Before I begin this blog, I just wanted to say “Thank You!” I’ve been struggling with this blog for a few days now. I knew that I wanted to write it and I knew that I wanted to share it. But at the same time just thinking about writing it down made it all too real again. It takes me out of the safe space where I operate 80% of my day. A space where I gloss over the fact that I actually did have a miscarriage and not just one but three. Sharing this with you forces me to vacate the space where I still feel normal which in turn allows me to get through my everyday functions.
However, this morning while checking the Confessions of Miscarriage Instagram, I came across four separate direct messages from women thanking me for my page expressing to me how my newly formed page with only a few posts has truly helped them. I started on this mission for every woman to have a place where she could speak about her miscarriage in whatever terms works best for her. A space for women to find healing and speak their own truths. And so it seems as if in a beautiful Shakespeare sense of irony, the very women I set out to inspire have inspired me. Thank you for giving me strength.
Moments after I inserted the cytotec is when the shivering started. A common side effect I had read about in the brief hour or so I had to prepare myself for this journey. However, no amount of frantic google searching could have prepared me for this. I quickly began to shake violently. Whole body encompassing, soul crushing shakes that reminded me of the decision I had put into motion.
My doctor had given me all the options: natural, cytotec or a d&c. She discussed each with me in great length and detail. Taking time to use small sentences because she could tell that in the haze that was my new reality, I was only listening to about half of them. “We will get through this together,” she said as we both kept the tears from running down our faces. The strength this woman possesses, who had been on this journey with us from its inception, is what kept me from curling up into a ball on the floor. She instinctively knew I needed her strength to carry me at that moment and she gave it wholeheartedly.
I became hyper focused on my teeth, they wouldn’t stop chattering. I couldn’t make them stop. “How long will this last?” I say to myself as I put my hands over my jaw to keep it still, but still the chattering marched on.
This is how my husband found me. Even though we had agreed to wait until he returned with the pain medication prescribed by the doctor, I just couldn’t wait any longer. “Are you ok”, he asks. “Yes, I think it’s just a side effect”, I state. He pulls out my favorite pair of comfy socks and puts them on. He goes and gets his childhood blanket, the one we joke has magical healing powers (it was made in 80s, such better quality back then!) and lovingly tucks me in.
About 10 minutes later, I feel the contractions getting stronger and I know what I need to do. Gathering myself up I head for the bathroom. My favorite bathroom, the one with my beloved claw-foot tub and I begin to push.
Now this is the part about miscarriage that no one talks about: the amount of blood and what happens to your child after you have birthed it at home.
You hear there will be a lot and because you have a period you think you comprehend this concept. But the volume far exceeds your expectations. The size of the clots are unimaginable and act as the last bit of proof that your womb was your baby’s home. Then the part no one warned me about: unless you scoop your baby out of the toilet to keep or be sent off to be tested, you will most likely flush it down the toilet.
The emotions of just that; flushing your whole world down the toilet, are indescribable. The numbness, the pain, the sorrow. In hindsight I should have known. My baby was tiny, measuring mere centimeters, he could slip out any moment, caught up in the crimson river that was sweeping his lifeless body out of me. Why did I think I would be lucky enough to catch him in the super heavy flow pad I was wearing? My doctor had said I would know him when I saw him, in his little sac. But I couldn’t find him, there was too much blood and to top it off a side effect of cytotec is diarrhea. I feel I had failed him all over again. I couldn’t give him life and now I couldn’t even give him dignity. I couldn’t even give myself the chance to find out if he was in fact a he.
The amount of blood clots a mother must search through to find her child is also something I never found in any google search. Perhaps, that is because I am the only woman who has done that. However, something deep inside me tells me otherwise.
We are still mothers, we will still do whatever is necessary for the benefit of our child. Even if that means sticking my hands in a toilet to dissect a blood clot that could potentially have my baby in it.
And maybe that’s the lesson. That no matter the outcome, I am a mother. Even if it was for the one week I knew I was pregnant before my first miscarriage or for the 2 months I held twins before I miscarried one or the one extra month I got to spend with the surviving twin. I was a mother to them all. I loved them. I took care of myself so I could take better care of them. I started to make plans to give them the best future. I would have traded my life for theirs in a heartbeat if I had been given a chance.
And why? Because that is what a mother does. She protects, loves, fosters and cries for her babies. That is what my mother does and would do for me. That is what I will continue to do for mine.