5 weeks ago today, my body sadly began the process of a miscarriage…I was 6 weeks pregnant and full of lofty dreams, excitement and anticipation of a growing belly.
This is one of those personal posts where the writer (me) contemplates – hard – about whether or not to hit the publish button and release their story into the world.
I’ve meditated on this decision, asked my beloved and confided in a few people I trust. In the end it was my heart and soul that softly nudged me to share my story so other women could read it. It’s not easy being vulnerable and opening up like this, but I believe it’s important that we share our experiences – good and bad – as this is how we grow, learn and connect with one another.
This is my story…
On the 26th of May my period was 2 days late. Now this might not ring alarm bells for you, but I am like clockwork! Every 28 days to the day, my cycle begins.
I told my fiance Gav that I was a couple of days late which was very unusual for me, and his response was…”off you go to the chemist baby.”
As I was walking up the road to the chemist to buy a pregnancy test, I let my mind wander off into the possibility of the test being positive. My heart skipped a beat at the thought of this…I felt excited yet totally terrified! ‘But I’m not quite ready’ I told myself. ‘I still need to do this, work on that, complete so and so’…but amidst the nervousness I was completely delighted with the possibility of being pregnant.
When I got home I could sense Gav was equally as excited yet nervous! The fidgeting was a dead giveaway…plus his request to watch the stick together like hawks! I swear our faces were only centimetres away from the stick for the full two minutes.
But it didn’t take that long for the result to reveal itself.
Me…”Oh my god babe, that definitely looks like a cross (+).”
Gav…”Nah babe, it’s a bit faint…give it more time.”
30 seconds later…
Me…”Oh my god babe, that’s definitely a cross! I’m pregnant!!!”
Gav…”F*ck. Oh my god. Are you really pregnant (insert look of shock/disbelief/happiness)? How could it be this easy?? It was our first try! Nah babe, I’m going to buy a couple more tests!”
After peeing on a couple of more sticks that all revealed a positive sign, the tears of happiness started to fill my eyes. Both Gav and I were completely in shock but overcome with joy.
The next moment, I found myself on the phone to my local medical centre to book myself into my doctor for all the formalities. Next phone call was to my Chinese herbalist/acupuncturist…it was beginning to feel real.
Gav didn’t want to tell his parents until the blood results from the doctor came back (he still didn’t quite believe it, bless his heart), but I just couldn’t contain my excitement! That evening I saw my mum and sister and told them the wonderful news…my mum nearly fell off her chair! I guess hearing that her youngest daughter of four was the first one pregnant (even though I was nearly 36!), came as a little shock! My family were over the moon for us.
Wednesday the 10th of June, started out as a normal morning for me. It was 7.30am and I was training my second client of the morning at the gym when I suddenly had this strange sensation down there…I kinda felt like I was getting my period.
Panic set in and I excused myself so I could rush to the bathroom.
And there it was…what no pregnant woman wants to see. Blood on my underwear.
I immediately went into shock and burst out into a silent cry. I was at work after all and completely surrounded by people outside of the toilet cubicle…I didn’t want to crumble, not there.
Unbelievably, my next client was Gav (he finally allowed me to train him!), and as I was walking back to my client, I looked at Gav who was warming up and mouthed the words ‘I’m bleeding’.
There was only 15 minutes left of my session with my client, but after 5 minutes I told her I was feeling unwell and both Gav and I promptly left the gym.
I immediately got on the phone to my client who I was meant to train after Gav (she is an obstetrician) and burst into tears as I told her that I was bleeding. She asked me a few questions and then told me to go straight to King Edward Hospital which was 5 minutes away.
Walking up to the receptionists window at the hospital and having to explain why I was there, was devastating. I was absolutely terrified that I was having a miscarriage, but the leaflet that was handed to me brought a glimmer of hope to our hearts. It explained that bleeding is common throughout the first trimester and often nothing to worry about, but that one of the signs of bleeding could indeed be the early signs of a miscarriage.
We held onto the former…
After having a blood test to see what my hCG levels were, we waited for what seemed like eternity, to see an obstetrician (OB) for an examination.
The OB first explained to me that my hCG levels were on the low side, which wasn’t a good sign. He then explained that he was going to check to see if my cervix was opened or closed – if it was open this would mean that my body was preparing to expel the embryo…I was praying for it to be closed.
