When I found out I was going to miscarry, I was 7.5 weeks pregnant and had already seen the heartbeat twice. The baby was looking strong, and even after experiencing a subchorionic hemorrhage that led to an ER visit, everything looked how it should. When it went from “how it should” to “how it shouldn’t” during my post-ER follow-up, I was devastated. While the baby did lose its heartbeat at 7.5 weeks, my body waited until 10.5 weeks to miscarry, and it was the most agonizing 3-week wait of my entire life.
It’s been exactly one year since my last pregnancy began. May marks the same exact cycle that resulted in a shocking miracle pregnancy that I never expected after five years of waiting, and it ultimately ended in miscarriage. Now here we are, in year six of waiting, exactly one year later, and I felt compelled to give a quick update on what’s happening, what the last year has looked like in terms of fertility, and my hopes for the future.
Fertility After Miscarriage
It’s no surprise that my state of fertility after the miscarriage went right back to its old ways. I had very sporadic cycles with a lot of intermittent bleeding (in fact, I had 11 “cycles” in 9 months) but finally regained control once I started using essential oils for my cycles. Sometimes my cycles are textbook perfect and sometimes they’re very similar to the cycle I last got pregnant on, but either way, I’m functioning like a woman should. Sure, ovulation feels like a grenade went off in my abdomen, and it follows with 2 lbs of excess fluid and bruising, but hey, I’m ovulating. Beggars can’t be choosers, right?
I should have a 9-week-old curled up next to my 8-year-old this Mother’s Day. That’s really hard to acknowledge. Last year at Mother’s Day, I had no idea that the cycle I was starting would lead to pregnancy and then miscarriage. After 5 years of waiting for that pregnancy to come, I had given up and accepted that it just wasn’t meant to be. We’d be a family of 3, I was grateful for that, and I moved on.
This year, Mother’s Day is different.
I’m so incredibly grateful for the beautiful daughter I have, but I do mourn the baby we’ve lost. It doesn’t make me ungrateful… it makes me a mother. Child at home or not – miscarriage still means motherhood on this side of heaven – it means a baby is part of the family… we just don’t get to raise that baby.
Or in some of your cases: babies.
I don’t know why this bothers me so much, but I never thought I’d be in the position to have to think this through. I’ve always been very public with my story, so talking to people has become very easy. But I had no idea how to properly respond to that question when someone who didn’t know my story asked it.
How many children do you have?
…on this side of heaven.
And one we’re missing deeply.
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…