One thing I’ve always wanted in life was to be a mother. It’s been hard for me to define what that means. As a feminist when I hear my friends say they don’t want to get married or have kids & wonder if that’s wrong or selfish I stand up for them. If a woman doesn’t want to be a mother or get married there are many things (unselfish things) she can do with her life to feel fulfilled. As a woman who’s spent a lot of time defending a woman’s right to decide how she wants to live her life & with whom she wants to do that with (or not) people were surprised to find that I wanted to be a mother — such a traditional idea of the world. But it’s ok for me to want that it’s all part of feminism — deciding how we want to live our own life. But I often got “You know how you don’t want kids right?” and I’d respond “I do want kids, I’ve never said I don’t want kids. I’ve always wanted kids” To which most people apologize profusely & say they just assumed due to my strong feminist opinions that I never wanted to be a mother. But I feel a strong maternal desire & I’ve embraced it proudly
Now I also have endometriosis, probably from the time I was 11 years old but I was surgically diagnosed at the age of 21. Many, many, many doctors said that there wasn’t even a chance I’d get pregnant especially if I waited until after 30 years of age. Just to be clear endometriosis can affect fertility, once you are pregnant it does nothing to affect the gestation of the fetus positively or negatively. So thoughts about the possibility of me not getting pregnant entered my head. Those doctors were wrong, by the way, while endometriosis can affect fertility there are many women with endometriosis who can get pregnant the “old fashioned way” & some women with endometriosis require some form of fertility treatment or even IVF. Like many other women, women with endometriosis have the same struggles with conceiving. So in my head I knew conceiving was a very real possibility. My husband & I discussed it & while it would disappoint us we both came to the conclusion or desire to be parents could come in a different form if we didn’t have biological children. We could adopt, we could volunteer, we could even be paternal to our pets. Whatever it was we had means in our society to fulfill that feeling we had in our hearts. And through reflection we were ok with this. That didn’t mean we couldn’t try to have kids the “old fashioned” way. I mean after all the “old fashioned” way is a lot of fun *wink wink*. So I took myself off of birth control shortly after turning 31years old & my husband & I proceeded to have fun.
I won’t lie it got frustrating & occasionally I got upset over the possibility it could never happen. In January 2015 I was telling my husband about my upset & like the good man he is, he said “we’ll just keep having fun trying & in the mean time we will continue to live our lives like we always have”. So we did, we made plans, continued living, & had fun. Just before Valentine’s Day that year I came home from work & stopped at Walmart on the way home. My monthly visit from Aunt Flo was late but due to how my body worked wasn’t completely unusual. I bought the cheapest pregnancy test I could find & I was on my way home. I took the test & just sat there in the bathroom expecting the test to come out negative as it had many months before. But it didn’t this time it was positive. There was a second test in the box & since I thought the test was wrong I drank half a litre of water & took the test again. Positive! I started crying & called Eddie to immediately come home from work. He picked up another more expensive pregnancy test on his way home. This one was digital & could not only say I was pregnant but approximately how far along I was. This one told me 1-2weeks along. We were scared & excited at this change. I told my boss the next day — due to where I work there are solvents & other things that can affect neural tube development so in addition to being able to tell someone else who could share in my excitement. I also told my supervisor & at the end of the week when my parents returned home from their vacation I told them. It was great news. Weeks went on & I finally got into see my doctor, she ordered blood work & an ultrasound. In the meantime I told close family members & a few close friends. I was starting to feel the side affects of pregnancy: fatigue & nausea so I wanted those people to understand me not going out tonight was for a good reason. The first week of March was my first ultrasound. The technician told me I was six weeks along & the baby had a heart beat. I was set to be due Oct23rd. She gave me a printout of the first ultrasound & the tiny pea sitting there somewhere inside my uterus. I did everything I was supposed to do & more just to ensure this baby had a good start to life. Eddie, my husband, joked about a wave pool & would gently jiggle the area around my uterus with his hands.
