The Spring of Discovery and Loss: Miscarriage #1

This is a continuation of Life Lately or The Spring of Discovery and Loss. This post documents the first miscarriage I had at the beginning of March 2024.

I remember sitting on the toilet, staring at this test results and saying “this can’t be real, this can’t be real, this can’t be real.” We weren’t trying to get pregnant, in fact we were actively trying NOT to get pregnant. and yet there it was, clear as day. Pregnant. and I could not wrap my brain around it. I am a married 38 year old woman, and I am not supposed to get accidentally pregnant. But I was.

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As we’d talk about needing a bigger car, if our space would hold another human being, imagining feeling outnumbered, I found that my heart was starting to grow a little bit. Even though it wasn’t planned, another tiny little baby? another human being to love? Count. me. in.

So I did what any reasonable, sane pregnant person does. I ordered the little strips and started peeing on them, waiting for the punch you in the face certainty that I was indeed pregnant. As expected, the first tests had a faint positive.

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but as the days went on, and my testing became more… frantic?, the faint positive never darkened. and of course the internet and people are full of stories about how that’s totally normal and nothing to worry about, but 6 days in with the positive line only faintly appearing after the control line showed up, I knew something wasn’t right. I tried a variety of kinds of tests, and all only produced the same faint positive.  I wasn’t anxious or worried, just certain.

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Since Georgia was born, my midwife moved to a new area of practice – mental health! hooray for me! – and was no longer my midwife, so I didn’t have someone I considered my provider to message. I sent my primary care physician a message asking if she’d order a blood test for me because something was off. That was a Friday morning.

Tuesday afternoon, I decided I’d had enough and called the clinic to ask if I could just order my own blood tests (spoiler alert: you can’t). They tried to reach out to my primary but couldn’t reach her, so I asked to be put through to OB. When I explained everything to the OB nurse, she told me I had nothing to worry about and as long as I’d seen a positive test and hadn’t experienced any bleeding or cramping, I was fine. No need for a blood test.

By the time the call was over, my primary physician had said “happy to help! I ordered the test!” and I RAN to the lab to get my blood drawn. The next morning, I opened my test results and saw a number that made my heart drop: 33. I should have been much more pregnant with much higher HCG levels. After talking it out with my therapist, she urged me to just message my former-midwife-now-psychiatrist. I sent a message asking her if she could review my blood test, and spelled out all of the information I had.

She forwarded my message on to OB and by the time they called, I had started bleeding. Not spotting, but bleeding. and I knew. I cried on the phone as I told them I was pretty certain I was miscarrying. They ordered a second blood test for me the next morning to check my levels. Thursday morning, I went to the lab again. I returned home to a message from my primary congratulating me on my pregnancy and referring me to OB, which felt like such a sting when I got the results that afternoon and it confirmed that I was no longer pregnant (my HCG was 5).

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That evening, I passed the pregnancy and was given the gift of discovering what I had been looking for on a piece of toilet paper. I looked at the tiny little rice baby and marveled at it. When Justen came in and said “crazy to think that Madeleine and Georgia started like that,” I started weeping. Who would this have been? I tucked it into a little plastic bag, feeling so weird about the idea of just flushing it. What does one do with that?

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Bury it. My best friend Evan told me she had a plant she was propagating that I could have and bury the little rice baby into. We don’t own our house so burying it into the ground seemed like a bad idea because we won’t be taking the ground with us when we leave.  But the plant! Brilliant.

The following Monday I finally had a message in my MyChart that said my pregnancy had concluded based on Thursday’s blood tests. Which I’d definitely figured out.

When reflecting on it with my therapist, I told her that it was so hard because it felt like my capacity to love was expanding, but I lost the thing that was making it grow. So now what had been 100% happiness and fullness was only filling up 90% of the capacity of my heart. It felt so empty. Empty in a way I’d never experienced.

Physically, the whole experience was nothing more than a period. The bleeding wasn’t anything abnormal or strange. I thought wow this sucks but the majority of the weight and pain was emotional. Not too long later, I’d have a completely different experience with another miscarriage.


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