There are an estimated 500,000 miscarriages reported in the United States each year. The way a woman reacts to an early pregnancy loss is often determined by her level of attachment to her unborn child prior to and after conceiving. Often times, women who suffer a miscarriage will hear from friends and family things like “you’re lucky- at least you know you can get pregnant,” or “you can always try again” or the worst “it was just a miscarriage.” These words are of little comfort to the woman who has been trying for years to get pregnant and/or desperately wanted the baby that died.
I suffered two miscarriages in my quest to have a child. One miscarriage happened before and the other happened after I gave birth to my stillborn twin sons. Although my experience with the twins was devastating, my miscarriages were each heart wrenching and difficult to bear.
My husband and I had been trying to conceive for two years before I got pregnant the first time. I wanted a baby so very badly. By the time I finally did become pregnant I was so attached to the idea of having a child that I was in love from the moment I saw the result of my positive pregnancy test. I experienced spotting twelve weeks into the pregnancy and went for an ultrasound to see if everything was OK. A few minutes after the examination began, my former obstetrician flippantly told me that there was no heartbeat. I began to cry. I was given the option for a D and C, and then was told that after I was able to pull myself together I could leave (there were pregnant women in the waiting room I’m sure she didn’t want me to upset).
That first miscarriage hit me hard, and completely changed the way I perceived my future. I panicked that I might not ever be able to have a child. The physical pain was far more intense than I had anticipated (I opted to miscarry naturally without a D and C, and I also ended up in the emergency room due to a bad reaction to a medication my former obstetrician put me on for excessive bleeding). I was afraid to try to conceive again. My relationship with my husband changed for a time as well. He really wanted a baby of his “own” and I began to think of adoption. It was a very difficult time.
I reacted very differently after my second miscarriage. Nearly five years had gone by since we started trying to have a baby. I became angrily determined to conceive and carry a child to full term live birth. Perhaps it was this tenacity (or just pure luck) that led me to my successful fourth (and subsequent fifth) pregnancy. Each of my children are a part of me I will never forget, leading me on a tumultuous yet ultimately positively life-altering journey to parenthood. But each of my two early losses were never “just a miscarriage” to me.