Sunday, March 27, 2011

Lost to Early Miscarriage
Toronto, Canada

Do you remember high school health class? I remember a cheerless woman issuing dire warnings about the dangers of unprotected sex, the scariest one of which was getting pregnant. We all knew that if you had unprotected sex once, you'd get pregnant and then nine months later you'd have a baby.

Well, as it turns out, it's not always quite so easy.

My husband and I were married this summer after eight happy years living common-law. We knew that we wanted children, so we stopped using birth control. About two months later I realized that I hadn't had a period yet, which wasn't necessarily unusual since I tend to be pretty irregular. On a whim, I peed on a stick and was shocked and thrilled to see a plus sign. We were so happy and excited. We immediately started making plans: talking, dreaming, planning.
I was so excited for my first ultrasound. I thought that I was at about 10 weeks, so I was a bit surprised when the foetus measured at 7 weeks. I thought that I must have just miscalculated, and the ultrasound tech told me that everything looked healthy, so I shrugged it off and grinned through the whole day at work. There was a baby. Growing inside of me.

Exactly one week after that first ultrasound, I started spotting. Frantic internet searches told me that this wasn't necessarily a bad thing, so long as the blood was brown and not too heavy. The next morning, it was pink. I spent six hours in the emergency room, willing myself not to throw up or sob too loudly, only to be told that I may or may not be miscarrying and that only time would tell. By the following day, there was no more doubt in my mind. I was bleeding heavily and trying to breathe through the waves of pain that kept rolling through my body. 

I miscarried naturally over the course of a week. I felt utterly bewildered and betrayed by how unprepared I was for the physical pain of miscarriage. While I knew that miscarriage would be heartbreaking, it had never even crossed my mind that it would also hurt so much.

The physical pain went away after five or six days, but my heart was bruised and battered. I thought of nothing but my lost baby for a very long time. The sight of a pregnant woman in the grocery store felt like a physical blow. I was angry, and then sad, and then bewildered, and then angry again, and then bitter, and then sad some more...

It got better, slowly, with the support of my husband and loved ones. But even now, months later, my heart and my arms still ache sometimes for my baby who never grew larger than an apple seed.

When I lost my pregnancy, I felt betrayed by my body. I responded by crying and eating and spending a lot of time doing nothing. After a few weeks my lethargy passed, but for a long time I felt angry at my body for letting me down. Despite knowing that there was nothing that could have prevented it, I still felt almost as though my body simply hadn't tried hard enough. I am learning to trust my body again and to believe that if I get pregnant again I will have a healthy baby.

Stephanie blogs at
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Unknown said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I am at almost 3 weeks post miscarriage. I am still struggling with the fact that I feel like my body failed and then I in turn let my husband and my family down. I hope you continue to heal and one day have a beautiful, healthy baby in your arms!

Cris said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. I lost my son Gage Aiden early as well. The pain of miscarriage is awful. I wish you well!

Ed said...

It's so hard not to blame yourself but it wasn't your fault. Thanks for sharing!

jackie said...

stephanie...will you be attending the face2face meeting this thursday night, downtown toronto? hope to see you there <3

Stephanie said...

Thanks for the comments and support!

Rian, I am so, so sorry. The first month was BY FAR the worst for me. I felt so sad and confused by the fact that the world had carried on and didn't seem to care much about my lost baby. Anyway...I just want you to know that I CARE. And it does get better.

jackie, I've never heard of it before. Off to google...

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