A miscarriage, - what, Merriam-Webster defines as, “…the natural expulsion of an embryo or fetus from the womb before it is sufficiently developed to survive.” In other words, a life literally dies inside of a woman when they miscarry. What an overwhelming devastation to wrap our heads around let alone to have to endure. Statistically speaking, 1 in 4 pregnancies will end in a miscarriage. Therefore, any woman who sees the positive sign on their pregnancy test? Naturally, they may have a fear they will miscarry. A miscarriage tends to occur within the first 23 weeks of pregnancy, but no matter the time frame, it is an occurrence with extreme impact and one to proceed about with tender compassion.
Life is full of loss. Loss never feels good, and it is always disruptive. It is an undeniably difficult process to get through. Grief can wreak havoc on your soul if you do not fight through it. The grief of a mother losing her child inside of her is unbearable to think about, yet it is a reality for many women. They are living through the pain a miscarriage plants within a mother and fight daily through powerful emotions coming at them like constant tidal waves, leaving them gasping for air most days.
If this is you, know that you’re not alone, and these four stories come from living proof that you can survive and thrive on from this traumatic time. By sharing their story, these phenomenal women are putting their hearts out there to help others and let them know they are not alone. These women fought, and persevered. Their stories scream of pain, hope, coping, and courage. These women are warriors, and their words speak for themselves in hopes of awareness, and guidance comes forth.
My husband I had been trying to conceive for a year before we sought help from a Reproductive Endocrinologist. We did, and all the tests that came back showed promising results! The Endocrinologist encouraged us to try Intrauterine Insemination, and said our chances were very good. So, in preparation, we gave up alcohol, caffeine, and unpasteurized cheeses all- together. Twelve days later and after the procedure, low and behold, I saw that little pink line I had been waiting to see for so long! I was so excited! It felt like all our dreams had come true.
Two days later, I went out for a blood test and told everyone in the lab that I was pregnant! I anxiously awaited my numbers. Then finally, even before the nurse called me, I saw them online. My HCG was at an eleven. I did not know what this meant so I performed a quick google search and it said I was pregnant if the HCG was over 5! So, I called my husband, yelling that my blood test confirmed! We are pregnant! Then, about an hour later the nurse called to discuss my blood test results and numbers. Her voice was warm but did not have a happy tone to it. She said,” Laura, eleven is not a number we can be confident about. We want to see it over 100.” My heart sunk, and I felt heavy.
I remember calling my husband after and just sobbing into the phone. But despite the results, together, we decided we were not giving up. In that moment, our baby was inside me, and I would fight for my child any chance I got. Little did I know, that meant I would soon be enduring the hardest few months of my life.
My next blood test was two days later. They want the HCG to double every 48 hours, so when it came back at thirty-six, I was elated. Then--the nurse called again, and with the same tone in her voice. Instantly I became defensive saying,” Hey, it doubled!” “Things are going great!” And then, she said the last thing I wanted to hear. She stated, “Laura, I would be remiss If I didn’t warn you that this is not likely to be a healthy pregnancy.” We were entering what we call a “beta hell”. Every two days you go for a blood test and wait, pray, cry and search on google for success stories; anything to keep you at ease.
Now, I had a fighter in me which refused to stop believing in my baby. I felt like the moment I gave up was the moment I would lose my child. So, we endured. As a result, my baby grew. My numbers went to 114, to 336, and finally to, 3000! But, once again, low and behold, I kept getting warnings from the nurses that these numbers were still very low, and they’d always make sure to tell me to call them if I started to bleed. Absolutely nothing but, negative and disheartening, yet that fighter in me was confident in our miracle to come.
I did however, vow to never use this reproductive centre again. They were so adverse, almost damaging by constantly bringing me back to a reality that was crushing my hopes and dreams. I felt like they must be jaded, they must see the worst-case scenarios all the time, and so they were giving up on me even when I refused to give up on myself, or my child. At seven weeks we had our first scan and saw our baby on the screen. There it was, proof that I was a mum. A life was inside of me. I was now a mum.
