In September 2021, we got the surprise of our life when we found out we where expecting! At twelve weeks when we got our heads around this big life change we weren’t planning on, we had plans to tell family the following week. I started seeing signs of early miscarriage, but I knew a little bleeding can also be normal. In my experience working in the ER I had mostly seen very active and obvious miscarriages so I went to get checked out thinking everything would probably be fine. At the hospital, we where seen on the OB floor where they ordered an ultrasound. There wasnt a heartbeat, and the ultrasound tech said “whatever that is it’s not moving”. The doctor then diagnosed me with a “threatened miscarriage”, which I thought meant things weren’t going well but maybe could be okay. Judging by what I saw I didn’t feel hopeful but I really wanted to be.
We were confused, and thank goodness an amazing nurse who was helping us get ready to go called the doctor back and advocated that we be better educated so we could more prepared. It was then that the doctor told us that there isn’t a heartbeat, the baby is clearly not the size they should be at this stage, and that we should expect to miscarry. The nurse was very kind, and gave us some preparation of what could happen. Take ibuprofen, come back if you’re bleeding profusely, ect. She could never prepare us for what happened. Over the weekend I had what I thought was the entire miscarriage. We could clearly see the babies body, and we had to figure out what to do about that. But overall, it wasn’t as painful or as much blood as I was expecting based on what I’d seen with patients. I absolutely wasn’t processing it, just taking a very medical and logical approach to things. I went back to work on Monday thinking I’d be okay. Well I wasn’t. Then the real pain started.
I was at work when I started to have intense back pain, contractions that started at ten minutes apart. I knew something was wrong, and as I drove home they got closer and closer together. There still wasn’t as much blood as we thought there would be. Working in the medical field it just didn’t look right, but I knew that miscarrying can take days so I just did what I could to manage that at home. I was the in the hot bath for hours, taking ibuprofen, ect. But the contractions just got closer and closer together and it didn’t seem like there was an end in sight. After hours of going through it at home I was incredibly weak and dizzy. My husband had to call and ambulance to get be to the hospital.
This time I was seen in the ER and received incredible support. They truly cared and tried to manage my pain. The miscarriage wasn’t complete so after suffering for over 12 hours, starting at home, they ordered a D&C. I woke up in post op feeling physically much better, and I’m sure Chris was just relieved to see my pain taken away. The surgeon confirmed our choice telling us that I really needed that intervention so we at least felt that it was worth the risks.
And then we went home. It took some time to heal physically, but emotionally I think we both have just been conditioned to deal with trauma on such a regular basis in our line of work that we just didn’t have the expected response. I took off work to give myself time just because I felt like I should. My doctor helped facilitate cremation because we had the tiniest body I’d ever seen at home in a container in my refrigerator that we didn’t know what to respectfully do with. I’m so grateful that we received that support, and I hope others know that that’s an option because it really helped me to have that closure. Working with the funeral home was very healing, especially after that initial experience with the hospital where I felt professionals responded to my baby as something less than human. The staff asked us what our baby’s name is, August Ayashe, and handled the remains just as they would a full term baby. A week later I drove home from a funeral home with our babies ashes in the back seat where we where hoping to install a car seat, overwhelmed with the reality. It wasn’t supposed to be this way.
Telling friends and family was hard. We hadn’t told many people that we where expecting, as we were just one week away from the magical 13 week mark. I felt I didn’t really present as emotionally effected as people expected me to. Some people would respond more emotionally than I did to my own loss, and others even verbalized their surprise that I seemed “tough” or “cold”. I’ve heard from others who have experienced loss some of the hurtful things people can say, but still some responses where shocking. We started to hear the well meaning “you know you can try again right?”. A few informed me, “You know it was from that Covid shot right? Shouldn’t have gotten it now you’ll always have issues!”. One even lashed out saying, “it was intentionally hurtful that you didn’t tell us you where pregnant until you miscarried”. The only way to survive was to stick together, and anyone who couldn’t be supportive had to go. There were even more people who responded by giving us an abundance of support and care. They asked what our babies name is, sent meals, asked if there was anything they could do. It’s never been more clear who belongs in our lives and who doesn’t. People we have kept in our circle have showed us what family and community can look like, and have helped carry us through the unimaginable.
We found out we were pregnant again at the end of January 2022, and the day after I miscarried again. I didn’t really connect to this pregnancy in the same way, it was just too quick. I thought about naming this baby and then felt guilt of course when I just didn’t feel right about it. I didn’t announce this time….not much to say and I didn’t want to deal with all the hard conversations again. Thankfully it’s wasn’t medically a dangerous situation, I was able to manage this one at home. The trauma of it all felt like a storm that had just continued to rage.
We weren’t sure about “trying again”. We weren’t trying in the first place and I wasn’t sure if I could handle going through it again. What we ended up deciding is that since infertility could be the road we were on, we had to be brave and get started because we know so many people that have struggled for years and the longer we wait the harder it could be. We were told by our doctor at the time that we had to have three losses to get help, so we knew we’d have to try at least one more time without any information as to why we’d lost our first two.
We found out we were pregnant again in May 2022, and we were so excited but there was that fear. We waited longer to tell people, and I wish I had let myself get attached sooner but I was very guarded. We had a scare with some bleeding early on, but we felt hopeful when we heard the heartbeat, and saw our rainbow baby moving! Things started feeling more stable, and when we told our close family it felt like we’d hit a huge milestone.
I felt sick and exhausted every day of my first trimester and most of my second trimester, so I tried to take that as a reminder that good things were happening! It still feels like we’re on a roller coaster, but every time we get to hear our baby’s heartbeat or see her on the ultrasound is an answer to prayer, and confirmation that God keeps his promises; that storms don’t last forever.
Pregnancy after loss is no joke. I know it’s beautiful, it’s wonderful, and I’m grateful….but I’m a mess and it shows. I hope women experiencing something similar know that it’s okay if you don’t feel like you’re glowing. Riding the trauma train for however long you’ve been on it takes a toll, it’s okay if all you can do is survive. I feel a lot better now that I accept that I won’t always meet peoples expectations of how I “should” feel or act as a pregnant person.
We took a blood test early on to find out the gender, just to have something fun and positive early on to focus on. I felt like it was a girl, but the test said BOY! We were excited either way, but I was definitely surprised. At the 20 week ultrasound we got an even bigger surprise when we found out that the test was wrong (and I was right!!!!)! We are expecting our sweet baby girl the day after Christmas, and we know that she’s going to be everything we’ve dreamed of and more.
Photos taken by @images.by.lex.
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