In June of 2021 my hubby and I thought we were done having kids. We had four beautiful daughters, a granddaughter, and another granddaughter on the way, our hands and our hearts were very full. I had a copper IUD in place for over 3 years and I was confident that WE WERE DONE.
But then my period was a few days late. I told myself it was nothing since I had the IUD in place, but 2 days later, I figured I should take a test just to put my mind at ease.
It was positive.
What. The. Fuck.
I went for a blood test to check my hormone levels (hcg) that same day, and they confirmed I was in fact pregnant. The chances of having an ectopic, or tubal pregnancy with an IUD in place are higher, so I ended up in the ER to try to rule that out, with no such luck. They were pretty sure they could see what would eventually be a gestational sac in my uterus, but couldn’t say with any certainty. It was just too early.
Over the next week I had two more hormone (hcg and progesterone) level checks, and they didn’t look good. My doctor got me in again to see if they could officially rule out an ectopic pregnancy this time since my hormones were pointing to that. They were able to confirm there was a sac in my uterus and not my fallopian tubes, which was great! They removed my IUD and said that my hormone levels could just be normal for me, and since they could see the sac now, they weren’t too worried.
So I let myself get excited. We started talking about baby names and making plans to make room for a new member of the family. We told our friends and family and we told our other kids. Ellie was over the moon excited to be a big sister and was already talking to the baby in my tummy. She was absolutely CERTAIN it was a baby sister.
Over the next 2 weeks I told myself the cramping and spotting was normal. I told myself to ignore the nagging feeling that something didn’t feel right. And I told myself I was being paranoid. I started getting a little bloat belly, but I didn’t have any of the symptoms I had with my other pregnancies. I convinced myself that everything was going to be just fine, despite the red flags.
Then it happened, I started spotting bright red. I went to the ER hoping to be able to get reassurance that everything was OK and see my little gummy bear baby on an ultrasound, and maybe even see or hear a heartbeat since I was 7 weeks at that point. But there was no heartbeat. I was measuring two weeks behind, and there was only an empty sac in my uterus. No baby formed in there. It’s called a blighted ovum or a missed miscarriage, and I was going to miscarry.
I was DEVASTATED.
Getting through the worst of it…
I spent that night and the next day crying. Uncontrollable, body shaking sobs that I couldn’t contain. I couldn’t get my doctor on the phone to schedule another ultrasound to check one more time, or to make a plan to either wait to miscarry naturally or schedule a procedure to remove the pregnancy. It was just a horrible waiting game. I knew it would end, but I had no idea when or how or what to expect, and the not knowing was eating me up inside. I didn’t want to do any of it and I couldn’t believe this was happening to me.
One of my sisters was in town for my other sister’s baby shower, and I refused to miss it, so I got up the following morning and put on a brave face.
I knew my loss was beginning when I started bleeding more while I was getting ready. Everything I had read said that it would feel like a heavy period and strong cramps. That wasn’t true for me. I had full on labor contractions for about 3 hours that day. Like, stop what I’m doing and breathe through it contractions. I felt awful. I got home that night hoping that the worst of it was over, only to wake up the next day to another 3 hours of contractions and losing so much blood I felt like passing out. My hubby got me some iron supplements and I drank quite a bit of Liquid IV. Then I finally passed the empty gestational sac that afternoon. I literally had to flush my pregnancy down the toilet.
Knowing that the physical pain was on the downhill side of things really helped me feel better emotionally. There was no more waiting. No more vague pregnancy symptoms. I felt like I could start to gather myself up and work on healing my broken heart. Like I could finally start to move forward.
Having to go through and tell everyone we had excitedly told about our surprise pregnancy that a baby never formed in my tummy and we were no longer pregnant really freaking sucked. But I don’t regret telling them early. Everyone was super supportive and honestly I don’t think the weight of this loss was something I could carry on my own or on our little family’s own. Having to explain to my three year old that there was no more baby in my tummy is a heartbreak I will never forget. She tried to tell me that the tooth fairy was going to make everything all better, and then continued to ask me about the baby in my tummy all day. I had to explain it repeatedly and my heart broke all over again each time.
Coming to Terms
I was only pregnant for 7 weeks and two days. I only even knew I was pregnant for 3 of those weeks. But I feel like my life was turned upside down and shaken up in that time. It was 3 weeks that were a rollercoaster of emotional highs and lows and that left me heartbroken and raw and questioning so much.
Do I mourn when a baby never actually formed? Does it count? And am I mourning the pregnancy then, or the baby that should have been? I don’t know how to feel or how to give myself the grace to just be sad without defining it and putting it into a neatly labeled box in my heart and mind. And then there’s the question of why that I know will never be answered. How do I move forward from this? How do I feel whole again?
I wish I had the answers.
Knowing that 1 in 4 pregnancies ends in miscarriage is even more devastating having experienced it myself. I wouldn’t wish this experience on anyone. My heart truly goes out to anyone that has experienced a loss of any kind at any stage. Our hearts aren’t meant to carry this kind of sadness.
Thank you to everyone that has offered condolences or a helping hand wherever it’s needed. I appreciate you all. We will get through this heartache easier because of your generosity, love, and support.