The Livingstons

The Livingstons

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Miscarriages are Miserable

When Greg and I found out I was pregnant with baby #2 at the end of November, we were thrilled! Our lives were about to change again when our new little bundle of joy would enter our world in August of 2017. We told Katherine over and over again that there was a little baby in Mommy's tummy. We asked her if she wanted a baby brother or a baby sister, and she would reply, "Baby sissuhs." We told our parents and a couple other people, but we were so excited to have our own little secret that we decided to wait to tell the world for a little while. Getting pregnant was so easy for me, and although I was SO nervous about this new journey we were embarking on, I was beyond excited to meet another little perfect angel and be his or her Mommy.

After Christmas, I went to my first doctor's appointment. I was 9 weeks along, and I was so anxious to see my little bean on the ultrasound. I brought Kate with me to the appointment and kept telling her that she was going to see her new little baby brother or sister.

The ultrasound technician was very kind and kept complimenting Kate on how cute and good she was being. Then she started the ultrasound. As soon as I saw my little one on the screen, my heart was so happy! But then, I heard the words no mother wants to hear:

"I can't find a heartbeat."

It was as if my own heart had stopped beating. All of a sudden, my body felt cold and started shaking.

What? Did she say no heartbeat? That can't be.

And then, more daggers to my heart:

"You're measuring only 6 weeks, when you should be measuring 9."

Breathe. Breathe in. Breathe out.

The technician told me that this could mean so many things, but that she'd let my doctor talk to me about it in a few minutes. And then she left.

As I went over to the suite where my appointment with my doctor would be, I tried focusing on Kate to keep my mind preoccupied. But I was in a daze.

When the nurse called me back, I tried to seem happy. But when we got to my room and she started asking me questions about how far along I was and how this pregnancy was going, I didn't know what to say. I didn't really know what was happening.

I sat for a while with Kate on my lap, waiting for the doctor. So many thoughts kept racing through my mind: Maybe I got my dates wrong and I really am 6 weeks along, not 9. Maybe the ultrasound was wrong. Maybe I ovulated later than I actually thought. Maybe this is totally normal. Stop thinking the worst! It's going to be fine! I'm not cramping or bleeding- there's no signs of miscarriage. This baby is going to be fine!

My doctor finally came in, and Kate started screaming. Screaming at the top of her lungs. She normally was super comfortable around doctors, so this was strange. I tried to calm her down, with no success. The doctor tried to talk to me over the screaming. She said that she wasn't exactly sure what was going on with the pregnancy, so she wanted me to come back in a week and do a second ultrasound to see if there is any growth. Right before she left the room, I asked her, "So, have I had a miscarriage?" She answered, a little solemnly, "Yes, I think that you have most likely had a miscarriage. But we just want to make sure before we make any decisions about what to do."

When I heard those words, I knew what was ahead. I knew that I had lost my baby. I just knew it. I had lost this baby's future. And my family's future in August.

I carried screaming Kate out of the doctor's office and quickly walked to the car, the entire time thinking, "Hold it together. Hold it together!"

At the car, Kate had calmed down, and I put her in her car seat as fast as I could. I jumped into the front seat. All of a sudden, the weight of the world was on my shoulders. I started bawling. I cried harder than I had in a long, long time. I felt deeply sad, hurt, hopeless, angry, frustrated, and confused.

I called Greg as soon as I had calmed down a little bit, but as soon as he answered, the tears came back. "Greg, the doctor thinks I've had a miscarriage." He had no idea, he was blindsided. He started tearing up, too, and we both just kind of sat for a few seconds in silence as we both cried. I explained that it wasn't an official miscarriage, but that I had a feeling that it was. It most likely was. We were devastated.

I called my mom immediately after talking to Greg, and the tears just kept coming. She felt so bad and so sorry for me.

