I miscarried. Am miscarrying. And it’s a cruel thing, these pregnancy hormones, because they can trick your mind into believing you are still pregnant. I’m still nauseous. My breasts are still tender. But I’m no longer narcoleptic. And I no longer drop to my knees at the scent of raw meat. The hormones are dropping. The nurse called with my blood results yesterday afternoon. The blood doesn’t lie.
To all of you who read my blog post about pregnancy, about waiting for these results, and the fear of miscarriage – thank you. We (my husband and I) felt your support. Thank you for sharing your own stories – they have given me comfort and hope in a devastating time. And thank you for sharing in this journey with me – it isn’t an easy one.
I want to acknowledge the women shedding light on keeping their pregnancies private (I will no longer use the word secret, it is no longer apt for this discussion). You opened my eyes. Did you know that some women keep their pregnancy private because they don’t want their employer to find out they are with child? Because they are worried they will be replaced at work? And did you know that some of these women have miscarried, and they have miscarried in silence, going to work, sitting through the pain and the heartache, suffering in silence. This. Breaks. My. Heart. That we can live in a society that doesn’t celebrate pregnancy, that doesn’t acknowledge the physical and emotional feats that come along with this journey. Now I know not all employers are like this, but I’ve heard many stories about many who are. NOT OK.
And other women work with small children and couldn’t bear the conversation they would need to have with the children if they were to miscarry. I get that. Completely. There are some things we need to keep children away from, at least for some time. Protect these small, growing hearts and minds.
Now, I think about my situation – I’m a writer and it is my job to write. So write I will and I also acknowledge the freedom of expression I’ve been given in doing so (I am very lucky in this respect). Here goes:
Tuesday night I woke in the middle of the night with cramps so intense they stole my breath. I woke my husband up and had him rub my back. I thought, these are just implantation cramps – that’s it. But looking back, I believe this was the beginning of my miscarriage. I bled throughout the week, little by little, getting brighter and thicker, and then on Sunday when my husband got home from grocery shopping, I looked at him and said, “I think I’m miscarrying.” But we elevated my feet. And I “rested”. And I sat on the couch, fearful, scared to use the restroom, scared to push too hard when I peed because I was too afraid of what might slip out. It’s a horrible thing, to be afraid to use the restroom, to try and hold everything inside when in reality fate has already been set into motion. I couldn’t hold anything inside. It was only a matter of time. And this, this, is what needs repeating: I could not stop the miscarriage, no one could, it was already happening, and would already happen.
I have learned to trust my body. I knew. I knew. I knew when I was pregnant. And I knew when something was wrong. And last night I woke again in the middle of the night with pain in my abdomen like I’ve never felt before, pain that made me grasp the trash can in the bathroom and dry heave – I’ve never wanted to throw up from pain before – and my husband put pressure on my belly back in bed, and the pressure helped to ease the pain, and we fell back asleep that way, him cradling me in his arms, hand pressed firmly to my stomach.
I miscarried early. I can’t imagine the pain for women who miscarry at 9 weeks or 10 weeks, 12 weeks. This is what I know: we are all warriors, us women. The amount of strength it takes on this journey, the changes in our bodies, the pain, the fear – strength of mind, strength of body, strength of heart – I am in awe of all of us, the ones who undergo fertility treatments, those who miscarry, those who deliver, those who have C-sections – all of us, we are warriors.
And I see the men as well. The strength in them. The helplessness they must feel throughout this entire journey towards having a child. The support they offer, hands flailing, as some don’t know exactly what to do, but just being there, loving and supporting. This support is everything.
My husband cleaned the kitchen last night (he never cleans, well sometimes), he scooped the litter box, he took the afternoon off of work and we walked along the water together, looking at houses, and grieving, drinking double espressos (because I can have coffee now), and realizing how small we are in the scheme of things, in the vast existence that is life. My breath caught in my throat as the breeze fluttered through the changing colors of the leaves in trees, green to red to orange and yellow. And I found peace in the stillness, in the little moments like these, in the comfort that all that matters is me and him and the life we are building together, the little life that we will build again once we are done grieving the loss of this one.
This is life. We are devastated. And today, I am shutting all of the blinds, shutting the world out, and watching every single Harry Potter movie, and I’m not getting out of my sweat pants for anyone or anything. I have the luxury to take the day off of work (not everyone has this luxury), and I will take it.
And to those of you who read this, I will feel your support from miles away, I will feel the love you generate, and I will listen to your own stories because you have listened to mine and we should all be listening to one another, growing and healing and understanding together.
And today, and tomorrow, and for a while, I will grieve.