Yes, you read that right. Miscarriage.
I'm pretty sure you're asking this question right now: What happened?
Miscarriage happened. What else could that mean? LOL. I'm not gonna go all mushy and heartbreaking and oh-pity-poor-me, so don't worry. ;)
I'll be quoting some good references because they have spoken what I want to say. And... let's do this in a myth-busting style, straight to the point, no drama, no tears, k?
Myth #1 - Miscarriage is rare.
NOT TRUE. Here's the fact: Miscarriage is the most common type of pregnancy loss, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Studies reveal that anywhere from 10-25% of all clinically recognized pregnancies will end in miscarriage. Chemical pregnancies may account for 50-75% of all miscarriages. This occurs when a pregnancy is lost shortly after implantation, resulting in bleeding that occurs around the time of her expected period. The woman may not realize that she conceived when she experiences a chemical pregnancy.
An increase in maternal age affects the chances of miscarriage: [source]
- Women under the age of 35 years old have about a 15% chance of miscarriage
- Women who are 35-45 years old have a 20-35% chance of miscarriage
- Women over the age of 45 can have up to a 50% chance of miscarriage
Also, you will be surprised to learn that quite a number of your friends have had miscarriages. You don't know because they didn't talk about it. Why? Hop over to point 2.
Myth #2 - If you lose your baby, you brought it upon yourself.
NOT TRUE. For the love of God, this misconception has caused great pain to women who have lost their babies. This stigma, taboo, whatever you call it, makes us feel guilty, ashamed, alone. We blamed ourselves. We felt that we had done something wrong. We kept on asking, "Why did it happen? Why me? Why?"
The reason for miscarriage is varied, and most often the cause cannot be identified. During the first trimester, the most common cause of miscarriage is chromosomal abnormality – meaning that something is not correct with the baby's chromosomes. Most chromosomal abnormalities are the cause of a damaged egg or sperm cell, or are due to a problem at the time that the zygote went through the division process. [source]
Sometimes something can go wrong at the point of conception and the fetus receives too many or not enough chromosomes. The reasons for this are often unclear, but it means the fetus won't be able to develop normally, resulting in a miscarriage. It's estimated up to two-thirds of early miscarriages are associated with chromosome abnormalities. This is very unlikely to recur and doesn't mean there's any problem with the mother or father's chromosomes. [source]
"I wish people understood that miscarriages are the flip side of the coin….. If you've had a healthy pregnancy that went full term — you won a lottery. Short of obvious substance abuse and bull riding — your healthy baby is not the result of anything you did or didn't do. As much as you want to think you are in control — you aren't. And the same goes when I lost each pregnancy — as much as I wish I could have been — it was not in my control."
In short, three points: [source]
- Nothing you did caused this miscarriage, and nothing you could have done would have prevented it.
- Even if you had been perfectly still in bed, were totally relaxed, and ate nothing but healthy foods, you would still have had a miscarriage.
- You will be surprised at how many of your close friends and family members have experienced miscarriage. Share this experience with them.
My little miscarriage story
First of all, it was an early one, at 4 weeks. I had all the classic miscarriage symptoms when it happened: sudden decrease in pregnancy symptoms, brown spotting that became pinkish spotting, and ended up in bright red bleeding, and of course, the famous miscarriage cramps. That one was no fun although they were no way near labor contractions. LOL.
I felt pregnant for about two weeks, one week before I did the home pregnancy test and one week after that. Then, the symptoms started to die down. I didn't feel hungry all the time anymore, my craving for coffee stopped abruptly, the extreme fatigue I felt every afternoon was gone in a blink of an eye.
Most importantly, my instincts told me I was gonna lost the little fella, especially when the brown and pinkish spotting started. My heart sank. I fought this horrible in-limbo feeling for about a week. I Googled every single day to find out if spotting was normal. But deep within me, I knew this time, it wasn't.
