I’m splitting up this blog post into three sections: my tips for going through a miscarriage, what you can do to help someone going through a miscarriage, and our story. (Scroll down to skip through our story if you just want to read my thoughts on dealing with a miscarriage or encouraging someone going through one.)
For those going through this who aren’t ready to read all the details and emotions of my experience, here’s a basic timeline of how things happened:
My whole world changed the day I got a positive pregnancy test. At least I thought it did. A baby was growing inside of me, and that changed everything.
We had been wanting a baby for a while, so we were absolutely ecstatic when we found out. And the first time we heard the baby’s heartbeat was unreal. Not only could we hear it, we could see it on the screen—beating with a sweet rhythm that made our own hearts happy.
That was at our 7-week appointment. 4 weeks later, we went in again and everything seemed fine. I was finally starting to feel better after weeks of nausea, and I was really looking forward to my second trimester. They drew blood, and the doctor asked questions, but they didn’t listen for a heartbeat at that appointment. I thought it was kind of strange, but I figured it was just normal procedure, and that everything was fine. I was sort of disappointed that we didn’t get to hear the heartbeat, and I joked on the way home that the baby could be dead and we wouldn’t even know. A bad joke that was actually our reality.
This was my first pregnancy so it didn’t feel real yet. I knew that I was pregnant—there was no doubt about that. I had all the symptoms—terrible nausea, gagging when I brushed my teeth, acid reflux, constipation, a super-hero sense of smell—but the baby inside me was still tiny and so unknown to me. I was upset that we didn’t get to hear the heartbeat at that appointment, but I wasn’t too worried. We had decided that since I was almost 12 weeks along, we would announce it to everyone. (Our families were DYING to share the news.) I went home, grabbed what baby stuff we had accumulated since finding out, and put together a cute little flat-lay to post online. We posted it, and all the congratulations texts/comments started rolling in. Everyone was so happy for us. In my posts online, I talked about how blessed we felt. And we did.
I know so many people who have had or are currently struggling to get pregnant and have children. So being pregnant felt like a huge blessing. God’s little miracle made just for us.
That same night after going to the bathroom, I was bleeding a little. Just a little. I said something to Tyler about it, but I wasn’t really worried. My friend Meredith had the same situation happen to her a few weeks earlier (she’s pregnant too!), and she was just fine. I texted all of my friends who had been pregnant and asked them if they ever had any light bleeding. Most of them said it was probably normal, but to call my doctor if I was worried. I laid down and started having some cramps. Then I grabbed some paperwork the doctor’s office gave me and it said if I experienced any bleeding I should give them a call. I grabbed my phone and called the emergency on-call line. I told the doctor I wasn’t sure if I needed to be worried or not, and just wanted to call and see what she thought.
She responded with, “You have two options: if the bleeding is bad, you need to go to the ER tonight. If it’s not, I’ll see you first thing in the morning for an ultrasound.” I told her I was fine, there wasn’t any more bleeding and I would see her in the morning. That next day, I wasn’t very worried. I thought I was overreacting about it, but was happy I would at least get that ultrasound I had wanted.
We went into the ultrasound room and the doctor had Tyler turn the lights off so she could see the monitor better. It got really quiet. A few minutes later, she asked Tyler to turn the lights back on and she told us that she couldn’t find a heartbeat. She also said the baby was only measuring 8 weeks when it should have been measuring 11. Stunned, we asked what that meant we should do. She gave us three options: 1. She would give me 2 weeks to try to pass the baby naturally, 2. I could take a medicine that would help me pass it at home, or 3. I could go in for a procedure where they would take everything out (known as a D&C).
I hate all things medical, so I opted to pass it naturally at home. She gave me some medicine I could take for cramps if I needed it, and we went home. This was on a Tuesday. Tyler took the rest of the week off so I wouldn’t be alone (so glad he did), and then the weekend came. On Friday, I had a bridal session, and on the way home, I started having bad cramps. Tyler had me laughing in the car the whole time, and we were dancing and singing to our favorite songs to pass the time. We got home, went to bed, and then I woke up at 4:30 the next morning with terrible cramps and bleeding. I’ll keep the details of what happened to a minimum, but my body did try to pass the baby naturally. I spent an entire 12 hours the next day cramping and bleeding like crazy. It was basically like being in labor (so I’ve heard, but obviously less painful than actually giving birth), and it was rough. We were at home, and we were scared. We didn’t know what was normal outside of what other people had told us, but even still—everyone is so different, so going through everything was scary.
