National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day: I am 1 in 4

Today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. 1 in 4 women experience a miscarriage in their lives, yet how many women do you know who actually talk about it? I doubt very many. Every single day in the US, 2,000 women lose a baby to pregnancy/infant loss. That’s 700,000 a year, a quarter of all females in this country. The loss of a child is sadly an incredibly taboo “hush-hush” subject in our society, women are often forced to suffer in silence. Alone. Today we at GeekMom are going to try to break that silence.

My own story of miscarriage is a lot like so many other women. After being married for a couple years my husband and I decided the time had come that we were ready for a baby, we had great jobs and plenty of savings. We excitedly began to try. As the months wore on, I knew something was wrong. I talked to doctors and after more then a year visited a reproductive endocrinologist(RE) to pursue fertility treatments. Within a week of our first meeting with the RE, I was shocked with a positive pregnancy test. I was elated! I must have told everyone I spoke to during those first weeks that I was pregnant. I was excited. I was naive.

A couple weeks later I went to the RE for my first ultrasound, after a few moments, the doctor told me that he could only see a gestational sac forming, but that it must have been too early for him to see anything else. I didn’t know any better so I assumed this was normal and continued to tell everyone I was pregnant and show people the ultrasound picture of my little sac. The following week I went back for another ultrasound. This time there was a bigger sac, but still nothing in it. The RE told me that I likely had a blighted ovum, but that he needed to check the following week to make sure. If you don’t know, a blighted ovum is when there is something that causes the embryo to simply not form, however the placenta doesn’t know and keeps growing as normal, so the body thinks (and acts) like it is carrying a healthy pregnancy when in fact there is no baby.

The following days, I knew that this wasn’t going to have a good outcome. My suspicions were confirmed at my next ultrasound. Still no baby and my body still thought it was pregnant. I was devastated, not only was I miscarrying, but it had taken me over a year to even get here. I was given the option to wait to miscarry naturally or to have everything removed via an operation. I decided on the operation since my body obviously had no idea that it wasn’t really pregnant. A couple days later, I had my surgery. I remember waking up to my husband holding my hand with tears in his eyes. Apparently, while I was just waking up, he asked how I felt, and I told him I just felt empty. Truth is, I was sure I was broken. I had to untell everyone. Those were some of the hardest conversations I’d ever had. So many people either didn’t know what to say to me and it was awkward or they said the wrong thing and it was terrible. Healing was a long road, it was painful and it took nearly three months before my pregnancy hormone levels returned to zero. We decided to pursue the fertility treatments as soon as possible and after three cycles of various fertility medications and inter-uterine inseminations, we conceived my eldest son nearly six months after our miscarriage.

So why am I sharing my story? Its because when I was miscarrying, I felt so alone. I was sure that something was wrong with me and that no one could understand my pain. I was wrong. I confided in family and friends that I was miscarrying, and they began to tell me their own stories of miscarriage. I also went online and found a support group full of women in different stages of grief after their miscarriages. I am still close friends with so many of those women, we talk on a daily basis. Many of us have already had one or more successful pregnancies after our first miscarriage. Others have had a child, then had recurrent miscarriages. We all share the common bond of losing a child, most of us with children we have never even met.

I just want you know know that if you are miscarrying or have lost a child during pregnancy, you are not alone. You are part of a club that no one wants to join, but once you are a member, the support is overflowing. I also wanted to give you some hope. There are a list of mantras every miscarriage survivor needs to know when they are finally pregnant again.

  1. “Today I am pregnant and I love my baby.”
  2. “I am pregnant until someone tells me otherwise.”
  3. “My past does not dictate my future. A previous miscarriage does not mean I will have another miscarriage. “
  4. “Just because a friend/relative is having a miscarriage, does not mean that it will happen to me.” Miscarriage and pregnancy complications are not contagious, only fear and stress are.
  5. “Hope does not make bad things happen.” You cannot “jinx” your pregnancy by getting excited or telling someone. Live in the positive.
  6. This is the hardest: “There is nothing I can do to prevent a miscarriage from happening.” Worrying yourself sick doesn’t prevent a miscarriage. “And if (gods forbid) it were to happen again, I know I will survive.”

Do you have a story of miscarriage? How did you cope? Help us break the silence, by breaking your own silence.