What you should know about Miscarriage
I literally cannot believe I am writing about miscarriage. When I started this blog I knew I was called to share how I navigated my life experiences through my faith in God, I just never knew this would be my experience. Even after everything I have been through on my infertility journey, all the diagnoses, the surgeries, the delays, I somehow thought that I would be exempt from experiencing miscarriage. Like surely after all of this, God would allow me to have a successful full-term pregnancy with a healthy baby. I’m deserving of that, right?! If I’m being completely honest with myself a very small part of me knew I was going to go through another heartache. God speaks to me often and sometimes in the quietest ways and I remember a few quiet moments where God began to prepare my heart for this. As I said, I believe I was called to share my experiences in hopes to help others and maybe God needed me, my story, to be even more relatable and to reach many more. That may or may not be true, but I need something to help make sense (somewhat) of this and right now this is the only thing that makes the tiniest amount of sense to me.
In addition to an infertility awareness advocate, I now have also titled myself as a miscarriage awareness advocate. I need to be able to relate to more people, right?! I guess. So, just like infertility, miscarriage is also a very taboo topic. It’s not talked about and many who suffer do so in silence. I’m about to share with ya’ll my experience because it has been hard – the hardest thing I’ve dealt with in life. Nothing can prepare you for the mental and physical anguish you go through. Infertility is already traumatic in itself, but miscarriage adds another layer to it and unless you’ve gone through it, you will never understand.
Miscarriage is very common
1 in 4 pregnancies will end in miscarriage. If you have a group of four friends, one of them will experience miscarriage. Or if you have a group of 8 friends, two of them will experience miscarriage. If I’m being honest, miscarriage is not something that was ever talked about growing up. Just like infertility, no one knew the severity of either matters and how often it affects couples, especially black couples. You know growing up we were taught that what goes on in the home stays in the home and if you were dealing with issues of any kind, just pray about it. That leaves very little to no room for seeking outside help or even healing. I didn’t realize how common miscarriage is until I joined this infertility community and started connecting with women on this same journey and reading stories. So why is something that is so common, not talked about? I believe there is so much shame, guilt and embarrassment around anything dealing with reproduction. That’s one thing we are just supposed to be able to do without issues right? After all, the Bible does tell us to be fruitful and multiply. The reality is we live in a fallen and sinful world where we are going to be met with sufferings of all kinds. Each of us have our own cross to bear and for many of us miscarriage is one of them.
I can’t tell you how many women have reached out to me or I’ve reached out to them who have dealt with miscarriage. Even men have shared how it has affected them. So with this being so common, again why is this not talked about more? I think the more we shy away from topics like this, the more difficult it is to have these conversations. Just like teaching young children the correct names for their body parts – penis and vagina. We have every name in the book except for what they really are because we somehow think “penis” and “vagina” are bad words. Which then makes children believe they are bad words and if they ever experience anything sexually inappropriate they are now afraid to talk about it because we have made those talks an uncomfortable thing. Sorry for my tangent, I work for a child advocacy center and I’m an advocate for sex positive talks with children to help keep them safe, informed and empowered.
Miscarriage is traumatic
From the moment my miscarriage was confirmed, the emotions began to run wild. Initially I felt completely numb and in shock. I couldn’t believe this was happening to me! When I talked to my doctor and nurse they gave me the option to miscarry at home by taking a pill that will help induce the miscarriage or have a D&C. Because of my history of scar tissue I opted to miscarry at home. It was a Monday when she called in my prescription and I remember picking it up and saying to myself, “my baby is gone”. I decided to wait until Joe got home before taking the pills so that he could be with me throughout the whole ordeal. I had heard that miscarrying is literally like giving birth because essentially it is! There will be painful contractions and a lot of bleeding, my nurse told me. I prepared myself for the worst. I was used to terrible menstrual cramps from when I was younger, so I just imagined them being like that but worse.
About 30 min to an hour after taking the pills the cramping began and it intensified I would say every 10 minutes. I had on the largest pad on earth and constantly alternated from my bed to the bathroom. The bleeding began and then the clots slowly followed. As I was passing clots I was in the bathroom and Joe was right there on the floor with me. The pain intensified and I felt like I was going to die. The clots coming out were small but big, if that makes sense. Bigger than any clot I’ve passed before but small because I was so early in my pregnancy. The miscarriage lasted from about 5:00 pm to about 1:00 am. In that time period I was passing clots off and on and going back and forth between my bed and the bathroom. I didn’t get any sleep that night because the pain was so intense. I only got relief in between the contractions. It was the worst!
