Why is pregnancy loss so covered in stigma & shame? In the midst of my 3 losses, I suffered and cried alone. I spent hours behind the computer screen looking for support and answers.
After finding emotional stability and as I continue my journey towards fertility, I feel led to share my pregnancy loss stories so that another woman can read them and find strength, support and confidence.
This is the story of my first pregnancy loss.
My Miscarriage Story
When we got married in 2017, my husband and I had no doubts that we would have children. So little so, that we planned to wait 6 months after we got married to start trying. How idealistic of us, right?
One night in June, 3 months after we got married, we sat down to dinner. I believe I had made rice & ewa oloyin with stew. My husband had started eating before I sat down with my plate. I put the first bite in my mouth and immediately recoiled in disgust.
“Why is this so salty??”. I took another bite. “Ugh! I don’t think I can even eat this! It’s sooo salty”. My husband looked at me with the most confused look. Between the two of us, he’s the one that is usually sensitive to salt. He took another bite and said “what are you talking about? It tastes fine”.
I had had enough. I ran upstairs to wash my mouth and use the restroom. With each bounding leap up the stairs, my mind connected more and more dots.
I thought about how tired I had been recently. And how I’d been having breast tenderness.
“Hm… I usually never have that symptom”.
By the time I reached the top of the stairs, my phone was out and I was googling “is salt sensitivity a symptom of pregnancy?” To my surprise, it was! My heart raced! Zero to 100, like they say!
This was new territory! I wanted to scream..think…talk…imagine. I wanted to get on Pinterest and start pinning cute pregnancy announcements!
Above all, I wanted to surprise my husband. I knew I had to do it right away because well, he’s a physician and I knew that before long, he’d catch on.
The next day, I bought a pregnancy test (or two I can’t remember). I took it when I got home and indeed, I was pregnant!
No time for an elaborate surprise so I found a pretty box and I put the test with the marvelous two lines inside. When he came home, I told him I had a surprise.
I sat him down and gave him the box. He opened it and just like him, he says “oh I already knew”. Ugh. Though I was annoyed that he ruined my sweet surprise, I was also relieved. He was the person I’d been waiting and needing to talk to about this. We talked about my symptoms and how things might change.
The days passed.
I called the most glamorous OB-GYN office in town- the one with the stylish, modern office building that I admired every time I drove past.
The answering nurse told me they couldn’t schedule me in until I was further along. That really annoyed me but I managed to brush it off. I told myself to be patient because the 8 week mark was only a few weeks away anyway.
One day around the 7 week mark, I went to the bathroom and noticed a streak of brown discharge. My stomach and uterine area both felt strange. I immediately told my husband who told me not to panic. He seemed surprised but not necessarily worried. With his wealth of doctor knowledge, he reassured me that some women with healthy pregnancies have brown discharge from old blood and an engorged uterus.
I believed him…or at least I wanted to believe him. A large weight, made of nerves, was already starting to settle in the pit of my stomach. There was an uneasiness I just couldn’t shake. (Intuition or pessimism- I still can’t tell you which one it was).
Over the next 48 hours, brown spots turned into dark red spots and dark red spots eventually became bright red. The dull ache in my uterus had become sharp cramps. I gave my husband live updates as things changed and even though he tried to be reassuring along the way, I could tell he was alarmed when the spots transitioned to red.
Finally, the red spots became a red flow.
Oh and it wasn’t the only thing flowing; the tears were plentiful by now.
I felt panicked yet conflicted with hope. ‘Maybe there’s a small chance this is normal?’ I googled possibilities like crazy and laid down with the hopes that less physical activity would stop what was happening.
As things kept progressing, I got mad! Mad at my body for failing and mad at the fancy OB/GYN office. Surely if they would have agreed to see me sooner, this wouldn’t have happened (as if they are God).
The bright red flow and the cramping that came with it lasted for three days.
I had lost the pregnancy by early miscarriage. That much was obvious.
We were sad and disappointed.
I was in shock that something that had been happened so suddenly had been taken away so quickly. The concept of pregnancy loss had become real.
At that time, I didn’t know that 8-20% of all pregnancies are lost through early miscarriage. I felt shame. I thanked God that I didn’t tell anyone other than my husband about the pregnancy. It felt like some kind of twisted blessing to be able to suffer and cry about it alone.
As God would have it, we didn’t have to dwell on that miscarriage story for too long. Why? Because I got pregnant again with the very next cycle. Pregnant with the ectopic pregnancy that broke my body and spirit.