"Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it's always your choice." - Wayne Dyer


Monday, September 15, 2014

Miscarriage & Me: A Long Week in Hell

Many young mothers go through this, but not enough of us can talk about it. I hope that sharing my experience will help someone feel like they are not alone.

I honestly thought something like this could not happen to me. It might sound cliché, but I figured that being young and healthy gave me a lower risk of miscarriage. The unfortunate truth is that one in five pregnancies end in miscarriage and it can happen to anyone.

When you see people go through it on television it's different, almost glamorized, when compared to the crushing reality of true pain. The actress might spend a few hours, or maybe the night in the bathroom, withering in pain, but in the next scene they have gone on to cope emotionally with lots of support from their loved ones. Because everyone has a different experience, this may have been the case for some women, but it was not the case for me.

I never suspected that I was pregnant in the first place. I had missed a period, but since I had recently stopped breastfeeding Nico, I dismissed it as a sign that my body was trying to get back to normal. It wasn't until a few days of morning sickness that it occurred to me to take a home test. Three tests later, we were sure that I was pregnant, again. I was having mini panic attacks; Nico was still in diapers, he did not know how to talk, Pedro was working a second job with his father, and we were trying to save money to move. My family was not ready for a second baby. For a while I remember thinking that I did not want to be pregnant. I know that this was not my fault in any way, and that I didn't do anything to deserve it, but now I understand the saying, be careful what you wish for.

When I started bleeding on Wednesday night, I was afraid that something might be wrong, but I was not feeling pain. Everyone told me that a miscarriage included intense cramps, so I assumed that it was a strange part of this pregnancy. On Thursday it seemed like the bleeding was getting worse, and I was still getting sick in the mornings so I decided to pack up Nico and walk to the local medical center, a short distance from our apartment. The doctor did an extremely uncomfortable pelvic exam and a pregnancy blood test that came back positive a few hours later. He told me that he was going to call an ambulance to have me transferred to a hospital that had an emergency room especially for pregnant women. 

In my mind, it was all so unnecessary. Pedro had to come home from work early to be with Nico at the hospital and I had to undergo a series of uncomfortable tests, all for what? I still was not in pain, all I wanted to know was if the baby was okay or not. The maternity emergency room was overflowing with women who looked much worse off than me. After waiting for almost six hours and not being seen by the on call gynecologist, I told the doctor and nurses that I was going home. They insisted that I come back immediately upon feeling more bleeding or pain which I promised I would.

That night, when we returned from the hospital, I began to feel it. 

At first it was mild, but soon it was strong enough to literally knock me off my feet. I felt like there was a parasite inside me trying to tear its way out by ripping me apart one organ at a time. I couldn't focus on anything else, I was drenched with sweat from head to toe, I thought I was going to die. Somehow I managed to fall in and out of sleep that night. The next morning was a little better, but not by much. I was hurting so badly that I could not stand up straight. I threw up several times; I was shaking from pain and fear. I spent Friday between the bathroom, and my bed and heating pad.

On Saturday, I was sitting in the shower, letting the water rush over me like a massage blanket of warmth, when the reality of my situation hit me. Pedro was doing a wonderful job holding down the title of Super Dad, but I felt completely useless. After having all this pride in my accomplishments as a KUL Mom, suddenly I couldn't go to work, I couldn't take care of Nico, I couldn't cook, or clean; the overpowering guilt was almost as bad as the stomach cramps. I cried for a long time, wondering why I was still feeling bad.

I finally started to pray. Not that I had not been doing so before, but recently, my prayers had become more like half-hearted cries of anguish than conversations with my creator. I decided to thank God for the good things in my life, and for the things that were happening that I could not understand. I thanked Him for the brief moments of relief that I would feel throughout the day, for Pedro (who was doing everything in his power to take care of me and everything else), for the people at church who were praying for me, and for my perfect little Nico. Needless to say, I made it through the rest of the day.

Later that night we went back to the emergency room where there were much less women. In fives hours, they had examined me, and confirmed that my uterus was empty and that I had likely expelled the fetus during a spell of painful bleeding.

A lot of people wrongfully assume that just because a mother is young, she would be happy if an unexpected pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. They think that she will be grateful, or relieved, but that was not my experience.

I felt no feelings of joy, or giddiness.

A lot of people wrongfully assume that every woman who goes through a miscarriage will be overcome with depression and guilt. They think that she will be convinced that it was her fault, or that she will never want to try for another baby again, but that was not my experience.

I felt no feelings of great sadness.

I felt humbled, and more than anything, I felt like God was in control.

There is not a certain way we are supposed to react to losing a baby. There is no book that explains what you are going to go through and what emotions you should be feeling. Many people might tell you that you "dodged a bullet" or that "that child will never get the chance to be alive."

I just want to be clear. No one is allowed to judge you for what is in your heart.

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