It started as a little blood on the toilet paper. “Oh no!” I thought. I’d read bleeding in pregnancy might be a variation of normal, but I knew it is often not good.
I was seeing a family physician for early prenatal care then, and she was unable to hear a heartbeat on a hand-held Doppler — not at all unusual at 10 weeks’ gestation. The kind doctor researched and prescribed not-oft-used progesterone suppositories made specially at a South Bend pharmacy. As I white-knuckle drove the miles to pick them up, I prayed.
All in all, I realize everything took about a week.
I used the suppositories two nights and didn’t notice anything different either way. It was very difficult to go about my everyday life, though I had been instructed to do.
Very early morning after the third night of using the progesterone, I woke up to some heavy, bright-red bleeding. Sinking, panicky feeling. I woke my husband.
I knew what was happening.
Because the amount of blood scared me — and, turns out, I do seem to bleed extra — we decided to go to the hospital. Long story short: Big, black area with no pin-prick heartbeat on the ultrasound confirmed what I knew. I was miscarrying my baby.
I did it right there in an exam room in the ER, something I would not recommend — though I certainly recommend you seek competent care. It was painful physically, for sure, but emotionally more than most anything I’d ever experienced in my life.
It was too early to know for sure, but I sensed the baby was a boy. We breathed the name, “Noah,” which means “rest,” and bid him into the hands of the Maker.
In weeks to come, here’s some of what I felt, which I’m pretty sure is common.
First, I was just sorrowful, that gut-wrenching kind of grief. “No!”
Then, I was angry. “No! Not right!”
Then I wondered WHAT I had done wrong. I mean, was it that Diet Coke I’d had before I knew I was pregnant? Maybe I’d bumped into something? Maybe it was more cosmic, as in I was reaping something I’d sown?
I heard and read all the party lines, the ones I occasionally tell clients now: It happens often, and most times it just means the embryo wasn’t developed right, would never have made it anyway. You did nothing wrong. It’s not your fault. It hurts. A lot. I know.
I went on to experience two more miscarriages in the three years between my son and daughter. Both miscarriages were at about five weeks and, though still painful, didn’t pack as much of an emotional blow as the first.