I’ve been wanting to open up about this topic for a long time. It wasn’t so much that I felt private about it. It was more that I couldn’t find the phrasing, nor a way to introduce a topic that pretty much came out of left field- mostly because I was so tight-lipped about it.
As someone who puts several tons of pressure on myself on a daily basis, I didn’t think it wise to openly admit to being in the arena of potentially trying for baby number one, because I feel like that invites all kinds of external pressure on top of my own. Whether it is pressure of certain family and friends always asking “pregnant yet?” or just imaginary, “perceived” pressure, where I just assume people are wondering because they now know. When in reality they are all probably just as preoccupied with their own personal stresses as I am. But anyway, when you’re someone like me, whose period plays hide and seek on the regular, well, pressure and stress is definitely the last thing you want more of. 😂 So I held off. Which was fine, because, in any event, I was still searching for the right words. There never seems to be a right way to lead into “so, I had a miscarriage,” you know? Ha.
On Tuesday January 17, 2017 I got my first-ever positive pregnancy test.
On Tuesday January 24, one week later, I went to the ER and confirmed what I was pretty sure I already knew: I was having my first-ever miscarriage. And, God-willing, my last one of those.
But what I wanted to talk about is what happened those seven days in between, and how to recognize the symptoms of a miscarriage.
As I said before, I wasn’t super open about it, but did update about it sporadically, just sort of for documentation’s sake, but I had opted to keep the posts private until I had some sort of news to share. But now, after the last few months (and I guess if you get down to it, year) I want to be as open about it as possible, in case anyone else finds themselves in a similar situation as mine. But more about that to come. Possibly in video form, because even though the sound of my voice is a fate I wish on no one, sometimes it’s easier than typing out a whole post. And I know I would have rather found someone talking about it than read a bunch of blog and forum posts about it. But if anyone is interested, I made them all public, and they can be found here or under the tag ttc.
But anyway, as I said earlier, back on January 17th I took a test and it came back positive.
Up until that point, I had light symptoms like super mild waves of nausea and sore boobs. I felt tired but not like I imagined I would when I finally got pregnant, so I didn’t even really view that as a symptom.
The whim to test was pretty random, and to be honest, I thought I was ovulating. In fact, that’s the test I took first. It was only when that came back clear as day positive that I moved onto a pregnancy test.
This sounds silly, and I know there are some people who truly believe in the power of positive thinking, but I refuse to credit a “bad feeling” as the reason anything did or didn’t happen. But, my body has been weird period-wise for a while now (and I will absolutely go into more detail on that in another post.) So because of that, while I was thrilled to see a positive, I would be lying if I wasn’t feeling more cautious than anything. And there was no point at which I actually allowed myself to get excited, because there was an overwhelming feeling of “don’t get your hopes up” that I spent the next week trying to ignore.
As far as symptoms…
- Starting the very next day (or possibly even the evening of) I had seen light, watery brown spotting that, for me, normally signals my period coming in for a landing. And, if I hadn’t taken the test the day before, I would have brushed this whole thing off as a bad period. However, a nurse I had spoken to had also mentioned that it could have been from implantation. So spotting doesn’t always mean rush to the ER, but you will definitely benefit from making a quick call to your doctor, midwife or nurse to, at the very least, set your crazy first-time-pregnant mind at ease.
- By the following Monday (estimated 6 weeks preg.) the light brown spotting had turned to light pink until eventually it was light red.
- By the time Tuesday rolled around, I was pretty convinced I was miscarrying, as by midday it looked like I had just gotten my period. If I had never taken the pregnancy test a week earlier, the way this unfolded would have had me thinking this was just a bad period.
- If you have enough spotting or bleeding to fill a pad in an hour or less, go to the ER immediately. Sadly, with early miscarriages, there really is nothing to be done, but you want to make sure it’s a miscarriage rather than something like an ectopic pregnancy where you could be bleeding internally. It’s always better just to know. I have also heard of cases with the same symptoms and it was all due to a cyst or something else, and the pregnancy turned out fine. If you’re in doubt, just get in touch with your doctor. That’s what they are there for.
- Wednesday through the weekend, I also had some pretty consistent cramping. It started out light, which I found in one of the 39 (no exaggeration) internet tabs on pregnancy symptoms and from aforementioned nurse that this was normal, and could be stretching of the uterus, even that early, however since I had that and the spotting, they did want me to keep coming in to test my hCG levels every two days to make sure they were doubling.
- The cramping got increasingly stronger as the week went on, and by the time Tuesday rolled around, I was laying on the floor outside of the bathroom waiting for my husband to get there to take me to the ER.
- hCG levels.
- My hCG levels were doubling as they were supposed to, but just barely. If I remember correctly, the first time I went it was 36, then 81, then 174. I know it’s more about whether or not they double rather than how high the value is, and that doesn’t necessarily reflect the health of the pregnancy. Buuuut, I would be lying if I said that 36 at an estimated five weeks preg. wasn’t a red flag for me from day 1.
- I don’t know if I would call this as symptom, as like I said, I think the actual values are sometimes irrelevant, as it’s more about whether or not the levels are doubling.
It’s very hard not to google every little thing, and it’s frustrating as hell when literally every symptom of pregnancy can be a symptom of your period, or when every symptom of your miscarriage can also be something totally normal for another woman. Pregnancies, I’ve deduced, are like snowflakes. No two are alike, and if you’re worried or in doubt about something, give your doctor a quick call, and he or she can advise you from there.
If anyone who is experiencing or has experienced a miscarriage finds themselves reading this, I’m very so sorry for what you’re going through or have gone through. It’s never easy, and it’s especially difficult if you have been trying for some time. I will certainly be praying for anyone who reads this and finds themselves in a similar situation. I wish all who long to have children can get pregnant without difficulty.
Life is hard enough without feeling like your body is failing you.
It’s hard enough without feeling like a complete asshole for finding out a friend is expecting, and having your first response be jealousy, whether you want it to be or not.
It’s difficult enough without wondering why you don’t deserve a baby as much as that teenager in the grocery store.
It’s an ugly place to be. Emotionally you feel both drained and like an awful person for questioning someone else for having a child that you can’t have right now, or for being jealous of your friend for something that is such a blessing. Physically you feel like your body is broken, because for whatever reason, it isn’t working the same as everyone else’s, or the way it should be.
Please know that you’re not alone, whether people are open about it or not. More of us are going through something like this than you could ever know, and please reach out if you ever want to talk. Sending positive thoughts and lots of baby dust for us & our rainbow babies! 💞