October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. It is time to remember and honour those who have lost a baby during pregnancy or lost a child in infancy.
I never thought I’d be affected by this month. I had two relatively easy pregnancies that resulted in two healthy babies. It never occurred to me that I could have a miscarriage. Until I did.
At the beginning of this year my husband and I were so excited to add another baby to our family and, at first, it seemed like everything was going smoothly. I felt pregnant, I was getting a tiny little belly, I had all the symptoms. But then I went in for my dating ultrasound at around 10 weeks (and this was before the pandemic hit so my husband was allowed to come with me into the hospital) and the tech couldn’t find a heartbeat.
However, he couldn’t tell me that. He just looked at me and said the appointment was over and I should call my doctor. I had no idea what was going on. I went into the waiting room where my husband was and didn’t know what to say to him. I was so confused.
We left together and I called my doctor right away. It took about an hour for her to call me back and said my baby didn’t have a heartbeat anymore. There was nothing I could do but cry. I felt so helpless. I’m grateful that my husband was with me. My heart goes out to women going through the same thing during the pandemic and not having any support with them.
The next day I met with my doctor and she said that miscarriages are common and she couldn’t tell me why my baby’s heart just stopped beating. The unknown will always haunt me. Did I do something wrong? Why did my body fail me? I used to think that everything happens for a reason. But maybe sometimes they don’t. Maybe sometimes things just suck.
The grief I felt in the beginning was terrible. Any chance I was alone, I cried. It seemed like everyone around me was pregnant and I could not find joy in my friends’ pregnancy announcements. I started to wonder why they could have a baby and I couldn’t. It didn’t seem fair. Especially when my friends would announce they were pregnant and it came as a surprise to them. They didn’t even plan to have a baby but they were getting them. I wanted my baby so badly.
Around the same time, there was a pro-choice rally downtown. Luckily, I didn’t have to attend the event for work but the following day my co-workers were choosing which photos to use in the paper and dissecting the protest signs, which ones they thought were clever, which ones would make a good front page photo.
One sign read ‘a clump of cells is not a baby’ and my heart broke. I had to try so hard not to cry in the office. My clump of cells was a baby. It was my child. (This is not a prolife/prochoice debate, these were my feelings in the moment.)
It felt like everywhere I went, I was reminded of my miscarriage, my failure, my heartbreak. I even thought I could go to yoga to take my mind off everything and a very pregnant woman rolled her mat out next to mine. I spent the next hour in various poses trying not to burst into tears.
The grief I felt slowly turned into guilt. I had two healthy children already. I should be thankful for that and not be greedy. I thought I should feel lucky that I lost my baby early in the pregnancy and not later. My due date passed recently and I just wanted to crawl into a hole for the entire day.
It has been a confusing roller coaster of emotions and it feels like I’m the only one that went through something like this but I know I’m not. Miscarriages are common, about 10-20 per cent of all pregnancies end in miscarriages.
For some reason, people don’t talk about it much. I felt like I had to hide mine and I don’t really know why.
I was devastated and lonely. There is no rule book on how to grief a miscarriage, but if this has happened to you, please know that you are not alone and your feelings are valid.