Wife to my high school sweetheart, boy mama to sweet baby boy Macrae, and two fur babies Shiloh and Milo, a full time high school history teacher, and overall enthusiast for life. Avid podcast listener, iced coffee drinker, and organized chaos manager. My passion is to encourage and inspire. To cultivate an intentional life, a life full of joy and an abundance of grace.
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Before your eyes get any further, please know that what you are about to read is the most vulnerable piece I have ever written. It is raw, emotional, and unedited. So please be advised before continuing to do so. And if you have also experienced pregnancy loss or are recently pregnant, especially within the first trimester, I strongly advise you to use caution of your heart before reading any further. I am hoping that in sharing our story, it can serve as a message to anyone else who may have walked through this heart-wrenching experience and know that sister, you are not alone! That I know and feel your pain. This is our miscarriage story.
We weren’t really trying. I mean we obviously are aware of how a baby is made and could have taken the necessary precautions. We had always looked towards this summer as when we would start “trying for a family,” but with Covid, we were more hesitant, more unsure. It’s definitely a scary and uncertain time to be living and the thought of bringing a baby into this, honestly, completely terrified me.
Well, that’s what I thought until that Saturday morning when I took the test. I knew I was a day late, and just had a feeling that this could be it. I was leaving to go to the beach with my family for the week. Justin was staying home with the dogs as it was one of his busiest weeks of work of the year. I took the test, secretly, and then right before I left, as J was helping me carry my bags to the car, he asked “Hey, did you start your period?” Ambushed by that question, I quickly said, “Yep!”
What he didn’t know in that moment was that no, my period didn’t start, instead I had just seen two (one very faded) pink lines on a stick. Of course, I went to Google, because that second line was very faded to the naked eye. Google informed me (as Google has informed a lot of my questions and concerns over the course of a few weeks) that even a faded line means PREGNANT! But, to be sure – I was going to take another test.
So, I headed to my parents house, making a quick stop at Target along the way. I needed a phone case, a book, prenatal vitamins and a pregnancy test. I checked out, dropped my bags in the trunk of my car, put the test in my purse and walked back into the Target bathroom to pee on another stick *thank goodness for the frequent need to pee, shoved the stick in my purse, walked to the Starbucks, ordered a coffee, and when I opened my purse to pay, the words PREGNANT were written boldly on the screen.
So now, I am driving to my parents house. Incredibly excited. I can’t really explain it other than pure excitement and joy. My next thought process was my family. Justin doesn’t know I am pregnant (at this point) and I am about to spend a week with my family on the beach where we socially drink (vacation people!) and our lunches consist of deli meat and dinners of all the seafood. So I rehearsed my story.
“I am on a detox,” I said to my mom as we were grocery shopping in Hilton Head. Thank goodness I was wearing a mask to hide any facial expression. “Trying to get rid of that quarantine weight before the school year starts.” She and my dad seemed to buy that easily.
Fast forward to Sunday morning, I am not to sure how my heart handled to keep this to myself for 24 hours (and one close friend who I had texted to be sure I was ordering the right prenatals and doing the right things because I knew very little about being pregnant) So that Sunday morning, I went for a walk on the beach. I spent most of the walk talking to Baby B. Telling Baby B how much it was already loved and how I couldn’t wait to be with little one on the beach next summer. Anyways, I couldn’t make it anymore, and I FaceTimed Justin telling him to go upstairs and check to see if I left something in my bathroom cabinet. Well, I personally led him to opening the bag that had my first pregnancy test in it and he realized what I was trying to tell him.
That conversation we shared was one of the sweetest. Full of all the shock, excitement and emotions. Justin and I then talked and decided together that I should tell my parents and my sister. Since I was spending the next 6 days with them and given the rise of Covid cases, it was best for them to know that I was pregnant. Normally we would not have told immediate family that soon in a pregnancy, we both knew the statistics and risk of miscarriage, especially in the first trimester, but we decided it made the most sense in our situation, to tell my parents.
