The day I lost Mackenzie, I immediately felt grief, heartache and denial. The day I lost Chase, I only felt sadness and denial. Having a natural miscarriage was a lot different than having a D & C. With a D & C you don’t see anything. You are sleeping and not traumatized by what you see. Where as with a natural miscarriage, I saw everything, and I continue to see it in my sleep through nightmares.
At some point shortly after my second loss, I started to have nightmares. I had nightmares I was bleeding heavily and couldn’t stop, then I would wake up. I continue to have these nightmares, that keep reminding me of my natural miscarriage. I also had flashbacks. I had flashbacks of the hospital, flashbacks of ultrasounds, and the night I was experiencing labor pains. These symptoms sounded to me a lot like PTSD, but I’m not a doctor. I ended up asking a counselor at some point and she said based on my symptoms and what I have gone through, it is likely I have PTSD.
I really don’t cry about the babies I’ve lost, not anymore.
I don’t feel like people understand why I cry. I’ve also expressed to Charles that I don’t want to talk about future children. I can’t even fathom that right now. I am more that willing to talk about our angel babies, but not future kids.
When did the grief really hit me? Well, it hits me when bad stuff happens. This year has been awful. If I were to name off all the crap that has happen, I’m sure you guys would agree. But when life gets really tough and I start to cry, I think I end up crying more for my babies than what I’m actually upset about. Because like I said before, I really don’t want to cry… but I need to.
Saturday September 28th, was supposed to be a very relaxing day. I didn’t have any plans that day except for studying and relaxing at home. I spent the morning in my pjs, drinking decaf coffee and catching up on some reading. Charles headed to our university’s football game and hung out with friends. I felt completely fine, except some cramping around my pelvis and cervix. However, I was convinced that this cramping was completely normal in early pregnancy.
Around 1:30pm I made myself some cheesy potatoes for lunch. I then went to the bathroom for probably the tenth time that day. When I went to the bathroom, I felt completely normal and pregnant. When I went to wipe though, I froze. Blood. There was blood. I was bleeding. I was spotting. Oh no! I instantly started to panic. It wasn’t a lot of blood, and if I were to describe it…. it was like the color of pink lemonade. Regardless, it was enough blood to scare me.
Why was I bleeding? This can’t be happening! Not again! I can’t handle this! I can’t handle another loss! I frantically started praying. God please, please keep baby Chase safe! I don’t want to lose him!
I immediately called Charles. Once I started crying, I couldn’t stop. I told Charles what was going on and he immediately headed home. While I waited for Charles I called my friend Andrea. She prayed over Chase and I. I also called the midwife on call. I explained to her how I was feeling, and what I was seeing. The midwife explained that unfortunately it did sound like another miscarriage, but I could always go the hospital to get checked out if I wanted to. When Charles got home he hugged me, and reassured me things were going to be okay. Then we headed to the hospital.
Going to the ER on a Saturday afternoon, I knew there would be a wait. However, I didn’t anticipate a full hour wait. When we were finally called back, I was able to relax and rest in bed. My cramps were still mild and the bleeding hadn’t gotten any worse. I was thankful for that. I explained to every nurse and doctor I saw my symptoms and medical history. I had a variety of tests done including CBC blood work, urine test, pelvic exam and three ultrasounds.
One nurse that particularly stood out to me was Doug. He was the best male nurse I have ever had. He went above and beyond to take care of me, my baby and my husband. He was funny and very willing to answer my questions. He also disclosed to us that his wife has had three miscarriages, and currently has two sons at home, and an infant in the NICU of the hospital. One thing Doug said that truly stood out to me, was this: At this point we don’t know if you are going to have a miscarriage or have a healthy pregnancy. But just try to take care of yourself and rest. Know that you have done nothing wrong. Sometimes it’s just not meant to be at this time….
Don’t be scared, because your body knows what to do, and it is going to do what needs to be done. So, take care of yourself and be there for one another because this affects both of you.
Based on all my tests, everything was completely normal. My blood work showed that my HCG was in the 2000s which was higher than I ever had with my first pregnancy. My hemoglobin, and thyroid levels also looked great. My urine was fine and no UTI. My pelvic exam was normal besides some uterine bleeding. Lastly, my ultrasounds all came back fine. The reason I had three ultrasounds is because the doctors had a hard time finding the fetus. The ER doctor first used an ultrasound machine beside, which apparently has a difficult time picking up a fetus smaller than 12 weeks. I was then sent to an ultrasound room where I had another test done over my belly. The tech also had a hard time finding the fetus, so I had to have an inner-vaginal ultrasound. During this test, the tech and Charles were able to see the baby. Baby was only measuring at 5 weeks and 2 days… which was strange since I was supposed to be two weeks further in my pregnancy. However, the doctors said it was a possibility I had ovulated late. Besides that, baby was still attached to the uterus and everything seemed normal.
That night around 6:30pm we were sent home. I called and texted family and friends to let them know what was going on. When we got home, I forced myself to rest and take it easy. Shortly after arriving home, I had to go to the bathroom again. Though I was hoping the bleeding had stopped, I was still anxious by what I saw. I was still bleeding and it was getting brighter and thicker. Even though I was cleared to go home, I still feared I was going to lose this baby. Charles took the evening to hold me, and reassure me that it was going to be okay. That night when I went to sleep I had peace and faith I was going to wake up in the morning, with no bleeding and feeling so much better. I was convinced my baby and I would be fine, until I woke up at 12am the next morning……
At 7 weeks pregnant… I started to feel better. My nausea started to subside, and food was starting to appeal to me again. I think that since I had already experienced a loss, this symptom made me really nervous and anxious. I feared that I was losing my pregnancy symptoms and I was going to lose another pregnancy. However, I also wondered if it was just my nerves talking and this pregnancy was different than the first.
Around 6 weeks and 6 days I started to experience a really weird symptom. It was an aching pain deep near my cervix. It kind of felt like a menstrual cramp, but also just felt sore. I started to get concerned about this symptom as I had never experienced it during pregnancy before. I asked a friend and even a nurse at my OB clinic. They all said it sounded pretty normal. I also Googled the symptom, which probably wasn’t a good idea. The only term I could find was lightning pain. This is a term used when a woman experiences pain at the start of labor. I figured that probably wasn’t what I had and just decided to trust that everything was okay.
At 7 weeks exactly, I had my first OB appointment. I ended up going to the appointment by myself since Charles had class. It was just like last time as I had to sit with a nurse and talk about my medical history. I also met with the community health worker. In this meeting I felt compelled to share with her about my previous loss and how I was treated. I expressed to her how I was given promotional offers, samples and other reminders from various places. I shared how hurt I felt that I wasn’t given any resources until 3 months later. I expressed how I wasn’t treated kindly by my doctors. Lastly, I shared the struggle in the waiting room and how it can be hard on any woman of loss to have to sit among other pregnant moms.
The community health worker was so kind and supportive. She listened intently and allowed me to feel heard.