Updated: May 19, 2020
I gave Tyler this papa bear mug the day I found out I was pregnant for the first time. I was frantic to do something cute because I had a chance to surprise him and I didn’t want to blow it. It was December so naturally an early Christmas present did the trick. I will never ever forget the look on his face when he opened the present. I got to tell him he was going to be a dad.
A month and half later we would find out that pregnancy wasn’t viable. There’s nothing quite as devastating as sitting in a doctor’s office finding out there was nothing but a sac showing on the ultrasound, no baby.
I don’t feel compelled to share my miscarriage story. There are a few great resources and stories I will add at the end of this if you’re currently going through a miscarriage and want to know what to expect. My heart lies in what happens after. That’s the part I wish someone would have explained to me.
The grief doesn’t end when your HCG hits zero.
After the miscarriage happened, I was instructed to come in for weekly blood draws to ensure that my HCG was coming down and eventually hitting zero. For those of your not familiar, that’s the hormone detected in pregnancy tests. It was the hormone we monitored and watched fall week by week, slowly but surely. I became pragmatic and hyper focused on the goal of zero. My job was to get to those appointments and check the results a few hours later to ensure my body was doing what it was supposed to be doing.
My last test showed less than 5 mIU/mL. I had finally made it. It was as if I could say, it was finally finished. The problem was the grief doesn’t end when your HCG hits zero. In many ways that was when it finally started. I became hyper aware of trying to track ovulation again and week after week it seemed like my body wasn’t. I wasn’t sure when my period was going to come again and scouring the internet only gave me more and more frustration – the numbers varied - many women got pregnant quick, some did not. None of those stories were mine and I was frustrated.
You don’t have to be an alcoholic to have a drinking problem.
This is probably the hardest thing I will ever write. Something I’m not proud of but something I see way too often to be silent about. My generation in particular has taken a special liking to drinking their problems away. They can go weeks, months without ever touching alcohol with one bad work day or event sending them off into a spiral and someone has to take care of the drunk girl again.
That was me.
A few weeks after the miscarriage, Ty and I headed out with our friends for a good old fashion Saturday night out. I had had a few drinks since the miscarriage but hadn’t had an all-night banger since before being pregnant. I was excited to feel ‘normal’ again. Well one drink turned into two which turned in six and before I knew it I couldn’t see left from right. We made our way home and as I began sobering up, I realized all over again my grief. My desperate desire to avoid feeling anything had failed. I had one of my worst panic attacks of my life. I was filled with shame – such great shame – the feeling that I had failed Tyler as a wife. I had failed my unborn child as a mom to not provide a safe and secure haven. I was devastated. The night turned into morning but not without hours and hours of my husband trying to calm me down. That was the last time I drank to get drunk. It doesn’t work. The grief follows you into the morning.
I tell you this embarrassing and raw story to say this – have an honest conversation with yourself before picking up that drink. If you’re searching for numbness to avoid something you’re not wanting to feel – put the drink down and talk to someone.
Getting pregnant again doesn’t take it all away
I remember very specifically talking with my sister who had also gone through a miscarriage. We were talking about me tracking my LH levels (hormone that surges during ovulation) among other fertility jargon and she said something so impactful yet I didn’t understand it until much later. She told me – Lillian I know the feeling of wanting to get pregnant again quick to make it all go away.
I did get pregnant again very quickly, and again didn’t find the answer at the end of a pregnancy test. The excitement was gone, there was no cute announcement for Ty, I just casually brought it up in phone conversations with my mom – telling everyone not to get their hopes up because we don’t know if it’ll work this time. Ty didn’t really touch my belly like he used to and the spark of pregnancy just wasn’t there. I had panic attacks – same as before. Constantly crying (hello hormones) grieving and feeling disconnected from this baby and longing for the previous one (strange I know.)
Additionally, my anxiety didn’t go down, it went up. I was going to do everything in my power to make sure this pregnancy was viable and yet I had no control. It was DAILY conversations of release and let go. Constantly praying for protection over this baby and protection over my heart.
I can say now sitting here at 16 weeks, the excitement is back. We found out this week we’re having a little boy and while it didn’t matter to us what our baby was – it has been so exciting to really feel like we’re getting to know this little one. Our ‘scary’ time is over and yet there’s things to fear in every trimester. I don’t know what the future holds but I know that God is good through it all. I trust in his timing and his ability to continue to bless our family.
I wish someone would have told me it’s okay to wait to try again. I wonder how things would have been different had I processed my grief before entering into another pregnancy. I know that everything happens for a reason and that this was the path I was supposed to lead, I truly just wish to tell the next person – it’s okay to wait a minute before trying again.
If you’re in the middle of grief, whatever kind, I am with you. I am sad with you. No amount of inspirational quotes, ‘I’m sorrys’ or horoscopes will get you out of where you are now. You have to sit in it, move through it, and allow for all of your emotions to show themselves however they need to. Mostly importantly give it time – the most annoying advice of all and yet the one that rings true over and over again.
“Me too” stories if you’re going through a miscarriage right now