The time span between the births of my first and second child is almost 4 years. More like 3 years, 11 months and 28 days, or something like that. A long time in the grand scheme of having children. It was not planned that we would have kids so far apart in age. Two years sounded good to us, and considering that we basically said “let’s try to have a baby” and got pregnant with our first, we didn’t think that we’d have trouble conceiving our second. We were wrong.
It took 8 months to get pregnant again after Meg was born. It was a relief for us, and we were so excited that we started telling people. Even our 2 1/2 year old daughter. Then around 9 or so weeks, I started spotting. A quick trip to the doctor told the truth~no heartbeat. I was devastated. I forced my husband to tell my parents, and my office. I had the D&C, and tried to move on. It was not easy. The nurse at my OB’s office gave me the name of someone I could speak with, but I chose to ignore her advice. Luckily, Meg didn’t really understand what had happened, and still to this day doesn’t know.
So, we waited the appropriate amount of time, and started trying again. Six months after the first miscarriage, I was pregnant again. Because of the first miscarriage, I had an early ultrasound. Again, no heartbeat. Not only was I devastated, I was angry. Really, really angry. We hadn’t told anyone this time around, but my coworkers had figured it out and I had to explain to them. And then my family, because I had to have another D&C. I still didn’t speak to anyone about it, even though I had the slip of paper with the name and number on it. I had my doctor run tests, which all came back negative. It was one of those times where “things just happen.” I still had a hard time believing that I could get pregnant, but not stay pregnant, after having such an easy time with Meg. Angry, angry, angry.
When I did finally get pregnant with Drew a few months later, I was petrified. Again with the early ultrasounds. A baby, with a heartbeat. A good, strong heartbeat. Then, at about 12 weeks, I started spotting again. Angry, angry, angry. A trip to the doctor revealed a healthy baby, accompanied by a blood clot which was bleeding out. Nothing to worry about. Drew was born 3 days after Christmas, healthy and ready to rock and roll. I’ve never been so relieved.
Looking back, I realize that I didn’t cope well with the loss of those two pregnancies. I was angry at just about everyone, including my husband. I know that it wasn’t his fault, it wasn’t my fault, but I was still angry. I didn’t have the girlfriends that I do now, so I didn’t really talk to anyone. I had a pregnant co-worker who bitched ALL THE TIME about being pregnant and how she just wanted to drink wine, and I basically didn’t speak to her for months on end because she was having a baby that she didn’t seem to care about, and I was desperate to get and stay pregnant. Oh, what our minds do to us when we’re sad. So with some hindsight, this is what I can suggest as someone who has been through it, to anyone who may being going through it or knows someone who is going through it:
1. Find someone to talk to. Not your spouse, because really, they are as helpless as you are in the whole situation. If your doctor recommends someone, go to them. Or a girlfriend who will listen and not judge. Because you’re hurting and you need some love.
2. If you have a friend going through this, just hug them and listen. Do not say things like “it was meant to be” or “what do you think went wrong” or a whole host of other things in that vein. Hugs. That is what your friend needs. I have two wonderful girlfriends from college who live away from me, and they sent me a beautiful dried flower arrangement to hang on my wall and it reminded me that they love me no matter what.
3. Don’t blame yourself. I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary and I still had two miscarriages. And with the second one, I had an inkling it might happen again. My body didn’t feel “right”. Having all those tests run put me in control of my situation and forced me to stop thinking that I had done something wrong, or that I deserved what was happening to me.
4. Cry. Cry, cry, cry. If you can’t talk to someone, make sure you let it out. Because it will eat away at you. Women are not superheroes, nor should we pretend to be. We’re human and sometimes we need to cry.
5. Have a great OB. My OB and her staff were wonderful. She agreed to the tests, although she and I both knew that nothing would come of them. She called me personally to check on my after my D&Cs. She wasn’t judgmental or uncaring. If your OB makes you feel bad, find a new one. No one should minimize what you’re going through.
It’s been several years since my miscarriages, and I even managed a successful twin pregnancy after Drew’s birth. There are times when I wonder “what if?” I wish I had looked beyond myself a bit and gotten some help. I hope that these suggestions help. Know that it does eventually get better. It just takes time.