So that Sunday morning, as we went down to spend the day at the beach, I told my mom and dad, both separately, and secretly recorded it. And then later that night, when my sister finally arrived, I filmed her reading Bananagram tiles that spelled out “You’re going to be an aunt!” That day was one of my favorite days. The excitement, the flutters I felt in my stomach as I laid in bed to fall asleep. The early morning wake-ups to the bathroom to pee. That week at the beach was a great one. We dreamed as a family of having a little one with us next summer at the beach. And each new day, I embraced the little changes I could tell as hormones kicked in and little one grew to the size of a Sesame Seed.
While amazing that week was, I definitely struggled with fear. I struggled with knowing the statistics of miscarriage and I remember sitting on the beach, after reading a miscarriage story of someone I have connected with on Instagram and kept thinking – this is not my story.
I left the beach a day earlier to get home to see Justin. We hadn’t seen each other in a week, nor had we seen each other since I told him he was promoted from dog dad to human dad. That drive home was the longest. Once finally home, we spent the whole weekend just taking it all in. Making a list of all that we needed to do. It was an exciting weekend.
Please note – the next portion of this post involves details of a miscarriage. Further warning you, to please proceed with caution. I believe in writing and sharing my story, but I know that it is not for everyone!
The next week would be the hardest week both J and I have personally experienced in our marriage. Ironically, our 7 year wedding anniversary was on Tuesday. I went to the ER to receive the official diagnosis Thursday morning. And would then spend Thursday-Friday physically dealing with the pains of a miscarriage. And Monday, well Monday, I stepped back into the classroom for the first time since March for preplanning. Got to love the timing.
Sunday night, before going to bed, I noticed some blood while going to the bathroom. I didn’t think much of it, as that can be normal, and I was assured that was the case by the nurses I talked to on the phone later that day. Monday morning, I got up, taught a Pure Barre class, ran into Sprouts to stockpile my favorite coffee creamer so I could enjoy my decaf coffee as much as possible. Side note – on the way to Sprouts, there was back-up on the exit of 575 and it was because someone ran into a deer. I watched as the deer, tried to get back onto its feet to run into the woods, but was struggling. So, I am hormonal, cheering on this deer from my car to stand back up, and when the police officer at the scene, takes out his gun and shoots the deer. I completely lost it. I didn’t think much of this incident until writing this all down, but man that week absolutely sucked.
Monday afternoon, I noticed some more blood. This was extremely alarming and I broke down instantly in tears. I spent the rest of Monday and Tuesday laying on the couch trying to rest as much as possible, and going to the bathroom hoping that each new visit would be clear, only to continue to see more spotting.
Tuesday also happened to be our 7 year wedding anniversary. I spent the day on the couch and the toilet, continuing to monitor blood amounts, while Justin worked upstairs. That night, neither of us were hungry, we sat on the couch and then went to bed. Cheers to 7 years babe! I had spoken to a nurse at the Women’s Center where my first appointment was scheduled with twice, once Monday and Tuesday. Both times the nurses assured me that everything was normal as some bleeding during the first trimester can be normal. So I really tried to think not much of it.
That week, we spent our nights before going to bed praying, praying for life for this baby growing inside of me and I truly believed in faith the words we were saying. We were hopeful, hopeful that the blood was nothing more than just normal spotting. We read ALL the articles, ALL the websites, ALL the blogs. We kept telling ourselves that this was normal.
Wednesday morning started off great. I ran a few errands, walked around some of my favorite stores. Called the doctor’s office again to see if it was possible to get blood work done just to have a confirmation that everything was fine before going back into the classroom on Monday. (They said I would need to speak to another nurse, she transferred me, it went to voicemail, I hung up!)
Wednesday evening, the bleeding picked up again. I also started to experience light cramps and backache Wednesday. Truthfully, I was experiencing light cramps and a backache since Tuesday, but I kept telling myself that it wasn’t bad because I was afraid of what that might mean. Wednesday night, after spending pretty powerful heart time with the Lord, I slept super uncomfortably, with pretty strong discomfort throughout my abdomen and lower back throughout the entire night.
