When we started telling everyone about our pregnancy, we got a lot of the typical (and super personal!) questions, like “were you trying for a while?”, “was this planned or a surprise?”, etc. A lot of people find these questions annoying for a multitude of reasons, but for us they were even more difficult to answer. I haven’t talked about this to anyone but both sets of parents and siblings, but this isn’t our first pregnancy. This pregnancy will (hopefully) result in what people call a "rainbow" baby, a baby that comes after a loss.
When we started thinking about having kids, we envisioned exactly the timeline we’re at right now, get pregnant in the Fall of 2012 (ok we actually got pregnant in July, but close enough). However, when I went off the pill I was having extremely long and unpredictable cycles. I’m not kidding, this was the pattern: 32, 48, 48, 54 days. My doctor suspected I might have some issues, so we decided to try right away, she told me that after 6 months of trying she would refer me to a specialist. Imagine our surprise and delight when we got pregnant that first cycle in February 2012. It was actually pretty shocking. We told our parents and siblings right away, and I went to see my doctor and booked an ultrasound for when I should have been about 7 weeks.
At the ultrasound we found out that the baby measured only 6 weeks, but it had a heartbeat! The ultrasound tech didn’t seem fazed when I told her that was a week smaller than I thought. My husband left feeling positive, there was a heartbeat after all. I wasn’t so sure, and for the next week and a half, I was pretty pessimistic about the whole thing. A week and a half later, at what should have been just over 8 weeks, I started spotting. It was just a tiny amount and it stopped pretty quickly, but off we went to the hospital anyways.
The hospital we went to didn’t have ultrasound techs on duty during off hours, so the ER doctor attempted to use the machine and told us she was pretty sure she saw a good heartbeat. We left feeling pretty good, but the next morning scheduled an ultrasound at the clinic just to be sure. Everything was not great. Unfortunately, there was no heartbeat and the baby measured about 6 weeks. I had what they so insensitively call a “missed abortion” in medical terms. It basically means that the baby died, but my body didn’t recognize it and carried on.
After all of that, it took me a really long time to feel even slightly normal again. Actually, even though I am pregnant again, I still mourn and grieve for the baby we lost. It still hurts to think about, and we just passed what would have been our due date last week. I know this is something I will never forget, and even though it will fade, it’s a scar I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
So, questions like “have you been trying long?”, and “was this planned?” are especially difficult for me to answer, since no one really knows what we went through. I want to say, no, we haven’t technically been trying long, but we’ve gone to hell and back, and then I want to say YES, you have no idea how planned and how wanted this little baby is. But you can’t really say those things, because people are just trying to be friendly and ask what they think are the right questions. I will never ever ask someone a question like this again, because you just don’t know what anyone has been through to get where they are now.
I didn’t put this out there for pity, I put it out there for awareness. I wanted to write a little bit about this because I really feel like miscarriage is such a taboo topic that nobody wants to talk about. It’s almost like there’s still a little bit of that old mentality, like if you miscarry a baby you’re somehow less of a woman, or less desirable because what if you can’t procreate? No man will want you! Obviously, this is not really the case in this day and age, but it just seems like we all still sort of believe that, so we don’t really talk about this. I just want to put this out there, and offer my support to anyone who might be going through something similar. Please don’t hesitate to contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org)!!