My Pregnancy Journey: The Painful Realities of My Miscarriage ExperienceBy Nikki Igbo
Published: August 19, 2015
Even as I round out the second trimester of my pregnancy, I still mourn the loss of the life that could have been just last year. Living through a miscarriage is an unspeakable horror, which is probably why most women who have dealt with miscarriage are not quick to recount their own stories.
I’m also guilty of being secretive about it and the reasons are many. There was the guilt I felt wondering if somehow I’d eaten something wrong, or didn’t get the right amount of exercise, or thinking the loss of my baby was retribution from some prior or future sin. There was also the shame of feeling as if I’d somehow failed my duties as a woman and my supposedly innate ability to cultivate and nurture life. And finally there was the extreme sense of loneliness.
I never knew that miscarriage happens in 10-20% of pregnancies. I never knew that many women close to me had experienced it. We don’t like to talk about it. But since I’m a writer by trade with an audience of women who may have had or will have this same experience, I feel it’s my duty to break this cycle of silence.
It happened around my 10th week of pregnancy, right after my first prenatal visit to my OB/GYN and perhaps that’s what made it most painful. After that visit, I went home with an ultrasound image of the new life growing inside me feeling victorious that my husband and I had finally conceived after so many years and months of trying. Two days after that visit, I began to spot. Two nights later, a second visit to the hospital revealed that there was no longer a heartbeat.
During that initial prenatal visit, there were telltale signs that something was amiss and I still don’t understand why my physician wasn’t absolutely forthcoming with me. Perhaps he didn’t want to shatter my hopes or be the one to convey the bad news, but I feel that his decision to remain silent was unfair. He could have told me that neither my uterus nor my fetus were growing at the right rate of speed. He also could have told me that my fetus’ heartbeat was too slow and rather irregular. Yet, he did neither and I still feel as if I’d been robbed of the chance to at least emotionally prepare myself for the next nine days.
Miscarriage is not like in the movies or on television. It’s not brief. It’s not simply a temporary reproductive inconvenience. While some women may require a D&C to clear away the fetal tissue, many others experience natural miscarriage in which their bodies slowly flush out the tissue. It took nine days for my baby’s tissue to pass from my body. Between the shock and tears, I was reminded each time I went to the bathroom that I was losing, losing, losing. I vacillated between the deepest sadness I’d ever known and the most profound anger I’d ever felt. There was nothing my husband could say, nothing my family could say, no amount of comfort that could be given to me make any real difference. There was just me and those daily intermittent trips to the bathroom to face this tragedy over and again. I had lost a life, my son- or daughter-to-be. I had established a connection and that connection was gone for reasons which no one could explain to me.Though I never saw his/her face or touched his/her tiny hand, it was no different than suffering the loss of a grown child.
I think that’s what I most want others to know, especially those who have never experienced miscarriage; it’s every bit as painful as losing a child. Despite the fact that miscarriage is a natural response to pregnancy abnormalities or future issues with the baby, it hurts no less than losing a child who has been born, who has a name, who grows and thrives in one’s care. I resented anyone who told me that it was “God’s will” or “it happened for the best.” In fact, there were family members I would outright avoid simply because I didn’t want to hear these types of platitudes. I found that I could only speak with other women who’d had the experience. And no matter how far back or recently their experience had taken place, they cried with me as if they’d felt that pain anew. Yes, that’s how intense it is and that’s how much it hurts.
My story has a happy ending. I was able to conceive again. The miracle of life found a way, but every now and then I still ache at the thought of that previous pregnancy. I’m not alone. There are many women who go on to have several children but still hold an annual memorial service for their lost little soul. Miscarriage hurts deeply and takes time to get over. I encourage every woman to mourn, heal and cope in any way that makes sense to them. I also want to reassure every woman that you are not alone. Please reach out to someone, talk to someone, cry on someone’s shoulder, be held by someone who understands. Women who have experienced it, please be brave enough to let others know what you’ve gone through.
Don’t miss out on Nikki’s pregnancy journey. Check out the previous articles here: Part 1: From 2 Miscarriages to Positivity, Part 2: Pregnancy Worries, Fears and Prenatal Results, Part 3: A Few Notes About My Unborn Son’s Personality, Part 4: Recognizing The Exquisite Gift of New Life, Part 5: Hunger, Fatique and Looming Concerns of Parenting, Pregnancy and Dealing with Inescapable Fatigue.
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