TRIGGER WARNING: Death or dying | Pregnancy/Childbirth | Miscarriages/Abortion
Back in September 2020, I wrote about normalizing infertility and loss. I shared statistics, studies, and resources. And I alluded to the personal connection and relevance of infertility and loss in my life but I never really took the leap and shared my story with anyone and everyone. Instead,(like most), I kept it for the ones in my circle and in my scope. I carried the shame & guilt of my inability to create & sustain life.
Here is my story:
It was January 19th, 2020. At this point, I'm about 12 weeks, 6 days.
I had an ultrasound scheduled to check the baby for down-syndrome. This is where they check the baby's nuchal translucency. Unfortunately, I was running late for my 1 o'clock appointment and had sped like a bat out of hell to get to the doctor's. Fortunately, they were kind enough to push me to 2 PM so that I could get composed and get moving. I was a little anxious going in late and felt super bad. * Doing IVF, ultrasounds, labs, and examinations are regular protocol so I was never really nervous to do any of the tests or ultrasounds* I get called back and I'm greeted by my nurse, shes nice and kind and confirms my information so that I can undo my pants and get scanned. I made small talk, by thanking her for seeing me and how I could never really decipher what's on the screen when looking at an ultrasound. *looking back, I realize that perhaps I was doing this to distract myself from the fact that I didn't hear the heartbeat (like I had heard before) when she first started scanning* The ultrasound technician is quiet and short in her response (not cold). She began showing me my ovaries but I noticed that she's is struggling to find the fetus... I made a joke about how during the extraction of my eggs my ovaries were hiding and maybe the baby is too. She found it!... (but no heart beating sound). She measures the fetus and then asks me to get dressed, I need to have a consultation with the doctor. * I remember thinking to myself, " damn that was hella quick"* My heart sank sitting in the office. I began texting my husband and friends saying that I feel like I'm getting in trouble. It brought back flashbacks to being in high school and sitting in the principles office for something I didn't know... 5 minutes pass.... 10 minutes pass... 15 & then 20 minutes later the doctor comes into the room. He introduces himself and asks me my name and apologizes for making me wait.
I assure him it was no problem and that "I felt like I was in trouble or something" He told me " No, you're not in trouble. But there is something that is wrong."
* I knew in that moment that all of my anxiety was rooted in reality. something was wrong with the baby*
He said, " I'm sorry to tell you this but the baby is dead."
*I begin to dissociate, and I begin to feel outside my body, his words are almost like static and fall into the background. I feel the tears welt up in my eyes, my stomach drops to the floor. *
During this time he's explaining to me that the baby had died at about week 9, day 1. LITERALLY 2 days after I first heard their heartbeat. NOTE: This is also the same period in which I miscarried last time, back in 2017.
The only words that come out of my mouth are "I'm sorry", Followed by "what do I do?"
The doctor reiterated that this is not my fault. He briefly shares his story. He and his wife, also utilized IVF & lost the baby. He expressed, although broken, they continued to try again; and now have a 18-month-old daughter. He told me that I would be okay and that he was so sorry to be the one to tell me this.
The options he gives me were the following:
Have a D&C / Abortion Which is a dilation and curettage procedure. It is a surgical procedure in which the cervix (lower, narrow part of the uterus) is dilated (expanded) so that the uterine lining (endometrium) can be scraped with a curette (spoon-shaped instrument) to remove abnormal tissues. And in my case, I would be the 9-week old fetus I was carrying for the last 4 weeks and 5 days. With this option, I would also have the opportunity to test the fetus to see if there is a genetic explanation of why I miscarried again during this period.
Take Medication Specifically, Cytotec (misoprostol) is a medication used to manage a miscarriage when hCG results or ultrasound tests confirm the diagnosis of either a missed miscarriage or blighted ovum. In this instance, tissue passes more than 90 percent of the time within one week.
Allow nature to take its course Which means to allow this miscarriage to happen naturally, at home with no idea of when it'll happen and how long it will be.
IF YOU'RE WONDERING, I WENT WITH OPTION 1
Why you may ask? BECAUSE I HAVE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS TO MY OWN PHYSICAL AUTONOMY AND TO BE SUBJECTED TO CARRY A DEAD FETUS BECAUSE OF CONSERVATIVE'S BELIEF ABOUT WHAT I SHOULD DO WITH MY BODY IS COMPLETE BULLSHIT #MYBODYMYRULES
The doctor, let me know that he would call my OB and get me scheduled for a D&C ASAP. He asked me if I was okay to drive and if I needed any help getting home. I wiped away my tears and told him I was fine and left. Walking out of the clinic, I was mindful of my crying and looked down the whole way to the parking lot. The minute I was free from the building I knew I had to tell my husband (but I couldn't bear to do it by phone), but I called my mom. This was the first time in decades I reached out to my mom for emotional support allowed myself to fall apart. She's always in good spirits and instantly knew in my broken tone that something was wrong... the second my body gave breath to those words : "I had lost the baby" I fell apart. I cried " The baby is dead, I have to get another abortion to remove it" For the first time in decades, she comforted me, and held all the pieces as I fell apart. She told me I'll be okay, it wasn't my fault, she asked me what happened and what was next. She offered to come over and do whatever I needed to get through this moment. At that moment none of that was relevant and all I could think of was going home to tell my husband we lost the baby we had been loving and praying for.
I arrived at home, tears still flowing down my face, heart racing & broken. I was welcomed by my sweet puppies... all I could do is greet them with a smile because they knew at the exact moment, I just needed love. My husband has this crazy intuition and could tell instantly, something was wrong. He asked me if I was okay and again, all I could say is:
"We lost the baby, I'm so sorry"
We cried He walked me to the couch and we just cried. He held me and told me over and over again "it's not your fault, I love you so much, and I'm so sorry"
That afternoon I spent the whole evening crying. I called family & friends repeating.
"We lost the baby, I'm so sorry"
Despite sharing the grief of our loss, I was surrounded with love and so much compassion. Being someone who has an extensive trauma history and attachment issues with shit self-esteem I was floored. For the first time in my life, I felt deserving. I felt safe. I felt cared for. And I felt heard. My internal critic and self-judgment were silent. This is/ was literally the type of love and compassion I've read about and dreamed about. And for the first time in my life, I knew that the love and compassion I was receiving was real and valid.
I spent a half-hour talking to my OB, who spoke to me with so much care. She had been with me during my last miscarriage and guided me through the familiar steps of scheduling my D&C. 3 days later, I'm getting dropped off at the Operating Unit accompanied by my mom and Husband to say good-bye to our little boy who almost was...
To anyone reading this who's experienced a miscarriage in the past or present, know this:
REMEMBER: You are not defective You are not alone You are worthy of love You are worthy of care Your loss is not a reflection of you or your abilities as a parent or partner and finally, Even the darkest night will end and the sun will Rise again.