Waiting for him to tell me the news was like torture. But finally, he revealed that my cervix was closed, which was a good sign. I looked over at Gav who whispered…”see baby, everything is fine.”
The next examination was the internal ultrasound to see how the embryo was developing. My legs were shaking throughout the procedure as the midwife softly rubbed my ankles and told me to breathe…I was a trembling and blubbering mess.
After the examination was complete, the two doctors and midwife left the room whilst I got dressed.
Again, more waiting.
They came back into the room to reveal to us that the embryo looked like it was 4-5 weeks developed instead of 6.
My heart sank. Although they couldn’t confirm I was going to miscarry, I knew in my heart that it wasn’t good. Gav was full of optimism but I just knew it wasn’t right.
I’d say the full process of the miscarriage lasted 5 days. The bleeding progressively got heavier and I could see I was passing tissue. We were scheduled in to see another OB at the hospital exactly a week after our first visit, but I knew the process was compete. Our little soul was gone.
The OB we saw this time was like an angel. I’m actually feeling incredibly emotional right now as I write this, as the way he handled the situation – with such sensitivity and compassion – meant the world to both Gav and I.
As I had predicted, my body had naturally completed the process and there was no need to have a D & C (a dilation and curettage – a surgical procedure that removes the remaining contents of the uterus). Later that day I also had acupuncture to help my body expel anything else that may have been left over.
How I’ve healed…
Now to the important part, the reason why I wanted to share my story in case you or someone you know has a miscarriage…
Firstly, I must express that everyone is different. We all handle traumatic experiences differently and there truly is no right or wrong way. Please take what you want from what I write and know that what has worked for me, may or may not be right for you or someone you know…
By the time we went in for our second appointment at the hospital 7 days later, we knew that we would be ready to try again as soon as my next cycle began (which is usually around the 2-6 week mark post miscarriage), or the next one after.
The doctor told us there was no reason for us to wait physically, it was really whether I felt ready emotionally. And this, of course, is different for everyone.
Even though completely devastated and teary eyed, I knew in my heart I wanted to keep trying and Gav was happy to support me in whatever timeline I chose. I also had a ‘healing plan’ all worked out.
This is what I’ve been doing to heal and it’s been working for me:
- I’ve been using a doTerra essential oil called Solace to help balance my hormones and emotions…it’s been amazing!
- I’ve had Reiki energy healing…equally as amazing! I tell you what, after my first session I felt the biggest shift occur. So much more energy and positivity.
- I’ve been having fortnightly Kinesiology sessions to work through the fears I have of going through a miscarriage again. This has been incredibly beneficial.
- I’ve been journalling – such a fabulous way of ‘brain dumping’ everything that’s on your mind. Doing this exercise has made me express things I didn’t even realise I was holding on to. Journalling is such a powerful clearing technique.
- I’ve been nurturing myself. For the first 10 days after it began, I was very quiet. I listened to my drained little body and rested. Reiki really was the turning point for me which I did on the 10th day. I regained so much more energy after that session.
- And lastly, with the help of my incredibly loving and supportive partner (who also felt the pain of this), I have accepted that having a miscarriage was actually a good thing. My body recognised the embryo didn’t have the correct number of chromosomes (it will need 23 from the mum and 23 from the dad to develop) and so it naturally ended the process…and for this I am thankful. The little soul wasn’t ready to come into the world just yet, and I accept it wasn’t anything Gav or I did to make this event happen.
Going through a miscarriage is a deeply painful, draining, traumatic and personal experience. If you’ve had a miscarriage, I want you to know I feel your sadness. I know how hard the loss is to come to terms with, no matter what stage of the pregnancy it happened.
Things that you’d never bat an eye lid at all of a sudden hit a nerve…
Walking down the street and watching a mother pushing her pram; seeing ‘huggies nappies’ ads on TV; being around friends of yours who are pregnant…the list goes on.
It does get easier, a whole lot easier. And I truly do believe that the healing methods I’ve incorporated have helped me immensely.
The thing is, miscarriages are so common. Around 25-35% of women will have a miscarriage (and this % increases over the age of 40). It doesn’t mean you or your partner have done anything wrong. It’s not ‘taboo’ and it certainly should be talked about.