I woke up at 5:30 am sharp. Immediately went to the bathroom, and that is when I noticed the blood was much brighter than it had been all week, and there was a lot more of it. I climbed back in bed, nudged Justin who was also awake, wrestled around with my thoughts and discomfort until 6:30, headed back to the bathroom, bleeding had continued. *I had been wearing pads since Monday to monitor blood loss. Then, I waited until the clock struck 8:00 am to call back the nurse. At this point, the bleeding had intensified, so had the back pain, as well as the cramps. The nurse instructed me to go the ER. I was nervous, because given the current state of a global pandemic, I was worried about what this would actually look like. I had Justin call back to ask a few more questions as I was trying to keep myself together. The nurse insisted that the ER was the safest place for me right now, and especially with the amount of pain and blood it was a good idea to get checked out to make sure there wasn’t any medical emergency (as if a miscarriage alone isn’t!)
So, I drove myself, completely alone, to the ER. Obviously given Covid, if Justin came with me, he would have had to wait in the car, and while he is still in the midst of a crazy and super stressful time at work, that wasn’t even an option. There, I was alone. I parked. Walked in. Checked in by the tables in the doorway. Had my temperature taken. Asked my symptoms, responded, “6 weeks pregnant and bleeding.” I tell ya, there is a certain look you get when you say that to people. I can’t really describe it other than it’s not a good feeling. Checked in with the triage. They asked my symptoms again, to which I responded, “6 weeks pregnant and bleeding.”
After check-in I waited in the waiting room for blood work. The nurse called my name and I sat down in the chair. The first thing she said to me was that her daughter is just a few years older than me and she had a miscarriage for her first pregnancy also. I looked up at her thinking, “is this the first thing you are going to say to me?” as she reached for 10 vial containers. She then looked at my vein and said, “Well, it’s not great, but it will do.” This is lovely I thought as I tried to focus on breaths as the 10 vials were filled.
I then went to go pee in a cup. Realizing in that moment that the bleeding had only continued in intensity. Spent some more time in the waiting room, alone with my thoughts. The only three people who knew where I was were Justin, my mom, and my friend who I had first texted after I found out I was pregnant. Sitting in the waiting room, I went back to the story of my friend I have connected with over Instagram, I thought about her miscarriage story she wrote, and how she was all alone in the hospital receiving the horrible news by herself. I quickly messaged her via the app and told her I was in the ER, waiting to find out if I had miscarried, and that her story was giving me strength.
Finally. I got called back. This time it was a male nurse. Nothing against male nurses, but I am a female who is bleeding pretty intensely, 6 weeks pregnant, and alone, a male nurse is just not what my heart needed. As I am in the room, he hands me the hospital gown, and says he would be back. I look at him with this face of, “you realize if I put on this hospital gown, there is going to be blood all over the place, right?!” So he hands me a gigantic pad to sit on. (Please note, this whole experience was extremely traumatic and vulnerable, and I am telling you these details because they are all a part of my story. And my story is a story. About me. A human. A heart. A heart that is grieving the loss of a child. I know, the statistics are 1 in 4. But that is exactly how I felt while in the ER. I felt like 1 in 4.
A male doctor came in, I went over my symptoms again, telling him a quick recap of the week. And then he left, and I waited for the ultrasound. One bright light during this time was my sweet Instagram friend sent me a voice message, she prayed over me for peace, and in the midst of all the uncertainty and trauma, that voice message was everything.
The ultrasound was another vulnerable experience. Being solo, I struggled to even tie the hospital gown correctly so the entire back was hanging open, I was freezing cold, I was wheeled to the ultrasound room, where I switched beds, and waited in silence as the ultrasound technician completed an abdominal and vaginal ultrasound. She said she was just going to get the images, and then the doctor would go over the results. So I waited. And waited.
