A Story of Loss; The Reality of Early Miscarriage

Trigger warning: Miscarriage.

When I went through miscarriage I remember one thing very clearly; I remember that discussing the true details of miscarriage was taboo. I remember that I could not find any real life stories online. I remember that not until I opened up about my experience did I learn that many people I knew had endured miscarriage as well. I remember having so many questions and no answers.

As I began to recover from my loss I decided that one day I would openly write about it. I promised that I would attempt to make it easier, and more “normal” for atleast one woman in the future by being raw and honest about what really happens when you lose a baby in early pregnancy.

What I didn’t anticipate was that it would take me a full five years before I was ready to allow myself to be this vulnerable. I also didn’t realize just how therapeutic it would be for me to tell my story.

Yesterday, was April 17th.

As I curled up on the couch late last night with my husband after another busy day, he asked what the date was. I glanced down at my phone, and got choked up.

“It’s April 17th” I said.

He hugged me close.

“How did I forget? It’s the first April 17th that I missed in five years… it’s officially been FIVE years!”

But I can tell you why I “forgot”. Forgot is not the right word- because as soon as I noticed the calendar I did remember… but it didn’t weigh on my heart all day long.. I didn’t stay in bed most of the day in tears… Because I have recovered. I am okay now. Five years later and I am finally able to look back without hurting so much. It will always be a part of my journey, my heart will always feel a little heavier on April 17th. I will never be the same person I once was, But I have finally come out the other side and I’m okay.

5 years ago, I woke up 10 weeks pregnant.

But that night, I went to sleep knowing that the baby we had waited years for, would never make it to birth. His little heartbeat had stopped, and “early miscarriage” was the only diagnosis I was given.

People have this simple idea that a woman who is in her first trimester and loses a baby, wakes up one morning, learns she has miscarried her baby, and resumes previously normal life… This is simply not the case. Not mentally, but also not physically.

In recent years I am enlightened to see the recognition and understanding that some women are finally starting to receive for miscarriage. Slowly, the world is starting to realize that miscarriage is heartbreaking. That some women are affected by miscarriage for the rest of their lives. That miscarriage happens far too often, and that every person grieves this loss differently, and is entitled to do so in their own way.

You see, on April 17th I woke up and immediately felt like something was not right. I proceeded with my day, and went to work… about two hours into my day I used the washroom… and that’s when, (I’ll spare the gory details) I immediately knew that I wasn’t going to give birth to my baby that following December anymore … But this was only the beginning.

For the next 3 months I had to endure the physical loss of my baby all while trying to understand and recognize the emotional pain I thought I would never recover from.

I went to the hospital. While I was there for about 6 hours I had blood work, ultrasound etc… I was inconsiderately placed and travelled through the hospital with two other women, who also believed they were miscarrying their babies.

After some tests and a few hours, both other women were sent home. Their babies had heart beats. It was just a scare. Finally the Dr came to me and said “don’t worry! It’s very likely you just have your dates mixed up! There is no heartbeat, but we do see something; we believe that your baby is only at about 5 weeks gestation”. My mom was with me. My husband was on route to us. She grabbed my hand and smiled. But they were wrong. I knew 100% they were wrong.

I went to the bathroom again, and sure enough, there he was. He looked just like the pregnancy apps on my phone showed me. I emerged from the bathroom in a emotional state that scared hospital staff. Weak in the knees I collapsed and screamed out for my mother “please take me home!”

... I will never forgive myself for leaving him there. I will forever wish I brought him home, buried him, and planted a beautiful tree to grow forever in his memory…

The next part is a little blurry, though I do remember the hospital chaplain was sent to me- I told her I didn’t want to see her.. The Dr came to me again in an attempt to reassure me- my blood work looked normal for that of a 4-5week fetus. I knew that meant I had lost my baby 5+ weeks earlier.

The hospital sent me home. They told me time would tell, but because I was so certain I would get a call from the early miscarriage clinic within the next week. It’s been 5 years now and I’ve still never been called.

I went home and slept. In the pitch black, for what felt like an eternity. I cried so hard that I ran out of tears. My head started hurting so badly that I thought I was dying; Sudden massive hormone drops will do that. The next evening, my husband came home to realize I hadn’t gotten out of bed, it had been more than 24hours, he held me, he cried with me, and he took the next day off work with me…

The following day I was dizzy and not well. We went back to the hospital where they determined I was losing too much blood. They hooked me up to an IV and brought a Dr in. The Dr told me it was time to prep for a D&C.

