I was pregnant and now I’m not…
I’m going to share my pregnancy and miscarriage story with you. Writing this blog post was extremely hard for me and it took me weeks to get it all out. My pregnancy was such a whirlwind and I needed to process it… I now know more than I ever wanted to know about pregnancy and miscarriage and if I could help even just one person learn from my experience then this is worth it.
A little background on my husband and Me
Steve and I have always been on the fence about having our own kids. We are both the youngest children in our families and haven’t really been around many babies for an extended period of time. We’ve been together for over 8 years and we love our life the way it is. But this past Fall Steve was out with some friends and I had this realization that I’m lonely. I wanted to call my friends but it was 6:30 on a weeknight and I just felt like no one would want to chat at that time. It’s not that I don’t have friends, I have amazing friends! I just didn’t want to take up their free time. This is a me problem, I know. But I just never want to be a burden to anyone.
The next day I got on my Instagram stories and shared my experience from the night before. I got SO many messages from other women feeling lonely too. I asked my audience if they experienced this when they were ready to have kids and I’d say 85% of them said yes. Again, I’ve never wanted kids but it just hit me. Is this what life is? We work, go out to eat, hang out with our friends and family, travel, and that’s it? Forever? I had this realization that whoa, maybe it’s not enough for me anymore. I’m 35 and I can’t imagine this life forever. I LOVE my life but will I love it when I’m 45? 55?? 75??? Or will I regret not having my own kids?
Period tracking vs. birth control
I’ve been tracking my period on the FLO app since I took out my Copper IUD in February 2022. I took it out hoping it would help with my chronic joint pain. It didn’t. But it did help with some of the pain I was experiencing during sex. BTW, if you’re on birth control with added hormones I BEG you to listen to this podcast. Birth control is so so so bad for you. You can only get pregnant for such a small part of the month, why are women adding unnecessary hormones to prevent pregnancy the entire month? The FLO app truly changed the way I look at my period and ovulation. I’m embarrassed to say that as a 35-year-old woman, I learned A LOT of things that I should have already known about the female reproductive system from FLO.
I’ve been tracking my period almost all year and it has always been VERY regular. I knew exactly when I was ovulating and Steve and I tried ONE TIME… I got pregnant. I ovulated on November 19 and as soon as I missed my period on December 5th I knew what was happening. My breasts were so tender, I was nauseous, and I was extremely emotional. I took my first pregnancy test on December 8th. Actually, I took 3, and yep, I was pregnant. I truly was not expecting it to happen that fast. I wanted to get our blood work done first and learn more about our genes before it happened but here we were. I told Steve and I started bawling. I was TERRIFIED. I wish I could say it was tears of joy but they were tears of the unknown, how our lives would change, and fear. It’s hard to write that knowing so many women would kill to have a baby of their own and I felt guilty even feeling this way.
Here’s the thing with getting pregnant… it’s overwhelming. You find out you’re pregnant – I was 5 weeks along, which, btw is SO CONFUSING. I technically should have been like 3 weeks but they track from the first day of your last period, not when you ovulated. You need to find a doctor and make an appointment ASAP. When you make your appointment they don’t want to see you until you’re 8-10 weeks along(!). You are immediately inundated with what foods you can or can’t eat, what skincare you can or can’t use, and you need prenatal vitamins… then you have to decide if you’ll tell people before the first trimester (12 weeks) is up. You have to decide if and how you want to announce it. It’s A LOT.
I’m fortunate that my sister is a labor and delivery nurse in Tennessee and has a great network of nurses she trusts. She found a holistic practice and LOVED their birthing program and positive reviews. I booked my appointment for weeks away.
The waiting period from finding out to your first appointment is torture. You know you’re pregnant because you took the test and you’re likely experiencing many of those fun symptoms like swollen tender breasts, food aversions, morning sickness, rollercoaster emotions & more. But you also just wait and hope everything is ok. Over those first few weeks, my morning sickness was INTENSE. I also had major brain fog. I didn’t feel like myself at all, I couldn’t remember things, I was exhausted, and felt like I was just off.
Some of the physical symptoms I had were so interesting. I would walk around my mostly flat neighborhood and have trouble catching my breath. One night I was in bed laying on my right side and I could not breathe. It was scary. Steve looked it up and apparently, this is common for pregnant women. Right before this happened I got this warm, intense shooting pain through my right hip.
