I have been quiet here on the blog and I have a reason. On Thanksgiving/tomorrow, I would have been 11 weeks pregnant. Instead, the last week and a half has been a roller coaster.
I am writing this story today, to share what I have gone through and share things that not many people talk about. I am not writing to receive any pity. I am wanting others to not only be aware of miscarriage, but what a woman may go through during one. It is simply to share my experience and be open with you all. I also want to honor and celebrate the baby I once carried.
On October 8th, 2018, I was spending the day running errands and afternoon/evening with my niece. As I was out with her, I knew something was off. Other than being two days late for Aunt Flow, the bathroom visits seems a little extra and that popcorn at the movies just didn’t sit right with my tummy. On my drive home, I decided to test as soon as I got home. I was certain that it wasn’t going to be positive, but at the same time, I felt like it was. I put the stick into the cup of urine, read the paper to let it sit for 3 minutes. I decided I would leave the bathroom, but within a minute, I decided I wanted to watch it. Within ONE minute there was a strong positive. WHAT!? Que the freak out mode. No tears, but non-stop shaking and clouded mind. I then made a mess in our house and in the guest bathroom to try to get ready to film David’s reaction, because he was going to be home any minute and I had to tell him. He came home, I was quiet and he knew something was off. He walked by the bathroom and saw me standing there with a positive test and instantly had a shocked face and shortly after, went into tears. I then wanted to take a second test with him, by my side, and we watched the test go from loading to another positive. Que more tears from David and more freaking out from Shelby.
That night, I was in complete SHOCK. I wasn’t sure if I was ready to
be a mom, I stressed out about my business and what I was going to do, but I still had enough excitement to sit on the couch with David and start downloading pregnancy apps on our phones. We then talked about how we were going to tell our close family and friends.
I will note: Even before we got married and pregnant, we told each other we wanted to celebrate when we got pregnant. We wanted to celebrate the life of the little one, no matter what may happen. We wanted the baby to be loved from the start. If the worst would happen, we would have our loved ones to lean on to. We are so glad we told them. We had so much love for the weeks I carried from others checking up on us, asking how appointments went, and started to talk so positive about the baby.
We spent the next week or two after getting that positive test, by making trips to family members homes, surprised some who came over, got meals with some close friends, and FaceTimed the ones who were out of state. In between these weeks, we went to our Doctor’s office to confirm it all. Between a doctor’s visit and sharing the news, the excitement really hit. I became a mother and my thoughts about life and my body had changed.
As the weeks went on, the fatigue and tiredness hit and boy, it hit hard. I cut caffeine out cold turkey, so the tiredness from that and the pregnancy kicked in and it kicked in hard. October is a crazy month for photographers and I was dealing with early pregnancy on top of it. Oh boy, it was rough, but I got through it with sleeping most of the days and working when I could. The nausea kicked in and hit randomly, but it was nothing crazy and nothing a few saltines couldn’t fix. I wasn’t showing at all, but man the bloat was REAL.
We eagerly & patiently waited for November 9th, 2018. The date we were going to see our 9 week growing baby. As the date was approaching closer and closer, the excitement was getting stronger, but also I had something in my head to bring me back to reality and let me be calm to know that we could be hearing the worst news.
The morning of the 9th of November, we arrived to the OB’s office, I filled out paperwork after paperwork (If you’re expecting, be prepared to spend 20-25 minutes just filling out paper work). I got my weight, blood pressure checked, and had to give my urine, nothing surprising. We then waited in the exam room with a big TV above David’s head (I was so excited for the big TV, so we didn’t all have to view the baby from the doctor’s screen.) We looked at that TV and saw how my name was on there, my birth date, and our baby’s due date of June 13th, 2019. All that was needed was the baby to be shown.
The OB came in, asked a few questions and went right into the exam. As she put in the wand (I called it a wand haha), I instantly saw a sack. I then quickly asked if we can film just mine and David’s reaction, but keep her out of it due to privacy. She then replied with, “Well, as of right now, I don’t think you will receive much of a reaction. Your baby is measuring only 5-6 weeks and there is no heartbeat yet.” I then became quiet. I knew that sometimes baby’s hearts aren’t heard just yet, but I was more in shock that I was that far behind. She then took photos and shared that I could have ovulated late, but she wanted us to come in next week to make sure there is a heartbeat and growth. We got through the scheduling and we walked out the door. Instant tears once that door shut! I was sad to see the baby so much smaller than what we were expecting, I started to become stressed that the new due date was 4th of July (too close to our August weddings that were already booked), and had a fear that we lost the baby (but I didn’t share that fear with David just yet). As we saw some family that day and as we received texts and calls on how that went, I tried to stay positive and tell them we got to see the baby and the new due date might be July 4th. Later that night, I broke down and cried a good cry to David with my fear that the baby stopped growing at 6 weeks. That whole weekend was tough for me. Something told me I was right, but I was still hoping for the best. Although David had some fear too, he was the strong and positive one.
Once it came to the morning of November 14th, our world changed again. (It first changed once we saw that positive test.) The doctor confirmed there was no growth and heartbeat. I was experiencing a missed miscarriage (Where my body still thinks it’s growing a baby, but the baby stopped growing). I kept it together until we talked options. Those options were:
- To wait for the baby to naturally pass. The doctor did not suggest this, as my body was already holding onto the baby so tightly the last 3-4 weeks, she did not see me passing it naturally and I could get a serious infection if I continued to wait.
