How long the bleeding can last
I miscarried Mother's day weekend and the bleeding continued for six and a half more weeks. According to my multiple google searches, 2 weeks is "normal" but it may last longer than that. For me it did, and I didn't know if it was ever going to stop. After a month I stopped going into the doctor's office (more on that below), but I felt like my body was healing in it's own time. If I had been cramping or in any pain I definitely would have talked to a healthcare professional. Luckily, the bleeding stopped and I was finally able to not be constantly reminded of what I had lost.
- What it feels like to get weekly blood tests
This is the reason I stopped seeing my doctor. I had my blood drawn at my first appointment where my doctor told me while looking at my ultrasound, "I don't see anything in there." I had it drawn again a couple days later and my hCG levels weren't dropping very quickly. So my doctor asked that I come in again the next week for a shot to resolve any possible ectopic pregnancy and allow them to take another blood draw. This continued for three weeks. With massive bruises on each arm and anxiety over going in again, I made the best decision for my mental and emotional health to stop getting my blood drawn. So glad I made that decision. Again, if I had been in pain at all I would have continued to seek professional help. It should also be noted that I just stopped receiving all the lab bills for those blood draws.
- My grief doesn't look like someone else's, and that's okay
I consider myself a pretty optimistic person, and so my brain often doesn't want to open up about hurt, pain, sorrow, loss. I never want to bum people out. But it doesn't mean I don't feel all of those things. Sharing a little bit about how I've felt and what I've learned from my experience is how I'm able to move forward in a positive way. Sometimes I feel like that might make me seem fake or less authentic, but everyone grieves differently. Having an optimistic perspective that my experience can help someone else is how I'm coping with my loss, and that's true to who I am right now. And however you grieve, that's okay too!!
- Talking about it brings out emotions and allows you to stay on top of them
I felt burdened by what I was going through and opening up to my mom and sisters almost a month later was so healing for me. Sharing my experience here on the blog was hard for me, but also allowed me to understand just how many women go through something like what I experienced. It's given me so much understanding of how important it is to not judge others. You never know what they may be going through or what struggles they've faced in the past. I almost didn't share anything at all because I didn't want people to feel like they had to cheer me up or that I was seeking attention from my situation. But I'm glad I followed my heart felt feelings to post anyway because it's brought me closer to my family, friends, and complete strangers. It's also brought me closer to my Savior, Jesus Christ, and I'm so grateful for that.
- The grief and worry don't stop after the bleeding does
Luckily my reproductive cycle seems to be normalizing itself four months later, but the grief and worry still occur from time to time. When I see pregnant bellies, pregnancy announcements that have the same due date month our baby would have, gender reveals, regretting flying to California while pregnant, imagining what I'd look like right now if I hadn't miscarried, anytime I think I might be pregnant again but the test is negative, not working out as hard because I think I might be pregnant, wondering what's wrong with my body, etc; You get the idea. I still think about it all the time. I don't know if I'll ever forget about it, because it's the first time I've ever had a personal experience shake me so hard.
I am not alone
I was OVERWHELMED TO TEARS because of all of the women who had experienced something similar and reached out to me with love and understanding. It somehow broke my heart and mended it simultaneously to know so many had been where I was. Not to mention the countless empathetic, loving messages from friends, family, and strangers who were grieving with me even though they didn't know what I was feeling. THANK YOU. Every comment, thought and prayer meant so much to me and I felt so loved by all of you. I also know that my loving Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ, had their arms wrapped around me through this trial. The spirit has comforted me and reaffirmed to me that I will have the opportunity to see my angel baby again someday.
An increased love and compassion for others
I think that sometimes heartbreak happens so more love can fit inside it before it's patched back up again. My heart has been opened and my mind is more aware of everyone who might be secretly suffering. If you're going through a miscarriage right now, I'm so sorry. No matter how common it is or how far along you were, the loss is still a loss. The pain is both physical, and emotional. The hormone levels dropping inside you still affect your mental health. See a health professional, and also listen to what you think your body needs to recover. Nothing you did caused this to happen, but from what I've experienced that doesn't stop the regret or paranoia. So just give yourself grace and time. Allow yourself to feel sad, mad, worried or guilty. Reach out to others often, when you feel like you need support. You will be surprised how many others have been through a similar struggle in silence. Please realize that you are not broken. You are strong. You are perfectly you. And you are loved.
*WARNING: TRIGGER POST*
Contains details of a miscarriage.
This is the photo we took on our Anniversary while in San Francisco to announce our pregnancy. We didn't know we would lose our angel upon our return, let alone on Mother's Day.
Near the end of last year, Matthew and I felt prompted to start planning for a third child. In January I was finally able to schedule an appointment with an OBGYN to get my IUD removed. In the past my pregnancies have been quickly conceived with close to no complications. February came and I had a period. March came and I had another period.
I remember having the thought that I was going to miscarry for some reason, but it had never happened before so I completely dismissed the thought.
That's when we decided to try an ovulation test kit. The beginning of April I started peeing in a cup every day to test if I was ovulating. I kept getting negative after negative. Some faint lines, but on an ovulation test that still means negative. The end of April was drawing near and I wasn't having a period, but I still wasn't testing positive for ovulation.
Then suddenly I got my first strong positive ovulation test on April 30th, again on May 1st, and again on the 2nd. It seemed so bizarre, but we took advantage of it anyway. Without my knowledge, Matthew did a second test from my sample cup on the 2nd. But not with an ovulation test, with a pregnancy test! That's when he told me that I was pregnant. He knelt down, announced it to me and kissed my belly in the sweetest way. I was in shock and overjoyed at the same time because we were about to go on a vacation to celebrate our anniversary! The timing couldn't have been more perfect.
I changed my period tracking app to pregnancy mode, and there was a digital image of a 5 week old fetus that appeared on the screen. I still couldn't believe it was real!
When we arrived in SF I started spotting. At first it seemed fine, like implantation bleeding, but I had a feeling something might be wrong. It stopped the next day and so I didn't worry about it very much. On our anniversary we took the 'bumps ahead' photo. What I didn't know at the time was the irony that photo would have just a week later. The women taking the photo congratulated us and they were elated by our upcoming announcement. I was starting to accept and believe that this was really happening!
We got home on the 8th, and the next morning I started bleeding again. But this time it wasn't light and it definitely didn't seem normal. I just kept bleeding. The 10th, 11th, 12th, and on Mother's Day I watched as clots and strings of blood left my body. Every time I went to the bathroom I was terrified that I would somehow see a 6+ week old fetus on the pad lining my underwear.
Throughout the day, I felt depressed and yet comforted. As if in my mind I knew this was going to happen, but my heart still wouldn't accept it. The lessons in church were so incredibly special and applicable to me that day. I couldn't stop sobbing.
Yesterday Matthew gave me a priesthood blessing and he said that I would be comforted through this loss. As a definite statement, not a question. I had scheduled a doctors appointment for Tuesday, so even though it felt final I held on to a fraction of hope that maybe I'd hear a little heartbeat in there, still beating.
Today I watched the doctor do the ultrasound. The screen was dark and I saw my empty uterus. It confirmed all of my feelings and fears. To have that excitement start and end in such a short span of time. It's impossible to explain how heavy the loss felt on my heart in that moment. And yet, somehow I feel okay. I feel like God prepared my mind for this all along.
I lost an angel on Mother's Day.
I don't know why this happened. Why my husband was prompted to do a pregnancy test, and why it was over before I really accepted it. But I do know that God has a plan for me. This loss is a part of His plan and it's a part of my story now.
I'll see you again one day, my angel baby.