It was 1994, life was going well. I was enjoying my career in healthcare marketing. Even more exciting was that a year earlier, after seven years of marriage, my husband and I decided we were ready to start a family. We tried for a year and nothing happened. It was frustrating since everyone I knew seemed to get pregnant so easily.
My frustration was soon over when in April 1994, I found out I was pregnant. It was Easter time so I was feeling like rejoicing more than ever. My husband and I were so excited that we had to share our news. When I was seven weeks pregnant, we told our family. For my mom, it would be her ninth grandchild and she was excited when we told her the news. But my husband’s parents were elated. It would be their first grandchild. In addition, my husband’s grandfather was grateful that he would be a great-grandfather. Everyone was so excited and happy for us.
One day in May 1994, when I was eight weeks pregnant, I was talking to a co-worker in the parking lot where we worked. We spoke for several minutes then said our goodbyes. As I approached my car, I began to feel a warm sensation in my underpants. It was the same feeling I felt when my menstrual cycle was about to begin.
My heart began racing. I got in the car. I lifted up my skirt and looked in my underwear. There was a little bit of blood. Oh my God! I felt panic. I immediately drove my car to the emergency room. Thankfully, I worked at a hospital so I did not have far to go. As I approached the front entrance of the emergency room, I began to feel lightheaded. Oh no, I am going to pass out. I took deep breaths. I hurried into the emergency room. I cried out, “I am pregnant and I am bleeding.”
Immediately, I was brought in and the intake nurse took my vital signs. I was taken into a hospital room, where I waited to see a doctor. I tried not to cry since I needed to keep my composure so I could call my husband. I was given a telephone. I shakily dialed the number. “I am bleeding and I am in the emergency room,” I told my husband. “I will be there right away,” he said.
I waited for what seemed like forever but soon the doctor came in to examine me. He was reassuring saying, “Sometimes a little spotting is normal and is nothing to be concerned about but we will do an ultrasound to check on everything.” I felt somewhat reassured.
When my husband arrived, I was so glad to see him. He held my hand and comforted me. I was then rolled away in the hospital bed to the room where the ultrasound would be completed. As the test was being done, I could see something on the screen. But I did not know what it meant.
The test was soon over and I was taken back to the room in the emergency department. My husband and I waited for the doctor. Shortly after I was in the room, the doctor came in to talk to us. “I am sorry but you have had a missed abortion,” he said. “This means that at some point the fetus died and stopped growing.” My husband and I both began crying. This news devastated us. Questions began to go through my mind. Why did this happen? Did I do something wrong? I did not know the answers to the questions and no one ever answered them for me.
Before I left the hospital, I had a procedure to remove any remaining tissue from my uterus. Still I had no answers to my questions. A week after the procedure, when I saw my regular obstetrician, she was able to comfort me. Although she could not answer my questions, she informed me that many pregnancies end in a miscarriage. In fact, she said, “Normally, a woman has to experience three miscarriages before further testing is done to see what is causing them.”
I could not believe this. Why should women have to go through this more than once before being able to understand why it happened? My doctor also went on to explain that the highest risk for a miscarriage is during the first twelve weeks of a pregnancy and why it happens is often never known.
So I would never have my questions answered. In fact, I would never even be directed to someone that could help me process the questions I was asking. My husband and I were left to deal with our loss on our own.
My husband seemed to adjust and deal with the loss rather quickly. Although I know he was sad, he seemed to be able to move on more quickly than I did. I think, because I was the one who carried the baby, the guilt of “what did I do wrong?” haunted me for a long time. In fact, if it was not for my family and friends, who reached out to me, some of whom experienced a pregnancy loss themselves, I don’t know if I would have ever come to terms with the loss, accepting that is was not my fault, which eventually lessened my grief and helped me to move on to a better place.
I would, eventually, conceive again and go on to have a happy and healthy baby boy. But the loss of my first baby forever changed me. To this day, I still feel cheated that my first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. I will never completely understand why it happened but I am now able to better understand the feelings associated with pregnancy loss that so many women experience. In fact, years later, I would learn that there are organizations that provide support for women and families that experience pregnancy loss. I did not, personally, have the opportunity to benefit from the support resources available. But now I am able to provide emotional support and direct women and families to available pregnancy loss support resources.
About the Author
Jennifer Moyer’s mission is to bring hope and inspiration to individuals and families facing mental health issues. She is a mental health advocate, writer and speaker on mental health issues. She strives to increase the awareness, education, prevention and treatment of postpartum psychosis and other mental health issues related to childbearing as well as mental health, in general. She can be contacted through her website at www.jennifermoyer.com or emailed at Jennifer@jennifermoyer.com.