But even at the beginning things did not seem right. My hCG levels were very low, and did not raise properly. I didn't FEEL pregnant. Our doctor ordered several blood tests, and then, when I started spotting and bleeding, an ultrasound. An ultrasound that most definitely showed I was not pregnant. No sign of pregnancy at all, as if though our baby had never existed. J and I were devastated. We also had friends visiting from the lower 48 at the time, friends that spend the week seeing me go to the doctor and who knew all that was going on.
Yesterday the news become official. Our doctor confirmed that our little Schrodinger was no longer inside me. Even though I knew the statistics, having become part of one was quite a shock. Still, it wasn't the big things but the smaller moments that were most unexpected.
1. A miscarriage is not a moment
I had always thought that a miscarriage is something that happened in the blink of an eye. One moment there was a tiny life inside you and the next that life was gone and you cried, and then you worked on dealing with the tragedy. But for me (and from the accounts I have read for many women) it's not at all like that. We knew something wasn't quite right from almost the moment we found out we were pregnant. Then a few days later, the spotting started. Then the news of the low hCG levels. Then the bleeding and cramping. Then more tests. And even now, five days later, I'm still spotting. I didn't have a miscarriage as much as I am still having a miscarriage. The body can take days or weeks to purge after a pregnancy that unfortunately went wrong. Many women need medical help, in the form of pills or surgery, to truly be not pregnant again. And it takes a long time. At first wondering if you are having a miscarriage, and then actually having it. And then wondering if you are done, if you can move on. It's rough. The uncertainty is really rough. J and I labeled it "being Schrodingered." We're still working through it.
2. Other women (and men) know your pain
Although we have only told a few people, many of them have told us of others who have had a miscarriage. Online, there are hundreds if not thousands of accounts of this same pain. My doctor informs me that at least 20%-30% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, but that the real number is probably closer to 50%. May of the miscarriages happen before the woman even knows she's pregnant. So my story is natural. It's normal. Now this doesn't make it any less sad, or disappointing, or significant. But it does make me feel that I am still WOMAN, that this is something WOMEN go through. This is something couples go through. And they make it. And they get through it. I find that knowledge helpful and empowering.
Here are some blogs and articles I found helped ease my mind:
I'm glad we knew about you
What I gained from having a miscarriage
What I didn't know about miscarriage until I had one
Difficult days for miscarriage survivors
3. We told exactly the right people about our pregnancy