Monday, March 31, 2014

The Schwartz's vs My Little Secret

I don't talk much about being pregnant.  I think I was 17 or 18 weeks along this time before we started telling people.  I don't talk much about being pregnant for a few reasons, I firmly believe no one really wants to hear about it.  I don't have complicated or terrible pregnancies that require assistance from friends or pity from strangers.  I have too many friends who have suffered from some sort of infertility and while I know they are happy for me every time I get knocked up, I know it also hurts them a little inside. But mostly, I don't talk about being pregnant because our first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage.

There.  I said it.  It's like a dirty little secret I carry around with me.  It's a scar on my heart.  It's personal, and 5 years later it can at times still be a little raw.  Before we were blessed with 2 heathy babies and now days away from welcoming our third, our first one died before I ever heard it's heart beat.  

11 weeks 5 days.  That's the horrible number that is burned into my brain.  Maybe it hurts so much to think about it because of how they presented it.  As I begged the ultrasound tech to tell me what was going on all she said was, "I can't say for certain what it is but all I can say is an 11 week 5 day old fetus it is not."  When people find out and asked how far along I was when it happened, I try to say it like it's just a number but I know it comes out a little more raw then I'd like probably because the rest of that line plays in my head every time.

"gestational sack" that's the awful term the hospital kept using after they saw my ultrasound but didn't really want to tell me what was going on because it was Sunday after midnight and they knew I had an OBGYN appointment on Monday morning at 9.  I finally broke down and told the doctor to call it a baby because that's what it was to me.  After that they sent in the chaplain.  

"Bummer".  That's what my OBGYN said when I went Monday morning.  She had already reviewed the information from the hospital.  I had already waited longer than I should have in a waiting room full of blissfully pregnant women, a few of them teens.  Bummer was not really the word I wanted to use.  I switched OBs with Cody's pregnancy.    

"Abortion" that's what the check in nurse said when I showed up for my D&C because I had not naturally passed all the parts and my OBGYN said we needed to make sure everything was out or it would put me and any future pregnancies in jeopardy.  That word cut me to the core.  That word messed me up more than any other part of this.  Sitting there broken in a chair wondering why this had to happen to me and some careless person dared use such a horrible word to me.  All I could do after that was cry uncontrollably saying, "I didn't do anything wrong."  They gave me some pretty strong drugs after that, apparently they don't like hysterical women.  

My one miscarriage is nothing compared to the struggles and tragedies of many women.  And truly when I think of close friends and what they've been through, crying over one miscarriage sometimes makes me feel weak and silly.  But the fact is, it happened.  It happened to me.  It was the trial I was given in my journey to motherhood, and I carry it with me always.  And every time I hear of another friend who has miscarried the wound in my heart aches for them because while there is nothing I can say to them, I know how they feel.  

Recently an article went around facebook.  A few friends shared it.  It's about why we shouldn't hide our first trimester.  You can read it here if you want, it has some interesting points. 

I understand where that writer is coming from when they express their exasperation at how common early miscarriages are and yet how many women don't talk about them.  I mean, this is the first time I've ever really publicly talked about what I went through.  And I think she made some good points about how we hide the first trimester and then if the worst happens you're forced to deal with the miscarriage alone.  I understand her point of view.  

Yet, I keep my first trimester hidden like most women because I don't want to have to tell everyone if it ends badly.  The week before we lost the first baby, word had finally slipped out at school.  That means I now had to go around telling folks the painful truth of what happened.  Luckily for me, I had Tomi, and Cameron and Susan and they handled it for me.  Tomi even called the principal for me and subfinder and I think Cameron came up with my lesson plans for the days I was out.  They ran interference when I got back to work.  They dealt with it so that I wouldn't have to.  Except it always happens that someone doesn't get the memo and somewhere a month later someone is asking how far along I am now and I have to stop and tell them I'm not.  And it hurts again.  And it hurts for them because they now feel bad for saying anything. It's just hard.  And so, you hide it.  

But it is so common.  I don't know the stats, I'm not going to google it.  But I would bet everyone knows at least one woman who has had a miscarriage.  The year I lost mine, 4 of us 7th and 8th grade teachers were pregnant.  3 of us had miscarriages.  

So after reading the article many months ago, I thought about doing this post.  Then I put it out of my mind because it's very personal and it's not something happy and not something I would think others would want to read.

Recently another friend confided in me about a miscarriage and how the due date was fast approaching.  That's hard.  The first time you pass that due date is rough.  She didn't know I'd ever had a miscarriage so I thought it was pretty brave of her to share that with me.  And so I said the only thing you can say, I told her "I know how you feel" and then shared my secret.  And she said something to the effect of how surprised she was to find how common it is.  Again, you probably know someone who's had a miscarriage.  Because as soon as you tell someone they can either tell you they know, or they know someone who has.   

So when my friend bravely shared her secret with me, I decided it was time to be brave and put this out there.  Because in the end, there is nothing anyone can ever say to make it better.  And the only thing that remotely helped me was sitting next to someone who could say, "I know."  Sunday when I got home from the hospital and was dealing with trying to figure out what was happening I called a friend whom I knew had suffered from multiple miscarriages.  She came out immediately.  She didn't say anything, there is nothing to say, she just sat next to me cause that's all you can do.  

So maybe someone is surfing the web dealing with a miscarriage that they aren't ready to talk about with a friend yet and they stumbled here.  So I'll put this up here to be a virtual "I know" for anyone that needs it.  I know.  And when you are ready to talk about it with a girlfriend, you'll be surprised at how many of them know too.  It won't make it easier.  But it will make you realize that you're not alone in this.  

As for me, who knows.  Since this is my last pregnancy perhaps finally 11 weeks 5 days will finally stop haunting me.  We'll see.  

1 comment:

  1. This is the second time I read this post. I couldn't comment the first time for reasons I know you understand. This was so well written. I'm really proud of you for putting this out there for everyone to read. Dealing with pregnancy loss really sucks. When I finally wrote about my losses I felt an odd sense of relief to just have it out there. I still didn't want to talk about it, but it did make me feel better just to not harbor that secret anymore. I hope you feel some sense of peace, too. Love you.