At this point, I decided it was time to drive home. But suddenly, I thought of a good friend of mine who had gone through this exact same experience. I called her up and again, started crying and told her everything that had happened. I went over to her house, and she gave me a huge hug as I cried. She let me just talk about how I was feeling, and she talked about her feelings when it happened to her. I will never be able to express how much those moments meant to me. Those moments when I was deeply hurt and needed someone to talk to.

I went home and found Greg there, home from work. He gave me a giant hug, and we were both at a loss for words. Finally, I started telling him how I was feeling- sad, hurt, angry, confused, frustrated... I hated how I was feeling.

From there, I decided to try and suppress the horrible emotions I was feeling. I found that if I kept myself busy and tried not to think about it, I could act and appear just fine. But then, there would be random moments where it would just hit me all over again, and I'd break out into a crying episode. It was like this that whole week, waiting for the second ultrasound- back and forth. I'm fine... Now I'm not.

During that week of waiting for the next ultrasound, I started noticing some things on social media. As I'd be scrolling through the feeds, I saw picture after picture after picture of friends that were pregnant and due around the same time I was supposed to be due. I saw friends having beautiful babies. I saw so much happiness, and I was very happy for them. But I was also feeling really hurt and extremely envious. It wasn't their fault that I was feeling like this. It was my own fault. I let myself feel that way. I wanted what they had. I HAD what they had, but now it was all taken away. It wasn't fair. Why was this my fate?

I wasn't mad at God. I was just confused. Why had I felt so good about getting pregnant and having another baby, but then when I got pregnant, I had a miscarriage? Right before I got pregnant, I felt like God and Greg and I were on the same page, that Greg and I should have another baby. That the timing was perfect. But now this? Why?

I knew that miscarriages are common, but I always thought that they happened to other people. It wouldn't happen to me. But it did. At least, unofficially. I felt a little silly for being so sad about a little baby inside of me that probably didn't make it past 6 weeks, but I couldn't help but feel this deep, deep sadness. I all of a sudden realized that if I was feeling this way about a baby that I lost at 6 weeks of pregnancy, how much more would it hurt to have a miscarriage later on in pregnancy or have a stillborn child or have multiple miscarriages or deal with infertility? That would just be horrible. My heart aches for people that have to go through that.

As I neared my second ultrasound, my mindset shifted. I was still extremely sad, but for some reason, there was this thought in the back of my mind that there was a chance that this baby was still alive. After all, the doctor didn't officially tell me that I had had a miscarriage. There was still hope! I started feeling like those were dangerous thoughts to be having. If I let myself feel this hope and it turned out that it was a miscarriage, I would be even more devastated. I decided to allow the hope to be there, but to not expect any good news. I expected it to be a miscarriage, but if it wasn't, all the better!

My dear friend offered to watch Kate as I went to my second ultrasound. It was nice not to have to worry about another little person during this time; however, not having Kate made it so that my mind wasn't distracted from what was coming. It was all I could think about as I drove to the doctor's office.

When the ultrasound technician called me back to my room, I took some deep breaths. She left the room as I got undressed from the waist down. It felt like an eternity as I waited for her to come into the room and start the ultrasound. My mind kept going back and forth. The baby might still be alive! No, I've had a miscarriage.

The ultrasound technician didn't say a word as she did the ultrasound, which made everything 100 times worse. I could see the little fetus on the screen, but I had no idea what to even look for on an ultrasound. Finally, after about 5 minutes, she turned to me and said, "You were measuring 6 weeks last week. Now you are measuring 5. Your sac has shrunk. I couldn't find a heartbeat either. I am so sorry for your loss." And she left the room.

Devastation. That's really all I can say about how I was feeling. There was no room for anything else.

I walked over to my doctor's suite with my head down. I didn't talk to a single person. I barely said a word to the receptionist. I sat down and stared at the floor. I had no cell phone reception, so I couldn't even get a text or a call out to Greg or anyone. I felt utterly alone.

The same nurse from before called me back after 40 minutes of sitting in the waiting room. When we got to my room, she was about to ask me a question about my pregnancy, but stopped herself when she saw that I had had a miscarriage on the computer she had with her. "Two pregnancies. One birth, one miscarriage," she said as she entered information onto the computer. There it was.

