I found out I was pregnant Jan. 30th of this year. I was ecstatic and couldn’t wait to share my excitement with my immediate family members. I was of a different thinking:
“Why not share this exciting news right away? If my pregnancy for some reason doesn’t go as planned at least my support network would be there for me.”
When we told both my parents & my husband’s parents they were so happy for us but advised us to wait until my first ultrasound between 8-11 weeks before telling anyone else about our pregnancy. I was torn about this. My relationship with people I am close to is a transparent one. I don’t like hiding anything from anyone I care deeply about. However, my husband & I decided to take our family’s advice & decided to wait until after the first ultrasound to break the news extended family & friends.
One week after we found out that I was pregnant I began to experience literally all the textbook and non textbook pregnancy symptoms: vertigo (This was one of the scariest symptoms. I awoke one morning to find the room spinning, my vision blurred and my gait unsteady.), ‘all day sickness’ (nausea & dry heaving all day), acne, oily hair, dry skin, breast tenderness (it became so severe at one point that hurt to even walk), headaches, heightening sense of smell (that would further aggravate the ‘all-day sickness’), extreme fatigue, bloating, flatulence, abdominal tenderness, vivid dreams, insomnia, constipation, weight loss (due to not being able to eat much) and moody.
I felt self-conscious during the beginning of my pregnancy. The increase in hormones coursing through my body had led to a lot of visible physical changes that I was ashamed of. I started having acne on my face which I worked hard to clear with proper diet and exercise and lifestyle over the years. I started having the worst dry skin of my life. I lost weight and looked a little sickly and not healthy because I couldn’t stomach a lot of foods due to all day sickness. I worried in those moments:
“I am a naturopathic doctor. Will my new patients and existing patients who don’t know that I am pregnant judge me for these ‘not so healthy’ changes to my body? Will they think less of my advice and recommendations because there is a possibility that they will assume I don’t take care of myself and don’t practice what I preach?”
I felt vulnerable and I just wanted to tell everyone I was pregnant so I could have my excuse for looking & feeling ‘not myself’ out in the open (Brene Brown's TED talk on vulnerability kept replaying in my mind). I felt guilty that I couldn’t keep up with my household chores and work and life like I had before. I felt lazy and unproductive. I couldn’t wait to leap into the second trimester so that there might be a chance I could restart my exercise routines and eat and function like a normal human being.
I was excited yet nervous about my first appointment. I should have been more excited than nervous but that was not the case. This ultrasound, even though I’ve read it shouldn’t, was going to be the official “Ok Dimpi you are pregnant and there is no going back.” I was prepared with a list of questions about birth and birth plans and I had researched other midwives if I didn’t like the one I was seeing that day.
The ultrasound technician was really sweet. She started with a regular ultrasound and then moved to vaginal one because she said my uterus was retroverted and that she couldn’t see the contents of my uterus well. I started to get a little nervous when she moved to the vaginal ultrasound. She probed around and took pictures silently. It must have only been seconds but to me it felt forever and I couldn’t take the suspense of not knowing what she was seeing or not seeing. I then asked nervously - is there no baby? She nervously replied back that doesn’t see an eight and half week old baby. She reported seeing 1 gestational sac with two yolk sacs but no membranes or heartbeats.
Surreal moment. What?! I was carrying twins...I think? OMG my crazy pregnancy symptoms now kinda make sense. Is this real?
I wanted a hug. I wanted reassurance that this was going to be ok. I wanted to feel empowered that my body made the right decision at the time to terminate the pregnancy. Instead I felt shocked by my midwife’s handling of the whole situation. When she finally did come she explained that I was in the process of miscarrying & that I had three options (D&C, medication or to wait to pass the tissues naturally). I was then ushered in the lab so that the phlebotomist could draw my blood to measure my beta hcg levels & to confirm miscarriage.
I had routine blood draws for 4 weeks thereafter until I finally actively miscarried. These blood draws were sometimes the most difficult parts of my week because it reminded me that this was real - the notion that I was pregnant & am no longer.
The night before I actively miscarried I began to have mild contractions & the urge to urinate frequently. I did not sleep well that night & knew I was hours away from the anticipated event. 7am the next morning I had an urge to rush to the bathroom. There was a sensation of gushing - and I literally gushed blood & tissue for 2.5 hours straight on the toilet. I was fine initially. My husband would come check-in on me every 15 minutes. We would give each other a thumbs up and that is how I got through most of those first two and half hours. I flushed over 30 times in 2.5 hours. I was hemorrhaging and I knew this. I knew the responsible course of action was to check myself into the emergency room if I was filling more than 1 pad an hour but I really didn't want to go.
I want to mention that I am not advocating that others should also stay home if they are hemorrhaging. This was partly irresponsible & partly stubborn on my part.
I was prepared those initial 2.5 hours mostly because I did a lot of anecdotal research. I was prepared to pass of a lot of blood at once and I was prepared to pass large pieces of tissue.
But, I was not prepared to force myself to drink fluids even if I did feel nauseous. In retrospect it seems irresponsible to me that I asked for a bottle of electrolytes from husband close to 7am and didn’t even touch the bottle for 2.5 hours. This is why I fainted for seconds around 9:30am which could have been possibly totally avoided.
I was also angry those initial 2.5 hours that this was nothing like a heavy period. I have never been in labor at full term as this was my first pregnancy. So I don’t know what that is like in comparison to what I experienced.
At 9:30 I felt faint and called for my husband. I informed him that I was beginning to show signs that I would faint soon and minutes later I did faint (I don’t recall this (ha) my husband told me I fell to the floor after getting off the toilet). My husband woke me quickly and began forcing orange juice and crackers in me. I drank two glasses of OJ, regained enough consciousness, and now the sweat prior to fainting had turned clammy & cold. I was shivering, still weak, and now contractions were full blown. I was in a lot of pain. I did not want to get up from the bathroom floor.
My sister in law massaged my back (which was so helpful!), as my husband continued to force more fluids in me. Then, they both collectively decided to get me into bed so that my body could relax more versus. being contorted on the hard bathroom floor. They both lifted me from either end and walked me to my bed, they placed several towels on the bed sheet in case I bled through. I lied in excruciating pain for the next 10 minutes.
We contemplated going to the ER again. I decided that if I feel better in the next ½ hour from all of the continuous fluids and food that I would not go.
I had my own entourage of family members by my side; one person went to the store to get me more OJ (higher amount glucose) & heavy pads & underpads for the bed (so I wouldn’t ruin more towels and sheets), another person stayed by my side feeding me sugar biscuits & electrolytes & another person went downstairs to make me Gujarati shiro (which is good for healing) with additionally ginger & black pepper.
The heavy bleeding continued to 2:30pm. After 2:30 the contractions continued but they were spaced further apart (every 7-10 minutes) & less intense versus having them constantly. By 5pm the contractions were just more like cramping. At 9pm I passed another huge piece of tissue & then slept through the entire night!
I learned almost two months later that the type of miscarriage I had was called a missed miscarriage. This basically means that my babies had stopped growing & my body was not caught up - meaning I exhibited no symptoms of miscarriage (no bleeding or cramping etc.) yet except falling beta hcg levels. I also learned through this experience that the obstetrics practice I was at was a not a good fit for what I was looking for in terms of care. I have since switched and I am so happy I have!
Again I'd like to mention that I am sharing the above story because other women's stories were what comforted me when I was informed of my miscarriage. I hope this story serves a similar purpose for someone else :)