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For so many women, looking down at that white stick and seeing those two little pink lines is like seeing happiness in physical form.  Whether you’ve been trying for years or got a big fat lucky line on the first try, holding a positive pregnancy test is like an invitation to the rest of your life. Your mind goes wild planning all the outfits you’re going to buy, where on earth you’re going to fit all those little socks and what your life is going to be like with this new person.  It’s an overwhelmingly beautiful feeling that immediately fills your entire heart and every inch of body. You’re about to be a mommy.  

Nobody likes to wake up feeling sick or become so fatigued at 11am that you’d gladly trade your own partner for even a ten minute nap. Alas, these feelings are an indication that our bodies are working hard to build that little bug on the inside. But what happens when those symptoms subside? What do you do when you stop feeling cranky for no reason and craving chocolate for lunch? More specifically, what happens when little love stops growing inside? I can honestly say; may you never have to find out the answer to that question.  

I tried for six months to get pregnant. With irregular cycles at the time, it made it a bit tricky but with help from a little friend named Clomid, I was blessed with those beautiful pink lines.  I had a bun in the oven and I was over the moon. People tell you to wait 12 weeks before you spread the joyous news. I wasn’t having any of that; I shouted it from the mountain tops. I was only 8 minutes pregnant and I wanted the world to know.

Ultrasounds are some of the most exciting milestones during pregnancy, especially the first scan at 8 weeks. It’s your first chance at seeing that little seed inside you. You get to hear that glorious sound and see that tiny little flicker on the monitor; unless of course you don’t. I laid there watching the screen and although I didn’t exactly know what I was looking for, I knew something was wrong. The technician stayed quiet with no expression on her face. She finished the scan before turning and telling me that there was no heartbeat. She assured me it was possible it’s just too early and that she’d go get the doctor to have a chat with me.

I was escorted to a small waiting room where I silently shed tears and hoped and prayed that all was well. When the doctor came in she was smiling and had a reassuring demeanor to her. She told me because I had not done official monitoring for this cycle, it was likely that I had my dates wrong and it was just too early to tell. I remember feeling a split second of such relief. It didn’t take long to remind myself that I had done official monitoring and she was wrong. It would appear as though she overlooked some details in my file and was obviously embarrassed that she had just assured me everything was fine when it wasn’t. Instead of clearing that up, she fumbled around in my file and quickly excused herself. I sat stunned waiting for her to return, I really had no idea what was happening. I never knew 10 minutes could feel so long. Finally with a soft knock, entered a sweet and soft spoken nurse. Usually full to the brim with bubbly energy, this sad looking woman sat down quietly and put her hand on my knee and asked me if I was okay. “I’m just waiting for the doctor to tell me what’s going on” I told her. With a confused look she told me that the doctor was sure the pregnancy was no longer viable. Such a funny way to you tell you that you’re no longer going to be a mommy.  

I can’t even tell you how long I stayed in that room and cried in her arms. I do however remember walking out through the long hallway feeling foolish. I had worn my new pink dress with polka dots and sweet little ballerina flats. I wanted to dress up for this day, it only now felt so incredibly silly. I dressed to impress on the day my world fell apart. I got to the car and cried harder than I even knew I could. I called my father and hardly managed to tell him there was no heart beat and no good news we had all been awaiting. I was too distraught to drive and waited for my sister to come across town and pick me up. I’m certain she got there in exactly 3 minutes; thank goodness for family.

It took me weeks to miscarry. I had to do two phases of Misoprostol to get things moving along. I have  a theory that I clung so much to that pregnancy emotionally that my body physically wouldn’t let go. Although I’m sure that’s laughable and entirely medically unfounded. The miscarriage itself was horrifyingly gruesome. I lay alone on my kitchen floor at 5am and screamed in pain as blood pooled around me.  I had done some research on what to expect but this was nothing like those stories. The entire ordeal left me scarred. Still somehow I got through it.   
Everyone processes grief differently, and there are so many kinds of grief. This was a situation I was not about to handle well. I had dreamt about being a mother and I was mourning the loss of the future I had planned in my head. Naturally I was flooded with fears, uncertainties and a mountain of absurd thoughts. I was never going to be a mother, something was wrong with me, I had serious fertility issues, I was meant to die alone with a bunch of old dogs, or worse, cats.  Nobody has a crystal ball; nobody knows what lay ahead for us.  

It took me a while to get it all out of my head. I remember sitting at Easter dinner soon after and hating being in public, I just wanted to get away from all those smiling children and cry underneath my covers. I was jealous, angry and broken hearted.  

I took some time off work and spent the days trying to process what had happened. For some people, an early miscarriage is no big deal. Some people won’t even understand why it’s disheartening. They think that it was too early on to form a bond and it would be easy to get over it, I even believed that before my miscarriage. However, in the weeks I was pregnant I had planned a future with my would-be baby. I gave her a beautiful name (yes it was going to be a girl, obviously). I bought her toys and comfort items and the sweetest little clothes to keep her warm. I snuggled her a million times over in my mind, I cheered her on at her ballet recitals, I brushed her hair over and over again, I may have even joined in a standing ovation as she claimed Presidency (I’m not even American?!). I made up a whole life for her and I together, and now I had to mourn that. It was hard to say the least but eventually with help of one solid support system and copious amounts of chocolate, I worked through it and was ready to get back to trying to conceive again.

It didn’t take long for those pink lines to make their way back into my life. At this point I was riddled with anxiety and major trust issues. I was tearfully demanding ultrasounds every time I coughed too hard. I was certain I’d lose this baby too. I was so superstitious I wouldn’t let anyone calculate my due date. I didn’t want to know because I didn’t want to become too emotionally attached. I didn’t buy a single thing for this baby. I just kept peeing on sticks and going in for beta testing. Beta testing is like crack to a worried pregnant woman. It’s a blood test that indicates the level of ‘pregnancy hormone’ in your blood. A healthy pregnancy will reveal numbers that double every 48 hours. I took those like M&M’s. Some days it was the only thing that kept me sane. Finally the big day came and I lay on that same table and stared at that same monitor. This time there was a little flicker of hope going 168 beats a minute. My little rainbow baby was floating around in there, planning all the ways he would drive me crazy when he hit toddler years.

Losses in any number and at any stage are heartbreaking.  I don’t consider my miscarriage a big part of life anymore. It felt too big to overcome at the time but now it’s just something that I sometimes forget happened. I’m incredibly lucky to have been able to put it behind me and be blessed with my rainbow baby. There are so many other women struggling out there and facing loss after loss. I pray that one day all this struggle is just something you went through in the past and no longer defines you. I pray each pair of empty arms finds a baby to fill them.  Sending baby dust to you and yours.  

Emily G.  

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