For any woman that has gone through or is going through a miscarriage, the one thing I can assure you is no matter how alone you may feel, you are not alone. We may not be beside you during your time of agony, but we are out there; we have experienced the same hurts; we are with you.
There was no baby.
I was both stunned and not surprised. As a sign of hope, my doctor suggested I return in a week to see if the tiny embryo was growing, which should show a sign of life. But according to my conception date -- which was more of a guess than a true date -- the embryo wasn't as big as it should be. I was confident the embryo wouldn't change, I could feel it deep within me. But I returned and when I did, my doctor started to discuss my options for the miscarriage: I could have a procedure called a dilation and curettage, often referred to as a d&c -- no thanks; or I could take a couple pills and allow the miscarriage to happen more organically. I chose the organic way. But even then my doctor said the miscarriage might happen by itself if I gave my body the time so I did. During a work trip the next weekend, I noticed some spotting and spilled out a small blood clot. Being new to the mysteries of pregnancy and miscarriages, I thought that was it.
I was wrong. Terribly wrong.
At the urging of my doctor, my husband and I set my miscarriage date for the following Saturday, which happened to be Labour Day 2015.
That Saturday morning started like most any other Saturday -- my husband and I went for a jog along East Beach and then we had brunch, figuring I shouldn't embark on this journey with an empty stomach. Shortly after arriving home, I inserted the two pills, one in each cheek, where they were to dissolve after 30 minutes, and they did, leaving a chalky layer behind. I swallowed the chalky bits and went to the bathroom -- I could feel the cramps beginning (much like menstrual cramps) -- and noticed blood in the water.
In spite of the cramps and bleeding, I felt fine. But then my body starting revolting the embryo remains inside me -- my cramps worsened and I started vomiting. (I kept large mixing bowls by my bed in case I couldn't make it to the bathroom in time.) Sitting on the toilet, I could feel the blood clots slipping out of my body and before flushing I'd stare into the bowl -- amazed at the depth of its red colour -- and watch the clots sink. (I know that's gross, but I had to do it, for my own education. I had to see what was coming out of my body.)
The cramps and bleeding continued through the rest of the day. I was changing maxi pads (no tampons allowed) every hour as blood clots of all sizes continued to drop among menstrual-like bleeding. Twenty-four hours later, I was still curled up in bed, uncomfortable, lonely, and emotional with no sense of comfort except from Suzy snuggled on the corner of my bed, barely within reach. Nothing my husband said or did brought any comfort. Texts from my mom and dad went unread and upset me.
It wasn't until 16 days later that the bleeding and cramps fully subsided. But the emotional pain stayed with me for months, and still creeps in from time to time.
I was emotionally raw for some time thereafter -- numb, almost unable to feel, and, honestly, wanting to stay miserable. No one understood what I was experiencing -- not even me. I was confused and sad and missing a part of me -- a part of me that [I thought] was a big piece of my life plan.
Opportunities to heal and be with family were right around the corner -- our wedding anniversary and Thanksgiving. Our anniversary was a weekend getaway to Las Vegas to see Elton John (check that off the bucket list) and explore the strip (my husband had never been). We walked and walked and ate as much as we could stuff in our bodies. Most importantly, we slept. The toll of my miscarriage was evident in both of us and an actual change of scenery was just what we needed to reconnect.
Thanksgiving -- my favourite holiday; time to spend with family and eat and eat and eat, and watch football, and live in loungewear -- was soon upon us sending us to Portland -- road trip! I reveled in the company of my nieces and nephews and found relief from my troubles by focusing on them -- reading story after story, colouring, dancing and jumping around, and snuggling during movies. My sister-in-law and my cousin's wife were all ears and hugs as they tried to console my pain while we cooked and baked. Honestly, talking about my miscarriage with someone other than my husband helped a lot (one can only burden one's spouse so much), and reminded me it wasn't my fault.
And then it was Christmas and the new year (2016) and a positive pregnancy test.