When I was told at the age of 23 that I was in pre-menopause, I felt like my world crashed down around me. My husband and I had only been married a year plus a few months when I first started to experience symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and infertility. We were told that the longer we’d wait to try to conceive, the less likely it would happen because my labs were very abnormal for a 23-year-old. Pre-menopausal. At 23 years old.
I’ve had a lot of conversations with my daughter Zoey about infertility and loss. These conversations span years, but the last seven months have been the most difficult. Many conversations are filled with tears. Whether at bedtime before prayers, or on the couch because something on TV triggered her, or even at church… we’ve talked a lot. Today on Still Standing, I’m sharing five things that I tell her as I walk her through grief.
Yesterday was my due date.
This week, I should be meeting my miracle baby. I should have spent the last couple of weeks preparing for labor, although I’m sure it would have been impatiently. I should have been looking over my hospital bag, re-checking the carseat installation, preparing freezer meals, getting a massage and a chiropractic adjustment, drinking tons of red raspberry leaf tea, and making sure all of my essential oils are in stock.
Instead, I’m contemplating whether I should sell the last of my remaining baby items.
In case you didn’t see my announcement on Facebook and Instagram, I’m now writing monthly over on Still Standing Magazine about infertility and miscarriage. Stepping out to write for Still Standing was an act of bravery for me. I’ve been a long-time reader of Still Standing, and when they put out a need for some additional writers, I swallowed my fear and applied.
Today, my first post is live. I would love if you would head on over there, read it, and maybe leave a comment if you feel led to do so.
Image used with permission by Samantha C. Photography
It feels like this is all I write about anymore, but the fact is it’s only been 6 weeks since this miscarriage, and 9 weeks since we found out we were miscarrying. This loss is something I’m going to have to carry around for the rest of my life. It’s something I’m going to have to learn to navigate through, so just bear with me as I figure this out.
The medical bills just now started to pour in. There is no “moving on” when you owe a lot of money for a baby you never got to bring home. And then Amazon made a huge mistake last week and emailed a ton of people saying something was purchased off of their baby registry… of course it came into my inbox the same exact day (9/19) that I was fighting with a medical billing company for strangely billing my ultrasounds.
With all of this crap going on, I’m learning how to cope, and with that comes mistakes.
Sometimes I find myself pouring into my Bible, studying those who have experienced great trials.
Sometimes I sit in the bathroom floor and weep and cry out “WHAT HAVE I DONE? WHY DID THIS HAPPEN?”
Sometimes I meditate in prayer, craving closeness with my God.
Sometimes I tell God I’m so mad at him and doubt his goodness.
This post contains affiliate links at the very end for your convenience. These same products are probably available in your local community; however, if you’re like I was while waiting for a miscarriage to begin, online shopping from the comfort of your home may be your friend.
When I went through my miscarriage, I was extremely blessed to have a best friend who was able to walk me through everything… from what to expect, to what I’d need, to serving as a doula via texting when I reached the most active peak of the miscarriage and felt like I was about to split open. I was blessed, but not everyone has that person. Many women go through this feeling alone, or ashamed, and turn to the internet for advice. In my case, I was told the baby’s heart stopped beating more than three weeks before the miscarriage actually began, so I had a long time period to gather what I needed as I waited. Not every woman experiences this wait. Some are blindsided by the heavy bleeding and sudden loss. If you found your way to this post because you have been told you will miscarry and are waiting for it to begin, I’m so sorry. I know first hand that the wait is agony. I hope this post is helpful, but I also hope you find the community you need so you don’t have to walk through this alone.
The items I’m going to mention today were extremely useful for me. If you have been through miscarriage, you may have some additional suggestions and I would love if you shared those in the comments.
10 Essentials for Surviving A Miscarriage
1.) Leak-Proof Water Bottle: The more hydrated you are, the better blood flow you’ll have. The last thing you want is for this whole event to last longer than it needs to. I think mine went as smooth and quickly as it did because I took my friend’s advice and drank a ton of water in the weeks of waiting for my miscarriage to begin. Make sure you have a good, leak-proof water bottle because when you are in bed going through contractions, you may not want to deal with a cup and risk spilling it. I kept a water bottle in the bed with me so I could easily grab it and stay hydrated in between each contraction. At one point, I was clutching it against my chest…
When I sat down in January and thought about what my blog content for 2017 would look like, this much loss was nowhere near my list. 2017 as a whole has been a weird year of grief for me.
1. My beloved cat Vesta passed away in May. What an awful day that was. Making the decision to give her eternal sleep was the most difficult choice I’ve ever made…
2. I lost my miracle pregnancy after five years of waiting. No words…
3. I’m currently watching my dog Lily struggle with the tumors on her leg, and it feels like it’s only going to get worse from here. She’s a ticking time bomb as I wait for the day where I have to make the decision yet again. I am certain it will be before Christmas…
What’s that saying? Death occurs in threes? I’m not one for superstition, but this pattern seems to be set for 2017.
So this brings us to the real question at hand. How am I doing after my miscarriage?
This was such a painful post to sit down and write, but I knew for my own self that I needed the timeline documented. I knew I’d want to come back at some point and remember what happened. I also know that like infertility, miscarriage connects women… so today, I’m going to share that timeline.
July 11, 2017
For those who missed my very first ultrasound on Instagram, here is a little peek of our sweet pea:
The day I went in, I told the ultrasound tech that my baby could be off by a whole week because I knew I ovulated a week later than normal women. I knew this could date my ultrasound behind from my LMP. Even though my first blog post about this pregnancy was dated as week 6, I knew that was an average and could be a bit off. Sure enough, baby measured in line with when I ovulated verses my last period, but it was considered on time with conception. I walked into the ultrasound knowing it could be too soon to see a heartbeat, but was pleasantly surprised to see it flickering away on the screen at 100 BPM. To be just under 6 weeks along and see that tiny flicker, I was on cloud 9!
July 15, 2017
Just 4 days after the ultrasound, we had a scare and I ended up in the ER. I had spotting that went from brown (totally fine), to pink (okay, sorta fine), to bright red (not fine). According to the ultrasound in the ER, the baby was doing well and had grown quite a bit in those 4 days. Also, my HCG level was 34,000, and the heartbeat was stronger at 116 BPM, so I walked out of there feeling much better. They said I had a small subchorionic hemorrhage and that it can be quite normal. Even though my progesterone in the ER was still in a healthy range (16), I started taking Progesterone supplements to tell my body it’s not supposed to bleed and to further support the pregnancy.