But again, the nurses were negative. There was no heartbeat, and we were “measuring small”. So, by this point, they said that was okay and that it could start beating any day. The nurse saying, “There is no way to tell by the moment of conception, so our timing could be off” was not good enough. The moment the nurse left the room, I crumbled. I started sobbing uncontrollably, so disappointed that we did not get good news.
I was in dire need of a glimmer of hope, but thankfully, I wasn’t ready to give up yet. So, we waited another week full of more searches on google, and more reassurance that this could be a miracle. This could be!
At week Eight, we went for our second scan. This time, we saw that beautiful flicker on the screen. Our baby was alive! We had done it! We even got a due date of June 27th, a day that will always be special to us. The power of hope and prayer had helped our child fight the odds. And then, another sigh from the nurse, “The heartbeat is “only” at 99 and really, over 130 would be better.” (Sigh) Then the doctor entered, and he made it clear that this could go either way. She said that we had 50/50 odds. This time, we left the room feeling empowered. We refused to give up hope. I would fight for my baby, because my baby was fighting for me.
At Nine weeks pregnant, we went in again. This time, the heartbeat was lower as it was only at a 91. We cried, and the doctor came in to tell us, at this point, we only had 20% odds of survival.
At this point, we already began to grieve. Again, we cried and prayed, and we waited some more. We searched google for miracle stories. They helped keep hope fresh. We went to church and cried during mass praying for our fighting baby. We told our child how loved they were, and that if they needed to stop fighting, that it was okay. We spoke of our deep love for our baby and told them we didn't want them to be in pain.
A week later was the day after thanksgiving, and I was ten weeks along. This was the day we heard those dreaded words. “I’m sorry, there is no heartbeat". Let me tell you that no one and nothing can prepare you for that moment, and heaven knows that they certainly tried but in far too a negative way. Now, by this point my husband and I are numb. I cried no tears. I had bawled at every scan, and this is the one that I couldn’t cry anymore at. I remember the nurse looking at me oddly as if like something was wrong with me, and she said, “You seem to be handling this well”. I felt like that was such an insensitive thing to say right then and there, and it was.
At this point, our doctor sat us down to review our options. We could wait, and let things happen on their own which could take days maybe weeks, or we could take a pill to get things going, or we had the option for me to have a D and C, which she was against because of the risk of scar tissue. I chose to take the pill, and I was simply sent home with pain meds, and instructions to call if I needed anything. I had a three day weekend ahead of me, so I felt comfortable in my decision to not risk scar tissue. Boy, was I wrong.
The next day, I was losing so much blood that I was too weak to move. I called the doctor in hysterics, because I truly felt like I may die. I was ashen, weak, shaking, and scared. She assured me that this was normal, but to come in to the hospital if I needed reassurance. After the second day, I started to feel better. I went in for a scan, and it showed that unfortunately, it wasn’t over. I needed to take the pills a second time. I stood in the doctor’s office, scared out of my mind. I found myself yelling that if I take those pills again, I will surely die. My fear was palpable. The doctor reassured me that most times, taking the pills a second time was far easier than the first time around. She was correct. The second time around was much different, but it still didn’t solve the issue. So, there we were three months later, and I was still spotting with tissue still in my uterus.
All those months became a blur of many tears, sorrows and sleepless nights. I kept asking God, why? I understand that my baby got called home, but why make me suffer to such an extent? Many woman experience miscarriages, but we all feel so alone while we suffer in silence. Every day there was a constant reminder of our loss. I cried on the couch telling my husband that I felt like a rotting tree. It looks normal on the outside, but the internal part of you is in shambles. I spent that period hibernating. I didn’t want to see friends or family. I didn’t want to leave the house, and I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I felt broken in every way; spiritually, mentally, and physically.
