A Burst of Love: First Trimester Miscarriage
Trigger warning for miscarriage and suicidal thoughts.
I’m pregnant? I’m pregnant. Oh, my goodness I’m pregnant! Finding out I was expecting my second child was so exciting. The time seemed right. My son was over a year old, I had a great career and my marriage was strong. My husband, Chris, and I were ready to grow our family from three to four.
Just a few days after finding out I was expecting I got on a plane with my son, Braeden, to celebrate my mother’s 60th birthday. I knew this was a once in a lifetime opportunity to tell my parents in person that they were going to have another grandbaby. My sister and I conspired a special way to share the news by making an “I’m going to be a big brother” shirt.
When my mother saw Braeden in his shirt she leaped out of her chair crying happy tears. My dad had this special look of pride on his face that I’ll forever remember. That moment was beautiful and the entire visit was magical.
Braeden and I had returned home for a few days when I noticed some blood after going to the bathroom. I was also having intense and painful stomach issues. Chris remained strong and positive but I was scared. The next morning I called my boss and told her I was going to the doctor.
While it would’ve been nice to have my husband with me, I didn’t see the sense in dragging our toddler to the doctor’s office. So I went alone and had blood taken and then met with my midwife for an ultrasound. We looked together and didn’t see anything. With Braeden there was a fetal sack but nothing else appeared at 8 weeks. By 10 weeks we saw more than just a sack and heard his perfect little heart beating. That day, 6 weeks into my pregnancy, we didn’t see anything and I was sent downstairs to radiology for a more in depth ultrasound.
I hoped my weight was preventing anything from being picked up on my midwife’s little machine but deep down I knew…I knew that I had lost the baby.
I returned to work after radiology came back with the same results my midwife had. I was numb but my midwife told me that she never gives up hope and maybe it was just too early. While I sat in my office trying to somehow focus on work I received another blow. A co-worker gave me a heads up that my job was being looked at for year-end cuts. The job I had been at for seven and a half years and provided the ability for Chris to work part-time and be a full-time dad.
I drove home in a daze and a few hours later I started having intense cramping. Then blood….so much blood. I was angry and confused. I had just miscarried our child. Chris tried to remain supportive but I was inconsolable. Pain. Anger. Loss. Pain, pain, pain….
I took the following day off work and even met with some close friends for margaritas that evening. Tequila made everything feel normal for a moment. So, I spent the weekend attempting to keep that feeling of normal going strong by taking my son to the zoo with friends. Though, deep down I just wanted to SCREAM!!! I wanted to express how unfair I felt everything was and how I wasn’t ready for my pregnancy to be over and possibly also lose my job.
I returned to work awaiting the inevitable while looking for any sign that all of this was just a horrible nightmare. When two colleagues walked into my office and closed the door behind them I knew it was over. After they told me I was laid off everything else was drowned out by my tears and thoughts of how my family would survive this additional loss. They watched me pack all of my personal belongings and walked me out to my car as if I was a criminal being escorted off the premises. The same company that threw me surprise baby showers in two different states when I was pregnant with my son. The company I had worked at since I was 24 and thought of my colleagues as family. I was without a job during one of the worst times for unemployment.
First, my body rejected me and then my employer. From June until October I was extremely depressed. I applied for countless jobs that paid $20,000 less than I had been making. My passion for birth was a distant memory because how could I support others during pregnancy when I couldn’t even keep mine.
I tried to process my loss by searching the internet for miscarriage support sites but it was difficult to find a place to belong. Who was I to talk about loss when I had a first trimester miscarriage? I know women who birthed their babies without ever hearing them cry or take a first breath.
How could I grieve a loss that I never even felt flitter within me?
At the end of June, before my medical insurance was cut off, I met with a doctor and requested a prescription for an antidepressant. I had a feeling I was going to need it even though I had never been on medication before. Without having a care provider to monitor how the medication was working I started experiencing insomnia. Soon after that I had detailed fantasies of locking myself in the bathroom and slitting my wrists. I planned out all the details from how I’d have candles lit to the music that would be playing.
Finally, I consulted with a pharmacist who told me insomnia and suicidal thoughts were a side effect of the antidepressants I was taking. Why did I wait so long to figure out what was making me a broken version of the woman I once was? The toll all of this had taken on me also had an effect on my marriage. Something needed to change quickly so I started to wean myself off the medication and then just stopped taking it. Along with getting off the antidepressant, friends and family helped to pull me out of my disparity in October. They reminded me of my worth, my passion for helping others, and my spark slowly returned.
My passion for birth work was back and I enrolled in a childbirth education certification program. I slowly started to share the fact that I had a miscarriage as others shared their losses on the Plus Mommy Facebook page. I found comfort in helping others know they weren’t alone because it also helped me to realize that I wasn’t.
Today it has been about a year and a half since my miscarriage and I felt it was really important to share my story in honor of Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day. While it has taken me this long, I’m finally finding myself again. The photo at the beginning of this post and below was taken by my cousin and it perfectly encompasses how I feel about my loss…a burst of love that faded away too soon. It’s framed in my home as a tribute to a baby that my husband and I were never intended to hold but will always keep in our hearts.
1 in 4 women will experience pregnancy or infant loss. The statistics are staggering but not many people are talking about it. If you or someone you love has experienced a loss please seek support from stillbirthday or from a counselor. A pregnancy loss, no matter how soon, is still a loss. I was not alone. You are not alone.
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