My 'Missed Miscarriage' Played A Cruel Trick On My Body After We Lost Our Baby

You tell yourself, "it wasn't a baby yet," as though you don't have the right to be so attached.

Early in 2012, my partner at the time and I began trying for a baby. On Valentines Day that year, I found out I was pregnant. We were over-the-moon excited and began planning and changing everything about our lives. We talked at length about our baby. What would we name him or her? We were so excited to have a reason to hang out with our parent-friends (we were now a part of the club!) I researched midwives and bought prenatal vitamins.

My best friend had just found out she was pregnant and I was thrilled—we could have our babies together! They would go to the same school and be best friends, just like us. I calendared all the milestones, backtracking from the due date in September and started to plan my maternity leave. And the nursery theme. My body began changing and it was a swirl of scary and exciting. We didn't know this baby, but all the same, we loved them.

A few weeks later I started spotting and knew something was off. We went to the emergency room and ran a few tests. When my HCG levels came back, they confirmed that the baby was no more. The doctor called it a "missed miscarriage" and I sobbed so hard. My partner was shattered too. We sat in the hospital room in shock, feeling completely helpless. A part of me couldn't help but feel responsible in some way. Could I have done something wrong? Why did my baby die? And why couldn't I do anything to stop it? I was helpless and broken.

I spent the next week off work completing the miscarriage at home. It was one of the darkest times of my life. My breasts still felt swollen as they had prepared for lactation. My brain continued to experience pregnancy fog. I still had morning sickness. Continuing to feel pregnant when I no longer was felt like a cruel joke. I went into a very dark place and isolated myself.

My friend's pregnancy continued and I withdrew from her (I still regret this so much, although even in hindsight I know I would never have been strong enough to react any other way). I was happy for her and wanted to support her, but it was so difficult to watch her go through all the pregnancy things without me. I was supposed to be there, right by her side feeling fat and tired and excited, but I wasn't. It was a reminder of how not-pregnant I was.

Major events in my life always seem to happen in spectacular ways. That September, she went into labour and delivered the most beautiful baby boy and, of course, that's when I found out I was pregnant once again. But this time it was a completely different experience. My partner and I were excited but terrified.

We made plans but were very quiet about the pregnancy. We kept it off social media and told friends and family to be discreet about it. I couldn't bear to have to tell everyone if I lost another baby. This anxiety stayed with me until the day Connor was born. There are almost no pictures or memories of my pregnancy. I was so afraid to get attached (although I was head over heels in love right away—I couldn't stop myself). I tried to get out of having baby showers and didn't want to be around anyone. I didn't want to share the pregnancy happiness because I was so afraid that I would let everyone down if he didn't make it. I just couldn't carry that guilt.

In May 2013, the love of my life, Connor, was born and I could finally rest. Looking back, I regret that I let the pain of my miscarriage interrupt the happiness of my pregnancy with him. It should have been a time where I bonded with other women—my mom, mother in law, aunts, friends—and, instead, I shut everyone out. I don't carry many regrets in my life, but this one stays with me.

Miscarriage is funny because you kind of feel like you haven't earned the pain you experience, so you shut down. You tell yourself "it wasn't a baby yet" and "it was so early," as though you don't have the right to be so attached. It's hard to think otherwise. There's no funeral. No burial. You just cease to be pregnant. Your heart aches, but that's it. Nobody. No baby.

I felt so lonely when it happened because I thought no one had been through this but as I opened up about it I was almost always met with stories from other women about their own experience with pregnancy loss. It's shockingly common, yet something we never talk about it. If I had known that I had a network of women I could relate to, I may not have isolated myself. I like to think I would have reached out for support.

October is Miscarriage Awareness month, and I know many women with stories just like mine. Women who are too hurt or sad to talk about it. Women who fear the worst during their next pregnancy. I wrote this to let you know that I'm here and I understand and if you want to talk, I want to listen to you. Your pain is real and you have earned every teardrop.

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