I have to pause right here and say that there is no way I could have gotten through it without Tyler. He was so empathetic to what I was going through, and was right beside me through it all. Whatever I needed, he was right there, holding my hand, rubbing my back, getting things for me, and so many other things I’ll spare you. I just can’t imagine having to go through it without him. (If you’re reading this and you aren’t married yet, a piece of advice—choose your husband wisely. There is NOTHING in this world better than a wonderful husband.)
We were really upset with our doctor for not listening to the heartbeat at my regular appointment the day before the bleeding started, because if she had, we could have avoided the part where we announced we were pregnant online. But we quickly decided that things happen for a reason and that maybe someone out there needed to hear our story. It turns out though, that it wasn’t other people who needed us to tell, it was us who needed to tell. If I’ve learned anything through all of this, it’s that the only way to really get through hard times is by leaning on God and leaning on His people. I can’t IMAGINE trying to go through life pretending nothing had happened to us. I can’t imagine hiding what we were going through and carrying on with life as if nothing had happened. Telling everyone ended up being the hugest blessing.
Not only did we receive so many prayers, sweet cards, words of encouragement, and gifts, but I was also able to connect with others who had gone through the same thing. A sweet client of mine called me right after it happened and talked me through her whole experience. She had two miscarriages, and currently has one beautiful baby, and another on the way. Hearing her story (and so many others) really encouraged us. I can’t even begin to explain how helpful it was for us to hear what other people had gone through. I was too scared to Google or research anything online, so getting to talk to others about what exactly they went through was so helpful.
After my body attempted to pass everything, things went sort of back to normal. I had 2 weeks before my follow-up appointment, Tyler went back to work, and some light bleeding continued. I thought my body had passed everything, and I was grateful that it all happened naturally. Unfortunately, that’s not what happened. For a second time, I left the doctor’s office crying. I was told, again, my body didn’t work the way it was “supposed” to. That’s how it felt anyway—like my body wasn’t working right. It hurt more this time than the first time.
You see, when we were told at that first awful appointment that we lost our baby, we cried. We didn’t even make it to the car. By the time we got in the elevator to leave the building, we were both crying, and when we got in the car, we lost it. But it wasn’t a hopeless feeling. We were sad, upset, lost, and unsure of why we had lost our baby, but we didn’t feel like God was absent.
I wrote this on Instagram that day:
“Our sweet little baby didn’t make it. While the loss hurts and brings with it so much worry and fear, I can’t help but feel joy over the time we got to celebrate the little life inside of me.
While the shock hit me pretty hard and made me feel dizzy and lightheaded, I didn’t feel completely overtaken by the news. And it’s because I’ve already shared this burden with so many of my friends and family. I’ve already helped so many people carry the weight of this tragedy, and so having it happen to me feels much the same.
You see friends, when we help carry each other’s burdens, the weight of it makes us stronger. And so, I don’t feel weak in this. I feel strong because I’ve carried it before. I’ve walked this road with others—cried the tears, imagined the fear, prayed the prayers…and so I feel strong knowing that I’ve, in a way, been here before. And that I’m not alone. That none of us are ever alone.”
And every word of it was true. I was hurting, but I really was ok. Because I had felt the sadness of it before when my friends had gone through the same thing.
But that next follow-up appointment at the doctor was different. (The one where they told me I had to have surgery). It crushed me. I was a wreck the entire day. I cried, and I cried, and I cried.
I had suffered through:
and here I was and it wasn’t over. It wasn’t over. All I wanted was for all of it to be over so I could heal. So I could move on. For whatever reason, I had to suffer more and it was very, very hard to deal with emotionally, spiritually, and of course physically.
