by Christen Owen
I stopped taking my prenatal vitamins.
I deleted the two pregnancy apps I had on my phone.
I unsubscribed to the What to Expect email subscription.
I ate all the food I bought when I was actually craving it, just to get it out of the house.
I had a miscarriage. I was 9 and a half weeks pregnant.
I went to the doctor two days before to have my special moment; when my husband and I would look at the screen and say, “There it is! Do you see it? Do you hear the heartbeat?” But that didn’t happen. The sonographer said, “How far along are you? Any bleeding or cramping?” I replied with a sincere “No,” but I was really thinking was “FML.” My first pregnancy, my first ultrasound, my first dream baby, is going down the drain. The sonographer only saw a yolk sac with no fetus. “Maybe it’s hiding,” she said. “Maybe you are earlier than what you thought,” she said. I replied with a sincere, “Sure,” but what I meant to say was “Thanks, but no Thanks.” I knew where this was going.
The sonographer left and my husband asked what this all meant. I told him we have an egg with no chicken. That description seemed to suffice.
We went back out to the waiting room to wait for our nurse’s appointment. There I was, sitting with a group of women in various stages of pregnancy. I was getting claustrophobic.
Our names were called and we were brought into that room; the one with the couches, comforting pillows, serene pictures on the wall, and a big box of Kleenex on the side table. Again, I was thinking “Thanks, but no thanks.” Unapologetically (probably due to the repetitive nature of her job), the nurse said “We will schedule you in 2 weeks to see if we can find anything. If you miscarriage in the meantime, give us a call. Do you have any questions?” I wanted to reply with “Yes, you motherf***er, I have a bunch of questions. When? Why? How? Why me?” but I replied with sincere “No,” and wrote down my next appointment.
Two days later, I started bleeding. “Thanks but no thanks”. I didn’t want to go through this. First, I started passing blood, said to be the amniotic fluid. Then, small clots. I went to the hospital because I was felt I was passing too much of blood to be considered safe. They told me everything was considered normal at this stage. “NORMAL?” I wanted to scream. A few hours later, I was discharged from the ER, went home and considered this whole thing to be over.
The next day I woke up cramping and continued wearing pads while I bled. About 2 hours later, I laid my “egg with no chicken.” A large piece of intact tissue fell to the ground and I flushed it down the toilet. I didn’t know what it was. I didn’t want anything to do with it. My body felt hijacked and I wanted the alien-takeover to end. Later, I found it was the gestational sac which carried my yolk sac –non-existent baby– and placenta.
What they don’t tell you about miscarriage, is it that it is a very lonely experience. You feel like you are witnessing yourself from above, just hovering, barely treading water. My husband was amazing and supported me throughout the entire experience, but he didn’t understand. For God’s sake, I didn’t understand. My body was doing what it had to do and I was just an innocent bystander.
A week later, we went back to our normal lives. We sought advice from our parents and close friends. I read some very insightful blogs that encouraged me to feel not-so-lonely. We were going through the motions of breakfast, lunch, and dinner like any other couple. We joked; he said “We should go to Taco Bell and call the dinner “Rock Bottom.” I asked him if we could get rid of the “miscarriage toilet” and he said he will go to the store and ask for a “Regular Pee and Poop” toilet. Life moved on.
If you’re miscarrying, the most frequent advice you will hear is that miscarriage is natural and normal. But, it wasn’t normal for me. It wasn’t in my plans of career, husband, baby. It doesn’t feel natural sitting on the toilet and bleeding for hours at a time. It doesn’t feel normal telling your family “Sike! We aren’t pregnant anymore!” It doesn’t feel all that great to now have to lose the pregnancy weight you put on for your not so pregnant body. Although miscarriage is natural and normal, it is ok to feel singled out during this experience and even throw in an occasional “Why me?” every now and again.
The lesson I learned is that many women have to go through this. And it’s ok. I found comfort in knowing how many women have had a similar experience to mine. It made me feel strong. It made me feel like a woman. I wasn’t going to stand on my couch and sing “I am woman” or anything, but I understood why women are given the responsibilities of childbirth. Because, sometimes we are given the responsibly of miscarriage. We have to carry on and take care of our families and our lives- all while allowing and trusting that our bodies have made the right decision. For this reason, I allowed myself to switch my attitude from “Thanks but no Thanks” to “Thank you”.
Miscarriage is awful and hard. However, it is natural. And it is normal. And we only have ourselves to thank. Thank you for knowing that something was wrong. Thank you for making this difficult decision for me. Thank you for not giving up.
However, “Thanks but no Thanks” in the future. OK?