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What I Wish I Knew Before My Miscarriage

I found out I was pregnant the morning after Easter. I had the day off of work, and I was happier than I’d ever been when the test flashed pregnant. I was so anxious for my husband to get home so I could tell him. We live with my parents, so it was easier to just tell them before the three-month mark as well. Within the week, I couldn’t help but tell my best friend and my employers. In the coming days we had plans to tell even more people. We knew a miscarriage was possible, but we were too excited to keep it from our close friends and family.

I had only been pregnant for a few days when I started having unusual symptoms. One day, I threw up all day; I couldn’t even hold down water. Most days I had no interest in food, either. Then the pain started: these were the kind of cramps that stop you in your tracks and you fall over a little trying to ride them out. After a few hours, I went to the ER. They reassured me that it was probably pain from a cyst, the baby looked fine but be prepared in case it’s a miscarriage.

I left the hospital relieved, but still in a lot pain and feeling very nervous. My doctor called and said she noticed I had a UTI, so she put me on amoxicillin. About an hour later, I started spotting. At this point, I began to prepare myself.

The next day, I had a follow-up appointment with my gyno. After being reassured several times now that it’s probably just the UTI and a cyst and that the baby is fine, we got into the doctor’s office and were told just the opposite. My hCG levels were decreasing and my pregnancy was no longer viable. Because my blood type is O-negative, I had to go back to the ER to get an antibodies shot.

The following days were filled with intense grief, severe sharp cramping pain and not as much blood as I was expecting. However, the pain was overwhelming. I took almost two weeks off of work and did not leave my bed unless it was to go to the doctor’s.

A big part of having a miscarriage is having to break the news to everyone who knew about the initial pregnancy. My husband was there with me when I found out. Then I had to tell my parents, which was easy because I did it through text. The tough part came when I had to be around them while recovering; I wasn’t ready to share my grief, but I still had to be sensitive to how it affected them. A few people I ended up telling I had a miscarriage even though they didn’t know I was pregnant because I needed the extra support and wanted people to understand why I wasn’t myself.

I’m a very private person, and although I struggle with chronic illness on a daily basis, I’m not one to publicly share this information for awareness alone. But I decided to share my story, not because it is a profound experience, but for the very opposite reason. Miscarriages are so common and women are taught that it’s not appropriate to discuss. They’re meant to feel like it’s foolish to grieve because it should be expected that this may happen. Well, I can tell you firsthand miscarriages can feel like torture.

Here’s five things I wish people knew and things I didn’t know before it happened to me:

  1. It’s a different experience for everyone. Most people warn you about the bleeding, but for me it was the cramps. I could not leave my bed and nothing helped.
  2. It feels like it lasts forever. Mine went on for almost a week and every day was a slow torture.
  3. The physical pain: just to double down on this, it can hurt really bad! Like the worst period cramps you have ever had times 10.
  4. That I would need time away from everything — this is hard. Part of me wanted to be distracted and kept busy and the other wanted to cry in the dark. I was too sick to cuddle up with a bottle of wine and talking about everyday stuff felt wrong.
  5. It can be expensive. I had to go to the ER twice, once for severe pain and the second for the rhoGAM shot. I have insurance but between the hospital and doctor’s visit, this will cost me between $500 and $700.

I hope my story can help someone one else feel more comfortable about their miscarriage and fertility journey. My heart goes out to all of you and I hope you have some comfort and happiness to fall back on while you recover.

Getty image via kaipong.

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