In May after I told him in our tradition, via a t-shirt, my husband excitedly announced to everyone he thought needed to know that we were expecting again. Would be our sixth total. The story of announcing it to him is epic. I have various stories of how long it took him to catch on to the message being displayed for him on a shirt on me, another child, or someone else. When I got pregnant with our fourth, Cody, I thought he’d never read the third child’s shirt! Well, telling him about the sixth topped even that. Hours people. Hours filled with hints and suspicious suggestions but he was so excited about his new motorcycle and safety class he breezed right by them.
The story I can’t help but feel is somewhat tainted now, though, because shortly after the NaPro doc I see for progesterone supplementation in pregnancy did his usual insist on an early ultrasound thing and it was suspicious. Baby wasn’t as far as long as should have been. Then my HCG was kind of low and not doubling as fast as it should and my progesterone was even lower than it should have been. Then another ultrasound showing progress and yet not as much as there should have been and still no answers, even though it had been two weeks of waiting since the first. Then another HCG test, only the lab messed that up and ran a hep B test instead. Thanks, Quest! But it’s really tainted because we are in fact losing this baby. Very early on, considered a blighted ovum. But because I insist on keeping track of my body I found out very, very early. So it feels kind of further along, in a way.
What I didn’t know about miscarriage? Is that it isn’t always just a moment. A definitive moment where you’re told or you know you’re no longer expecting. I had absolutely no idea the uncertainty and amount of waiting that can be involved in just trying to determine whether a pregnancy is viable or not. I guess I should consider myself blessed that the reason I didn’t know is because with four previous pregnancies I’d never had cause to know. There was never any indication that anything was wrong with the baby. This time it took almost three weeks to get a definitive answer that yes, indeed, baby had stopped developing. The definitive answer was in a repeat HCG blood test that showed rather than rising from 15,000 the previous week it was now 14,000. I’m told a decrease means impending miscarriage. So I stopped the progesterone injections because, something else I didn’t know despite this being my third pregnancy on them, they can make the body hold onto a pregnancy that isn’t viable. So it’s imperative I stopped them.
What else I didn’t know? On top of the waiting for a definitive answer, I now have more waiting. Waiting for my body to finish this pregnancy the only way it can now finish: in miscarriage. Baby has stopped developing but is still in the womb. Which is very disconcerting to say the least. The most disconcerting part, just waiting for it to happen and not knowing exactly what it’ll be like. Testimonies from other moms range from “cramping/contractions as bad as child birth” to “a severe period”. This early on, 6 weeks-ish, I believe I’m supposed to expect more of the severe period variety. But it’s been a week and yet to present itself. Which is awfully personal to put in a blog. But I feel as though I’d like other women to know. It seems like an awfully depressing thing to talk about when you’re newly pregnant, but perhaps we’d all be better off if someone DID discuss with expectant moms the fact that 25% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. It’s not at all uncommon. Maybe I’m just super morbid. But I wish I’d read more about miscarriage before it happened and I started taking a crash course in how it works.
I didn’t know that I’d feel awful that what I felt when I found out it was definitely over was…relief. Relief that I didn’t have to wait in limbo anymore. Relief that I knew. Quickly followed by grief that more waiting was coming because I would prefer to allow my body to naturally finish this process rather than take medication or do a surgical procedure to speed the process along. The fast option would be better for my emotions but the natural option would be better for my body, so that’s winning out. But the body doesn’t always do what it’s supposed to, so I suppose that’s something I may have to consider at some point. A friend said her miscarriage took a long time. I’m not sure what a long time is, but I suspect weeks based on what I’ve read from other moms online. WEEKS waiting for it to pass. I never knew.
I thought it was just something you found out, then a process completed quickly, and that was it, you’re done. You had a miscarriage, now you can grieve it. I had no idea it was like this. I feel like I ought to apologize to those women I know how have miscarried at some point because though I understood the weight of losing a child as much as I can without having had it happen to me, I didn’t understand the other stressors that go along with the whole process. Stressful enough that after several months of good keto diet I trashed it and have had junk food every day for almost a week. And the scale reflects that. Sigh. I was doing so well! Surely I’m not the only one who has let other plates in life drop while going through this. I hope not. Life keeps going but I feel I’m stuck waiting. It’s funny and yet not, every time I feel a little twinge somewhere in my midsection I feel, “at last!” And then…it’s gas. Seriously. Gas. Not impressed GI tract.
Hopefully my words aren’t irreverent or hurtful to anyone who’s been in my situation. I come at this as my first miscarriage, my first experience with loss, and it’s very, very early on. I have hope and expectation that I’ll be able to conceive again soon and that colors my feelings. I mourn this baby, especially since my instinct says it was a girl, but I’m at peace with baby not making it since, another thing I learned, is that it usually happens because there is something very, very wrong with the chromosomal makeup of the embryo for it to happen. I feel like in the rollercoaster that took weeks of going back and forth between viable/non-viable/viable/non-viable I grieved this baby over and over already. Crying and then happy. I’m emotionally just very done.
I just wish I’d known more about the process before. Maybe I’d been able to be better support to my friends that it has happened to.