One Year Ago Today: I woke up with overwhelming emotions of happiness, excitement, and fear of the unknown. Today was going to be a good day; it had to be, it was the 7th – 7 is my lucky number.
Those positive emotions took a quick turn for the worse when the screen showed a sight neither my husband nor I thought we’d ever have to face.
Our lives were forever changed that day, just not in the way we had hoped.
Two lines were all we knew of you. But when we saw those two lines, nothing we had planned for our first year of marriage mattered more than bringing a little one into this world.
We weren’t expecting to get pregnant right away. When we did, I tried my damnedest to see the silver lining through a diagnosis from a couple of years past. That diagnosis brought about a very realistic view of the pregnancy and stood in the way of a more positive mindset. All I could do was pray and pray for a healthy baby. On this day, one year ago, was our first ultrasound appointment. I was nervous, excited, scared, and full of any other emotions one could feel at one time.
Back Story: A few years ago, what I thought was an ovarian cyst made out for an additional diagnosis of a septate uterus, or a bicornuate uterus. That was all I needed to remove myself and my mindset from the decreased possibility of ever having children. Recurrent miscarriages, pre-term births or delivery, the inability to reach full term pregnancy – all of these were associated with my diagnosis. My thoughts brought me back to, “I will cross this bridge when I get to it. God gave me this body, and did I want to manually adjust what He had made?” Remember this verse Han?
Little did I know, this bridge would come about a lot sooner than I had once thought it would. I knew surgery to remove the septum in my uterus would immensely increase my chances of successful pregnancies and having children, but I was still so hesitant. I prayed and prayed for guidance in making that decision.
Our eyes were fixed on the ultrasound screen unaware of what we were or weren’t looking at, but I knew it wasn’t what the doctors were hoping for. I can remember the look on my doctor’s face and the quiet, empathetic tone of her voice when she told us the baby wasn’t developing and growing as he/she should. She then gave us our options and recommendations on the decision we had to make now and for any corrective surgery in the near future.
From that moment on, the next 24 hours happened so fast. That appointment led to an immediate D&C (Dilation and Curettage) early the following morning. I didn’t give myself enough time to process what exactly had happened and what was going to happen.
The next morning, my husband and I made our way to the hospital for pre-op check-in before sunrise. I was an emotional wreck the whole hour ride, but I internalized these feelings and emotions. Thoughts flashed in and out of my head; “surely there are a lot of women who go through or have been through this. I should just be thankful I could get pregnant,” I thought to myself. I knew I wasn’t the only one. I had to be strong for myself, for my husband, and for my family.
It wasn’t until one of the nurses brought in consent forms and went through the procedure details that I fully understood what was going to happen. Right there on the paper was the word “abortion”.
In that moment, I have never felt more awful about myself, about my life, about my marriage, or about this baby. As naive as it sounds, I had never once thought about the procedure details.
As I signed my name to go forth with the procedure, the tears began rolling down my face. I had never felt so alone, and the sad part was that my husband, my support system, my best friend, was sitting right next to me the whole entire time holding my hand. So why did I feel this way? Why did I feel so alone?
The days and weeks of recovery went on, and I still thought and prayed about the what if’s. Sitting in a waiting room full of pregnant women and moms with their children of all ages for follow-up appointments got harder and harder. As the pain and soreness faded, my thoughts and emotions did not.
Miscarriage – no matter how far along, doesn’t make it any easier.
I leaned on my Lord, prayed for understanding, and asked for guidance. I knew his plans would prevail, but that didn’t mean it didn’t hurt. It doesn’t mean that I don’t think and pray every single day for that little one.
This week is the first time I feel comfortable sharing, the first time I feel ready to show the world that it’s okay to share your journey if you want, with who you want, and when you want. I didn’t share a lot of my real feelings following the miscarriage. Because of the “12 week rule,” I hadn’t told anyone but my mom and employer about the pregnancy. We actually lied to people when they asked why I had surgery because I didn’t want people to know that we had lost a baby.
[The 12 week “rule” – the suggested amount of time one should wait during a pregnancy to inform others of your exciting news. This rule isn’t necessarily a rule you absolutely have to follow, but there is a stigma attached to the “rule”.]
But here’s the thing, miscarriages don’t just happen in the first twelve weeks, they can happen at any point during a pregnancy, and unfortunately, a loss can also follow the birth of the baby. So what I’m saying is that 12 weeks is just a number. To hell with the stigmas around how you should and shouldn’t go forth with your pregnancy.
I put on a strong front because there are too many women who have been through this, and they were “fine,” right? The truth is, they may not be “fine”, they are changed.
So tell who you want, so share your every emotion. It is not worth being or feeling alone. Give up the 100-year-old stigma of keeping miscarriages a secret; give up the 12 week rule if you want. It doesn’t make you any less pregnant or less of a woman or a mother. Your mental health and your support systems are necessary to get through something so raw and real. All I wanted was to lean on someone, I just didn’t want them to minimize my feelings or tell me how to feel.
One of my biggest support systems was the good Lord and His word. I understood that His plan was better than anything I could ever muster up in my head. I believe that God walks with us through the lowest of lows so that we see for ourselves that even when we feel alone, He is still with us.
But He says,
That was all I needed to give me hope.
Prayers to all of you who have been or are along a similar journey as well as to those of you who are struggling with infertility. My heart goes out to you all and I pray for you daily. Just remember, you are never alone.