It was only when I stopped bleeding that I started to feel like the weight was lifted. Typically the bleeding doesn’t last as long as mine did, and I felt spiteful that I had to endure it. After three months, I had to book a surgery to remove the remaining tissue causing the bleeding. I cried for days, and then, out of nowhere, I was at peace. I could tell something was different. I went to the doctor and asked for a scan, and sure enough, the tissue was gone. I didn’t need surgery, and I finally felt like the universe heard me. I needed a win and it didn’t matter how small it was. It was validation that I had been through enough, and that the suffering needed to end! That small victory was what I needed to feel whole again.
Once I felt ready to talk about it, I attended several therapy sessions, and my husband came along to hold my hand and give me the support I needed. I finally started to get outside, to see friends, to take care of myself and my well-being.
In the end, I learned a lot of lessons through this experience. For one, I learned that I am married to a saint. My husband bought me diapers when I was bleeding so much, he held me, he fed me, and he carried the weight of my grief on his shoulders, never once wavering with his own. He constantly reminded me that everything would be okay, but he also gave me room to be sad, and was always willing to let me talk about it. That man is a true saint.
I learned that people don’t know what to say, when something bad happens. I heard things like, “This happens to a lot of women”, or “You shouldn’t stress so much, you may be contributing to this”, as if to blame me for my miscarriage. I learned they couldn’t possibly be understanding about this as they had not experienced it themselves.
I learned that my doctors and nurses were really just trying to help me, even though it seemed like they were just jaded or generic with me. I appreciated that we knew this was a possibility, and that it didn’t take us by surprise, as it does for so many others. I get extra love and attention from each person in the office when I go in, and they say things like “You have been through a lot”, which affirms me, and making it feel real. Plus, I can tell that my experience was much harder than most, and I survived it.
I learned the meaning of what a trigger was and when I had a panic attack on the way to the doctors for a routine exam, or when I felt like my heart got stomped on anytime I saw a pregnancy announcement I knew it was a possible trigger. That helped tremendously to know my triggers.
Finally and most importantly, I learned that I am a warrior. There were days that I worried I would never feel happiness again, but I do. I am happy, I am strong, and I know one day I’ll be with my baby again. Now, as we move on to start IVF, I feel more prepared. My husband and I went to hell and back, and came out of it with a stronger marriage, a stronger faith, and a knowledge that we can get through anything, as long as it’s together. That is not the norm for most couples so we are thankful, and ready for our next adventure towards parenthood.
Want to connect with Laura?
You can reach Laura via Instagram at: @ldiva_fit.ttc
Everyone wants to belong somehow don’t they? To be part of a group, club or crew where they feel they can connect, engage and share experiences for a sense of self worth, pride and happiness.
But there’s a club that one of out of four women sadly and heartbreakingly falls into. The unwanted club of women who have had miscarriages. For those of us who have endured this difficult and traumatic experience, it puts us in a club that no one wants to be in.
However, in a bizarre way, once someone else shares that they’ve had a miscarriage – there’s a strange form of connection. There’s sadness. But also empathy. Warmth. Support. Understanding and Unity.
Just a statistic
I am one out of four women who has suffered a miscarriage. I am also one of 2% of women who has had two miscarriages in a row. Just a figure to many people who reassured me that I am simply one of those unlucky ones that “this just happens to”. I was also told, “at least you can get pregnant”, “it wasn’t meant to be” or more painfully, “you weren’t that far gone”.
These are just of the few hurtful comments that people said to me in the hope that saying something like this would help or provide comfort. It depended on the day, to be honest. Some days I could take their pity or meaningful words. Other days, I found it too hard to bear.
Most of the time all I wanted was acknowledgement, a hand on my arm or a simple, “I don’t know what to say”, as that in itself, said it all.
For us, we were lucky enough to fall pregnant easily. So it came as a bit of a shock seeing the words ‘pregnant 2-3 weeks’ on the digital pregnancy test so early in the planning for our family.
We were over the moon. As the weeks went by, I let myself daydream about who this little cluster of cells would become. To me, this wasn’t just a little cluster of cells. He/she was our baby. Even my body had the same idea and bombarded me with symptoms that I was growing a human being.
