You are not alone
Today I would be 18 weeks pregnant and according to babycenter, my baby would be the size of a bell pepper. ‘Would be’ is the important distinction. On October 23rd, 6 days shy of my 30th birthday, I suffered an ectopic pregnancy. (Not even sure the correct way to say that? I know it’s “suffered a miscarriage” but anyways I’ll go with that)
About 2% of pregnancies are ectopic, and I was one of the “lucky” ones. Ok not funny, but in all seriousness I was one of the lucky ones when it comes to ectopic pregnancies. To backtrack a minute, an ectopic pregnancy is when the fertilized egg implants outside the uterus, in my case – in my fallopian tube. So it could be perfectly healthy, but it can’t survive outside of the uterus. This can lead to your fallopian tube rupturing and needing emergency surgery. Twice in the ER they thought that was the case and started to prep me for going in but thank g-d, it didn’t rupture and due to the size I was able to take a needle of Methrotextrate and go home. It was scary and at the end of a long day I was just happy to be at home in my bed and not in the hospital.
It wasn’t until a few days later, the day we had in our calendars for our first ultrasound when it hit us how sad we were. Despite only knowing about this baby for a few weeks, and despite that it wasn’t even a baby yet, there is a feeling of loss. A calculation of a due date was set and a vision of what that future would look like was seen.
I wanted to move on but I needed to go back to the hospital every Monday for a few weeks to have blood work done. If you know me, you know I HATE having my blood taken. That was really torture for me. The most ironic part is in the past it was always a hope that my BHCG levels doubled, and here I was celebrating each result that was closer to zero.
I could delve deeper into my story, but that is not really what is important. I was driving with my best friend the other day and we were talking about how before you enter the childbearing stage you really have no idea that it could be hard to have a baby. There are babies born every minute, there are shows like “16 and pregnant” or even better the “I didn’t know I was pregnant” stories on TV and it makes you think getting pregnant is as easy as blowing your nose.
This post is here to
a) inform you, getting pregnant can be hard. Carrying a baby to full term, can be complicated. Once I started my journey to have children, neither of my boys came easy, and now experiencing one type of loss, it again reinforced how every child is a miracle. Many couples yearn to become parents and go through months and years of infertility. Personally, I have many friends who experienced that, and I tried to be there as a friend to talk to. Some common themes were happiness for others announcements but battling inner-pain of wishing it was them, emotionally exhausting months of starting out hopeful and ending in despair, and the lack of spontaneity and calculated timing of your cycle. I think pregnancy is one of the few things that before you are ready you very much try to avoid it, and then once you are ready, it is like – It has to happen NOW. You can spend years relieved at the sign of your period and then when that switch is flipped, that same period will evoke opposite emotions.
b) There are so many stages where you can experience a loss in a pregnancy and even a full term loss, and I imagine as you get further the loss is felt more deeply. I know this subject used to be very hush hush and just recently people are being more vocal. However, this is still very much an experience that you go through as though it’s not actually happening to you but occurring parallel to your daily life. For example, my ectopic happened to be on the Jewish holiday Succot so the next night I found myself in shul (synagogue) because I wanted to see my kids celebrating Simchat Torah. I smiled and said hello to everyone I saw and made small talk, but in my head I was thinking, “how weird is it that I was in the ER yesterday, threatened with emergency surgery, and here I am just acting like everything is normal?”
When I open up to people, there is never someone who didn’t either go through something themselves or know a close friend or family’s story that they share. It’s so common and I believe it’s important that we continue sharing. If you think everyone has a very easy time getting pregnant and/or having a healthy pregnancy then it can be very lonely if your journey gets complicated. A miscarriage is devastating, but thinking you are the only one can make it so much harder.
We never know what people are going through, and some people would rather not share which is definitely understandable. We should practice being sensitive when we know there’s a struggle and even when we don’t.
Thank g-d I have 2 kind and gorgeous boys who make my heart melt every single day and made this experience THAT much easier. When the time is right we will hopefully grow our family. My older son tells me very often, “Mommy, I’m asking Hashem for a baby sister.” I explain to him that it’s not that easy, but I’ll take all the prayers he wants to add 🙂