Content warning: Miscarriage
The second time I was pregnant, I knew instantly - okay, within 5 days to be totally accurate. My bras filled up, my poops changed, and I had that full body exhaustion where it’s not just your eyelids that want to close but your entire body wants to turn off. I took a pregnancy test even though I knew it was too early to show on the pee stick (it was).
A couple weeks later, I wanted to involved my husband so I told him the 3 minutes was up for the pregnancy test and as he walked into the bathroom I said, “two lines means yes, one line means no.”
He came out of the bathroom with a puzzled look, “what if one line is faint?”
Me, “no fu@k!ng way!!”
The smiles on our faces said it all. We were excited. After all the things leading up to this, it felt right (read this blog post where I chat all about our struggle with how to know if we were “one and done”, our couple’s therapy, and my decision to ask for PPD medication).
Within 5 minutes of excitement the obvious impact hit me, and tears started flowing, as I realized we really were about to go back down this path. Things like, “but I JUST feel like myself in the gym again” and “argh I’ve been craving sushi!!” came out of my mouth. As silly and petty as those things sound, they were really just the tip of the ice berg of knowing what I was in store for for the next 9 months, and what we’d be in store for as a family after that.
Not more than a week or so after, I felt the cramps, and again, knew immediately. I knew something was wrong. The heavy bleeding followed, and I had to break to my husband that this one wasn’t meant to be. After 5 days I took another test, to confirm what I knew, because both of us were still holding on to a little bit of hope that maybe things were okay. But this one wasn’t meant to be.
As soon those two pink lines confirmed a baby was on the way, we were picturing Christmas 2019 with an almost 3 year old and a 4 month old. Would it be a boy this time? Another girl? Up until getting pregnant I’ve said I wanted another girl - partly because I have boxes of clothes waiting downstairs - but as soon as we saw the two pink lines, it didn’t matter. It became the old, “as long as it’s healthy.”
Now, working out, eating sushi, and having wine, didn’t seem like a big deal, nor even enticing anymore. I didn’t touch a drink for a couple weeks after the miscarriage, even though I was “dying for one” when I found out I was pregnant. I still haven’t, months later, had sushi – again, that I was craving so badly, apparently.
It confirmed for us how much we did want this. No question now. We were sad.
And boy did we appreciate our little girl that much more. We were, and continue to be, so thankful that she came to us, and is the healthy spitfire she is.
I was additionally upset because I felt like the medication I had just started for my postpartum depression wasn’t working. I was low, sad, my social anxiety heightened again, and I didn’t want to partake in anything. I quickly reminded myself – no, this IS a reason to feel sad. If anything, it was a sign that my medication wasn’t “numbing” me as so many false claims are made about anti-depressants (especially maddening when those claims are made by famous people with huge influence circles, and add to this stigma. Not naming names. We’ll call this fictional character Hewis Lowes.)
There are always surprises in these life events. With my miscarriage, the surprise was in my inability to allow myself to be outwardly sad. I didn’t feel worthy of sadness. Why? Because I wasn’t far enough along. Because I never met my baby. I fell into the comparison trap of “my story isn’t tragic enough.” I was “just another statistic” of the many many women who will experience miscarriage in their life. But the truth is, the SECOND we found out we were pregnant, that child existed to us. It was the 4th at the Christmas table next year. It was Anna’s sibling. It was the 2nd grandchild (on one side) and the 34th grandchild (on the other side - yes, 34th).
Again and again I’m reminded – everyone, EVERYONE has their struggles, and every single struggle and story matters. Everyone is entitled to feel all the feelings, go through all the thoughts, and mourn or celebrate or laugh or cry. If you’re feeling like your situation isn’t worthy – it is. It absolutely is. And you have every right to feel every and all of the emotions over it.
I’ve come to view this experience as a necessary one for us. Never ever has a decision been so all-consuming, and it was the scariest thing in the WORLD to try for a second. Even when it happened, I still had a huge piece of me saying, “do we REALLY want to do this again?” Despite the tantrums, the hard days, the sleepless nights, the teething, the sickness, the trips to the Children’s Hospital, the constant physical contact, the constant repeated questions, the lack of time for us as a couple, the lack of time for us as individuals - despite ALL of it, we were sad when that was all taken away from us. It was the confirmation piece we needed to say, “Yes. This is a bad shit crazy ass way to live. But for some reason, we want it, and we want to add to the chaos.” (And even as I write that, I still don’t 100% believe it, hah! Do you EVER believe it?).