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Please Stop Calling It a Miscarriage

I will preface this with: I am not pregnant, we thought we were but it was a fluke. Keep reading for the explanation.

They say marriage is for better or for worse. Well, two and a half months in we did not expect our worse to hit so hard and so fast. We thought we were 9.5 weeks pregnant. Then last Monday I called the doctor because I had some bleeding. They rushed my ultrasound, despite having one scheduled for less than 24 hours later. When we were there I could tell something was wrong. I’d seen enough ultrasounds to know what it should look like, and this certainly did not look like that. Then the tech told me “you may just be too early to see baby yet, I’ll go have the doctor review this.”

The doctor came in and asked us to go into her office to review the images. My heart dropped; I looked at Michael in a panic. The doctor sat down and said “this doesn’t look normal” and went on to explain it was a molar pregnancy. What that means is instead of an embryo forming, tumor tissue formed in its place. This is very rare, we were told it is about as rare as being struck by lightening. (Why wouldn’t my body pose a fun challenge right off the bat, so soon into our fertility journey?)

I cried, I still cry. Some of the medical support I was offered was mind blowing. The nurse on the phone said to me “at least it wasn’t actually a baby,” (which we’re still waiting on results to confirm or deny this) and then when I share in the same conversation that I am a therapist she asked if I was accepting new clients. I was in shock and could not wrap my head around those statements.

I accept what happened, what is happening, I logically understand this. But I oscillate between sad and angry and frustrated and numb and completely OK. I think the worst part is that my body continued to think it was pregnant and in overdrive. (With molar pregnancy the hormone level is about 100,000 over what is baseline for pregnancies). I have all the symptoms, I don’t feel well, I even have a tiny bump. Touching or protecting my belly, though unconsciously, would send my thoughts racing and tears flowing.

Thursday afternoon I had a surgical procedure to remove all the cells and tissue. It was done with care and with a medical team I cannot speak any more highly of. I will need my blood monitored weekly for a while and then monthly to ensure all the tissue has been removed and does not progress into potential cancerous cells, or continue to trick my body and increase the hormones once more.  Again, I understand this logically, but sometimes I cannot even fathom that this is happening to me and not actually a “crazy” movie I decided to watch on Hulu, or whatever streaming network appealed to me at the time.

I think deep down at the start of my “pregnancy” I knew something wasn’t right, or normal. I kept saying it felt fake and I felt as if I was pretending the whole time; turns out I was. I got so much support from those we shared the news with, and even more support once we shared what it was that was really going on. I never once felt invalidated or wrong in my responses or actions; however, I think about what it’ll be like when it’s real, when it is a successful pregnancy. I want nothing more than to bring a tiny human into existence and so far this first chapter of our parenthood story has been my body failing me, once again. That does not even surprise me, but it does bring up past emotions around medical scares, medical trauma and continued daily medical management on my end.

When I believed I was pregnant, it was such a nice relief, a break per say, from my regular multiple sclerosis (MS) routine. I stopped my medication, I felt well MS-wise and I was hyper focused on something productive and joyful that I could do with my own body; a body that has always stripped me of control. So to have the realization that it would not be 10 months I could live in this perceived MS-free bliss, but only a mere 10 weeks, was heartbreaking. It was a stark reminder that I exist in this body, I manage this body and I remain hopeful daily that this body will continue to work efficiently and productively, despite not carrying a child, despite all the care I put into it and despite my own dreams and wishes.

So why don’t I regret sharing potential pregnancy news prior to the expected 12 weeks? Because I would not have managed this without the support we received. Because Michael and I, while strong on our own, are beyond grateful for the friends and family and love that surround us, not only in our good times, but also these hard, hard times too. Because the money sent for dinners, the coffee, the treats were all so appreciated and despite my saying no its fine, it truly made a difference when I could not fathom putting on clothes (because none fit due to my body thinking I was a pregnant and still developing a bump), it was nice to not have to prepare meals. Because when my appetite was haywire and my mood swings were beyond belief, a cookie was instrumental in calming me down. And because when I need to talk about it, I know there is an ear, or a text message available immediately and that is honestly what has helped me through one of the worst weeks of my (our) life.

Getty image by kieferpix

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