One night, I wept horribly until I couldn't breathe. Now thinking back, that could be the hallmark. Over WhatsApp, my gentle birthing guru told me to Google how to do EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) to manage my emotions. The next morning, I went to see my obgyn who confirmed I was pregnant, 4 weeks old. The sac, the baby's house was 0.83cm. Spotting was still happening, more pink than brown.
That same night, I did one round of EFT and before I slept, I prayed a little, something like telling the Lord I surrender. Then I told the baby, it's okay, I love you, it's okay if you have to go. Something like that, I couldn't remember the exact words I said.
The next day, the cramps started, plus bright red bleeding. I knew baby was gone. But surprisingly, all I felt was peace. I guessed I have accepted the fact and baby could go in peace without me holding on so tightly, causing much grief to him/her and myself.
My road to physical recovery was pretty fast. I didn't need to go through D&C to remove remaining tissues from my womb. They were expelled naturally without complication. The bleeding stopped on the seventh day, as expected.
Emotionally wise, not as fast, but I was doing well. As I'm still breastfeeding my 28-month toddler, I find myself healing emotionally as he breastfeeds. I have a renewed sense of gratitude and love for my little toddler. Luckily I didn't force him to wean off when I found out I was pregnant. If not, I'd have lost both my new baby and my good breastfeeding relationship with my firstborn.
There is always something to be thankful for. Always. When we are thankful, we are happy. Remember the story of Job. The Lord takes, the Lord gives. And He gives in abundance. Have faith. Because the Lord is faithful. #gratitude #thankyou #thankful #happiness #behappy #bethankful #havefaith #storyofjob #biblelesson
To tell or not to tell?
"It's not an easy topic, or one that slips gracefully into casual conversation, but every time we name it, we add to the growing sense of awareness that not every pregnancy ends in a joyful birth, and increase our understanding of our own biology and limitations. Mine is an ordinary story of miscarriage, truly one of thousands of nearly identical tales of cramps and blood and sorrow. And that is exactly why it's important to tell."
Mine is an ordinary story too. If I never tell, no one will know. But, while I'm definitely have healed emotionally and ready to try to conceive again for a rainbow baby, I would be happy to talk more about my miscarriage. Many women grieve silently, be it miscarriages or stillbirths. For me, although my story is an ordinary one, I've found that talking and blogging about it really helps the most with closure. I don't blame myself for what happened, and I don't feel ashamed anymore that it happened.
Yes, it was painful experience and I pitied myself a lot but I've moved on and weren't particularly haunted by the loss. I'm fortunate to know people who – sometimes quite unexpectedly – turn out to be totally understanding and very supportive.
Most of my friends whom I talked to responded with well-meaning words. Some shared with me their own experiences, which took me by surprise because most of them have two or more beautiful children. It never crossed my mind that they have had miscarriages too. Some will tell me to take care of my body and try again. Some will suggest what food should I take to nourish my body. I'm grateful for them all.
But there were some who said things that were quite unkind, maybe they didn't realize it. For example:
"Oh, what happened?"
Hello! What do you mean by that? Do I need to tell you how much blood came out or did I see the fetus?
"It's the stress. You stress too much. Don't stress."
Don’t tell me not to stress. Day-to-day stress is unavoidable but it can be managed. And I have been managing it very well. Please give me some credit before you tell me I stress too much.
This one takes the cake: "Unplanned pregnancy is it?"
I almost vomited blood. Until today I still don't know what has that got to do with miscarriage. Some people, even if their pregnancy is unplanned, they still get to carry the baby full term and give birth. Right?
When in doubt or if you're taken aback when someone tell you she had a miscarriage, this first response is generally most appropriate: "I'm so sorry to hear that." Then, just keep quiet and let her continue what she wants to say. Those who can talk about their experience, like me, will continue with some details, based on how well we know the person whom who are talking to.
Miscarriage Association has a good article about how to deal with people's reactions.
What happened next?
Next? Stay tuned for my next blog post about TTC (trying to conceive). :)