We set up the surgery (what they call a D&C) a week later. I didn’t cry again after that first day, but I was still a wreck inside. I hate needles, anything medical, and I had never been put under anesthesia before. Everything just felt like torture. More waiting. More needles. More risks. More appointments. More suffering. When the day finally came, I was just ready. I didn’t feel brave, but I was just so ready for it all to be over. After loooong hours of sitting in waiting rooms, they took me back, made me wipe my whole body down with an antibacterial cloth, and put me in a hospital gown. They stuck an IV in my hand, made me answer a million questions, and reminded me of all the risks again. I had trouble breathing all day. I know it was all in my head, but I am so mentally weak when it comes to needles and medical procedures. The anesthesiologist thought I was having really bad cramps when he came in because I was breathing so heavy. “No, just trying not to freak out over everything happening,” I told him. He cracked a few jokes, made me laugh, and eventually they took me into the surgery room, shoved some “margarita juice” in my IV, put a gas mask over my nose, and finally I was out. I woke up 30ish minutes later, on my own (thankfully), with a sore throat and light bleeding. They wheeled me back into my original room where Tyler was waiting and gave me something to drink. It was 4:00pm, and I hadn’t eaten or drank anything all day so I was STARVING. (Like I said, everything about this was torture.)
We went home with 4 different types of medicines, 2 of which I thankfully didn’t need. (Zofran for nausea + Hydrocodone for pain).
Here I am, two days later, writing about all of it. The bleeding has stopped and the cramping is light. I told myself yesterday that I would wait until my next doctor’s appointment before I wrote everything out. Because it really doesn’t feel “over” yet. If I still have doctor’s appointments on the calendar, then it really isn’t over. But today something happened and I realized that it doesn’t matter if I write about it now or in a few weeks when it is “over,” because it won’t really ever be over. This is our story, and it doesn’t end here. Our hope for a baby doesn’t end here, and neither does our suffering.
We’ll face many more things in this lifetime that will hurt. Realizing that gives me hope. Because there isn’t anything in this life that I will suffer through that God doesn’t know about and have His hand in already. I find hope in knowing that Jesus has walked this Earth and personally knows our pain, and that our suffering ultimately ends with Heaven.
A lot of people have asked if we’ll try again to have children, and our answer is yes. We’re hopeful that God is gearing up to personally knit together another sweet baby inside of me soon, but if for some reason we aren’t ever able to have children naturally, we would know that God has a reason for it. I might not ever know what that reason would be, but I know that God is always faithful and always working things out for good.
Friends, I don’t know why certain bad things happen to us or why we have to suffer in certain ways, but I do know this: God is good. No matter what happens, God is good. We have to remember this in times of great blessing, and we have to have steadfast faith like Job in times of suffering. The sting of any tragedy is lessened when we can feel God’s love and when we can bury His truth in our hearts.
“God will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore.” —Revelation 21:4.
Update since I originally wrote this: I had a few anxiety attacks the weeks following the surgery, but I’m doing much better now. (It was mostly all physically related and just being worried about whether or not my body was healing the way it should.) I’ve since (happily) started my period, and am feeling much more like myself (hormones are no joke).
Thank you so much to everyone who prayed for us and encouraged us in such a difficult time. We love you all more than we could ever say.
Everyone’s experience will be so different, but I wanted to list out some things that helped me cope. If you’re reading this and going through a miscarriage, I want you to first know that you aren’t alone. If you ever need someone to talk to, I’m an email away. Do not hesitate to reach out. Know that I am praying for every set of eyes that reads this.
Everyone is different. How I feel about things isn’t how other people will feel about things. While I’m not emotionally sensitive being around pregnant people, I know that some people going through a miscarriage find it hard to be around people who are pregnant or who happily have children. It’s important to be sensitive about things like that, but ultimately you shouldn’t feel like you have to walk on egg shells. I know a lot of people were hesitant to reach out to me about photographing maternity pictures for them, and I appreciate the thoughtfulness, but honestly, it brings me so much joy to get to celebrate pregnancy with others. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, and in my time of hurt, it brings me joy to get to help others celebrate! Here are some ways you can be there and encourage someone going through a miscarriage.
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