Confusion is an understatement. It was less than 48hours earlier the same hospital insisted I was still pregnant. Today they didn’t do any tests to check the status of the pregnancy and instead insist I proceed with an invasive surgical procedure to remove anything remaining in my uterus. Suddenly I didn’t feel so confident in my beliefs that my baby was for sure gone.

What if they were right two days earlier? What if I was only 5 weeks pregnant with a healthy baby?

I begged them to give me another ultrasound, and they told me over and over again that instead I needed to just move forward with the D&C.

I explained to them that even with 100% reassurance that my baby was gone I did not want to risk a D&C. Sometimes this can cause scaring on your uterus and make pregnancy in the future next to impossible. They told me of another option: a pill that would essentially put me into labour. I opted for the pill.

I left the hospital and called my Dr. As requested he sent me for an ultrasound to confirm my heartbreak. The next day, under constant supervision of my sister and husband I would start the pill process, which would progress over the course of two days.

Those two days were challenging, painful emotionally and physically, but somewhat healing. I knew I was allowing my body to work more naturally this way, surrounded by people who loved me.

Following the two days I was sent for another ultrasound, at which time I was told I needed to do another round of the pills.

Two more days of forced “labour/delivery” and a fourth ultrasound confirmed that my miscarriage was almost complete. I could now go home for two weeks before I returned for what would be my last ultrasound confirming a completely vacant uterus.

I don’t know how to end this story, because although I am in a much better place today, for some women Miscarriage is not something they are able to fully move on from. It’s not always a story that has an ending.

For me I did move on to get pregnant the following July. My son, my rainbow baby and my second earthside baby was born 3 months later than the baby I lost was meant to be born. I feared the entire pregnancy that when he was born I would struggle all over again with the loss, but instead it brought me quickly to the realization that without the loss I never would have met my Rainbow-Boy. And I need this boy in my life more than anything I can explain.

Stay strong Mamas. If you are or have experienced a miscarriage remember that you are not alone.

And please, if you are supporting a mother who is dealing with loss, don’t say the overused line “everything happens for a reason”, because sometimes it takes a lifetime to find the reason, and sometimes we never know the reason.

Once Upon a Time… I was a Teen Mom

Once upon a time… I was a teen mom.

And not the MTV kind of teen mom. There were no cameras… in fact, I didn’t even have enough money to buy a camera before my baby was born.

I was 18 years young when, after 36hours of labour (and brutal ageist discrimination by medical personnel- something I will discuss in a later post), I delivered my baby girl… That was over 12 years ago now.

I once had a college professor who proclaimed “there is no such thing as a teen mom. Once a woman becomes a mother she is no longer a teenager.” I believed this wholeheartedly.

At age 20 I entered college as a mature student. I never got the chance to finish highschool, but managed to excel and graduate at the top of my class from my diploma program, giving me entrance to a bachelors degree program, which I also completed at the top of my class.

I spent almost 5 years in college and university – I graduated with an early childhoood education diploma, and a bachelors degree in child development. I fought for 5 years for teen mothers. I stood up to every professor who included “teenage parents” in the list of red flags for children. And I was convincing. More than once I had professors who had been teaching the same thing for 20years change their mind, and decide that being born to a teenage parent was not a risk factor; I personally convinced them that age was no factor. That a woman at 18, and a woman at 38 both are equally unaware of what motherhood truly is, what it takes to be a good mother, until she gives birth to her first child.

You see, as far as teen parents are concerned, I was as good as they come. I got pregnant by my highschool boyfriend. He didn’t leave. We got our own apartment, we supported ourselves and our baby independently with hard work a perseverance. We did not use the welfare system or any other government assistance, except for help with childcare costs. Something that I only received because I personally wrote a letter to our local government explaining who we were – and explaining that my only hope in the world was to do better for our daughter- I wanted to work full time until I was old enough to go to post secondary as a mature student. And I did just that.

When our daughter was 3, we were married, and when our daughter was 5 we had moved up enough in the world that we we no longer qualified for student loans, or childcare subsidy, and we had enough savings to purchase our first home.

I stood by my beliefs that age was no matter when it came to being decent parents. Rather, it was the choice of the individuals… and then, at age 27 I gave birth to our second child.