However, at ten weeks, this abruptly ended. I still remember seeing a heavily pregnant doctor at the walk-in clinic to assess my bleeding, the physical pain hours later, and the kind manner of a young doctor in the early pregnancy assessment unit during our grueling hospital visit who said, “It will happen one day”. But it was the overwhelming sadness, puffy tears and emptiness that I remember more clearly.
When we decided to try again soon after – and fell pregnant again straight away, seeing the words ‘pregnant 2-3 weeks’ on the pregnancy test again didn’t have the same impact. I was terrified it would happen again. I didn’t let myself celebrate and we hardly told anyone.
Then the same happened. This time a “blighted ovum”, the Sonographer told us. So there wasn’t an embryo. At ten weeks, our second miscarriage came and went.
Nothing quite prepared me for what happened next. My body cruelly gave me pregnancy symptoms for weeks. Everyone around seemed to just get on with their lives. Everywhere I went there were pregnant women. Or proud new mums with their newborn babies in shiny new prams.
Having to deal with these emotions and being on the end of ‘helpful’ comments, made my grieving process harder.
I questioned whether I could ever have children. I agonised over whether it was something I did to cause the miscarriages. I looked for support but found few people said the right thing. I looked away when I saw a pregnant woman. I took myself off social media and said little about how I really felt to anyone.
But, after some months, I finally reached out to a number of support networks. I joined the Miscarriage Association forum. I saw a fertility expert. I spoke to a counsellor. And I continued to share my feelings with family and friends.
Each in their own way, gave me back some strength, and most importantly, acknowledged that our two little ones were gone too soon.
Now, while we are third time lucky to have our rainbow baby boy, I hold him so tightly and look at him so intently at times knowing that if our two did make it, he wouldn’t be here.
At six weeks, we had an early scan and saw his heart beating with such strength. I knew then that he was here to stay. Every day was an achievement. Even right up to his birth, the fear and anxiety never left. This is now replaced with gratitude and humbleness.
My heart melts and hurts at the same time thinking about what our two little ones sacrificed to give to us. Hope. Love. And the brightest light at the end of our very dark tunnel.
Want to connect with Girlie?
You can reach Girlie via Instagram at: @mumsiehood
All I’ve ever wanted in life was to be a Mum. Having experienced infertility, miscarriage and stillbirth, maybe I need to be more specific in asking the universe to allow me to be a mother to a baby that is alive.
I am a Mum, just not in the way I had ever imagined.
Imagine someone saying to you, ‘In a couple of hours, everything you know and think about life will be gone. Your whole belief system and soul will be ripped out of you – physically and mentally, yet you will remain.’ You’d say they were crazy, but this is exactly what occurs with the loss of a baby.
Baby loss is multi-faceted, complex and messy. The pain is indescribable. The moment I heard those words ‘there is no heartbeat’, it felt like I was having an out-of-body experience. Your worst nightmares seem mild, and to live this one is horrific. How can you recover when you are constantly having flashbacks and reliving the trauma of this over and over?
Separate to the physical pain of your baby being taken, your core being is stripped from you. Your belief system, thoughts, feelings, relationship with yourself (never really knew I had one before this), friendships, lifestyle, work ethic, morals, support systems and strategies, in fact your whole entity – gone. And to top this off, society treats you like a leper.
Welcome to the world of baby loss – it’s not a club we ever wish to join. Interestingly though, I’ve found this club is also an amazing place to be. When you meet another loss Mum; you don’t even need to speak. Instantly, you connect with an unspoken mutual understanding. You fight and build resilience over time and you do survive because the others who endured this before you, they survived. They are living proof life goes on passed this catastrophic blow to our spirits, our lives. In baby loss, we accept, we adjust but we never get over it.
Life philosophies and all parenting approaches fly out the window when a baby dies. (Yes, babies die – but people don’t want to talk about it). Your entire being is deconstructed in ways you never knew were possible. It is superius that anyone can survive the aftermath of baby loss; living on without your child is doing the unthinkable, and continuing to function, is doing the impossible.