The vaginal ultrasound was the worst. I had one done previously, in my only other trip to the ER eight years ago. This time, the pain and discomfort was more severe as she spent a longer than normal time getting images and pressing into my organs. At one point she said, “the sound you are about to hear is the sound of blood rushing to your ovaries” except the sound that I heard was very misleading as I desperately wished it was a sound of a heartbeat. Something that should be detectable on some ultrasounds at 6 weeks. After she was done, I had to clean up because again.. blood was everywhere.
I headed back to the room (meaning, I was wheeled back to the room) and waited. The insurance lady came in to grab my info, the male nurse came back in to hook me up to a blood pressure monitor. And then the moment I was dreading. The doctor. It was a female doctor this time. She introduced herself and then asked when I took a pregnancy test. I told her I took three, two, two weeks ago, and a third one last week. All were positive. She explained that there was no sign of baby anywhere in the ultrasound and she was sorry to say that I had miscarried. Additionally, my bloodwork came back and my hCG levels were 30, when they should have been at the tens of thousands at this point.
What she said next was something along the lines of “This is not your fault,” “This doesn’t mean that your next pregnancy will result in a miscarriage,” to be honest, I am not sure what else she said, because the tears started to fall, fogging my glasses, getting trapped in my mask. She said it was good that nothing was in my uterus, as that meant my body was processing this as it should. No further medical attention needed. She left quickly. And before I could even process what was happening the insurance lady was back with more questions. Then the nurse returned with the discharge papers that said “spontaneous miscarriage.” and served as my ticket out the door into this new grieving world.
The only thing I could muster via text was the word itself and sent it to Justin, my mom, and friend. I left the room. Walked out the door. Got in my car. Called my doctor’s office to tell them that I no longer needed my 8-week appointment, instead I needed a miscarriage follow-up. Then, drove him. Called Justin, he just got off a work call and hadn’t read my text. I couldn’t even say the words to him out loud, before I had completely broke down into tears, trying to navigate the roads back home.
I finally got home and to be honest, I was not prepared for the physical pain my body would experience for the next 24 hours. The cramping. The contractions. The back pain. The blood. The clots. The soaked pads. Fatigued body. Broken heart. Nor was I prepared for the sleepless nights. The pain I felt and still feel at night is the worst. In the complete darkness, with only my thoughts.
I am still not sure how I am emotionally processing this. How is it possible to miss someone you only knew about for a few short weeks. Wondering how in my heart will I even be ready to try again. Terrified to try again and terrified to be pregnant again. I am not sure how my mind will be able to handle the fear, to handle going to the bathroom, without thinking of the trauma of that week.
And this is something that is all very real to me. Something that I am still walking in the depths of. And I know that I can’t do this alone. I know that I am going to need help. I think it is important to be okay with not being okay and understanding when you need to reach out. I also believe in letting your people and community know so that they can be there for you and help you as you fight through this.
Truthfully, I am writing all this because through this experience, I have never felt more alone. I have never felt more vulnerable. And I have never felt more like a statistic in my life. 1 in 4. I am one of them. And because of that, now I will forever hold, a baby that I will never know, in my heart. And that is a lot to process. Yet, even in the pain of a miscarriage, I found encouragement in the story of a friend walking through the same battle. And I hope that maybe somewhere, me sharing my story, as uncomfortable as this is, will help someone else. Will be a cry to another heart that sister, you are not alone!
If you have made it this far, thank you. I get that this is a heavy piece. Totally different than what I usually write about. And if you are someone going through something similar, please know that I am here if you need me. To the mama who is also grieving, sister I feel you. This absolutely sucks. And we will get through this. If you are needing a little pick me up after reading this, here are 16 Ways to Find Joy Now! Much love to you!
PS. I must give special attention to my sweet dogs, who have not left my side through all this. Who have slept on or near my stomach, who have accompanied me to every bathroom trip, and responded to every cry with kisses. Shiloh and Milo – I don’t know how I would get through this without you guys. And to Justin – I love you. Your servant’s heart has been more than I could have ever dreamed for during all of this. I know I have not been easy to live with. We will get through this together and find our rainbow after this storm.