I had the ultrasound on Tuesday & that Friday (March 6th 2015) my doctor called with devastating news. She said the heart beat was only 100 bpm & they expected a 6 week old fetus to have a heart beat of 140 bpm, she said in her experience this is a sign of a miscarriage & that there was a slim possibility the fetus could live. That was 11am when I hung up & ran out to my car from work to cry. I called Eddie & my Dad to tell them what happened. I contemplated finishing the day off at work & carrying on like nothing happened but I couldn’t stop crying. My kind boss told me to go home. The second ultrasound was scheduled for that Monday, my doctor told me she hoped she was wrong & this second ultrasound would tell us. By Wednesday of that week we were informed that the fetus no longer had a heart beat. I was in my doctor’s office when she told me & she gave me a room in the back of her practice to cry it out. She told me to wait for my body to pass the fetus, she would call me by Friday that week & ordered me to take the next two weeks off of work to recover. By Friday I had come to accept it but my body hadn’t so my doctor called my home & told me we had to induce me. She prescribed drugs that are often given to women at the end of their pregnancy to induce labour. Misoprostol, a terrible drug that’s horribly octagonally shaped for vaginal insertion. Over the phone she told me to only take tylenol 3’s as any other pain killer would interfere with the process & we wanted to avoid a D&C as that could cause complications causing difficulty in trying to have a baby again later.
My doctor officially diagnosed me with fetal demise & missed miscarriage. She told me the fetus had passed away due to a random chromosomal error that could have come from either Eddie’s or my sex gametes. There’s no way of knowing who’s & in nature every human being has these random errors. There’s no way of knowing which of your sperms or eggs have them & since getting pregnant is random already it’s hard to predict how often it’ll happen & if it’ll happen. It’s just a thing that happens to normal boring healthy people. So Friday night before bed I took the four octagonally shaped pills, very uncomfortably. I swallowed one T3 & two gravols & grabbed a heating pad & tried to sleep. We didn’t get any sleep that night. I was in so much pain around 3am I cried to my husband that I couldn’t do it anymore the pain was too much. However, I was stuck unable to move & for lack of a gross description I needed to sit on the toilet while holding a bucket. More T3’s & gravol I was able to sleep during the day. Saturday night we finished the last round of misoprostol & Sunday afternoon after a large contraction I passed the miscarriage almost completely.
It was the weirdest feeling passing the miscarriage. I had felt pregnant still up until that point that the fetus & all the placenta passed through me. My breasts still ached & were swollen & my uterus area was very bloated feeling like there was something in there growing. Then I felt a feeling like I had to pee so I went to the bathroom & while I was in there a huge pain I couldn’t stand up & then a contraction & a push that I wasn’t controlling. I didn’t look, I couldn’t look.
The last week I was off work was the hardest. The pain wasn’t as bad as it was when I was going through the “labour” of losing my pregnancy but there is so much emotional stress & upset that society doesn’t seem to understand. On the Tuesday before I went back to work my doctor sent me for a third ultrasound to ensure that the miscarriage was complete. That was the worst day, the clinic that does the ultrasounds was understaffed & overbooked. I had to hold 1L of water (no peeing) for almost 2hours. At least I’m not 80years old. Secondly, there was a woman who had her first pregnancy ultrasound & she was excitedly showing people in the waiting room. Her & her husband were hugging & smiling with giddy glee. I am not a violent or bad person but I wanted so badly to punch them both in their happy, happy faces for rubbing it in. And as dumb & illogical as this sounds it wasn’t fair that they were pregnant & I was there to make sure I was finished losing my pregnancy. I started crying in front of everyone in the waiting room, I was all by myself. Now I was embarrassed about crying, in pain with my bladder being so full, so I just turned my back to everyone in that room. The staff at the clinic called me in way before they were ready for me in the room because at this point everyone was just staring at me & I was a blubbering mess — while I examined the very white corner of the waiting room. They put me in this tiny half a closet of a room to change & I just stood there, half naked with a robe on waiting for the technician to come get me. The lady herself was the kindest woman I’ve ever met. She had a great sense of humour that was perfectly timed, a bubbly cheery personality that wasn’t overbearing & when I told her why I was there she told me about her miscarriage (on a golf course in front of all her friends during a round of golf) & she touched my arm.