Just because your baby isn’t here doesn’t mean that you are not a Mum – you are Still a Mama and you will continue to parent your child every day, just not in the way you had hoped, or planned.
I am and always will be Still a Mama to Gracie Rose, stillborn on 7 July 2016 and always still loved.
Losing Gracie meant everything I thought I knew had changed, but even in the extreme pain of loss, the decaying of everything you thought you knew is quite liberating. There is strength in being vulnerable. It takes bravery to be open to the hurt; to let it matter. This remarkable loss is the most agony I’ve ever felt, yet it holds the most love I’ve ever known. It also has been a new definition of self, an alteration of being, a new way of seeing and a new love – one so strong that it made saying hello and goodbye in the same day worth all the pain.
What I have learned along the way
Just Breathe – this is all you can and will do for a very long time. This is ENOUGH.
Do not let your suffering become a measuring stick of your love – oh, how I punished myself in those early days – relief from your grief is allowed. Punishing yourself isn’t helpful.
Your mental health is a priority, self-care is a priority and your existence is a priority.
You can still be a kind person with a good heart and say no. Do not expect yourself to be the person you were before. This is the new you. You will be getting to know yourself for the next few years. Know that, giving yourself timescales particularly in the early months; regarding when you think you’ll feel better are not helpful (I did this and set myself up for the biggest fall of my life).
You will lose 80-90% of your support network. This is normal in baby loss. People will do things that hurt – it is okay to take a year out and re-assess relationships and friendships. It is okay to distance yourself from people who are pregnant and to unfollow people on social media. You are not a bad person for doing this.
It is essential that you speak with another loss mum, it confirms that your thoughts that feel crazy are normal in baby loss. You will share many similar experiences in how society deals with this tragedy.
Motherhood seems like some cruel joke taunted in your face and there are reminders everywhere; protect yourself as much as you need to. You would not put a soldier suffering from PTSD back in a war zone. Same rule applies for each of us for life in general. Reminders still hurt, you just don’t feel the pain as often. However, be aware that grief stings and stings when you least expect it. Do not fight it. It will always win.
Your relationship with your partner will be tested beyond belief. On top of everything else my marriage ended – my Husband decided he didn’t want children in his future – sometimes you just have to accept things with as much grace as you can by choosing love over fear in any situation.
Live each day to honour your baby. They are never more than a thought away. You will learn a new love that can only be experienced to be understood.
Self-Care - You cannot pour from an empty cup. Self-care isn’t selfish, it is necessary. When you are overwhelmed, tired or stressed, the solution is almost always…less.
Get rid of something, or lots of somethings! Simplify your life and try to live slow, you will be getting to know the new you over the next few years. Therefore, be gentle to yourself; you are doing the best you can and if you could be doing any better you would.
Try to seek calm in the chaos by re-discovering joy in the ordinary and by simple things such as listening to the birds when walking, cooking a meal, listening to your favourite songs and reading.
Cut down the noise by reconnecting with yourself creatively and spiritually – try to enjoy the things you love. Follow your bliss.
Live minute by minute if needed, hour by hour if so, and day by day when you can.
More about Lisa and Still A Mama
Lisa Wilson is the founder and owner of Still A Mama, which she founded after her daughter Gracie was stillborn in July 2016.
Still A Mama has been created to break the silence of stillbirth, honour all babies taken too soon and to help loss mothers on their journey of building a new normal. It also provides an environment to open up about the tragedy that is parenthood after baby loss and enables loss parents the opportunity to be proud of their babies and the love they have brought to their lives. Still A Mama is creating a blanket of love and awareness across the world; this has been achieved via the power of social media, leaflets in bereavement suites and by shipping items globally – no woman should ever walk this terrible path alone.
Want to connect with Lisa?
Finding the gratitude in a miscarriage is a challenging thing to do, but it’s the only way I was able to move forward after mine.
