Saturday, July 30, 2011

Miscarrying: The First Time

I think one of the most difficult parts of any of my losses, the two miscarriages and losing Gabriella, was the shock.  I wasn't prepared for the fact that any of the pregnancies would lead to the end result being live child.  Growing up, I remember my desire to get married and have kids.  I don't remember anyone ever preparing me for the fact that things don't always turn out that way.  I am certain I don't remember it, because no one ever does.  No one ever looks into a child's hopeful eyes and says, 'one day you'll grow up, get married, and have a miscarriage or lose a baby.'  No one ever asks a glowing newlywed, 'how many times do you think you'll be pregnant and how many living children do you think you'll have?'  We simply don't talk about these things.  Not even the medical professionals.  No doctor ever told me that I had a 1 in 200 chance of having a stillborn.  I was not prepared.

When I had my first miscarriage, my husband and I were wildly in love and not even engaged yet.  The pregnancy was, for a lack of a better term, an 'oops.'  After 3 at home pregnancy tests and the shock of the fact that I was indeed pregnant wore off, I came to terms with this new little one growing in side of me.  And like every new, expecting mother, I began to plan and imagine life as a mother.  Little did I know that 11 weeks later, my pregnancy was going to be called a "missed abortion".  A term to this day I think is completely inappropriate and heartless. 

I clearly remember the night prior to going to the doctor's office to find out the news.  I was having cramps.  Up until that point, I still hadn't had an ultrasound.  I remember the cramps being uncomfortable and feeling that something was not 'right'.  I was in so much discomfort, I sent Thad, now my fiance, out for some Tylenol.  Not wanting to alert him to my condition, I down played my pain and tried to sleep.  The next morning I called the doctor's office.  To be honest, I don't even remember if I was bleeding at that point.  I got into the office as an emergency appointment and directly to the ultrasound room.  Boy I was naive.  I thought I was going be seeing my baby for the first time, and instead all I saw were the troubled faces of the two ultrasound techs in the room.  I was in the room alone, with no one to comfort me, and the techs would not tell me anything.  I was escorted to a regular examination room, where Thad and my mother joined me.  The doctor walked in and I was informed I was miscarrying.  The words ripped through me like a knife, a dull, serrated knife.  Thad was devastated.  His raw emotions were overwhelming.  He was just as torn as I was, just as hurt and just as heartbroken.  We were broken.  I remember my tears being so heavy, that I couldn't see out of my eyes.  Everything was blurry.  Just as blurry was my comprehension of the whole situation.

What was a miscarriage? Why do they happen? Why did it happen to me?  I was left with so many questions, and such a deep sadness. It hit me like a ton of bricks.  I never stopped to think, 'what if I have a miscarriage.' And aside from the doctor telling me on my first visit, 20-25% of all pregnancies end in first trimester miscarriage, I was completely oblivious to the idea that I could miscarry.  I simply was not prepared.  Losing the baby was hard, but not being prepared for this cold fact of life hit me hard. 

I was quickly whisked from one office to another.  And there through my blurry eyes and heavy head, a woman began to try to talk to me about scheduling a D&C.  I had barely absorbed the doctor's words and the heartbreaking news, and now this woman wanted to know if I can come in tomorrow for a D&C and how I was going to pay for it.  I was in between insurance and made too much money for state aid, so I was a cash patient, and this woman behind the desk wanted to know how I was going to pay for the procedure.  I was a wreck and couldn't even begin to think about these things.  Thad was just as bad as I was.  Luckily my mother was there and stepped in. I was scheduled for a D&C the next morning.

The experience left me feeling betrayed by my body, violated through medical intervention, and very sad.  Yet, life was to go on.  My world was rocked and yet it seemed as though it was no big deal to the world around me.  However, one of the most surprising parts of having a miscarriage were all the women who 'crawled out of the woodwork' to offer their support and share their experience.  Woman I had known for a significant amount of time to those I knew less than a year, came to me to let me know how sorry they were and let me know they have been there.  I couldn't help but think this is a silent epidemic.  It is happening everywhere and everyday and no one is talking about it, not openly at least.  I felt betrayed again.  Why didn't anyone warn me, I thought.  I think that was a pivotal point in how I unknowingly started to be prepared for losing my beautiful Baby G.  Not so much, preparing to cushion the blow, but I opened my mind to the idea of talking openly about my experiences.  I decided back then I was going to talk openly about my miscarriage, whether it made other people uncomfortable or not.  I was going to talk about it as I saw fit, in a hope that talking about it would bring some light to this sorrow so many women endure silently, sometimes never even sharing with their best friend... that they have had a miscarriage.  I have always worn my heart on my sleeve, those who know me know that to be true.  I decided to continue to do so, never knowing that one day almost 5 years later my candor would lead me to write about the most tramatic events of my life and how they have brought me to where I am today... this is my story.

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