On January 9, 2016, I lost a baby when I was 11 weeks pregnant. It was my first miscarriage and something I’d always secretly feared, despite having two healthy daughters; how would I cope with losing a baby during pregnancy? I knew it was happening nearly a week before. I had no bleeding, but my body felt strange; I felt GOOD, something which never happened during early pregnancy. Instead of throwing up continually, due to hyperemesis gravidarum, I felt hungry and energentic. When I went to the hospital I was told that the baby had stopped growing at 8 weeks. That was all the confirmation I needed and I lost the baby that night, alone, at home.
The physical part of miscarriage was surprising and overwhelming; I didn’t realise how much like labor a miscarriage would be. I’d sent my husband and children away for the weekend. I wanted to be alone and being alone, being able to experience losing the baby without anyone with me, asking if I was alright, checking on me, was just what I needed. I was prepared for the sadness but it didn’t come. Afterwards, I felt the same oxytocin rush I’d felt after my two fullterm births. I felt happy, exuberant, empowered. I felt as if I’d experienced an unassisted birth, something which had previously sounded scary and lonely.
I don’t know how I’d feel losing an older child. But losing a baby who had already passed made me feel as if I’d given my child the ultimate protection. My child had never left, had never been in a cold hard world. I’d never failed to protect them; they’d never left me.
At first I was fine with sharing the news, but within a week I began to cringe when it came up in conversation. All the people I talked to fell into one of two categories; they either interpreted my experience based on their own loss, or they had never experienced a loss so they were hypersensitive, treating me as if I were fragile. Although the first group was easier to talk to, even they didn’t seem to fully understand my feelings.
I felt immediate acceptance when I lost my baby. The thoughts passed through my mind about whether eating a certain thing, taking a certain pill or doing a certain activity could have caused the miscarriage. But they were fleeting and more analytical than regretful. I found the experience of a miscarriage gave me a chance to experience something I’d always been afraid of, and thereby see that it wasn’t as earth shattering as I’d feared it would be.