My knees and back hurt worse than usual and by week 9 it had started to really affect my left hip as well. I could barely move. By that point, I’d been to the acupuncturist twice, chiropractor three times, and had a massage. My stomach would hurt at night especially if I laid on my back. I’d get cramps and just feel SO bloated. My jeans immediately stopped fitting and I got cellulite in places I’d never had it before like the front of my thighs. I’d also gag every time I brushed my teeth and one time it was so bad I actually threw up! Pregnancy is a trip.
I was also SO hungry at night. I’d have a big dinner then go to bed and need to eat more. It’s like that hunger pain you feel when you’re starving but I was clearly not starving LOL. This probably happened because I barely ate during the day because of morning sickness, which btw, isn’t just for mornings.
I continued to exercise and I would go on walks around my neighborhood and do the weightlifting classes from The Faster Way. I’ve been doing the workouts for over a year and I really wanted to continue through my pregnancy. It was really shocking to see the difference in the amount of weight I was able to lift- I had to reduce everything!
I always assumed with my acne-prone skin that I would be broken out my entire pregnancy. Around Thanksgiving, I had the worst breakout I’ve ever had. It was intense and I’m assuming It’s because I became pregnant that week. But after that cleared up my skin was so clear! Since I wasn’t having my monthly hormonal breakout my skin looked incredible for the rest of my pregnancy.
My pregnancy announcement
I didn’t announce my pregnancy on Instagram right away- I told my family and friends but for some reason, I was afraid to announce it online. Instead, I just suffered in silence for a few weeks. I didn’t post anything at all for one full week, not even stories. I’ve never done that in my 5 ½ years online! I was struggling. I wanted to wait until my first appointment to confirm there was indeed something in there but then I realized… Why am I waiting? I’m over here struggling and I bet my audience would actually like to know what is happening with me. I always told myself if I ever had babies I’d announce before the first trimester was up but It just all felt so surreal. I almost felt guilty that I got pregnant on my first try and I know many of my followers have been struggling to conceive. I ended up announcing it at 7 weeks and I’m SO glad I did. It made me so much more excited for this big life change. My audience is so supportive and just wonderful. Many of my followers are already mothers or were also pregnant and it was exciting to go through it together.
My first doctor appointment
It was finally the day of my first appointment and we were so excited. The doctor’s office is 30 minutes away and Steve took the afternoon off work so he could come with me. Everyone told me we’d get an ultrasound, do some blood work, and I could even find out the gender! Well… the first appointment did NOT go as planned.
They weighed me and asked about my medical history then the midwife came in and chatted with us about how the practice works. She told me I’d have to take baby aspirin starting at 12 weeks to prevent gestational diabetes because my BMI is 31 (um what?!). She showed me this chart that says BMI 31 is obese. She didn’t call me obese and when I mentioned it she said these numbers are outdated and to not stress but I instantly felt like crap about myself. I asked when we’d start the ultrasound and bloodwork and she told me they don’t do it before 10 weeks. I was stunned. My brain just kind of shut down and Steve could tell I was not ok. Why did they schedule my first appointment before 10 weeks then (I was 9 weeks 2 days)?
I left that appointment feeling very disappointed. I went on Instagram and told everyone about what happened and was inundated with everyone else’s experiences. Many people got their ultrasound and bloodwork done then and some earlier at like 6-7 weeks! A few people said they didn’t get any till 10 weeks but it was definitely not the norm. If you’re calling doctors, make sure you clarify what is covered at each appt. Lesson learned.
After that, I felt very uneasy about this place. I really liked their whole birthing process, it’s more midwife driven- she said once they started with more midwives the number of C-sections plummeted… yikes. The birthing suites had showers, bathtubs, and portable monitors so you could move around the room if you wanted to. I liked the idea of a home birth but I’m not brave enough so I thought this would be the next best thing but after my first appointment, I wasn’t sure.
After thinking about it for a few days I decided to switch doctors. Find someone closer to me that had a similar birthing process. I started asking my friends & followers where they delivered and so many people told me they had a great experience with the same facility- Women’s OB. So I made an appointment there for a few weeks out, to try again. They were pretty booked up but were able to get me in in two more weeks. At that point, I’d be 11 weeks. Fine. I couldn’t get an ultrasound scheduled at my first doctor until 11 weeks anyways so I didn’t mind waiting.
