Where do I even start with this post… It’s obvious from the title that I had a miscarriage, but what may not be as obvious is the struggle, pain, heartbreak, fear, guilt, and grief that is felt when you have a miscarriage. Each woman and family feel it differently of course, but it’s something I found very hard to understand until I experienced it myself. I need to make it very clear that what I’m sharing in this post is only about my experience. I don’t want to say that every person experiences it in the same way I did; I just want to share about my own personal loss.
I also should say that I know October is pregnancy and infant loss awareness month, but it didn’t feel right for me to share this post in October. Rather, I felt a huge need to share my story during the first week of November as this would have been our baby’s due date. As the start of November is rolling around, I feel very heavy in my heart and mind. I know that I am blessed to be 7 months pregnant now and have my sweet Andee, but I will always think of the baby that could have been.
Before I dive into the emotional roller coaster I experienced, I should first outline what life was like for us at this time. In September 2021 Keenan and I started trying for a second baby. I kept track of my ovulation through an app and through ovulation testing kits, but month after month I kept having a period, I continued to not get pregnant. I knew that 6 months to a year of trying to conceive without success was normal, but it didn’t feel normal to me. I think this is because everything was so easy with Andee. We literally decided one day that we would start trying for a kid, and without any planning we were pregnant. So the fact that it took 6 months for me to get pregnant again was very challenging mentally.
You don’t want to live by the clock or calendar or test or whatever, but it’s almost impossible to not make sex a chore. I only thought about sex in the form of ovulation and making sure I was doing all the right things to get pregnant. It was like a job. And I’d be so hopeful every single month, from ovulation until my period was suppose to start, that I was pregnant only to be let down each time the pregnancy test came up negative. I would still hold out a bit of hope that the test was wrong because maybe I was testing too soon just to be let down when my period started a few days later. Then I had about two weeks to recoup, get my emotions in check, and try it all over again. It was an exhausting cycle.
Then, on Monday, February 28th everything I was hoping for happened. The pregnancy test read positive. I couldn’t believe it. I remember peeing on a stick at work and seeing the “yes+” and being so excited. I came home that day and wrapped caution tape around the door to what we had planned to be our second child’s room, and I put a sign up that said, “under construction: nursery coming November 2022”. I’ll never forget the look on Keenan’s face when he saw this. He was so happy. He ran to me with arms wide open, giving me the biggest hug, and I felt so, so, so incredibly lucky. It was finally happening. We were growing our family and gifting Andee a little sibling.
I scheduled my first doctors appointment for that Friday, March 4th, excited to plan the next steps. They make you take a pregnancy test just to confirm you are actually pregnant, and mine came back as negative. Instantly my heart dropped. The doctor gave me several reasons for why the results could be negative – it could be too early in the pregnancy to get a proper reading at that time of day (the pregnancy hormone is strongest in the morning), my pee could be super diluted with too much water to get a proper read, or I could be miscarrying. The doctor sent me to get blood work to confirm I was pregnant, and then we would go from there.
Keenan and I had planned a romantic get-away to our favorite place, Castle Mountain, that weekend. Keenan’s dad was going to watch Andee and we were going to have two nights away to ourselves in a cabin in the snowy mountains, something we had been looking forward to for months. I kept trying to put the negative and scary thoughts from my doctors appointment earlier that day aside, and enjoy the weekend with Keenan. We spent Friday night looking up baby names and dreaming about what our life was going to look like in the near future. Then Saturday morning, I woke up to blood.
It was light bleeding at first, so I thought maybe it was implantation bleeding. But still, I knew it wasn’t right. We tried staying positive, but the bleeding continued. By the time Sunday rolled around, I was more than just spotting. I was full on having a miscarriage.
I was heartbroken. Keenan was heartbroken. All I wanted to do was get home and hug Andee, my baby, and tell her I was sorry I wasn’t able to give her a sibling yet, that I loved her so much, and that I was so thankful she was mine, in my arms, on this side of heaven.
I have never been one to drink hard liquor straight, but that night it’s all I could think to do. It hurt so bad to drink, but the pain of the alcohol felt like pain I needed at that time. I can’t explain the shock and sadness I experienced in that moment. It’s like I wasn’t even in my body anymore.
I didn’t know if I should take time off of work to grieve, but keeping my mind busy felt like the best strategy for me. I remember picking up my friend that rode to work with me and we were basically silent the whole ride. I was like a zombie. And to make things even worse, the doctor called me excitedly on Monday to tell my that my blood work came back saying I was pregnant. It was devastating to have to tell them that actually, I wasn’t. I was miscarrying.
