I announced I was pregnant and then I had a miscarriage
As much as I knew in my heart I would be able to get pregnant, I was 38 years old. Which, led to me having a lot of inner dialog about how maybe we had waited too long and missed our chance to have biological kids. To be honest, if I hadn’t been my age, we probably would have waited even longer. I was/am a workaholic and I was terrified my business would suffer if we had kids (you can read more about this HERE)! But, having the pressure of time, especially if we wanted more than one, we knew we had to go for it.
The first month I was off of birth control (after being on it for 20 years), I took a pregnancy test. My jaw absolutely hit the ground when it came up positive. I sat there staring at it in shock with my heart pounding out of my chest. Minutes felt like hours as I waited for Dan to get home from work so I could tell him. When I told him, his eyes just about bugged out of his head! Our shock turned into elation and a wave of relief came over us.
Prior to finding out I was pregnant, I had an ultrasound of my ovaries scheduled for something unrelated to pregnancy. I was so glad I had it scheduled because it was a sneaky way to get in to make sure the baby had a heartbeat before that 8 week mark that they typically make you wait for. Granted, I was 7 weeks, so it was only a week early, but 7 days at that point would be like an eternity. So, I had the ultrasound and the tech confirmed that there was a baby and a heartbeat. We were SO excited (and a bit terrified) and couldn’t believe how quickly everything was happening!
My next appointment wasn’t until I was 11.5 weeks pregnant. I knew of this unspoken “rule” that you shouldn’t announce your pregnancy before the 12 week mark and, honestly, this rule never really made sense to me. Why should you have to wait to tell people? Yes, I get it. Miscarriages happen. But, miscarriage is an intense loss, so wouldn’t people need support during that time? I can see if you are a private person and don’t want that information out there for the world, but what if you aren’t that private (like me)?! I mean, I knew I wanted to hear the baby’s heartbeat before making it public that I was pregnant. And I heard it during the ultrasound at 7 weeks….so, why wait? I’ve never been someone to keep big, exciting personal news a secret, so Dan I talked and he gave me the okay to announce when I was 10 weeks. This is the photo we posted:
We were flooded with loads of amazing well wishes! Friends, clients, old coworkers, people coming out of the woodwork to congratulate us. The next few weeks were spent celebrating and dreaming about what it would be like with a new baby.
For my 11.5 week appointment, Dan was on a big job and I assured him it would be totally fine to be on Facetime. So, all excited with Dan watching, the mid-wife started the ultrasound. She said couldn’t find a heartbeat. Time stopped. I thought for sure there had to be a mistake. But, there wasn’t a mistake. The baby had died. I was devastated. Dan left work right away. He ended up rear-ending a car driving to the hospital and told the guy to take a photo of his driver’s license because he couldn’t wait and he took off.
Those next few days were extremely difficult. I had a wedding to photograph the following day and it’s not the type of thing you cancel on. So, knowing I had a great friend and strong second photographer with me (as well as a backup photographer if physically I couldn’t do it), I went to the wedding knowing I was having a miscarriage. Strangely enough, I had zero symptoms that I had a miscarriage up to that point. They call it a “missed miscarriage” — when your body still continues on as though the baby is alive. But, when I found out, the symptoms started. It’s like as soon as I knew mentally, my body was able to start the process. I got through the wedding and it was one of my favorites I had ever photographed and, in hindsight, it kept me busy and creative that day instead of being an absolute wreck the entire day. Dan and I got through the next few days together. He took care of me exactly how I needed and I’m forever grateful for that.
Two weeks passed and I knew I had to say something publicly. The congrats kept coming. People kept asking when we would find out the gender. I couldn’t keep up the act. I felt stupid. Stupid and embarrassed for making this huge announcement before being in the “safety zone”. Not only did I feel stupid, but I was scared. Scared that I wouldn’t be able to get pregnant again. Scared that this was a sign that I had waited too long. I finally wrote what we would post:
We were reluctant to put something so personal on Facebook, but we have been getting so many beautiful well wishes that we thought we should let you know that our good news is no longer good news. While we have heavy hearts, we are also grateful that I was able to get pregnant so quickly in the first place, and we are hopeful that it will happen again soon. We are so lucky to have such loving support from our family and friends!
Within minutes, we had more support than I ever could have imagined. I received message after message from people telling me how they also had a miscarriage. Or they know someone who did. And how they have healthy kids now, despite having one, two, or even three or more losses. Not that you ever want someone else to go through something like this, but knowing I wasn’t alone in this sure did bring me some comfort. I even had people reach out to me when they had their own miscarriage so they would have someone to talk to who had been through it. And, finally, I didn’t feel so stupid anymore. I realized that miscarriage is, sadly, way more common than I knew and that there is no shame in talking about it!
Mentally, I was back on track again. We grieved our loss and looked forward to me becoming pregnant again. Once my body was ready a few months later, we conceived Van and he was born June 2016 (you can read about our 3 pound bundle of joy HERE).
Please know that if you have suffered a miscarriage, you are not alone! Don’t be afraid to reach out to people in your circle (or even outside of your circle) for support.