This post may not be for everyone, but maybe for some that need to read it. It is the story of our miscarriage 3 years ago.
Why is it that even though statistically 1 in 4 women have a miscarriage at some point in their lives you never really hear about it. Is it the loss, the morbidity, or just the feeling that it is “something that people do not discuss”. Whatever the case, I think more women should be putting their stories out there. Not to scare anyone, or to be extremely depressing, but to create awareness and support.
When we had our miscarriage 3 years ago we felt like we were so alone. That no one we knew had gone through such a traumatic event. And although we are quite knowledgeable and understood that a miscarriage was not our fault, not knowing anyone else that had experienced one prior to ours made us question our every move and still left us wondering if we had caused this in any way. It wasn’t until we lost our tiny baby that all of a sudden our women friends, who had also experienced such a thing, started to come out of the woodwork and tell us about their losses. In their stories we felt comfort, the feeling of “we’ve been there” and “you are NOT the only one”. It suddenly made us wonder how many people that we knew had lived through such an event and never discussed it, never brought it up. So I will come out with our story, so if ever it happens to you, you can reassure yourself that you are not alone.
Arias was about 1 and a half when I started to feel ready to try for baby #2. And just like us, it didn’t take much trying. I thought it and then Boom! I was pregnant. Eben helped with that of course. At that point we were living on our boat, Necesse, in Miami. As a surprise I thought it would be funny to have Arias toddle down the hallway of our boat towards Eben with the positive pregnancy test in hand. Apparently it was not as funny as I had imagined it and rather it caught Eben very off guard. Surprise! He actually asked me if he could finish wiring the light he was working on and then we would talk. Half an hour later he came out with a hug and a whole lot of questions about our future.
Over the next few weeks he slowly warmed to the idea that this was actually happening. The weeks went by in the same manner our first pregnancy did, with no hiccups. Just a healthy pregnancy. That is until 11 weeks into our pregnancy. One morning we were out having breakfast at our favorite Miami diner, with my cousin Stephanie and her boyfriend Guillaume that were visiting us, when I started cramping. I went to the bathroom and that’s when I saw the blood. I sat on the toilet and watched it drip out. And then there was a clot, and I knew it. I scooped it up from the toilet and examined the tiny fetus in my hand. It was no bigger than a quarter. It was over. I stepped out of the bathroom and asked our waitress if she could go grab Eben for me. He came and joined me in the bathroom and cried with me, as we held our little one that we never got to meet. After a bit we questioned what to do with the little peanut and decided our best option, given our diner situation, was to flush him/her goodbye.
|10 weeks pregnant with baby #2|
The rest of the day was a horrible experience. We called our midwives back in Canada to let them know what was going on and they advised us to go to a nearby hospital to get checked out. When we got there they separated Eben and I, under the pretext that I should not be in the general waiting room so as to not get sick from what the other people waiting may have and that they wanted me to see a doctor quick. But Eben could not wait with me in my “fast track” waiting room because it was for patients only. I went from waiting in a chair, alone, crying, to waiting in a bed, alone, crying.
It was not just the loss of the baby that was so sad, but the loss of all the memories we had already created in our minds. All the fun times that the baby and Arias would have, playing together on the boat. Or all the mischievous shenanigans they would do. All those prefabricated memories were flushed down that toilet at the same time as our baby.
After hours of waiting alone, I was taken in for some blood tests. This is when I insisted that I absolutely needed Eben by my side. They drew blood and performed an ultrasound to make sure all had left my womb and that the possibility of a second baby could be ruled out. And then, more waiting. As we waited we tried to get some information from one of the nurses. How much was all of this going to cost? Being uninsured in the States, the stories of medical costs haunted us. The nurse could not give us a straight answer, since all the billing from each department (lab techs, doctors, ultrasound techs) is done separately. So I asked “should we expect something around $1000 or more like $10,000?”. The reply I got shocked me into an emotional meltdown. “Oh no, not $10,000, maybe more like $5000-$6000.” I could not believe that we may have had to pay $6000 to lose our baby, for a blood test, and an unltrasound. We left the hospital just crushed by the days events.
A few weeks later the bills started rolling in, and yes they were adding up quick. I called the helpline to see how I should go about starting to pay these off. This is where something of a miracle happened. I got the most amazing woman on the other end of the line. She listened to our story, she got the info about the bills, and then she gave me the good news. “This all happened during your first 40 days of pregnancy? Well technically this is pregnancy-related, even if it is the loss of a pregnancy. In this case your bills are all covered by medicaid.” I assured her that we were Canadian and so not eligible for Florida medicaid. I was not trying to get out of paying my bills or to abuse of the system, I was actually trying to figure out how to pay them off. But she explained that medicaid in Florida covers all pregnant women during the first 40 days of their pregnancy (that is 40 days after a doctor validates your pregnancy), whether legal/illegal, alien/resident, until they assess your file and see if you are eligible for the rest of your pregnancy. So although I had not applied for medicaid, and although I was not a resident, I was still covered, no matter what. It was as if this woman on the other end of the phone had lifted a weight off my shoulders. I cried, again. She told me to throw out the bills I had, and any future ones that may arrive pertaining to this miscarriage, and to mourn the loss of our baby without a “$” looming.
We mourned. We announced it to friends and family, that we were no longer pregnant. (Because we had already told everyone we were, although it was so early on in the pregnancy. We were also very happy that we had announced our pregnancy earlier than the usual “wait until you are past your first trimester”, because through our loss we had a lot of support.) We asked everyone to please not contact us regarding the issue, for the first little bit, and as the pain subsided we became ok with sharing the story and talking about it all with others.
One week later we found ourselves in Ecuador for Eben’s sister Cyra’s wedding. We were having a blast and enjoying having all the family and friends around. And as with any wedding there were some pre-wedding festivities. As I was getting dressed, in a dress that I wore very often, I noticed that it was fitting snug over my tummy. Eben even asked me how long it had been since I last pooped. (How romantic, I know!) The doctors had told us that it may take a while for my period to return after the miscarriage and that my body may have some side affects, just trying to recoup, it had only been one month since our loss. But this was different. I asked Eben, and his best friend Sebastian, soon to be brother in law, to go pick up a pregnancy test for me. I wanted to check, just in case, since I knew there would be drinking going on at the bachelorette. Eben waited with me in the bathroom, for the + or – after I had peed on the stick. And Boom! “+” My body had not skipped a beat. I didn’t even get my menstruation again after the miscarriage, I just got pregnant.
|The dress that made me question if I was pregnant again, we did the test the next day.|
From what we were told by the doctors afterwards, was that this rarely happens. That the woman’s body is not usually ready to get pregnant so quickly after a miscarriage. But in our case, we did. This time we celebrated. We cried. We laughed. We were going to have our baby #2. Eben says that he learned a lot from all of this. That his lack of instant excitement for the prior pregnancy, and then the hurt that he felt when we lost it, was a wake up and a realization that he truly wanted to have another child. He says it was God’s way of teaching Eben about priorities. And that this was our chance. We were pregnant with Ellia, and the pregnancy went perfectly. 10 months later we were giving birth to her on our friend’s bathroom floor, but that is a whole other story.
I wrote this, not to sadden anyone for the loss of our baby, but simply so more people know that miscarriages happen. Even to the people we know. Even if not many talk about it. And that I don’t think it is something to be ashamed about, or something to be hidden. I know that it truly helped me when I found out that it had also happened to other women that I knew. I mean, 1 in 4, common, that is a lot. Why keep it a secret? Lets support one another and share those unspoken stories, happy or sad, and show that no one is alone.