On a Serious Note
One month plus ten days ago, I got a positive pregnancy test. I would be due on October 14th.
Exactly one month ago, on Sunday the 13th, I woke up to bright red blood.
I spotted for the rest of the day, and saw clots the next morning. I spent the morning crying in various doctors' offices. (If you know anything about these things, my quantitative hCG was 16 that Monday, which very likely means that the embryo died several days before I started bleeding—it never even got the chance to develop a brain or heart.) That whole week, I wavered between thinking I was "OK" and knowing I wasn't. Was it denial? Maybe—I wasn't in denial that I had miscarried, but I was in denial about my emotional state.
It's hard. It's painful. It still hurts to think about. I still have a hard time thinking or saying the words "I had a miscarriage." or "I was pregnant, but then I lost the baby." Around people that know, I usually dance around the terminology, such as "Well, my hCG was below 2, so that means that everything is out."
I have good days and I have bad days. I have days when I've almost forgotten, and I have days where I need to take half a Xanax in the evenings. I have days when I scour the internet for stories from other women so I can share in their pain, and remember mine. The common theme in every story, however, is "Why don't we talk about this more? When I talked to [person] about my miscarriage, I found out she had one too, and we bonded over the pain and the memories."
I think I feel OK now. Good days outnumber the bad. (Until this past week, in anticipation of this weekend.) It may have been easier for me because I felt something was "up" from the beginning—my life didn't have the same complete reorientation that it did when we found out we were going to have Monkey. I wasn't as emotionally invested in this pregnancy as I was my first, but it still hit me like a ton of salami. I feel betrayed by my mind and my body, and most of my anxiety/fear stems from being scared that this will happen again. I have a full physical scheduled with my doctor next week to see if I still have markers of PCOS and if so, what can be done about it. (Oh, did I mention? Two months before I found out I was pregnant with Monkey, I was diagnosed with PCOS and told that it could be very difficult for me to have children. I'm still scared that Monkey was a fluke.) I'm moving on, but I'll never forget.
So, why am I putting this out there on the internet? Well, why don't women talk about miscarriages? Almost everyone I know has had one. Statistics say that 10-20% of known pregnancies end in a miscarriage, and that doesn't count women who didn't even know they were pregnant. One statistic I've read (really hard to find numbers on this sort of thing) estimates that 25% of women have experienced a miscarriage… So why don't we talk about it? Why is having a miscarriage a secret?
Which brings me to the most important part of this post—the part that I hope you will read and take into your heart: Talk about it. If you have experienced a recent (or not-so-recent, but still painful) miscarriage, reach out to others for help. Some of the most comforting conversations I had were with my aunts—one of whom I knew had a miscarriage, the other I didn't. I talked to a couple of my coworkers… the one who is pregnant now experienced a miscarriage immediately before her pregnancy. Let your husband or partner serve you—you may need him to bring you food and remind you to eat, or you may just need him to be there for you to cry on. Let him. I feel that my relationship with Husband is stronger than ever.
If you're comfortable sharing, October 15th is Pregnancy and Loss Awareness day. Wear a pin. Wear a tshirt. Get a car magnet. Post about your story on Facebook or Twitter, whatever you're comfortable doing. (I'm anticipating that weekend to be particularly hard, I suppose, because if I was still pregnant, I would be due the day before.) TALK to someone that you heard through the grapevine had a miscarriage. It's like we have a secret society, but the kind where each person only knows one or two other people so the head of the organization is safe from ratters. So please, talk about it, and if you can, be someone's rock for when they're going through a hard time.
I'm not going to make this into a pregnancy loss blog. Despite my admonition to talk about personal experiences with miscarriages, this blog isn't the place to do that. This is a place to talk about the happy things in life—the pizza and the cakes and the zoo trips.
Onward and upward.