. I still called the doctor in the morning to explain my symptoms. At this point, the bleeding had stopped but I had strange fluttery cramps. The doctor told me to rest. As long as the cramps and the bleeding weren’t together, she said, I was okay.
The following day, I knew something wasn’t right. I insisted on an ultrasound. I was supposed to be nine weeks pregnant that day. I already knew in my heart that it was over despite the BF’s constant cheerleading. But when the ultrasound technician answered my “can you see anything?” question with “I’m not supposed to tell you. The doctor has to go over the results”, that’s when my whole body started to shake and she finally told me there was no heartbeat. No more baby.
My body took over after that, expelling a no longer living embryo. With that came a hospital visit, multiple doctors, excruciating pain, emergency prescriptions, exhaustion and a lot of sobbing. I spent Christmas Eve rolling around on the couch with a heating bad on my belly, screaming into a pillow. It’s hard to imagine that actual contractions are worse than that.
Yes, this miscarriage is way worse than the first one.
My parents separated last year, after 40 years of marriage, and it pretty much ruined my family. And where I come from, family is the only thing that really matters. There’s nothing quite like your family falling to pieces to make you feel lost, hopeless and completely in the dark.
But losing this baby is probably worse. Which I didn’t think was possible. My everyday struggle has been to put my family back together. I didn’t need another one. But thanks anyway, universe.
The free time I so relished when I was first laid off has been replaced with a desperate need to fill the time to get through the day. I have to stay off Facebook because the happy pregnancy news and cute baby photos filling my news feed send me into hysterics. Why does it get to work out for those people?
Yes, this miscarriage is way worse than the first one.
I think a miscarriage is like a breakup. You have a bazillion questions circling around your head. What could I have done differently? Why didn’t it work out? When do I get my turn? Why me? And the worst part of this whole process is that these questions remain unanswered.
I cry a lot and I’m scared I’m not going to feel like myself again. I’m scared I’m never going to be happy for other people. And I’m scared I’m not going to get out of this sad place.
I get a lot of “a miscarriage is actually really common, you know” and “the good news is, you got pregnant really easily” and the occasional “there’s obviously something wrong, you should get that checked out.”
None of these things are helpful. Especially that last one. Nothing is helpful. All I can do is try.
I try to smile. I try to keep my mind busy. I try to get to the gym or to my yoga mat. I try to keep eating properly. I try to be the funny girl everyone knows. Sometimes I’m successful but most of the time I’m not. It feels like I’m in a movie, or living someone else’s life.
And I hope. I hope I get pregnant just as easily again. I hope that next time it will work out. I hope there is some truth to “the third time’s a charm”. I hope that nothing is actually wrong with me. And I hope that nobody I know or care about has to go through this.