Before September 26th of last year, I was blissfully unaware of what experiencing pregnancy loss was like. When we learned that we were pregnant with what we thought was our miracle baby, miscarriage was obviously a possibility but I thought that there was no way I would experience infertility and pregnancy loss. That just seemed unfair.
At that point in our journey, I couldn’t imagine losing that life.
I thought that there was no way I would experience infertility and pregnancy loss. That just seemed unfair.
Experiencing Pregnancy Loss
Our nightmare became a reality at our first ultrasound where we learned that our baby did not have a heartbeat and did not appear to be growing at the rate that it should. This appointment was the first time that the word miscarriage was said out loud by our doctor.
He gave me the dreaded three options and we went home to grieve the loss of the life that we had dreamt of for so long. (Read: Treating an Inevitable Miscarriage)
That was the first time that I experienced pregnancy loss and it was traumatic, laboring and everything I didn’t think it would be. I was very unprepared for my first miscarriage because it happened naturally in the middle of the night, the night before our scheduled D&C.
It felt like the universe was very much against us at that point.
That experience taught me how I could better prepare myself and others for pregnancy loss because I was told to “expect a heavy period” and that couldn’t have been farther from the truth in my case.
Four months later, we were pregnant again! This time from a medicated and monitored cycle at our fertility clinic. The odds were literally in our favor to not miscarry a second time however during the first ultrasound we were given the same news. This time I chose to take the medication at home and it ended with an emergency trip to the hospital for a D&C.
While going through miscarriage twice has truly been the worst thing that has happened to us so far in our journey together, I did learn a lot from it and try to use those lessons to help others. Here are five things I learned in the process:
1. Miscarriage is known as a Spontaneous Abortion
I learned that in the medical field, a miscarriage is often referred to as a spontaneous abortion. If you aren’t prepared for those words on your medical bills and other related documents, it can be very hard to hear or see.
Even though that is the technical term, most medical professionals will strictly use the word miscarriage when discussing the loss with their patients. You won’t be able to escape seeing those words on a medical bill or record so make sure you are prepared for that.
2. Adult Diapers are A Lifesaver
I learned that adult diapers are an actual lifesaver after a miscarriage. People might laugh when they read this but they were the only thing that made me comfortable while sleeping and that gave me some sort of comfort when I returned to work.
After a miscarriage, some women tend to bleed for days or weeks. In my case I bled a little over two weeks each time, so the adult diapers came in handy! Going back to work was really difficult because I felt like everyone was looking at me. I didn’t feel confident in a maxi pad so I wore an adult diaper and have no shame about that.
3. Miscarriage is More Common Than We Think
I learned that almost everyone knows someone that has experienced pregnancy loss. When we told our family and friends about our first miscarriage, I had so many people share their stories with me. Some had one loss, others had two and everyone that shared that with me now has their rainbows.
It brought me comfort knowing that people close to me had experienced it and it normalized it a bit more in my life.
I learned that almost everyone knows someone that has experienced pregnancy loss.
4. Menstrual Cycles Can Change After a Miscarriage
I learned that after you experience miscarriage, your cycle can be a bit off for the first couple of cycles. There are a few different ways that your cycle can change but in my experience, it was the length of my periods, the heaviness of my periods and how many days are in a cycle.
5. You Need To Learn To Grieve as a Couple
The most important lesson that I learned from experiencing pregnancy loss was how to grieve as a couple. In the past when we have experienced loss from family passing away or hardships in our personal life, the grief was usually individual and the other was the supportive spouse.
In this case, we were both the ones grieving and we grieve so differently that it was hard to navigate. We had to learn how to be there for each other but also take care of ourselves and it was a huge lesson that ended up making us stronger.
The most important lesson that I learned from experiencing pregnancy loss was how to grieve as a couple.
No Single Way to Recover
If you’ve experienced a loss, please know that it’s OK to grieve in any way that you see fit. There is no right way or wrong way, there is only your way and that’s what matters most. Some of these lessons didn’t come to fruition until long after our first miscarriage.
Healing takes a lot of time and changes day to day so be easy on yourself and keep your hopes high for your future.