I do get though why doctor’s recommend you wait until the 12 week scan to tell people – it is difficult breaking the news that you’ve miscarried. We’ll definitely be keeping very tight-lipped next time round.
Although writing this post and reliving the experience has made me feel some sadness, there are no more tears being shed. There are only lofty dreams, excitement and anticipation of a growing belly when I think about the joy that will fill my heart when I am pregnant again.
If my story has touched you, I’d be so appreciative if you’d share my post with the women in your life. You just never know who may need to read it. I’d also love to hear from you…please leave your supportive comments below.
Image found here.
Raychael aka Mystery Case says
So sorry to hear this. Thinking of you. We had three miscarriages before our first child. It was a devastating time.
Thank you Raychael – it is devastating as you would know, but we won’t give up 🙂
Thank you for sharing beautiful. I also had 3 miscarriages before our beautiful baby boy was born. He now has 3 angels looking after him.
When we start trying for baby #2 I am going to be very forthcoming with the news right from the start. Going through the pain and devastation of losing a baby made me (like you) do a lot of thinking, journalling and wondering.
With my first miscarriage I was utterly shocked. I had never heard of anyone (I knew) having a miscarriage before. I cried my eyes out. But like you say, miscarriage is really common. It still hurts. Like hell. I also found out D+C’s are quite common too. Again, I had never heard of anyone having one before. You know what hurt even more – people saying “it’s so common”. Maybe if I had of known it was common BEFORE it would of helped me at the time… so my thinking is… why can’t we share our joy AND our pain with our loved ones? Why do we wait until the magic 12 week mark to share our news? This is just my thinking and I totally respect your thought to stay tight lipped next time around.
I am sending you so much love and light and know that it will all work out for you beautiful xo
Thank you for your beautiful comment, Megan. You’re absolutely right, we should (and we can) share our joy and our pain with our loved ones. I guess some people find it more difficult than others to share their sad news…maybe that’s just because it’s not done enough! All the best for baby number two xx
You are so brave sharing your story Liz xx
I had a missed miscarriage which totally broke my heart – I didn’t find out until the 12 week scan. It’s been 3 years and I now have the most beautiful 8 week old baby boy who I adore.
Sending you lots of love and positive vibes
Oh Sarah, at the 12 week scan must have been awful. Congratulations on the arrival of your baby boy xx
Beautiful post Lizzy. I went through the same thing between Savy and Archie at 6-7weeks along and I was devastated. It took years to conceive Savy so I took the loss really hard. When you get pregnant next time ask your ob if they think putting you on progesterone straight away will help (low hcg often correlates with this) and get your thyroid checked too. Hang in there darling girl xxx
Thank you darling, and sorry to hear you’ve gone through the same thing. They always check your thyroid here but I’ll ask about the progesterone – thanks xx
Thank you for sharing your heart so vulnerably.
This is sad reality for many women but it is still not talked about or shared amongst women enough. I hope that by opening up you allow another sister to feel able to share as well.
I miscarried at 5 weeks and went on to fall pregnant straight away without having a cycle. My little one is now 3 and a half and though I still have moments of sadness (like when I read of another’s grief around miscarriage), I feel blessed EVERY day!
Much love to you xxxxx
Thank you Star. It’s always so comforting hearing how other women have had successful pregnancies after miscarrying. I hope I’ve given other women the courage to share as well xx
Hi Liz I am so sorry for your loss. I think you are so brave to open up & share this experience. I was in my late 30s when I had my children and had to go through fertility treatment for sometime before successfully conceiving. It was one of the most difficult times in my life but so worth persisting through the difficulties in the end. I think it would have helped me to open up more about it like you have and to seek therapies that nurtured me along the way. I always thought I would be incontrol of the process of having children but reflecting I think for me the thing that I learned most was that it was something that ultimately was out of my hands. This was the hardest lesson for me as I always like to be in control. Keep being kind to yourself as you are. Ali
Thank you Ali. I’m so grateful for the industry I work in, as a few years back I wouldn’t have had the same knowledge and would probably still be in quite a lot of pain. Writing about it has also been very helpful. Thanks for sharing your story xx
Oh Liz, bless your strength in writing this article, I know it must have been exceptionally difficult, whilst also being a great source of release. Thank you so very much for putting pen to paper. Thank you also to all the ladies who have shared their experiences, and yes, it is CRAZY to think just how, almost ‘normal’, it now is to have a miscarriage, and how difficult it really can be to get pregnant. If only we had know this years ago, our choices of when we started a family may have been different!! I now feel ready to share my story…
I went through a near exact same situation to you Liz. I too had that “oh lord, I feel like I’m getting my period” feeling, at 11 weeks. We had our first ultrasound booked in for 11+3 (we were due to be out of the country when 12 weeks rolled in). Unfortunately I never made the 11+3 appointment, as on the exact day of my 11 weeks, I had that ‘feeling’, that oh so unsettling feeling. I Googled, I searched, I questioned, I wanted answers, I wanted it so bad to be ‘normal’.
