Our server set the affogato down in the middle of our table. We just finished a delicious Italian meal and the date couldn’t be going better. As we dipped our spoons in the creamy dessert, we carefully broached the topic of marriage and children. These 2 topics might seem a bit serious and heavy to be discussed on a 3rd date (not to mention premature) but we both knew this would decide our future together. We’re both older and we both have walked away from relationships because our partners were looking to settle down, get married, and start a family. To our relief, we discovered neither of us were interested in any of that. We both felt marriage and children were unnecessary and something we never desired in our lives. What we did desire was to travel and experience the world and follow our dreams and passions — without children, without anyone or anything holding us back. We were on the same page about everything including affogato being our favorite dessert. It was all perfect.
Fast forward a little over a year and a half later. It’s early morning on Memorial Day. This past Memorial Day. I’m standing in my bathroom, forgetting how to breathe and unable to move. Two pink lines are staring back at me. I suddenly feel like I’m going to cry and pass out. I’m pregnant.
I. AM. PREGNANT.
I began pacing back and forth. There’s only one thing I can do.
Pee on another stick.
Two pink lines again.
I am now staring at 4 pink lines. How did this happen? Well, I know how it happened but HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN?!
Christopher is still asleep. I’m not sure when to tell him. How do you tell your boyfriend who doesn’t want kids that he’s going to have a kid? When is it the right time to drop that bomb on someone?
Well, the minute they wake up, of course. Seriously, there is no good time. I figured I’d just get it out of the way. When he awoke, I walked into our bedroom and told him I needed to tell him something. Poor guy was still rubbing the sleep from his eyes. Basically the convo went something like this:
Um… I need to tell you something.
Ok. Is everything ok?
Well… Um… I’m pregnant.
You can guess who said what.
I burst into tears and felt like all my anguish was flooding out. I never ever thought I would be in this situation. I had never been pregnant before and never planned on being pregnant. Christopher and I actually had several discussions about freezing my eggs just in case we changed our minds in the future. Since I was 36 and definitely not getting younger, we talked about doing it soon. However, 2 weeks before pink lines invaded our lives, I told him I didn’t want to freeze my eggs and go through that invasive (and expensive) procedure because I was certain I didn’t want children. Ever.
Yeah, joke’s on me.
The next couple of days were a daze. We decided to keep the baby (there really was no other option for us) and shared the news with our families. They were just as shocked as we were especially knowing our stance on children but were extremely supportive and happy for us. Once our shock dissipated we found ourselves becoming more and more excited. I had my first doctor’s appointment and everything was looking great. At that point, I was a little over 4 weeks along. I had no morning sickness and the only symptoms I had was intense fatigue, sore breasts, and bloating. Overall, though, I felt really good.
Christopher and I excitedly talked about the baby and our future plans. We started reading books about pregnancy and parenthood. We celebrated his first Father’s Day. We bought cute onesies. We scrolled through pregnancy apps together to see what fruit size-wise the baby was each week. We loved being pregnant and being pregnant together. We grew closer and couldn’t wait to become a family of 4 (Miles included, of course).
Our first ultrasound was on Wednesday, June 24th when I was a little over 8 weeks. We were so looking forward to this day. We finally get to see our baby and hear the heartbeat.
As the technician was moving the transducer probe across my belly, I could sense something was wrong. The room suddenly became very quiet. After several minutes of silence, he suggested we do a vaginal ultrasound. We saw the yolk sac and the fetal pole. There was no heartbeat.
I’m the type of person that researches everything. Obsessively. So I already knew this was a bad sign before our doctor told us. Not only was there no heartbeat at 8 weeks but the baby was measuring 6 weeks and 3 days. Our doctor informed us that the dates could be off and she wanted to monitor my hormone levels. She tried to stay positive and hopeful and I tried my best to follow her lead but deep inside I knew things weren’t good.
Friday, June 26th (2 days later) – I began spotting.
Saturday, June 27th – I began having horrible cramps in the evening. It became so unbearable I could barely stand or walk. We immediately rushed over to the ER.
Sunday, June 28th – We spent over 6 hours in the ER. They did every imaginable test on me only to confirm I had miscarried. I had what is called a missed miscarriage. The baby stopped developing at 6 weeks and 3 days but I had no signs or symptoms of a miscarriage until I was almost 9 weeks. The horrible cramps I experienced were labor contractions. My body was trying to expel the fetus out and I was basically going into labor. I’ve never experienced pain that incredible before. Epidural, please.
Monday, June 29th – Doctor’s appointment to confirm my miscarriage and schedule a D&C (a procedure where they go in your uterus and scrape and vacuum everything out).
Tuesday, June 30th – At exactly 9 weeks, our baby was torn away from me. The procedure was extremely painful (most women don’t feel much pain but I was one of the lucky ones that felt everything even with painkillers). I immediately went home and began the grieving and healing process.
We were devastated. More than devastated. I felt like half of me was gone. I found myself breaking down and crying at random times. My symptoms began slowly disappearing which was a constant painful reminder that our baby was really, truly gone. This is what emptiness feels like.
It’s been several months since we lost our baby and I wish I could say that it’s easier but it isn’t. I think about him/her everyday and it still breaks my heart that we never got a chance to meet. I still cry here and there and even while sharing our story with you now I had to go grab a box of tissues.
They say women become mothers the minute they discover they’re pregnant and this is so true. Me, a woman who never wanted to be a mother to another human, instantly felt connected and protective of the life growing inside of me. Regardless of how early in the pregnancy the loss was, he/she was still our baby. A life we created together and a life we loved immensely. Not only were we robbed of our child, we were robbed of the future we began building and planning for our new family.
Miscarriages are unfortunately very common but not really discussed. It’s almost a taboo topic which is upsetting. I bet everyone knows at least one person who has experienced a miscarriage or loss of a child. There are more then 3 million U.S. cases per year. One in 4 women experience miscarriages. Those numbers are frightening and sad. I hope people will begin realizing it’s not something to be embarrassed about and it’s not the mother’s fault. Losses happen and most of them can’t be prevented, unfortunately.
I hope none of you reading this will ever experience a loss of a child but if you do don’t hesitate to reach out to friends and family. I am so grateful for the strong, positive women who survived their losses and offered their shoulders for me to cry and lean on. I’m grateful for our families and their love and support. I am grateful for those friends who showed me great compassion despite never experiencing this. I’m grateful for my incredible partner who is my rock and healed me with his strength, love, and kindness.
Christopher and I have debated sharing our story. Obviously our family and friends know but we hesitated being open about it. Not because we were ashamed or embarrassed but because we wanted time to heal and accept everything that has happened. We wanted our own time to grieve. I knew I wanted to share our story at some point because I strongly believe this is something that needs more attention and because women who experience losses like this shouldn’t feel alone. I felt very alone when I was going through my miscarriage until I opened up to friends and they shared their stories of loss. There’s strength in numbers.
I share our story today because October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. I know many mothers are thinking of the babies they never got to meet and grateful for the babies that made it full term. If you know a friend who has experienced a loss, don’t hesitate to reach out to them. You won’t be reminding them of their loss but rather reminding them that they’re not alone and you remembered. They’ll be grateful for it.
Despite our loss, we are thankful for the pregnancy. It made us realize that we do want to have a family and we are so glad we realized this now rather than later when it would have been too late. We hope to be sharing some good news with everyone soon. :)
P.S. I plan on writing another post about how one should support a friend or family member going through a loss. What you should say and what you definitely shouldn’t. You’d be surprised at some of the hurtful things people have said and done to me and I hope these mistakes aren’t repeated with others.