Guest blog from Shantel, Kindred Bravely's Pinterest Manager
What happens if you lose a baby before you even get to tell anyone you're pregnant? Who do you turn to? How do you keep your composure when no one knows you are hurting deep inside? I never thought I’d have to find the answers to those questions.
About six weeks after we got married, my husband and I found out we were pregnant. I took five pregnancy tests just to be sure. We’d planned to start our family right away, and we were ecstatic to celebrate our honeymoon baby.
I could barely contain my excitement; it seemed like every waking moment was filled with thoughts of who our baby would look like, how it would feel to hold our bundle of joy, and hopes and dreams for the future.
We didn’t live close to our families at the time, and we had plans to see them near the end of my first trimester, so we decided to tell them in person. I couldn’t wait to see the looks on their faces when we shared our happy news!
When I was just shy of ten weeks pregnant, I woke up with a gut feeling that something wasn’t right; I didn’t have any reason to think something was wrong, but I just knew it was. Since we were in the mountains for the weekend, I tried to push the feeling aside. A bit later, I started cramping, and that’s when I knew something was definitely wrong.
I’d always had horrible, debilitating cramps during my cycle, but I knew I shouldn’t be cramping like that when I had a baby growing inside of me. As my cramps turned to bleeding, my biggest fear was becoming reality. I called my midwife—we hadn’t even had our first appointment—and she told me to go to the ER.
The hospital in the small mountain town had to page a sonographer to come in, and what felt like an eternity later, she finally arrived. Since it was so early in my pregnancy, I had to have a vaginal ultrasound to make sure she’d be able to see everything. I was already stressed and scared, but that additional level of discomfort removed what little security and control I had left.
The room was so quiet; the only sound was the sonographer tapping away on her keyboard. I vividly remember the moment she turned to me. “Are you sure your dates are right?”
My mind swirled with emotions and questions. What are you talking about? We got married in May. Of course, my dates are right! I missed my period in July. What else could you possibly need to know? It was almost like she was accusing me of not being pregnant in the first place, but her words had verified the sick, empty feeling I’d had all day.
Soon after the ultrasound, an ER physician came in to verify what we already knew: our baby was gone. But they didn’t know whether my pregnancy was ectopic or if my body had already begun the process of miscarrying, so an OB was being called in to review the sonogram. Once the ER doctor left the room, my husband and I both broke down into tears. We didn’t know what to do. We were in a small town, far away from our families, losing a baby that they didn’t even know about.
Eventually, we decided to call our parents to let them know what was happening. It was so hard. We’d been so excited to tell them about their grandchild, and now we had to tell them the baby was gone. But knowing that they were thinking of us made it a little easier to deal with our loss. Since the doctors were concerned that it might be an ectopic pregnancy, which can cause fallopian tubes to rupture with severe internal bleeding, I ended up having a D&C. During the surgery, the OB found severe endometriosis and cysts, the ultimate cause of my miscarriage. There was so much extraneous endometrial tissue in my uterus that my baby didn’t have room to grow.
I knew it wasn’t my fault, there was really no way to have discovered it earlier, but I still felt responsible. The surgeon cleared out the endometriosis and cysts and assured us we’d be able to have children.
I was nervous though, afraid I would never be able to have the family my husband and I so desperately wanted.
Two short (but felt oh, so, long) months later, I got pregnant. Every time I had a slight cramp, I thought the worst. Every time I went to the bathroom, I expected to see blood. Thankfully, it never came. We were blessed with our Rainbow baby. A stout, perfectly healthy baby boy who now is a rambunctious toddler and makes me smile and want to pull my hair out all at the same time.
Pregnancy still scares me. The thought of losing another baby scares me. At first, I just wanted to forget about it, to pretend it never happened, but as time has gone on, talking about my loss and sharing my story has made it a little easier. It helps me feel like my baby was real even though I was never able to hold him or her. I will never know the gender of my baby or get to see my baby grow up. I do know that my baby is watching over me, though and that helps makes it a little bit easier to get up in the mornings.