I waited for my doctor for about 20 minutes, alone again. Now all I could think about was, "What now? I have to pass this sac inside of me. And then what?"

My doctor came in and confirmed that I had indeed had a miscarriage. She said the fetus probably hadn't even had a single heartbeat. She then proceeded to explain my options to me:

Option 1: Wait it out and hope that my body figures out that I've had a miscarriage. I should start to bleed and cramp and pass the baby. But we don't know when that will even happen, or IF it will even happen on its own.

Option 2: Take medication to induce the miscarriage. It would basically make my body start cramping and bleeding and pass the baby. I had heard horror stories about this option, with people bleeding so bad that they had to have an emergency D&C. My doctor assured me that those cases were very rare. She said that one of two things could happen: either the medication wouldn't do anything and I'd have to have a D&C anyway, or it would work how it is supposed to and flush everything out in a couple of days. She said that I would also have extremely bad cramping and HEAVY bleeding.

Option 3: Get a D&C. My doctor said that this was the quickest and least painful way to get everything flushed out. The only downside is that it is a surgical procedure, so any risks associated with surgery are there.

Well, none of these options sounded great. I wanted to have a baby in August, not flush it out right now. But obviously that wasn't going to happen. So I chose Option 2. I would take the medication.

My doctor explained how to use the medication. And then she switched gears and told me that it was ok for me to be feeling sad and hurt. She told me that I should not suppress those feelings, that doing so would only make it worse in the long run. She said I needed to grieve and mourn the loss of this future that I almost had. She said that I would probably go home and blame myself for this happening- if only I hadn't worked out that day, if only I hadn't taken the ibuprofen that day, then I'd still be pregnant. But she said that I needed to remember that there was nothing I could have done to prevent this from happening. She said she had looked at my health and lifestyle records and I was extremely healthy. This is just something that happened. I was in tears as she said this to me. I really needed to hear all of that right then.

The rest of the day, I pretty much did nothing. Kate napped for a while, and I just laid down. I figured I deserved at least that. I started thinking about this medication that I was going to take in the morning. And having to deal with the physical aspects of this miscarriage- the blood and the cramping and the passing of the baby. I suddenly started crying as I realized I was going to have to physically let go of this future child that I could've had. For some reason, this was so hard to think about. That I'd actually physically have to pass this little one.

I prayed and prayed and prayed! I asked Father in Heaven to please give me comfort and courage to do what I had to do. With tears in my eyes, I pleaded with Him for these two gifts. I was so sad and so scared.

Thankfully, He gave me those two gifts. It didn't make any of the pain go away, but He made it so that I could bear it and that I could have enough courage to press forward.

Dealing with the physical parts of having a miscarriage is a miserable, miserable experience. That's all I'll say about that.

When you find out you've had a miscarriage, especially when there have been absolutely no signs of it, the last thing you want to do is deal with the bleeding and cramping and everything that comes with that. But you have to have courage and just do it. No matter how nervous or sad you're feeling. You have to rely on God. Otherwise, you'll just feel alone at all times. If you pray and ask for His help and comfort, HE WILL GIVE IT TO YOU.

I asked Greg if he thought God was hurting as much as I was. After all, He can see the bigger picture. He can see that I will probably have more children in the future, and that this experience is a short one in the grand scheme of things. But I can't see those things right now, even though I have faith and hope that they will happen. Right now, I'm just hurting. I'm hurting really deeply. Greg said, "Of course He feels as hurt as you. Probably more. He loves you and hates seeing you so sad. And He is also probably sad that another one of His children couldn't come to earth just yet."

I have faith that that's true. I have hope that things are going to be ok, and that I'll look back at this experience in a few years and realize that everything did turn out ok. But for now, I'm going to mourn and grieve and be sad. I've never gone through anything like this, and it's really hard. I need to be able to mourn. And that's ok. It's expected, and it's normal.

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