It all happened so fast really, so ‘normal’. My doctor sent me for an emergency ultrasound, and there it was, a tiny little lifeless sac. I was advised, that I had in fact lost it around 6+3, which for me, made it that much more heartbreaking. Why did my body not try and expel it before now? Why did it hang on? 5 weeks?? WHY did I not get that ‘feeling’ sooner? I just had so many questions. How? Why? Why? so many whys!!
I did book in for a D&C, 2 days later (11+2) and I did get on that plane for the holiday we were already booked in to have. I should have been 11+4, and I should have Skyped our parents on 11+3 to see the reaction on their faces when we told them, I should have told all those close to us, and we should have celebrated the exciting news… we should have birthed our child in the Family Birth Centre… but those moments never came, they were merely happy loving thoughts I had conjuring up in my head, but they never eventuated.. but they all never happened for a reason, right..?? Absolutely RIGHT.. My body wasn’t ready!!
We did have a great holiday, it was action packed.. but there were nights I cried myself to sleep and days where I just could not stop thinking about our lost baby, the plans I had in my head, the plans we had as a new family… but thankfully those days & night have now passed, but it did take time!!
Now, 8 months on, having passed our due date, we are finally ready to try again **insert exceptionally excited/happy/nervous face here**. My body is ready. Not only mentally, but emotionally and physically. I have had 7 healthy cycles. I have invested time in me, in looking after my body. For the last 4 months I have been on an awesome supplementation program from my now Naturopath, who actually specialised in fertility and has got my scarily low hormone levels (which I tested via a saliva test) back on track. A daily intake of Vitamin D, Fish Oils and Zinc, to name but a few, as well as an excellent Folate supplement, has me feeling better than ever. My partner has also been taking Fish Oils and a hormone (pregnancy) supplement (it’s not only the female who needs to look after herself), those swimmers need to be in the best shape possible.. it takes two to tango after all 🙂 I have been eating whole, healthy, nourishing foods. I have been exercising, lifting weights, doing yoga, meditating and laughing.. finally laughing again. Mentally, physically and emotionally, I am prepared for what lies ahead of us. I know I am ready. I know we are ready 🙂
For those of you who have gone through a similar experience, are going through this crazy, life stopping, unexpected experience, I ask you to bear with it, be strong, and find comfort (as difficult and all as I know it is) in knowing that this baby was not ready for life. Your baby was not ready to come in to your life and this world. Take all the time you need. Find comfort in sharing your experience, as difficult and all as I know it is to do. Get back to your normal life when you are ready. Tell some people close to you, it does makes things easier. Your exciting time will come again, your efforts and heartbreak will all be worth it… and when it does come, it will be one very previous loving experience, that you will treasure whole heartedly. I certainly know I will.
To all who have taken the time to read my ‘blog’ above, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart for ‘listening’ to my story… a story which can be relatable yet so different for each and every one as individuals!!! Putting all of this out there to you, strangers, yet all with a common bond, is very comforting for me, as I now feel I am ready to share my story with others. Thank you!!
Here’s to a bright future for one and all.. and exciting new chapters.. 🙂 xxx
Hi Holly. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us, gorgeous. It’s always so comforting to read that other women have experienced the same ordeal. By the sounds of it, your body is in tip top shape to conceive again and I’m sure you will be successful this time round (happy dancing!). All the best and keep in touch xxx