The next day, which was a Tuesday, I woke up feeling okay. I wasn’t sure if I was done miscarrying because the heavy cramps were gone, but I still had some mild cramping going on so I assumed there was still tissue that needed to be released. Those cramps continued the rest of the week, which my nurse said could last up to a week. Even on Thanksgiving I was still bleeding and cramping. By Saturday the cramping was completely gone, so I figured everything had finally passed. Once I realized what my body had just went through, it hit me that all of it was trauma. Wouldn’t wish it on anyone, and if I had any enemies I wouldn’t wish it on them either.
Miscarriage can be lonely and isolating
I’ve seen this a lot that miscarriage is lonely and isolating and I see how it can be. First off, lets normalize announcing pregnancies early. It’s so taboo to announce your pregnancy in the first trimester for fear that you will miscarry. So, let me get this straight. We keep our pregnancies a secret until we’re in the “safe zone” of second trimester, so that if we miscarry we can silently suffer? How does that make any sense?! I saw a post where this woman said she wished she announced her pregnancy early because now she’s sharing the news of both a pregnancy and a miscarriage. I was glad to at least see that she shared about her miscarriage because many us of don’t even do that. We silently suffer and it’s wack! Lets normalize sharing our pregnancies early so that we can first celebrate that because it is something to celebrate and then we can get covered in prayer. Also, if a miscarriage does occur then you can be even more covered in prayer and not go through miscarriage alone. Not to say we have to share it all with the world, but I think miscarriage would be less lonely, isolating and maybe even less traumatic if we normalized it in the first place. Because of the shame, guilt and embarrassment around miscarriage, we keep quiet at a time when we need the most support. I hate it here. That makes zero sense and to me it’s exactly what the enemy wants. He wants us to feel lonely and isolated, like we are the only ones dealing with our sufferings. This weakens the faith, can lead to increased feelings of depression and perpetuates the cycle of loneliness.
For me, although in the moment of going through all my emotions I was blown that I had just shared the good news and then had to turn around and share the bad news, I’m glad I shared. I have had so many people covering me and Joe in prayer, praying for me at times I couldn’t pray for myself. So many people have been touched and inspired by my sharing and it’s overwhelming to even say that. There is so much power in prayer, there’s healing in talking about our sufferings and not weathering them alone. I’ve experienced that power and beginning to walk in that healing.
Healing after miscarriage is hard
It’s so hard to heal after miscarriage because it feels like a piece of you is gone. There are literally so many thoughts to process, so many hopes and dreams to grieve, so many feelings to feel – it’s a lot. I’m the type of person who likes to work through pain and difficult times rather quickly. I don’t know anyone who enjoys feeling heartbreak, sadness, disappointment, so whenever I experience any of those feelings I like to acknowledge them, process them and work through them and quickly! This. Is. Different. I can’t hurry through this because I just can’t hurry through it. I’ve been on this journey of trying to conceive for four years. It took me a good two years to decide to do IVF. It took one surgery to get to egg retrieval which only resulted in one normal embryo. It took two more surgeries to get to embryo transfer. I had a successful transfer and carried my baby for two months before she passed. I can’t just get over that. I can’t hurry through it. I don’t want to and I shouldn’t have to. A piece of me and my husband, who we loved so much, is gone and I don’t want to let go of the hope, the faith, the dreams, or the joy I experienced because of our girl. Right now, thinking about all of that and reliving our journey hurts and I’m sure it is going to hurt for a while. I don’t know what healing after miscarriage looks like because I’m sure anyone who has experienced it still thinks about the child or children they lost and there’s still a piece of sadness there, but I guess after a while it won’t hurt as much, maybe that’s healing. I’m not there yet, I don’t know when I will get there, but right now I’m accepting where I am and not rushing the healing process.
I am looking forward to sharing more as I navigate life after miscarriage and even when we try again. I don’t know yet how that will look but I will share what our next steps are once we know and are comfortable in moving forward and sharing. Right now, I’m focusing on processing and healing because miscarriage is hard and it sucks.
Until next time..