This post is long and was very difficult to write, but it was such an important event in our fertility journey that I didn't want to leave anything out. It may not be as beautifully written as I would like, but it's real.
As I wrote in my last post, Mike and I got pregnant for the first time after we had been trying for a year, and after 3 months on Clomid. I will always look back on that first week as a really special time. We were so ecstatic and thrilled, and we truly felt as though this pregnancy was God delivering us from the past year of trying and disappointment. Mike and I had always assumed we would wait a little while before telling people, but because our journey was a little different than we had planned, we had family and close friends praying for us. That being the case, we told those people who were praying for us within the first few days about our exciting news!
I will never forget us telling our parents and videotaping their reactions, hearing friends scream their heads off when we told them, and people at work being so thrilled for us. My mom literally called me every day that week to see how I was feeling because she was so excited! I was also sad that I couldn't tell my dad, since he had passed away a year and a half before...that was one of the first times it really hit home that he was never going to be able to meet my children. Mike's sister Ali was still in China on missions at that point, but his mom was going to see her a week later, so we got her an aunt card for her birthday, with plans to have her open it with us on Skype to let her know she was going to be an aunt. We had fun telling friends and family, and immediately began making plans for our little one on the way!
If any of you know me well, you know that I am a planner, I love to learn and read about things, and I put my whole heart into whatever I'm doing...it was no different with this pregnancy. The day after I found out I was pregnant, I was downloading pregnancy apps, a pregnancy book, and planning. I think because we felt like we had already been on a long journey to becoming parents, it didn't even enter our minds that things might not work out like we planned.
That Saturday morning, I went to the bathroom and saw blood, and my heart stopped. I honestly think I knew from that second what was happening, but of course I wanted to be hopeful that things would be okay. Mike wasn't home (and I can't even remember where he was!) I called my doctor's office immediately, but of course since it was the weekend I had to leave a message for the on-call doctor. Waiting for that call back felt like a million years. I looked up symptoms of miscarriage in my pregnancy book and online, trying to get some answers. Unfortunately, the on-call doctor who called back was not my doctor, and he was completely insensitive. He said, "Well if you are miscarrying, then there's not really anything we can do about it. Just wait until Monday and come in then. And until then, stay off the internet and try not to worry." Says the man who has never and will never experience the agony of a miscarriage!! He definitely added insult to injury with his comments and his attitude, and I was left with no answers and many questions.
I remember talking to my best friend Christen on the phone, who had called me about a work situation. I remember waiting until she was done and then saying, "Please be praying, I started bleeding today." She flipped out, so mad that I had let her go on about work before saying anything. When Mike got home, of course I was crying hysterically, and he tried his best to calm me down. We had plans to go see my brother's new house, and I asked Mike what he thought we should do. He said since we didn't know anything for sure, we should just go like we planned and try to keep our minds off things. I hadn't started cramping or anything, so we decided to go ahead and go.
The cramping started on the way to my brother's house, and at that point I was really freaking out. I told my parents what was going on, and my mom assured me that some women bleed some early in their pregnancies, so it could be normal. We had gotten my brother and his girlfriend a house warming card, and had written in it that they were going to be an aunt and uncle. They of course were thrilled, and even after we told them what was going on, they insisted that it could be normal. I didn't want to ruin the night, so I tried as best I could to act normal. Each time I went to the bathroom, as the pain and the bleeding was getting worse, I knew what was happening. By the end of the night, the pain was so severe that I was worried I might be experiencing an ectopic pregnancy. I told Mike that we might need to go to the ER when we got home, but after sleeping all the way home, the cramps had subsided some, and I chose to just go to bed.
The next day, the bleeding and cramps were so severe that I called the on-call doctor again to see if I should go to the ER. Thankfully, this on-call doctor was much nicer, and said that if the pain and bleeding got any worse, I needed to come in to the ER. He said, "If nothing else, so we can check for an ectopic pregnancy and for your peace of mind." About an hour later, Mike and I decided to head to the ER.
I will always look back on that Sunday as one of the worst days of my life. As if the pain of losing our first child were not enough, the ER visit added trauma to the equation. If you've ever been to the ER, you know that you have to tell what brought you to the ER about 50 times to 50 different people. There was the girl at the check-in counter, the admitting nurse, the hospital rep who collected your money, the nurse in your room, the sono tech, and finally the doctor. Saying the words, "I'm pretty sure I'm having a miscarriage" over and over was awful. Throughout our time at the ER, I had to endure an IV, a vaginal exam, and a vaginal sonogram. The last straw came when the nurse asked me to give a urine sample. I assured her that it would probably be nothing but blood, so the doctor then decided he wanted to do a catheter to get the urine sample. I drew the line and said I would not be having any more invasive procedures that day! She was very sweet, and allowed me to just do the urine test. I remember Mike having to help me across the hall to the bathroom, and there was so much blood...I am so thankful to have such an amazing husband who stayed with me and helped me through it all. After all of the procedures and several hours, the doctor came back in and reported what we already knew, and handed me paperwork with MISCARRIAGE emblazoned across the top.
We began breaking the news to family and friends, and I remember after Mike got off the phone with his dad, he bawled in my arms like I have never seen him do before or since. That was his one release, his one moment to break down, and other than that he was a rock for me. After passing the majority of the tissue, the cramps subsided, though the bleeding would continue for several days. I had to go in Monday morning for them to check me out, and I got to do a vaginal exam with the jerky on-call doctor from Saturday, which was loads of fun! I think the worst pain, though, was the emotional loss that came with this.
Our friends and family rallied around us, to pray with us, cry with us, and bring meals. I can't even put into words the extent of my feelings of despair. I don't think I will ever be the same, but I certainly wasn't myself for several months after this miscarriage. Something I learned from this was to NEVER undermine a woman's pregnancy loss just because she "wasn't that far along". I was "only" 5 weeks along but I felt like I had lost a part of me, and I didn't know how to get past it. I was angry, incredibly sad, and so confused. I remember questioning the Lord, asking why He even allowed us to get pregnant if we were just going to lose the baby. I remember saying I would have rather never have gotten pregnant than to get the exciting news and then have it taken away. I was pretty angry at God for a long time, and even angrier when everyone else went back to normal life and I was still stuck in my grief.
I think Mike and I will always consider this as this loss of our first child, and one of the hardest things we had ever endured. Although it was incredibly hard and painful, the Lord proved to us what we had always known...that He would never give us more than we can handle, and that He never leaves or forsakes us. I think the Lord is still bringing about healing from this time, but I know without a doubt that this experience strengthened our marriage, our faith, and us as individuals. I don't think I'm yet at the point that I can be thankful for this experience, but I do hope that sharing our experience can help normalize the immense pain and sense of loss that comes with a miscarriage for other women who have experienced it. Mike and I always said, "I hope it's never in the Lord's plan for us to have a miscarriage, we could never survive that." The Lord proved to us that we could indeed survive, only through His divine power working through us, and we give Him all the glory for getting us through this time.