As I’ve told people I’ve come to learn that miscarriage is something that happens all the time. You will know someone & possibly multiple someones who have had a miscarriage. It happens so much you might start to question how our human population is as big as it is today (I joke). But miscarriage isn’t something we talk that often. I tell someone that I’ve had a miscarriage & their voice gets low & quiet “I’m sorry”. I tell them I’m ok & I explain it was a random chromosomal error that could happen to anyone who is healthy & my doctor predicts I have a 25% chance of this happening again the next time I get pregnant. The next time (maybe later that day or week) I run into them they have a story to tell me about someone they knew who had a miscarriage.
It is such a touchy, sensitive subject & I’m not over the miscarriage myself. Every time I see a pregnant woman or a new born I work really hard to hold back the crying cause who wants the awkwardness of a random woman staring at your pregnant belly or new born & bawling her eyes out. That’s really awkward but it’s what I want to do. I still think about the plans we made, the work we did on our house to prepare a room for our little gummy bear. All that work is left the way it was, half done & not ready yet. I’m seeking counselling & have my first appointment soon & after searching deep into the depths of the internet I found two books, which happened to be on Amazon, that are guides to miscarriage & trying to get pregnant after it’s happened. They are ordered & on their way this week. My body isn’t fully recovered either & is still doing weird post pregnancy hormonal stuff. My doctor predicted after a month I’d be normal again. The fact that my body isn’t fully recovered isn’t helping me put it all behind me & move on. It is like my body constantly reminds me multiple times a day about this horrible memory I just want to move forward from & get to the next phase or step of my life. It’s also hard because I’m 31years old (almost 32years old) & there are times when I do feel old & wonder if I’ll ever have a baby before 35years of age or 40years of age. I try to calculate how old I’ll be when the kid is 20years old so I can figure out if I’ll be around to be a grandparent or at least around long enough to watch them grow up — I know more worries.
Why am I sharing all of this? Many reasons, writing it down is therapeutic for me, my words have always been more easily expressed on page than verbally. I’m not ashamed of it & it isn’t something I want to hide. I’ve also learned that this is a taboo subject that shouldn’t be. Discussing this loss is something women should do & not be ashamed of it but be able to deal with the grief. The internet has very little useful information there are three books out there & one is a very preachy religious book that would only work for a small amount of people in the population. I also found forums of sad & confused women who were trying to figure out if their bodies were going through normal things & how to get over the grief of their loss. We don’t have many mechanisms in society to help people get over it. We don’t have a ritual for us to go through. I once read a comment in a forum by a woman who hit the nail on the head when it came to early term miscarriages she said that we haven’t had a chance to get to know them (the fetus) we don’t know if they’re a boy or a girl, we don’t know their personality yet & we often don’t get a body to bury or say good bye to. Can’t we have a ritual to go through, can’t we talk about it more & have more scientific information out there on it. Make support groups easier to find for women & let people know that not only is this pretty common but the grief attached to it is very normal. Which is the second reason I’m sharing this if I want it to be less taboo then I have to share my story as do other women. As an introvert sharing something like this goes against my nature. I didn’t go out & tell everyone what happened I just told people who asked why I was off sick. But here I am almost shouting it from the rooftops because I want change to help people like me survive & come out of it. Lastly, I haven’t told everyone who supported me during the three weeks I had off of work. Those people offered hugs & kind words via Facebook without questioning what was going on. You were there to listen if I felt like telling you & you were ok with blindly offering love, prayers & support when I needed it. So really I feel like I owe you all an explanation but also thanks for your love & support.
Will Eddie & I try again? You bet! Even with the risk of it happening again. I have learned that I can get pregnant & that Eddie & I want this & that we’ll be awesome parents.