Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Multiple Miscarriage and Pregnancy Loss

This month is Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month. My losses, although not something I often discuss, are something that remain a part of me.

Of course, that part of me where it remains may not be what you think. You see, I know lots of people who have suffered pregnancy losses that continue to mourn those losses. They named the baby, and continue to count the baby amongst their number of children. I do not.

It may seem insensitive of me, but the loss for me was not so much the loss of a child but more the loss of a dream... the idea of a baby. Of course, this may be due to the fact that my losses occurred early. I was only 8 weeks with the first spontaneous, 16 weeks (though the pregnancy was lost at 12) with the second, and 12 weeks with the third. I can't speak for other women and I in no way judge their emotional reaction or the weight of their loss, but it wasn't the same for me.

That isn't to say, it didn't change me. Not only did my miscarriages cause me the loss of a child or the idea of a baby, they cost me the loss of innocence. After 3 miscarriages, I can no longer feel carefree about pregnancy. While other women do honestly fear miscarriage in the first trimester, they've never had to Google their chances of successful pregnancy. You see, after three, you enter this "high-risk" category where the numbers start stacking up against you.

Another aspect of my lost innocence is in the ultrasound room. On the wall of every ultrasound room, there is a sign that basically says that the tech cannot provide you with the results of your scan. Of course, only a patient who's had to sit in silence while the tech locates a doctor knows why it's there. Instead of the happy, it's a girl/boy news, a woman who's miscarried gets ushered into a private waiting room to be given the results by a doctor. Believe me, that eager, happy anticipation on ultrasound day NEVER returns. Instead ultrasounds become a day of dread. I cried every time I was driving to the clinic for an ultrasound. Every time.

Another loss with multiple miscarriages and the new "high-risk" label is the ease of deciding to have another baby. Before the birth of Linus, I never realized how risky pregnancy was FOR ME. I always believed the "high-risk" label was in regards to the pregnancy and I worried constantly about Prenatal Linus. I never once considered that it also meant me. The day after Linus was born I was overjoyed. He was safely out and our family was begun. In my naivety, I removed the compression boots I was wearing to be better able to move about with my newborn. As I was sitting on the bed cooing at my little bug, my OB came into the room. The second he saw I was no longer wearing the boots, he became frantic. He ordered them back on and took some quick reads of my vital signs. I didn't know it then, but my risks for a life-threatening clot after birth were very high. Pregnancy AND birthing are a dangerous game for my body. Before it was a risk I was more than willing to take, but now that I have a little guy who depends on me, I'm not so sure. I can't even ponder a second baby without tremendous fear. It would be such a selfish choice.

You see, Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month for me isn't so much about mourning the loss of a child. It is instead about mourning the loss of a dream: The dream of the complication-free pregnancy, the dream of a "natural" childbirth, and maybe even the dream of a large family. For me, what was lost may not have a name but it is still lost.


Marty, a.k.a. canape said...

Yes - the innocence of carefree pregnancy - that was just as hard to lose.

Much love.

nikki said...

This was a hard but important post to read, Abby, thank you for writing it.

I know so many women who've experienced pregnancy loss, at many different stages. It's different for each woman, as you say. I know I can't exactly relate, but I do think of you all who've experienced losses, and pray for you when you're expecting.

Even though it's hard to talk about, I'm grateful that so many of my friends, like you, have chosen to do so. It's important to know these things, and not just take a healthy pregnancy for granted, and know to be thankful for the children we do have.


Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Well said. I lost a couple pregnancies, one also after the 1st trimester and what you wrote about it being the loss of a dream is so apt. I would never compare the loss of a 3 month pregnancy to the loss of the children who were born, lived and grew--who I have actual 2-sided relationships with and interacted with on so many levels.

Miche said...

You said that very well and the loss of a dream was a very wonderful way to explain it. I haven't actually lost any, but most of my friends and both my sister and sister in law have experienced many. Thanks for sharing your heart.

Red said...

Thank you for this post. I still feel sad about my 2 miscarriages this year but I know what you mean about it not comparing to the loss of a child which you had carried to term.

Michelle said...

Thanks for giving me the insight of those who are not able to have a "safe" pregnancy! I never experienced a loss like that, though I came very close with the twins, they were 5 months and had the flu and one stopped breathing, I will never forget that one moment when my life seemed to unfold and I had no control. The loss of a dream is so beautifully put, and I thank you so much for your words. You have a way of touching peoples hearts with your words and I'm sure anyone who reads your story will be as moved as I am.

@juniandpip said...

Good for you for writing this. Because of the experiences of several friends who miscarried, I was extremely grateful for the two easy pregnancies I had -- truly a blessing.