I started spotting…
Well. We didn’t make it to that appointment. On the Saturday after my first appointment Steve and I had sex for the first time in weeks and the next day I started spotting. It was brownish and very light. The midwife mentioned that spotting is normal but if I fill up a pad in an hour call them. The following day I continued to spot and it was more red but less than the day before so I thought I was ok. On the third day, I was still spotting and it was more blood than before. My sister said it was time to let the doctor know. I messaged the first place I went since I already established care there and I didn’t get a reply so I called (it was 4 pm on Monday) and was told I’d get a callback. No call came. I called the new doctor and they told me to come the next day for a check-up.
The next day I was spotting even more. I was so scared and Steve took work off to take me. First, they used a doppler to check for a heartbeat. They couldn’t find one but the midwife said that was normal. Next, they did a bedside ultrasound (not the official one) and couldn’t see anything. Last, they did a vaginal ultrasound. She poked and prodded for a while then finally found something. She said it looks to be about 6 weeks- not ectopic so that’s good- but definitely not 10 weeks. It instantly clicked for us that our baby probably died. Steve was standing by the bed and said he thinks he was going to faint. They sat him down and put a cold towel on his neck, gave him juice, and held cold water bottles on his wrists. The whole experience was so overwhelming. Once he was better I did my bloodwork to check my HcG levels then we went home in a daze. They told me to come back in two days to take more blood and see if my Hcg levels doubled. If it did then my pregnancy is still progressing and we are ok. That gave us a little hope.
I went home and shared this on my Instagram and was flooded with positive messages of hope and prayers. I was also flooded with experiences that my audience went through where they were bleeding or the baby didn’t measure far enough along and it was fine, etc. I had a little more hope but still had this inkling in the back of my mind that my baby wasn’t ok.
The next day is when things took a turn for the worst. I woke up feeling ok. I had mild cramping but I assumed it was from her poking and prodding with the vaginal ultrasound. I had lunch plans with my friend and a prenatal facial booked. I was grateful I had things to do outside of my house because hopefully, it would keep my mind off of everything.
I was spotting more than before so I put in a panty liner. I didn’t have any pads so on my way to lunch I went to Target to buy some. My cramps got much worse and I called my sister. She told me to buy the biggest pads they had and a heating pad to put on my abdomen. My little thong panty liner was not going to cut it. I bought a pair of full underwear (these are the best, btw) and went to the bathroom to put them on with one of my new pads. I went to lunch and started BLEEDING. I went to the bathroom and within 10 minutes had filled the giant pad. When I sat down to change my pad on the toilet giant blood clots dripped out of me. I’d never seen anything like it. We ordered our food and I went and changed ANOTHER pad. Then the cramping got extreme. I ended up filling 3 of those giant pads while I was at lunch and remembered the dr. said to go to the ER if I fill more than one in an hour. My friend that I was with is a nurse and she started driving me. On the way, I asked what they’d do at the ER and she said basically pain management, bloodwork, and cost a lot of money. I decided I needed to get home instead. I was 25 minutes from my house and starting to really worry. She offered to drive me but I didn’t want to have to think about having my car so far away… so I drove.
I called my sister on the drive home and was having cramps every four minutes then every two. She told me this is what contractions feel like and I was probably equivalent to four centimeters dilated. It was EXCRUCIATING. She helped me breathe as I drove- “relax your forehead, squeeze your nails into your palm, breathe in, breathe out”. Her guidance helped me so much. I was crying and a total wreck. I’m grateful I had her. It was the longest 25 minutes of my life. When I got home I ran to the bathroom, stripped down, and got in the shower. Luckily Steve works from home and was able to help me. I looked at the pad I left on the floor as I stripped down and it was completely filled with blood and blood clots. I was so mortified that Steve had to see that (why am I like this?). Steve got me a short stool to lean on in the shower, a towel, and two hydrocodone pills for pain. I also wanted a slice of canned peach- so random but I had to have it. I sat in the shower crying, writhing around, eating my peach and just waiting for it to pass. The hydrocodone kicked in and I calmed down. I laid in bed, grabbed a comb, and dug it into my palm to distract from the pain, and it was over.
I’ve never experienced anything like this. It’s extremely traumatic and horrific.
A few hours later we called my midwife and she said that yes I probably miscarried and to come in the next 48 hours for a Rhogam shot because my blood time is AB negative and we don’t know if Steve is positive or not. Rhogam is for people with negative blood- if their partner has positive blood our bodies will attack the fetus to protect us. I asked if we could just test Steve’s blood type and she said they don’t do that. It was frustrating. We called all the local blood banks to see if they do blood type testing and none did. I really didn’t want the Rhogam shot if I didn’t need it but I ended up getting it the next day. I was too exhausted to care that much. Luckily I didn’t have any negative side effects- long term who knows, but nothing yet. We bought a blood test kit off amazon and the following day when it arrived tested Steve. He was positive so that gave me peace of mind that I got the shot.
