Miscarriage. What a scary word! Isn’t that a BAD word?? Up there with the F- word? But it’s more than just a word for 1 in every 4 women. It’s something nightmares are made of. It’s something unexpected, yet heart wrenching. It’s such a powerful word, yet it is rarely discussed openly as something that happens. It’s also something that no one expects to happen to them, until it does. A word that makes the F- word a frequently used one.
Here is my story about that scary word.
My name is Lynelle Stanley and I am a 25 year old mom to a beautiful 2.5 year old girl, Elisa. I am also a second grade teacher at a dual immersion elementary school in South Bay. I have a fabulous husband, Thomas, and we were so scared, yet excited to find out we were going to be welcoming our second baby to our family in November 2014. I took that first positive pregnancy test on March 17th, 2014. It really was a day for celebration!
Let me start my journey with a little background. My husband and I got pregnant the month after getting off birth control with Baby #1. Obviously, this was a surprise, as we were told there’s no way it would happen that fast! I had such an easy and healthy pregnancy! My baby girl arrived 15 days after her due date. I had a totally “normal” and healthy pregnancy and delivery. My labor was completely unmedicated and without complications.
Fast forward to finding out I’m pregnant with #2!! Being the Type A person that I am, I began purchasing the few things we would need for a newborn. Heck, these were the things I was EXCITED to purchase for our new baby!! I bought newborn diapers (OMG, they are so cute!), I bought a baby swing, and I also bought quite a few new wraps. I was beyond excited to hold my sweet new baby and wrap him or her in love.
I experienced the same symptoms as I did with my first pregnancy: fatigue, heartburn, and the beginning of a baby bump! I was ecstatic to dodge the morning sickness again!!
Shortly after finding out we were expecting baby #2, I interviewed a few different midwives. I decided on a fabulous midwife who I knew was on my same wave length and lovingly ready to help us welcome our new baby into loving arms. All I wanted was to bring my sweet baby into my home with the people I loved most.
All of this excitement came crashing down on Tuesday, April 29th. I went to bed after seeing the smallest amount of dark blood when I wiped. I didn’t think much of it, as this is totally normal in pregnancy, but I still couldn’t help but feel a little uneasy. The next morning, when I woke up, I ran to the bathroom, there was red. Not just brown, but RED. I began to shake. Of course I was scared! But I had heard that about 20% of pregnancies have some bleeding around this time, so maybe everything was just fine! I did what any normal person would do: frantically called my midwife, my obstetrician, urgent care, my mother, my husband… EVERYONE who might have some insight! It was 8am, so, of course, the first person I got ahold of was my OB/Gyn on her after-hours line. She told me everything was probably fine, but that I should get in for an ultrasound as soon as possible.
The ultrasound facility didn’t open until 9am. This was the longest hour EVER. I am still beyond thankful that the receptionist was able to squeeze me in at 10:30am. Of course, I didn’t go to work that day; there was nothing that could get me to go in to school. I got to the ultrasound facility 30 minutes early. They brought me right back…
I lifted up my shirt after a quick greeting from the ultrasound tech. We talked a bit about how my little girl was doing, as he was there with me through my journey with her. Using the external wand, he couldn’t find my uterus, which was expected, as my uterus is tipped (I already knew this, so it was no surprise). He got out the dreaded internal ultrasound. He found my uterus and the sac fairly quickly! However, there wasn’t a 9 week+4 day fetus, which is what I expected to see. He actually couldn’t find anything in the sac for some time! Finally, there it was! A… little ball. I knew that wasn’t right. He checked it out for some time, starting off by saying how sorry he was. This wasn’t real. No way. This doesn’t happen to ME.
“OH! Wait! There’s a heartbeat! Do you see it? It looks like you’re still in the game! But the baby is measuring at 5 weeks+5 days”
OMG. Well, that was scary. But I KNEW that’s not the right size. I should be able to see a little BABY and not a marble! We went over my dates again; however, I KNEW my dates were right. Well, maybe the pregnancy I thought we were working with was a chemical pregnancy and I got pregnant right after?? I mean, this baby IS 4 weeks smaller than expected… but I knew that was the best case scenario.
He printed out a picture of my little marble, writing “BABY!!” above it. There’s hope. Everything will be okay… right?!?!
My doctor called me and told me what she expected would happen, and it wasn’t what I wanted to hear. It was crushing. She told me I would most likely begin the miscarriage process shortly. Of course, I still was holding on to that little heartbeat I saw. I kept my chin up and told myself, “my baby is alive TODAY.”
Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for me to realize that my baby wasn’t going to be okay. The next day, Wednesday, I began bleeding fairly heavily. I KNEW what that meant. I didn’t need a doctor to tell me. THIS was the beginning of my grieving. Silly me, I tried to go to work. HA! I made it one hour with my kids before I went to my boss and told her I had to leave. NOW. I cried alone in my classroom until I could pull it together enough to walk to my car. The only feeling I felt at this time was grief. All I could think was: I’m losing my baby. This was MY baby, no matter how small, and I will never get to meet him or her. I cried like it was the end of the world. I felt like it was. Everything has come crashing down and I didn’t know what to do! This doesn’t happen to people like me!! But it did…
The rest of Wednesday was a blur. I went in for my Rhogam shot on Thursday. That’s all I remember. Was there even a Friday that week?? The bleeding was starting to lighten and a good friend took me to the spa for a massage. THIS is what I needed. Except it did something to me: it gave me time to think.
I feel like I’ve gone through more grieving than anyone should have to endure. But now I started feeling more… what, exactly?? It’s hard to pinpoint. The best I can say is: anger, frustration, more anger, confusion, even more anger, isolation, and, you guessed it, anger.
I was confused and frustrated because I didn’t understand how or why this happened! What did I do wrong? I thought this only happened to women with fertility issues. Did I eat something wrong? Did I drink something I shouldn’t have? Did I accidentally bump my bump? What did *I* do???
I felt so isolated because this doesn’t just happen. BUT IT DOES! I didn’t know that, though. Until I started sharing my story. It happens to 1 in every 4 women. That’s HUGE! Why didn’t I know this?
The most overwhelming feeling? ANGER! Pure rage. Fury. Every other synonym for ‘anger’ you can think of. I felt this because I wanted this little baby SO BAD. This was MY baby who was unable, for whatever reason, to make it to my arms. So many people get pregnant and have babies EVERY DAY and either don’t want them or can’t care for them. But here I am, wanting this baby with every fiber of my being. WHY!? Why does this happen?? I found myself at Target, walking the aisles while in a haze. Every baby I saw made me tear up. I even saw a pregnant woman there. She was the cutest pregnant woman I’ve ever seen. She looked so happy as she walked out of the store with baby items. I wanted to throw something at her. Why was she so happy and I am in such despair?? IT’S NOT FAIR!
Ahhh…Sunday morning came and I thought I was at the tail end of the despair. I rolled out of bed and went to the bathroom. As I pulled my pants down, a baseball size clot fell out. My bottoms were soaked. The pain was so intense that it rivaled the feeling of being in labor with my first baby. This wasn’t right. I called my mom and had her rush me to the Emergency Room. Yeah, it was that bad.
My OB/Gyn wasn’t the doctor on call and I wasn’t getting a call back from the doctor that was on call. It was too late, though. I was half way to the ER before I got a call back (a full hour after calling in a panic). She told me if I was really in that much pain, I could go in if I wanted. UGH! YES! I’m in pain. On so many levels! Physically and emotionally!
The ER staff saw the pain I was in and got me right back. I was asked to take my bottoms off. As I pulled my PJ pants off, I was greeted with the feeling of another huge clot plopping into my underwear. I freaked. No one was in the room. Just my mom. I began screaming, “What do I do?!?!” 3 nurses ran in and helped me figure out how to take off my pants. My underwear were trashed.
The nurses needed to get an IV drip going with pain meds. Yes, I tend to call myself a naturalist, but this was just CRUEL. I needed the relief. I sat on a bed in the ER with huge clots spilling out. There was no use for underwear or a pad, as I was soaking through both in minutes. Once the pain was under control (kind of), I was transferred up to Labor and Delivery. My doctor was there (thank goodness), and screaming at the staff because I was sitting in the ER for so long. How did she beat me up to L&D!?!
She checked me and I was dilated to 2-3 cm. I needed a D&C (well, minus the D, as I was already dilated). Here is the point where I wanted to use that F- word. The same nurse I DREADED while in labor with by first baby, walked in as my nurse for the surgery. I just didn’t have the energy to fight it.
I was rushed in to the OR while still in a haze. At least the pain was manageable at this point…. Then I woke up. I knew the worst of it was over. Or was it??
The worst of the physical pain was over, but not the emotional pain. How could I heal myself? Can I even do that? I just want my baby back!!! I want to go back in time, when I was so excited to have my sweet baby in my belly. The best way I know to heal myself is to talk. Yes, I could talk to my friends about it. I could talk to my husband. But all I want to do is tell whoever will listen.
Miscarriages happen. They SUCK. The feelings are real, but they’re okay and normal to feel.
Maybe I’ll feel less angry at the universe as time goes on. Maybe not. At least I know that these feelings are normal and it’s okay to feel.
One thing is for sure, I will never forget my sweet baby, whom I never got to meet, but I still love with all of my heart. Born May 4, 2014.