Welcome to Club
Updated: Apr 29, 2019
I consider myself well-versed in the various challenges, conditions, and risks associated with pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. But as I’ve learned before, knowing the risks doesn’t prevent the unpreventable.
The same goes for miscarriages. I know the numbers. 1 in 8 known pregnancies, likely more, end in miscarriage, and 90% of those happen in the first 12 weeks.
However, when I started to miscarry, I realized I didn’t know the data on miscarriage after a healthy pregnancy. (I later learned that for women whose previous pregnancy ended in a live birth, the risk of miscarriage is only 5% (1 in 20).
I only knew I was pregnant for a few weeks, still too early for the first sonogram appointment. The night I checked if I was pregnant - days after the onset of heavy boobs (Rachel Bloom's 'heavy boobs' video for a good laugh) and insatiable hunger - I cried ALL THE tears. Tears of joy, excitement, fear, and anxiety. Having been here once before, my mind immediately began rolling out the box office movie trailer of all the upcoming beautiful highs and challenging lows.
It has taken me 3.5 years to feel ready to embark on another pregnancy. My last birth resulted in releasing a dormant autoimmune disorder, celiac. It’s never been life-threatening, but it challenged my desire to get pregnant again, a hurdle I felt I just overcame.
It’s why when I started miscarrying I thought, “maybe it’s my fault, maybe I didn’t want it enough.” Or if I did "want it badly enough," I should have skipped yoga and shouldn’t have dyed my hair. That’s the moment I joined this club, where the initiation ritual includes looking for someone or something to blame.
“maybe it’s my fault, maybe I didn’t want it enough.”
Thank god for the Midwives at GW. After my husband, they were my first call. Their words completely shaped my experience. Immediately, they empathized and educated me:
“I’m so sorry this is happening to you.
this is not your fault…”
And the simple fact that
“The cluster of cells were just not able to survive”
There were minor logistics to discuss like HcG blood tests and follow-up appointments but their tone was steadfast, compassionate, and honest. In the days that followed: I took time off work. I slept in. I didn’t exercise and I ate chocolate when I wanted. I talked. I laughed. I had wine with friends. I had moments where I was fine, and moments where I cried. I made phone calls and said, “I was pregnant, but now I’m having a miscarriage.”
In those days first few days, I made a commitment. This miscarriage would not define me and my experience, it would be part of it. Joining this club will be part of my motherhood story. Though, I know that the current practice of our club includes keeping our membership anonymous and our stories a secret. Today, I break that rule.
To all the women healing from a loss or struggling to conceive, I want you to know:
I’m so sorry this happened to you, but it’s not your fault.