My first miscarriage was in September 2015. The first month we started trying to get pregnant, we got pregnant! I felt so lucky and a little nervous, but mostly lucky. We told our family the day we tested positive. It was so exciting! I still have the videos of telling our family. Around 5 and half weeks, I noticed some brown stuff in my underwear. I remember exactly where I was–in the powder room of the house where I babysat. I immediately called my husband. That first day and a half, there wasn’t enough bleeding to be sure of anything. Lots of women spot during their first trimester, they say. I didn’t know if I was letting my anxious mind get away from me or I really was miscarrying…
I knew so little then. I didn’t even know if it was a miscarriage or a chemical pregnancy I was experiencing. I didn’t seek any medical supervision, because I don’t know why…I just didn’t.
There was a day and a half of mental torture—I would check my underpants obsessively for any brown or red discharge. No, I’m not! Yes, I am! After about 2 days, the spotting got heavy enough that I was sure I was miscarrying. It took me about a day of intense grieving—just lying in bed and being sad. The next night, I had the most intense pain of my life. Then after those days, it felt just a like a period but a little weepier.
That’s one of the biggest misconceptions about miscarriages, I think. Before I had my own, I thought they were these surprise, acute events and were over in a few hours. I didn’t realize they would happen (both physically and emotionally) over days, weeks, or even months. It can take over a month for a woman’s body to heal from a miscarriage. My body took six weeks. Emotionally, it can take longer. The longest emotional symptom I had was anxiety. When I got pregnant with A, I was extremely anxious. Every single time I went to the bathroom for the three weeks between my positive home pregnancy test and my ultrasound, I checked for spotting. Luckily, it all worked out and I ended up with the sweetie little, hyper, happy boy we have today.
Flash forward to a April 2018. A few weeks ago, I wrote a post called ‘Joy, pt. 3’ and said that some things happened in our house and I needed to find the joy in motherhood. The main thing that happened that week was my second miscarriage. It’s almost an identical story to my first miscarriage. First month we were trying. Six weeks along. Spotting. Uncertainty (and that mental bargaining with grief) for a few days. Then finally, confirmation.
Again, I remember where I was vividly when I first saw spotting (something about the intensity of that emotion must cement the memory). I was peeing before my regular Monday yoga class, when I noticed just a little redness on the toilet paper. My yoga instructor, who I have known for years and went to prenatal yoga with while pregnant with A, asked if I was okay (my emotions must have been showing on my face). I cried during yoga class that day, and afterwards, cried to my yoga instructor.
The second time, I did get medical supervision, because I have a relationship with my OB (the same one that delivered A). Blood work and an ultrasound confirmed I was miscarrying on a Tuesday. I was by myself in the doctor’s office. Got a lot of hugs from the ultrasound tech, who said she’d had two miscarriages herself. Freaked out the Phlebotomist by crying when she asked me my birthday. The only thing different between this miscarriage and my first is I didn’t have the intense pain, just a boat load (the *official* medical term, btw) of blood and clots. It’s only been a few weeks, so that intense pain could still come. This time, there was definitely grief. Not as intense as last time—since I had A, I’m just more distracted and can’t focus on it as much. There was more disbelief though—‘Is this really happening a second time?’ I said multiple times to my husband. Sometimes I’d laugh when I said it. Sometimes, I’d be serious.
Miscarriages suck. They are emotionally and physically tough, and often women have to go about their lives and pretend like everything is normal to their coworkers, friends, and family. I know I needed to talk about it to process it, and there were times I felt like people thought I was over-reacting or talking about it too much. Yes, lots of women experience them, but that doesn’t mean they don’t suck. Many women have a miscarriage story or two. These are mine.