on early pregnancy loss

I’ve had three very early pregnancy losses, all before the heart of my little one would have started beating.

The first pregnancy was a result of my first clomid / IUI cycle after 1.5 years of trying. My betas looked excellent, then at 6w2d, I started bleeding. A lot. I went to the ER where I’m pretty sure I lost the tissue of my would-be baby in the toilet as I was emptying my bladder prior to the ultrasound.

The second loss was after my third clomid / IUI cycle after about 2 years of trying for number 1. My first beta was negative at 12 DPO, but my period was MIA for a good 4-5 days before I got a positive on a HPT and a series of low non-doubling betas, confusing ultrasounds, and eventually 2 shots of methotraxate to dissolve my would-be baby stuck in my right fallopian tube over the span of a couple of months.

The third and most recent loss was after two successful full-term pregnancies and after over a year of NOT NOT trying for child number three. This time I knew a bit after 5 weeks gestation that something wasn’t right, but the tissue wouldn’t pass on it’s own and I had to have d&c to remove the fetal tissue (which was so minuscule that they didn’t get it (tests were negative), but the procedure must have “disturbed” it enough that my body was able to pass it). My betas went slowly down.

I’ve seen a few articles recently on my face.book timeline related to pregnancy loss. Mark Zuckerberg himself posted a moving status update about his wife’s three miscarriages and now pregnancy. I’m glad more stories are being written about loss, it’s a tough thing that so many go through in silence. I read an article today on the Huffington Post from a L&D nurse about miscarriage.

Everyone’s story of TTC, pregnancy, and loss is different – there is a vast range of pregnancy loss experiences and how women process and grieve their loss is very different depending on the circumstance not just of that particular loss but also where they are on their family building journey, their family and friends histories with pregnancy loss.. I was on a baby-wearing facebook group recently, which in itself is a bad idea because a positive pee stick posted with the caption “looks like I’ll need another carrier! whoops” is all too common (insert IFer eyeroll here). In one of these groups, a mom posted a picture of herself carrying her toddler and the caption said she was making arrangements for burying her 9 weeks gestation fetus she just miscarried. I’m a member of a separate group that’s a subset of that group, and some members were commenting on how it was odd to be looking for support from other moms for “something so personal and private” on a baby wearing group page in the thousands and that cascaded into that it was odd to bury the remains of her 9 week old fetus. I was appalled at the judgement and that they were taken aback she was looking for support on a page where so many are posting sticks they just peed on and women rush to congratulate them.

I wouldn’t have buried my 9 weeks gestation fetus. I don’t connect with stories of angel babies or rainbow babies, but that’s just not how I grieve. That verbiage isn’t comforting to me, but I can see how it might for others and absolutely support others if they choose to use it. My experience with my losses is a bit different – I have a hard time thinking of my losses as more than a cluster of cells, a tiny ball of potential that wasn’t, that likely had some chromosomal abnormality incompatible with life. The fertlized egg that the methotrexate broke down one cell at a time. The tiny clump of tissue that fell into the toilet paper in the hospital bathroom. The tissue broken up surgical while I was in sterile operating room.

Their tiny hearts never started beating, but what was very real and alive for me was the hope and the prayers that maybe this baby would be our baby in the short time that I carried them. The future that was imagined, if only for a little while:

The due dates are still etched in mind of the babies that weren’t:

September 3, 2010

December 2010

January 2016

I was taken aback by the baby wearing mom on facebook for judging a grieving mom on facebook on how or to whom she should reach out or how she should process her grief. If it helps someone to reach out, even to strangers, why not offer them a kind word when you see them struggling? It makes me think that I need to talk about pregnancy loss more on social media and in real life. Most often I’m struck by that even though I’m an open book and I communicate with family on our struggles, after the initial “I’m sorry for your loss”, all goes on as if nothing has happened.

My SILs will talk to me about planning their next baby and wondering how they can get pregnant with a girl instead of their third boy this time by having sex early because girl sperm lives longer than boy sperm. I gulp back my feelings the words on the tip of my tongue that I’d just like to have the option to have another I’d like to be the one in charge of that decision or to have my baby to live instead of miscarry again, but I don’t. I quip back or chuckle or offer up IVF with PGD and tell her the early ovulation sex probably has about a 51% chance of conceiving a girl.