That’s when my thought process completely changed.

In raising our next two children I started recognizing the massive differences in being a mother in my late twenties/thirties and being a mother as a teenager.

What it comes down to, is that no matter how great a teen mother is doing, there is no denying the fact that she missed a massive part of her life. Her brain skipped an entire portion of development. She missed learning lessons. She missed taking risks.I learned more from my daughter in those early years than I think she will ever learn from me.

A woman who becomes a mother before she became an adult missed determining who she is as an Individual, and what her personal goals, desires and future prospects would be. This is fine for the first few years of motherhood, but eventually this will cause a mother to go one of two ways: 1) to get stuck in a job/town/relationship which she can do much better than, or, 2) she will get a several years into motherhood and become so determined to figure out what she needs as a person that she is overwhelmed, lost, and feels so far behind that it hurts.

A good teen mother dives into motherhood with every ounce of her being, and becomes “mom” before she ever gets the chance to become anything else. Without realizing it, she raises a child who views mothers as only mothers.

I was judged so harshly. Both by people who knew me, and by complete strangers who had the nerve to question me and my abilities as a mother. I refused to leave the house unless my daughter was dressed impeccably well… and always ensured that I was not dressed as well as her, because I wanted to make sure that all those staring and gawking full grown adults would be able to tell that I always put her needs above mine. Without even realizing it, I was teaching my child that appearance is everything. That we cared a lot about what everyone else thought about us. I taught her to be anxious and worried about other people’s opinions.

Being a teen mom meant that I was constantly on a mission to do one thing: figure out how to give my child the best life. This is an obvious thing for any parent to do, but when you’re a teen parent, you are being told by individuals, and society as a whole, that you can’t do a good job, and so it turns into a mission to prove to everyone else that not only can you do it, but that you can do it better than anyone could imagine. This meant that no matter what we had, I always needed more. No matter what I accomplished, it wasn’t enough. Without realizing it I taught my daughter to be unappreciative of what we had. I taught her that more was never enough, and I taught her that everything was a competition.

Being on such a constant kick to prove that I could do better also caused me to begin to develop extreme anxiety. Which became a normal emotion, a normal presence to my daughter, who also now has anxiety.

I was obsessed with ensuring that my child would not go without. And I couldn’t find a perfect medium, instead I worked my butt off to ensure that I could give her anything she asked for. I spoiled her with material things. Creating a child who thinks she is entitled, and should be able to have whatever she wants regardless of surrounding circumstances.

When you welcome your first child into your life before you are established in your life, you are constantly on the go to further yourself. You are rarely relaxing or taking in those precious moments. You are also so young that you don’t truly realize yet how fast life goes, and how precious those moments truly are. Forgetting to teach the child the value of treasuring the little things and moments, and failing to teach the child the true importance of relaxation, and being calm.

… and I was a “good teen mom”… I was that teen mom who beat all the teen mom statistics…

No matter how great of a teen mom a child has… there are definitely “risk factors”, simply because of the age of the mother. It’s truly hard to say who is at more risk in some regards; the mother, or the child…

At 12 years my child is doing incredibly well. She has a bright future undeterred by some personal setbacks, as well as the setbacks that came from me being her teen mother.

In reality though, she is doing so well despite what I have done for and provided her with thus far into life … but then again, maybe that’s the case with all children, regardless of the age of their mothers…?…

📸: Maranda Daubert

The Start of a Journey

At just 18 years young I became “Mommy”.

Somehow, that was 12 years ago now.

In those 12 years, I have married, and gave birth to two more babies. In those 12 years I have truly learned the meaning of this thing called life. I have loved bigger than I ever imagined possible. I have learned lessons I never knew I needed. I have appreciated and enjoyed every precious moment.

But there’s something that happens when you become a Mother at such a young age. There is a huge part of life that you miss. And, while I have zero regrets, and would not change a thing, now, in my 30s, I have recognized something.

I have realized that I lost myself in motherhood. I have forgotten about myself as an individual.

Being “Mommy” will forever and always be my biggest accomplishment, my biggest pride and joy, my first and foremost priority… But today, I am ready to be MORE than Mommy.

I am ready to indulge.

I am ready to do things for myself.

I am ready to practice selfcare, and self love.

I am ready to search within myself to find out who I am… Other than “Mommy”.