I had a miscarriage, and it's okay to talk about it.
It's true that you never really know what someone else is going through.
My husband and I were going back and forth on the debate of having a second baby. I had just gotten to the point where I started to black out those first few months, and thought "okay maybe we could do this again!" Another part of me also loved being able to focus on Liv, and I couldn't fathom loving another baby as much as I love her. Selfishly, I wanted to focus on me too. My career, The Returnity Project, my family, etc.
Of course, when you're not planning it is when it happens.
In January, I started feeling a lot of those early pregnancy signs. I took a test, and then about 5 more to 100% confirm this was happening. I ran down the stairs laughing (and crying) showing the test to Ben. While we weren't ready for this, we embraced it and were excited about the fact that Liv would have a sister or brother!
We started to get excited, picking names, figuring out how we'd decorate the nursery, and all of the fun things you start to think about when you're pregnant. Then, a few weeks later, I went through one of the toughest experiences emotionally and physically when I had a miscarriage. Below is something I wrote as I was going through it in January. I felt alone in this journey and didn't know where to turn, and I don't want others to feel that way. 1 in 4 women in the US have a miscarriage, and it should be okay to talk about it.
Yes, I am still sad and it still hurts every day; some more than others. My heart hurts when my 2 year old says "sister?!" or "brother?!" because we taught her those words when we found out we were pregnant. But I want anyone out there who may be going through this right now to know that you are not alone.
A feeling of emptiness.
Grateful for my 2 year old healthy, beautiful daughter Liv.
I was 5 weeks pregnant. Still very early, but we were so excited (and also terrified for the transition from 1 to 2). I got so excited we were already joking and having fun picking out names, figuring out which room we’d put the new nursery in, and thinking of ways to announce it to our family. I know I know, it was crazy early but if you know me, you know I go all in on everything I do. At full speed.
We had family photos coming up and I ordered one of those felt letter boards for Liv to hold in one of the photos that said “I’m gonna be a big sister! Sep ‘19”! I remember putting it together with my sister talking about how excited my parents were going to be when they saw it.
Then a couple days passed and I had some spotting. I figured that was normal because I remembered having it with Liv. I called the doctor and they said to just keep an eye on it and to call if it turned red.
Later that day, I went to the bathroom, and it was red. It still wasn’t a lot so I didn’t completely panic. I got home and had a normal evening with Liv and Ben, and then started to get cramps later that night. Bad ones. And then started bleeding more. I called the doctor emergency line and she told me to come in the next day for blood tests (and if it got worse that night to drive to the hospital). Oh, okay. Great.
I started going down a rabbit hole. Googling everything. Chemical pregnancy, miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, everything. I texted close friends who I trusted and have gone through this (you know who you are and I am forever grateful for you), and knew from their response that this wasn’t a good sign. I took 2 pregnancy tests; one was positive, one was negative. Perfect. Thanks CVS pregnancy tests. Part of me still had hope that maybe everything would be fine, but deep down I knew in my gut that something was wrong--I know my body and this wasn’t right. I had every single symptom of a miscarriage. I cried myself to sleep that night in Ben's arms. He was so strong for me.
I woke up the next morning and there was more blood, and the cramps were worse than a period. I called the doctor and they made me an appointment to get blood work done that morning. It finally hit me when the nurse said “I’m so sorry.” She’d seen these symptoms before and knew what was happening.
My next thought was that I needed my mom.
I picked up the phone and finally called my mom (who I hadn’t told I was pregnant yet) and completely lost it. I started to talk and the words "I WAS pregnant" came out of my mouth. I was a mess. I was so sad and couldn’t believe this was happening. I was supposed to be taking family photos and telling our families in the next couple weeks, but here I was in pain and crying, telling my mom that I thought I was having a miscarriage.
I hate that word. Miscarriage. I’ve had friends that have had them, but never thought it would happen to me. Yes, I know how common they are (1 in 4 women in the US will experience one) but it still didn’t feel real. No one ever talks about it either so I didn’t know where to turn.
The test results finally came back and my hormone levels were only at a 6 (anything under 5 they basically consider zero and the levels should be much much higher at 5 weeks pregnant). Cue more tears and just a huge sense of loss. Not only was it taking a physical toll, but the emotional toll was even harder. I felt so guilty. Was it something I did?
I talked to Lindsay, my co-founder of The Returnity Project, and she gave me the best advice that I needed in that moment and I will forever love her for it. She said:
“It’s an evolving emotional process. It takes a lot of time. You will have lots of highs and lows over the next few weeks. So just be patient with yourself. And know that in some moments you’ll feel like you can move forward, and in others you’ll feel so sad and empty. Don’t force yourself to just get over it. It’s okay to mourn.”
Those were the exact words I needed to hear, and they couldn’t be more true. I feel so sad and empty right now. I know this will pass and I’ll get through this, but this sadness is so real. I’m writing this while it’s fresh so I can share what I’m feeling in hopes it may help someone out there who’s going through this. And because I want it to be okay to talk about this out loud. Women should be able to talk about it and be open about it if they want, so if you find yourself going through it, you can reach out or ask for help. You are not alone and in Lindsay’s words “It’s an evolving emotional process and it’s okay to mourn.”