As newlyweds, my husband and I found out that I was to be expecting when I was two months along in my pregnancy. At first, came fear, but that was short-lived once the excitement took over. The moment the joy hit me, the planning started. I started preparing for a future with a new baby to come, and for myself as a new mommy. I was always the girl who said, “I don’t really want to have kids.” But, that changed the moment I felt life inside of me. There is something magical that happens to a woman when she’s pregnant and feeling maternal. An overwhelming feeling of importance and purpose which is on an entirely new level begins to take over her life, her identity. For me, it made me feel powerful, and for the first time in my life I was excited about becoming a mother. I was so thrilled that I even broke the rule and I told my mom and dad while I was still in my first trimester. There was too much glee to hold it in, and I also wanted some advice. They were overjoyed for me, and they seemed to be proud of me! Who knew this feeling ever existed?! I was on top of the moon.
A couple of weeks later, I woke up to mild cramps. I didn’t think much of them at first because I thought it was normal for me to be experiencing them. I had read that it in many blogs during my pregnancy and Google said it was my uterus - “making room for the baby”. Although, I could tell this pain was familiar. It felt like a period, but an aching one. I was scared every time I used the restroom that day. It just didn’t feel right, and something felt far off. I went about my day best I could, and then it happened. I used the bathroom and I started bleeding very badly. I then knew then something was wrong. My husband was extremely concerned as I walked out of the bathroom, asking if I was okay because he saw my face. It was blank. See, I had not told him about any of my symptoms before this as I didn’t want him thinking I was overreacting or paranoid. Immediately, I told him that we needed to get me to the emergency room because something was terribly wrong.
When we got there, I told them all my symptoms, and they told me I had most likely miscarried. I was so angry with them for telling me that, telling me such sad and awful news without even looking at me or having ran all the tests required at first. They did not know that for sure yet, but later and after the ultrasound and some blood work, it was confirmed that I had miscarried. I couldn’t help but instantly feel like my new future that I had been planning for was now taken away from me. It felt like something was stolen. I kept asking “Why me?”. “I’m healthy, I work out 3-5 days a week and I eat well, so why me?” They didn’t have any answers for me other than, “It happens.” Naturally, I started wondering if it was me, was there something wrong with me? Had I waited too late to have kids? Was I wrong for having sex while pregnant? Was it those pineapples I ate?! I then started to blame everything including my husband. I was mad at everyone, and everything. When the time came to tell my family, I was devastated. It was so difficult that I could only send a text and right after I turned my phone off. I didn’t want to talk to anybody, not even my husband who I had just married. For days I bled, and it was painful. It was very painful both emotionally and physically.
I struggled with this tragedy and occurrence for a long time. It took me going online and hearing so many women tell their story of their miscarriage for me to feel somewhat normal. So now I’m a number. This is common, and it happened to me also. I am now part of the 1 in 4 women this happens to.
I learned that most miscarriages can occur in the first trimester because of chromosome imbalances or the baby just not being healthy enough to begin with so, your body “rejects” it early on to avoid any future complications. That’s when some peace came, and I had found a bit of gratitude in this mess. I saw it in thinking that if my baby had made it full term that it may not have been healthy and would have had a hard life. Once I started thanking God for this concept that I found comfort in I started to feel like me again. Day by day I was starting to recover. I had to heal at my pace, and in ways best for me. My husband dealt with his grief by silence and I dealt with my grief by finding understanding. We all grieve differently, and no way is the wrong way, and no set amount of time is wrong either. Grieving is a process, and everyone has a different healing time frame so have compassion on yourself and take the necessary time you require to survive this.
Some people may say, “How can you be so sad about something that wasn’t a baby yet? Or, “How can you be so sad about something when you were only a couple months along?” They obviously have no understanding what-so-ever and my answer to those people is always the same and quite simple. “The moment a woman finds out she has life inside of her is the moment she becomes a mother, forever.”
Want to connect with Rhonda? Instagram: @rhondathough
If you or anybody you know needs Miscarriage Support:
Miscarriage Support Helpline
The Miscarriage Association
Helpline: 01924 200 799