It’s no secret that my daughter changed my life. She opened a part of my heart that I didn’t know existed. She is the reason I started my own business and she’s the reason I work so hard; I want to give her the best possible female role model. Adding a child to our lives has been nothing but positive so when it came to motherhood and pregnancy, I was naive.
We want more children. We started trying for our second baby about six months before Norah turned two years old. I didn’t want siblings too close in age, but I’m 32 and wasn’t comfortable waiting too long either.
I found out I was pregnant on April 7th, a few days before my missed period. I took a test the day before, but the line was so faint that my husband didn’t believe that it was positive. The next morning I took a digital test which read “Pregnant 1-2 weeks” and we celebrated. On April 18th, I started spotting after a weekend of yard work in hot weather. I assumed I pushed it a little too hard and took it easy on Monday. After going to the bathroom on April 20th and seeing bright red blood, I was certain that I was miscarrying.
My first pregnancy was rife with symptoms. A few days after the positive test, I began feeling incredibly nauseous. I threw up within the first week and didn’t stop until week 20 even with the help of anti-nausea medication. This time, I couldn’t believe that I felt so good and normal while pregnant. Instead of assuming something was wrong, I had hoped that I was just having one of those unicorn pregnancies. I imagined myself exercising, having a ton of energy, and being one of those rare women who claim they feel better pregnant than not. I had such a rough first pregnancy that I felt like I was getting a good second one to balance things out.
On April 20th, I spent six hours in the ER, but left with no concrete answers. The doctor couldn’t tell me whether I was having an ectopic pregnancy, a threatened abortion or a normal pregnancy. Ten days of going to the doctor every other day to get blood tests and ultrasounds followed. My hopes kept being lifted only to crash again. My HCG was going up, but not with the regularity that they expected which pointed to an ectopic pregnancy. My ultrasounds showed only an empty gestational sac, a blighted ovum, too small for the six weeks I was supposed to be. Finally, things accelerated and I had a natural miscarriage. My HCG numbers dropped from 1300 to 100 in a day. Three weeks later my number was 2.
My sadness waxed and waned. I would feel fine for hours then all of a sudden it would hit me that I wasn’t having a baby in December anymore. Was I ever pregnant? It hadn’t felt like it. I waited for pregnancy symptoms, but nothing had happened.
Uncertainty makes me uncomfortable. I like to know what’s going to happen and when. This experience made me feel very small. It made me realize that the number of things I actually have control of in life is tiny.
I read a lot of other mother’s accounts of their feelings and experiences having a miscarriage and they gave me comfort. Unfortunately, my experience is not unique and many, many women have lost a pregnancy. I decided I wanted to write about this because not talking about it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. This was a big life event for me, even though it was a negative one. I am simultaneously extremely grateful to my body for giving me my daughter, but angry at it for failing me this time.
In the months that followed the miscarriage, I had a wonderful heart-to-heart talk with a pastor that gave me a huge sense of peace. I typically don’t cry in front of people, but this experience caused me to break down in front of several people. At first, I was embarrassed, but ultimately I realized that I was being true to my pain and my loss. I read many blogs about miscarriages. I watched many YouTube videos of women discussing their miscarriages and cried with them. I was as gentle with myself as I could be and tried not to play the ‘what if’ or ‘could have, would have, should have’ game.
We plan to continue trying to expand our family with hopes that this will not happen again. This will always be a part of my history, but I’ve made peace with it. I am grateful for the beautiful family I already have and optimistic for the family I want. As I said, this situation is too common and everyone deals with it in a different way. It is still a topic that women don’t always feel comfortable discussing with others. So yes, I will talk about my miscarriage. And if you’ve also had this experience, I invite you to talk about it too.
Hi Erin, I’m so sorry that you had to go through this and for your loss. It’s very brave of you to share your story publicly. I’m sure it could not have been an easy decision to make.
You may want to consider getting your thyroid checked (if you haven’t already) as hypothyroidism is a common cause of miscarriage that many women aren’t aware of. If you do decide to get it checked, please ask them to check your TPO antibodies and antithyroglobulin. These are indicators of autoimmune thyroid disease. Doctors don’t usually check them unless your standard thyroid screen (FT 4 and TSH – usually) is out of range, but they can still be elevated. I wish you continued good health and much luck with your freelancing career.
Erin Sturm says
Hi Sharon, thank you for commenting.
I had my thyroid tested in October 2015 because thyroid problems run in my family. They did a T4 test (my result was 1.3 – in normal range) and a TSH test (my result was 1.08 – in normal range). I will ask for the other testing during my yearly exam in October. I’m keeping a close eye on my health and seeing an RE if I can’t get pregnant on my own by December. Thank you for your suggestion!
Found your blog in searching for a review of the Oh Crap potty training method and then found this post when your comment “There won’t be a newborn in December” made my stomach drop. I know I’m a few years late here, but thank you for sharing. I also won’t have a newborn in December. I think our timelines were pretty similar. I was due Dec 13. Had some bleeding and also HCG levels were rising. Finally a transvaginal US revealed an ectopic pregnancy and I was rushed into surgery. I was just over 6 weeks pregnant. I just want to thank you for being open as so many of us feel like we have to suffer in silence. Just judging from your bio, it sounds like you got your rainbow baby and I wish you congratulations and send you lots of love.
Erin Sturm says
Hi Kelly, I’m so sorry that you went through this pain as well. Thank you for reaching out. I was able to conceive my son about six months after my miscarriage. He is now two years old. I hope you have a rainbow baby in your life very soon.