I wish I knew
I wish the midwife told me this was a possibility and what to expect. I truly had no idea I might miscarry. I just thought babies slip out but because they were so small it didn’t really feel like anything. I was so incredibly wrong. I shared it with my Instagram audience and so many people told me they knew when I told them about the 6-week thing. That happened to them too. It’s insanely common- 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. I had no idea. *Not all miscarriages are this physically traumatic, FYI.
I’ve learned so much over the past few weeks. If the first doctor gave me an official ultrasound we would have known our baby died a week earlier and it would be what is known as a missed miscarriage. They either give you an abortion pill that forces your body to push everything out or they do a dilation and curettage (D&C) procedure. A D&C is a 10-15 minute surgical procedure where the cervix is dilated and a special instrument is used to scrape the uterine lining and ensure everything is removed.
I didn’t realize how many women have gone through this. Even my close friends. I was so oblivious. I just figured wow I got pregnant on my first try I guess we’re doing this. Miscarriage wasn’t even a realistic option- I was clueless.
If you want to read more stories of miscarriage go to my highlights on Instagram and watch them HERE. My audience was so open with me about their experiences. Many went on to have successful pregnancies. Some are still trying.
I feel connected to my audience and every woman in the world that has experienced this in a way I never expected. It’s horrible, sad, awful, and something only we can truly understand. I wouldn’t want anyone to go through this. I really just wish everyone could have successful pregnancies on their first try.
After sharing with my audience and messaging with many of them I was feeling a little better but I knew I needed to see my family. Two days after I miscarried Steve and I flew back home to San Diego. Being around Steve’s and my family, best friends, and in our hometown was so therapeutic. The sadness still comes in waves. You feel ok. Then you don’t. It’s been almost a month now and physically I’m feeling better but I do have pangs of grief. I have to keep getting blood work until my HcG level gets below 5. I’m currently at 16. If it doesn’t go below 5 on its own I’ll have to do a D&C still to remove everything so I don’t get infected and my period can restart eventually.
If you’re planning to get pregnant ever please take my word for it and do these few things before you start trying.
- Get your bloodwork done. Learn what your and your man’s blood type is and if there are any genetic things you should know about. We used this blood type test. It was easy.
- Do a little research on what type of birthing experience you want. Holistic? Traditional? Midwife? Does your regular gyno offer what you want? What hospital are they associated with? How are the hospital reviews? I strongly suggest asking other women you know in your area how their experience with their doctor/ hospital was. Also, when you book your appointment. Ask what will be done so you aren’t let down like I was.
- If you’re trying to conceive, start testing out prenatal vitamins to see which ones you like. Also, look for folate, not folic acid. I never had the chance to find a vitamin I liked but I’ll update you if I do.
- Start researching what skincare you’re allowed to use. Retinol is out. Hydroquinone is DEFINITELY out. I’m glad I started switching to clean skincare and body products last year because trust me when I tell you, it’s a process.
- Buy big pads, full underwear, and digital pregnancy tests. Be prepared.
- Regularly check in with your man about how they are feeling and thinking. Pregnancy is overwhelming for them too. Open up communication before you’re pregnant so you aren’t racing to catch up while you’re pregnant.
Although we were scared, we started to imagine our lives with our little one. We were excited and hopeful. Our baby would have arrived around August 13, 2023. Instead, I now have another angel that is always with me. And to everyone who has gone through this- our babies are playing together in heaven and watching over us. Someday we will be reunited with them.
Will we try again? Maybe someday. I’m not there yet but if you’re in the same boat as me, one of my followers (who is also a midwife) sent me this quote and it really resonated with me:
“I am growing a healthy baby until I’m told otherwise. My past is not my future. Past losses do not mean future losses. There is nothing I can change with worry.”
The past few months were a whirlwind. The whole pregnancy experience is so much different than what I expected. It’s hard physically and emotionally. I really recommend you include your loved ones in the process. Tell them when you find out, let them celebrate your baby with you, experience your emotions with you, and let them share their experiences. Lean on them. Pregnancy is so much more than I ever thought it would be and I’m so grateful to have had my support system there for me when I needed them the most.
Thank you for reading my pregnancy story. Please share this with anyone you think it might help.