For me, my miscarriage was like the worst period I ever experienced. I was light headed, nauseous, in pain, and had lots and lots of bleeding. I know it can be even worse for those who carry the pregnancy longer than I did, but it was no joke. I remember borrowing my friends boxing gloves and trying to get some of my anger and sadness out on the punching bag, but instantly feeling too faint to continue, something I never felt in my regular periods.
I wanted the bleeding to stop and needed it to be over because it was to gut wrenching to see my baby in the toilet or in a pad every time I went to the bathroom. But a week later when the bleeding stopped, I felt the loss all over again. I no longer had a physical reminder that I was pregnant, that I was carrying a baby. It was gone.
I fell into a deep depression. This zombied state I was in continued on for what felt like forever. I would put on a brave face at work in front of people, but I would break down in tears if I was ever alone. And as soon as I got home each night, I couldn’t leave my bed. I did the bare minimum to make sure Andee was safely looked after and cared for, but aside from that I felt like I wasn’t even human anymore.
It’s worth noting that I lost my grandpa, someone I was so close to and looked up to so much on January 2nd, three months before I miscarried. It’s like the grief was all consuming. How could so much bad happen so close together? The only thing that gave me the slightest peace was knowing that my baby, who I never meet on this side of heaven, but who I loved and dreamt of for so long was with Granddad Felton. He was holding my baby and looking down on me knowing that everything would be okay even when I felt like it would never be okay again.
And then the idea of trying for another baby came about. How was I suppose to even do this? How was I going to give up the baby I lost and just try again like nothing ever happened? And what if I did get pregnant again and lost that baby? How could I move on from that? It’s a sadness I’ve never felt before, a guilt I couldn’t move past, and a fear that was all encompassing.
A month after the miscarriage, I had a normal period again, which gave me a slight bit of hope to try again. So once again, I pulled out my ovulation calendar and ovulation testing sticks and began to track everything. It felt so wrong to try again, but like I needed to. It was such an emotional month of calendar keeping in terms of fertility. Keenan and I both had doubts about trying so soon. Did we need longer to emotionally recover? Were we doing ourselves a disservice if we waited? In the end, we decided to try again.
Meanwhile, I felt this strong need to get a tattoo in honor of my baby. It may not be here with me to physically hold, but I needed something physical to always carry with me. I ended up getting a chrysanthemum, the November birth flower, tattooed on my arm next to Andee’s birth flower, the poppy, and I got a little heart on my left hand that I can always see. It reminds me that though I lost my baby very early on in pregnancy, it had a heart beat. Its life was real, and it was mine. I would always be its mama.
I didn’t even know if I could bring myself to pee on a stick around the time of my next predicted period. I thought that if I didn’t pee on a stick, I wouldn’t have to deal with the grief of either outcome. Grief of not being pregnant and having to try all over again or grief of being pregnant and leaving my miscarried baby behind. I was so scared, and I didn’t know what do to.
Finally, on April 23rd, the day before my birthday, I decided to take a pregnancy test. Those few minutes of waiting to see a result were awful and felt so long. But to my surprise, it said I was pregnant. I instantly broke down into tears, not knowing how to feel. I was so happy, but so sad at the same time. I just kept replaying what a friend from work told me. She too, had a miscarriage in between her daughter and son being born. And she said if it wasn’t for the baby she lost, she never would have met her son who is one of her most favorite people.
Now, if you know me you know that I am an open book about pretty much everything. But for some reason I wanted to hold this news close to heart. I didn’t feel right sharing it with everyone just yet. Of course I told Keenan and we decided to tell our parents. I also told a few people I was around everyday at work who saw me constantly nauseous or throwing up, but we decided to wait until we were three months along to share with everyone else. And I’m glad we did.
As it turns out, we are having a baby boy whose due date is January 2nd, the same date I lost my grandpa. I do identify as Christian, but sometimes I struggle with that identification. But in a situation like this, there is no doubt in my mind that there is a god. Being gifted a baby boy who I can name after my grandpa who I miss so much who is due on the same date that I lost him has been a light at the end of a terribly dark tunnel for me. I hate the journey we had to go through to get here, but I am so thankful for what my future holds.
I can’t wait until I get to hold my sweet Andee and James together with my precious baby looking down on me smiling, knowing this is exactly how it was meant to be.