I know we’re just getting to know each other, but for me to share my story properly, I’m going to rip the band aid off and jump right into it. I want to share one of the more defining moments of my adult life. It was difficult to put my entire experience to paper, but along with helping you understand what makes me who I am, my hope is that this may help other women in similar situations.
This takes us to our decision to have kids. We had been married for just over two years. Conor and I were visiting family for the holidays and sitting alone by the fire on Christmas night, we decided that we wanted to start trying to expand our family (not that exact second Grandma…don’t worry).
We knew going into it that we could have challenges due to my medical history. I had three prior surgeries due to cysts, endometriosis and fibroids. None of which we believed would prevent us from our goal but had realistic expectations. We found out after six months we had done it, we were pregnant! The sheer joy and panic that follows was a whirlwind of emotions. We spent the next five weeks picking and choosing who we shared our news with.
A day I will never forget is the first day I went out with my mom, mother-in-law and sister to look at baby items for the first time. I was finally getting so close to the second trimester. We went out for dinner and that is when it happened, I began to bleed quite heavily. I told my family and we quickly left the restaurant leaving the meals we had just been served sitting on the table and headed to the hospital calling my husband on the way.
We spent hours in the emergency room trying to keep a positive attitude, but close to midnight we were informed our little one had not made it. Our hearts sank, and I was quickly whisked away to surgery. The following days were the hardest I have ever faced, but at the time I didn’t realize how long it would affect me.
I woke up after surgery in the early hours of the morning. The nurse advised we could stay or leave if we were ready. I decided I was ready to head home and be in my own comfortable bed. We headed home around 5am and slept for a few hours.
My parents came over as soon as we woke up to bring us coffee and make sure we were doing ok. I appreciated them stopping by, but I just wanted to be alone. As soon as they left, I disappeared into our bedroom and watched tv shows relentlessly. I rolled through different phases:
- Watching any show that kept my mind occupied and helped me forget my reality
- Crying for extended periods of time as I remembered my reality
- Sleeping to avoid crying and facing my reality
The next few days were a rollercoaster of emotions. I tried to avoid all contact with anyone and would cry every time Conor would hold my hand or hug me. We both dealt with things differently and I don’t believe either of us really knew what to do to help one another through. We did the best we could at the time. I know the experience in the end brought us closer and taught us how to really lean on each other. It was the first time out of my now four surgeries that my mom was not by my side when I woke up. Conor did an amazing job of being there when I needed him but giving me my space as well.
The loss had happened on a Thursday evening and by Monday morning I made the decision to go back to work. In hindsight this was a very bad choice. I tried to avoid contact with all my co-workers as even a small conversation would have had me break down. I made it through two hours of my day when I finally broke and had to explain to my manager why I needed to go home.
In the following weeks and months, the tears would sneak up on me at random times. The most difficult times were seeing others announce their pregnancies. Of course, I was always happy for them, but regardless it would remind me of the loss and I would break into hysterics. I felt scared of the same things happening again and worried I would never be able to have a successful pregnancy. Like I had failed at the most important part of being a woman. All these thoughts loomed over me constantly and would come spilling out from time to time. Usually the emotions came rushing out when wine was involved. I am grateful I had amazing friends by my side to listen to me and hug me when I needed it.
After recovering I promised myself, I would take my time and heal. If we got pregnant again, I would be excited but would try to be more relaxed. Time passed, and we moved into a larger home hoping that eventually we would be able to bring home a little one.
I tried everything I could think of without going too crazy. I would monitor my cycle closely, I peed on what felt like thousands of ovulation test, as much sex as possible during “prime time” and elevating my lower half after sex. It might seem crazy but there are many more things that women do when trying to conceive, I was just brushing the surface of intense.
In 2016, it had been over two years since our loss and I started to wonder if there was something wrong. We made the decision to see a fertility specialist to have things checked out. The appointment ended up falling on my birthday. Little did I know my amazing husband had planned for us to stay in Toronto for the weekend after our appointment. We completed all the tests and blood work and headed to our hotel for some much-needed R & R.
We found out two-and-a-half weeks later our relaxing weekend created something amazing. We were pregnant! This time I did not sit on the toilet staring at the test until it turned positive. The copious number of sticks I had peed almost every month for the previous 3 years had taught me to put it down and go do something else. So that is what I did. I had convinced myself prior to taking the test that it would be negative, at this point it was easier to expect negative to avoid getting my hopes up. To my surprise when I came back to the test it was positive. A whirlwind of emotions came over me. I felt triumphant, excited, fortunate and scared all at once. I fell to my knees and broke down in tears, it was finally here!
The one downside was that my partner in crime was away all weekend and there was no way I was going to tell him this news over the phone. At this point in our journey he knew that it was testing time, so when we spoke that afternoon he asked, and I replied with “no, I got my period.” It is a good thing we are not a couple who uses facetime because I would not have been able to keep it a secret.
Two days later Conor returned home. We were scheduled to go to lunch when he got back, so upon his return he asked, “where are we eating??”. I could barely contain myself. I smiled at him for a few seconds and informed him that we would have to skip lunch as we had an appointment. “An appointment??” he asked reluctantly. He had been up at 4am to catch a 4-hour flight home. Needless to say, the man just wanted to eat! “We have an appointment with the doctor because I’m pregnant!”. We cried and shared a moment in the driveway outside my office that I will never forget. We headed to the doctor for an ultrasound to check on the little bean. It was an amazing and scary experience, but all was good.
As I mentioned, we had just started working with a specialist, so we met with him and were able to see the fetus right away. Conor and I still joke that he found out I was pregnant and within an hour was sitting in the exam room seeing her. What an incredible day that was.
To this day I know that I never really embraced my pregnancy because I worried silently the whole time. Who knows, maybe I will enjoy future pregnancies more, but I am very happy to announce the little bean has turned into a beautiful one-and-a-half-year-old named Emelia Rae Lynn.
The loss is something I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy. The unfortunate part is that the percentage of women who have a miscarriage is quite high. Something like 20-30% of pregnancies. And that’s just of documented pregnancies. If you have gone through this, I am so very sorry for your loss. I hope you had people around to support you and help you move forward. Looking back, I think I was still so young and I wish I had brought myself to talk to more people. I felt like I was walking through a dark forest alone and nobody really understood me.
I think it is fair to say that you will never be able to avoid people asking if “your trying” or “when are you having kids.” Most people can’t help themselves and they don’t realize how loaded a question that can be. Just know that you are not alone and lean on your support system.
Women are strong and resilient. Taking the hardships and losses. Creating building blocks to move them forward and make them stand taller.
Please like, share, follow, comment and provide any feedback. I hope that as I share more you will truly get to know me, or if you already know me, may it give you insight into what has made me the person that stands in front of you (or behind your screen) today.
Until next time! I