Anyway. I’m struck by the lack of empathy and compassion I see from people, and even more shocked when it’s a fellow mom who’s been pregnant and still can’t seem come up with a shred of thoughtfulness and care for another mom going through a hard time. I see so many articles written on loss these days, many more than during my first miscarriage, but it doesn’t seem to be trickling down to the people I interact with IRL or on social media (outside of my IF and close friend bubble, of course).

I like the final line of the HufPo article “it’s okay to talk about it: miscarriages matter.” Exactly that.

If you’ve had a miscarriage, what was your experience with how others treated you during and after? Are you noticing any more advocacy on pregnancy loss recently?

 

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5 thoughts on “on early pregnancy loss

  1. GAH, that poor woman! And why wouldn’t she reach out to a FB group full of moms? That’s not even a question in my mind. Ind not know that I’ve noticed any advocacy uptick per se. I think it’s a slow process to normalize and educate on miscarriage and infertility. Not to mention adoption, which is the world I live in.

  2. Ooooof. Yeah. I did not receive any support beyond the day it happened IRL. Not even from my spouse, really. It changed things between us forever. People were either indifferent, thoughtless, or cruel. Nobody really got it until I found an ALI blogger going through it at the same time, and that person was you. Even within the larger ALI community… like you said, everybody processes differently I guess. I don’t know if it is being talked about more in general, or if I just notice it more because it is something I’ve been through twice.

  3. It has been in the media a lot lately, but it also may be like the million pregnant people at the grocery store when you’re ttc. The first I got no support and my spouse claimed not to even remember the pregnancy by the time we got to early miscarriage 3 two years later. The second I was angry and wouldn’t have let anyone support me even if they’d tried. The third I told a few people about (other two I hadn’t told anyone but my spouse even about the pregnancy at 8 & then 9 weeks) and mostly felt supported. We got a card and a book from the hospital after the d&c and it was nice and horrible at the same time. Even now I don’t generally say to anyone who isn’t going through a loss that I had any, let alone 3. I do think that reaching out to fellow moms should be expected and hopefully safe. We need to give each other room to share and process our own way without being awful to each other. I suppose it makes sense to talk about it more openly so we develop some public way of grieving. I loved (in that there was community support just like any funeral and nobody was “they shouldn’t make such a big deal about it!”) the big potluck and ceremony for a cousin’s twins born at 22w and everyone came and was supportive but I wonder where the line would have been if their loss had been earlier.

  4. My losses were extremely early. No heart beats seen. Only one of them was actually a confirmed pregnancy and some only viewed it as chemical. I sought support wherever I could find it. I did not get much from my partner as his view was, “hey, we got pregnant and they didn’t think we could do that.” He didn’t really view it as a loss. Women can be awful creatures and those not supporting a woman grieving, whatever she may be grieving, are harsh. Everyone processes things differently. It’s what makes us human. But I do believe the mainstreaming of the topic is raising some awareness. Like SRB I think because I’m more sensitive to the topic having experienced things, I am more aware of when it is talked about publicly. hugs lady…..

  5. My husband and I have been ttc for two years, with two surgeries for endometriosis, one IUI, two IVF cycles that didn’t make it to transfer, and one last IVF cycle that resulted in five day 3 embryos. (We were too conservative / paranoid to let our five embryos try to make it to day 5 in the lab. From my research, it seems some good (euploid) embryos die on the way, especially female embryos, and we just didn’t want to risk it.)

    We just transferred the two “prettiest” embryos (though you can’t tell much by looks) and are hoping for good news soon.

    Meanwhile, yeah, people who get pregnant easily can be breathtakingly thoughtless. I try to remember that I also used to be incredibly ignorant about miscarriage rates and reproductive issues.* I just assumed I’d have an easy time, and that most people have an easy time, and that if you don’t, you’re either super unlucky or you did something to decrease your own chances. Of course, even if you *were* super unlucky or did something to decrease your own chances, that wouldn’t mean you didn’t deserve thoughtfulness and kindness. But it just seemed like something far away and scary, and I imagine for new moms, it seems even more far away and scary, and they have a million other things on their mind.

    See? I can be thoughtful and try to see someone else’s perspective even while I’m *going through* reproductive issues… :/

    So yeah. People should try to be as sensitive as they can. And I think by writing and speaking publicly about it more, we can help make that happen. So, thanks. 🙂

    * I use the term “reproductive issues” instead of “infertility” for reasons I talk about on one of my posts — but to each her own:

    https://ladypartadventures.wordpress.com/2015/07/21/infertile-objection

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