*Note: The following post includes mention of pregnancy and loss. If reading such topics is not good for you right now, please skip this post and continue browsing the blog for more Pilates and health & wellness-related posts.*
I’m supposed to be on vacation this week, but I had to pop in and share an update with you before I sign off… it’s been weighing on my heart, so I hope you don’t mind.
In the beginning of June, I found out I was pregnant. A third baby was on the way! My husband and I were thrilled. A little surprised by the timing, but thrilled nonetheless.
The same week I found out I was pregnant, we found a new house and decided to make a move. Suddenly, out of nowhere, our life seemed to be changing once again at a rapid pace – another new house, another new baby – here we go again!
Since this was my third pregnancy, I felt pretty confident in what was ahead. I made sure to eat well and exercise in those first few weeks because I knew that once weeks 6-13 hit, I’d be lucky to eat a single vegetable and get off the couch for a short walk (first trimesters are rough).
After what felt like a very long wait, the day finally came for our first ultrasound. I arranged for a sitter and met my husband at the doctor’s office. I was excited and nervous – just like I always am for that first appointment. In hindsight, I can see that I was a little extra nervous this time because I hadn’t been feeling as sick as I did with my first two pregnancies. I know every pregnancy is different, and I was taking extra B vitamins which is supposed to help… but still… I was anxious to hear the heartbeat and see the baby to ensure that all was well.
As the ultrasound began, my husband and I stared at the screen with anticipation – anxious to hear what the doctor would say.
She confirmed that there was a fully developed sac, however, it was only measuring 5 weeks and 2 days (I was supposed to be measuring closer to 8-9 weeks according to the doctor’s counting method). She wasn’t able to find a heartbeat, but she told us it was possible the baby was just not as far along as we had thought (my cycles average 43 days which is much longer than most, so it wasn’t unrealistic to think that I ovulated later and was therefore, not as far along as the doctor expected).
She told us that the only thing to do is wait and come back in a week to see if the baby showed signs of growth over the next 7 days. She also shared that if something were to be wrong, it’s important for me to know that it’s safe to miscarry at home.
“Miscarry at home.” Dreaded words I hoped I’d never hear.
We left the doctor’s office feeling mixed emotions – hopeful, yet hesitant.
Either the baby was growing and everything was fine – or it wasn’t.
There was nothing to do but wait and see.
I had already planned my work schedule for the next 10 months with pregnancy in mind – I knew which workouts would be prenatal workouts, how far along I’d be at the retreat this fall, when I’d take maternity leave… I had it all figured out.
In the midst of our waiting, we were also waiting to find out if we got the new house. I prayed constantly and trusted that God’s plan is always the best plan, even though it was hard.
The day before our next ultrasound I was extremely nauseous and exhausted. I was hopeful that my pregnancy symptoms were finally hitting hard and we would receive good news at our appointment the next day.
But unfortunately, that afternoon, I started to miscarry.
What I feared most was coming true.
The next week was full of doctor appointments, tears, cramps, blood draws, aches, exhaustion, holding it together while we hosted out of town guests, and going through the madness that is moving into a new house with 2 little kids.
Needless to say, the past month has a been a whirlwind.
I am writing this post as I am slightly on the other side of things (just barely) and starting to feel like myself again.
I decided to share my story here on the blog because I am grateful for the women who have gone before me and shared their experiences either with me personally or through their online platforms.
Because of these women, when my miscarriage began, I did not feel alone. I did not feel like something was wrong with me. Instead, I felt like I was joining a tribe of women who have been through the pain and the grief of miscarriage and survived… and even thrived.
Don’t get me wrong, I was heartbroken and devastated, but I clung to the fact that others had gone before me and made it through to the other side.
The emotion that surprised me the most? Fear.
I was terrified of what the actual process of miscarriage would be like.
I started reading stories on the internet (always the best idea, right?) and prepared myself for the worst. From what I read, I was terrified to miscarry at home – I didn’t know who would watch the kids while I was writhing in pain in the bathroom. I didn’t know who we would call if I started losing so much blood that I needed to go to the ER. I didn’t know how I would get through it. I was scared and filled with nerves about what was about to happen.
I won’t go into all of the explicit details but I will say that I did end up miscarrying naturally. I didn’t require surgery, I didn’t end up in the emergency room, but I did make one trip to Urgent Care for fluids about a week after the miscarriage due to symptoms of dehydration and exhaustion (aches, weakness, nausea, and dizziness).
I decided to share my story because I’m grateful for other women who shared theirs along the way and because miscarriage is nothing to be ashamed of.
The past few weeks have been hard.
My body was fully pregnant – hormonal swings, cravings, food aversions, and weight gain (I’m not exaggerating when I say I couldn’t fit in my jeans the week I found out I was pregnant…apparently by the third pregnancy your body just reverts back to child-bearing size…instantly)!
I gained 10 pounds and was ready to share WHY I had gained 10 pounds with you when I announced the pregnancy.
But as it turns out, I don’t have a pregnancy announcement. Instead, I’ve just gained 10 pounds.
I didn’t do a single bit of exercise for a little more than 2 weeks. And even now, I’m slowly easing back in – 10 minutes of Pilates here, 20 minutes of yoga there. The miscarriage took a toll on my body. My body feels weak and I feel fragile.
My mind is ready to get back on the mat again and head out for a sweaty run, but I know I have to take it slow. Too much too soon can lead to injury, fatigue, and other long-term issues.
I’m choosing to do what’s best for my body by taking it slow rather than doing whatever it takes to lose those 10 extra pounds.
Miscarriage is now a part of my story. I have made it through to the other side (physically) but will always carry it with me – in my body and my soul.
I am more grateful for my two babies than ever before. I realize the incredible gift that it is to have a family and to be able to hug them and snuggle them when my heart aches for the one we just lost. This is a gift that I will never ever take for granted.
I am grateful to my friends and family who supported us in the midst of a move and a miscarriage (nothing like two big life events to make you realize how new you still feel in town).
I am grateful for the community we have built here on The Balanced Life. A community that I trust will support me on this journey whether I’m posting challenging, sweaty workouts or laying on the couch eating chocolate.
A Sisterhood that will embrace me whether I’m in the best shape of my life or holding on to extra weight and recovering from a pregnancy that ended too soon.
All in all, two and a half weeks later, I am doing well. My husband is a saint for allowing me to rest and recover in the midst of moving with two small children (I barely packed a single box!). I still cry when I talk about it (even when I’m not feeling sad in the moment, the tears feel biological, like as a mother I can’t talk about losing a baby without my body naturally weeping at the same time.).
And I am still in awe of how miraculous my body is.
I don’t talk about my faith much here on the blog, but God was with me every step of the way. In the midst of fear, sadness, and difficulty, we experienced great mercy. I saw Him in it every step of the way.
If you found this post while going through a trial of your own…please know this:
You will make it through to the other side.
You are stronger than you think.
You are not alone.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and please feel free to share it with anyone who might need a little encouragement today.
Lots of love,