Since the moment I found out I was pregnant, I couldn’t wait for my first trip to the OBGYN. And I am NOT one to be excited about going to a doctors office — I have a phobia of doctors, needles, filling out medical paperwork, the sound of that stiff white paper you have to sit on, etc. But I was counting down the days until this particular doctor’s appointment. Bright and early on May 29th — the day after Memorial Day — I was going to finally see our baby, and hopefully hear its heart beat.
If you were following along, you saw I had a fairly easy pregnancy, so much so that sometimes I didn’t feel pregnant. So when I saw three tiny streaks of blood on my underwear a few days before Memorial Day, I freaked. I had had zero spotting up until then — week 6 of my pregnancy. This was new and unnerving. I Googled “spotting during pregnancy” and “spotting at 6 weeks pregnant” constantly, and was reassured that if it was light spotting I had nothing to worry about. And it was light spotting, for the next couple days. Until…
Cut to Memorial Day:
I went to breakfast with my husband. I ate stuff that’s good for a baby — eggs and avocado — why he had one of the best breakfast burritos in LA. As I was sipping on my tiny 8oz coffee allotment I started to get a bit concerned about the strength of the cramps — front and back — I was experiencing. Disturbingly it felt like my general “day before I get my period” cramping. So I went to the bathroom, and instead of a gentle brown spotting when I wiped, I saw a big ‘ol blood clot with some tissue.
My husband and I rushed home while I called the OBGYN’s office. It was a holiday, so they were closed. But the on-call doctor was super kind to me. Told me that I might be having a miscarriage, but just in case only take Tylenol, monitor the bleeding, and head to the ER if I’m soaking all the way through thick pads in less than an hour. (Or something like that, honestly I can’t remember, I was panicking.)
The rest of the day I monitored myself closely. It didn’t take long to realize that my breasts weren’t aching like they used to. And my cramps were ramping up. And the bleeding wasn’t stopping.
Fortunately (and that may sound like a weird choice of word for what I’m going to say next) I had gotten an abortion about 13 years ago…
So I knew what having a miscarriage feels like.
I remembered the agonizing cramps that made me howl and whimper in my bed for days. I remember having to breathe through them like labor pain. I remember how much blood and what it the tissue-y clumps looked like. And so I knew, as the day progressed, and the blood went from brown to dark red and the clumps increased in size, and the cramping got so bad I said “fuck it” and took a Valium, that I was miscarrying.
The first and only doctor visit:
That morning my husband and I woke up bright and early for that doctors visit that we were just recently so excited about. Instead of the happy meeting with the doctor that I kept envisioning these past few weeks, we had a somber talk. At first the doctor held a little bit of hope, probably more than I did. “You never know… I’ve seen situations that look dire turn out just fine… Sometimes it’s a twin that gets expelled, but the other one is just fine… We’ll take a look.”
Both my husband and I said that it would be CRAZY if there was still a baby in there. But I held my breath and my husband’s hand, and stared at the monitor while the doctor wiggled the ultrasound wand around inside of me.
And we saw nothing.
Just my empty womb. Nothing but the debris from what used to be a baby growing inside of me.
I was always prepared for this.
As I’ve written before, perhaps prophetically, I know that miscarriage is a very normal part of the pregnancy process. It was something I thought about a lot. I tried to tell myself to not get too attached. But I also realized that that’s not possible for me to do that when the thing I need to not be attached to is LITERALLY attached to me.
It’d been part of me from its day one. Every day, every step I took, it was with me, and every bite I ate it shared it with me. It’s amazing how such a tiny thing — just the size of a chocolate chip I was told — can make me feel such a vast emptiness now that it’s gone. I miss the little fucker.
There’s a reason this happened. I know that too.
I know it wasn’t viable and that there was something not right about the pregnancy. And I’d rather have it gone than have carried it any longer and been even more devastated.
So many women have been in this space before. I’m in good company with plenty of strong wonderful women who have gone on to either have the kids they were meant to have, or live amazing child free lives. Either way, I know, thanks to them, that I’ll be fine.
But until then… I rest. I heal. And I try again.
I’m all about miscarriage awareness, so if you have any questions or any advice to offer, I’m happy to host a talk about it in the comments.