- To take the pill and speed up the process, but it was unpredictable when I would pass the baby.
- Go in for a D&C/Surgery to have everything taken out.
All options were hard and it breaks my heart knowing so many woman have to choose. With tears in our eyes, we had to make a decision. With how our schedule was, (Meetings, sessions, a wedding, etc.) we went ahead and scheduled a D&C for Monday, November 19th at 11:30AM. After making the appointment, I had to give more blood and go for a more advanced ultrasound so they can send it over to the hospital to prepare for my procedure.
As that day went out, it was emotionally rough. We had tons planned for that day, but we decided to take the day off and grieve with each other.
Later that night, we shared the news publicly. I was so scared to share on Instagram and Facebook, but something told me to share. Once I started to have woman reach out to me with their stories, I teared up. They were helping me prepare in SO many ways. I felt so loved from old friends, clients, and people I haven’t met yet. There was no regrets with being open about what we were experiencing.
The next day, I wanted to know the measurement of the baby, to make sure I was making the right choice for the D&C, but they didn’t have the lab results yet and would be calling me once they found out either that night or Friday morning. We then both tried to get work done. David tried to go to work, but got sent home. I got through most of my work, but kept some of my errands and meetings. While I was at my meetings, David and I felt a little better. David was able to talk and spend time with his parents, while I stayed distracted on work. After the meeting, that’s when everything hit me physically.
During the meeting, I had slight cramping, but nothing crazy. After the meeting, I started to pass tissue. Tissue that I have never seen before and was shocked that my body created something so interesting looking. My jaw dropped when I saw it. Then, once I got home, that’s when the fresh blood and more painful cramping began. David rushed over from his parents to the store to get me some heavy pads and some pain medicine. He came straight home to warm up a heating pad for me, give me the medicine, and be there for me.
Although I knew some extreme pain was on the way, I was so happy to know that my prayers were answered and the baby was going to be passed naturally.
Friday, November 16th, 2018 6AM, the pain woke me up and I started to pass even more small tissue/clots. Come 8:30ish AM – 10:00AM, I was in labor. I say labor, because I was giving birth to a 6 week old. If someone recorded what I was going through, you would think it was labor. I was screaming and moving around like I was in labor. I was screaming in pain as it felt like someone was taking a knife to my uterus and cutting downwards, in slow motion. I was having back pain I have never experienced and felt lucky to have David there to massage it. I was sweaty and simply didn’t know what to do with my body besides scream and cry. Once 10:00AM hit, the pain medicine kicked in or my body was done for a while. About 20 minutes later, I felt I needed to pee, but that wasn’t pee. It was time to let the baby go. I sat down and bloop!! The baby went into the water. I’ll save you the gory details, but it looked like a murder scene. After that, I instantly felt better and the clots/tissue stopped, or so I thought.
I called the nurse to let her know that I won’t need the measurements from the ultrasound anymore, because I passed it naturally. She informed the doctor and they canceled the surgery for Monday. She told me to expect another 2-3 days of menstrual-like cramps and more blood for another 1-2 weeks.
Well, that was not my case. The pain still hit me and was not menstrual-like cramps.. AT ALL. I was in extreme pain up until Tuesday, November 20th. It would hit me every few hours and with out any warning. It didn’t feel like it was the cutting down my uterus, but instead someone stabbing my right side. Friday’s episode was 10 for extreme pain, Friday night – Tuesday afternoon, it was an 8 or 9. I would not wish this type of pain on ANYONE. It was so painful, dreadful, and so long.
On Monday, I called the office to tell them how much pain I was in and they moved things around to get me in for Tuesday morning.
I continued to pass tissue/clots up until 45 minutes before my appointment. I was examined again and was told that I have nothing left and that I passed everything naturally. If I didn’t, I would still need to go under surgery and get the rest of everything out. She also said that most woman only deal with the intense pain for a day, while since my body didn’t want to baby to leave those 3-4 weeks during the missed miscarriage (I didn’t want it to leave my body either), could have been the reason why my experience was prolonged to the 5-6 days. I will still need to get blood taken anywhere from 1 to 3 more times within the next 1-9 weeks to make sure my levels are continuing to go down. So, we went to go get my blood next door for the first blood test. Well, we couldn’t. The extreme pain hit again. I couldn’t go in. So, we went home, I took care of myself and went later that afternoon when I started to feel better.
As I sit here writing this, it’s been a over 24 hours since my last extreme painful episode. Yay!
I mentioned when I first started writing, it’s been a loooonnnggg week and a half. Emotionally and physically. It’s been hard and I know we still have a road to recover emotionally, but I am ready and so is David. It’s David and I who are going through this, but we haven’t been going through it alone. It has made me cry just thinking about how much we are loved within our family, friends, community, and from people on social media who have been keeping up with our story.
My phone has been blowing up for days with notifications of comments & direct messages on Facebook & Instagram, text messages, and phone calls. We also have had friends come over to simply hang out, made sure we were fed by bringing us food or cook for us, or even clean our place (what!?). I have had friends bring me places because I was too afraid to drive in case a painful episode hit. Our table is also full of flowers. I have had photographer friends step up to take mine & David’s place for a wedding and I have had clients so understanding when it came to rescheduling their sessions. I have been overwhelmed with the thoughtfulness of everyone who has reached out and/or has done things for us in this time. I could not be anymore thankful this thanksgiving week and I will forever remember everyone who has helped in anyway.
If you ever experience a miscarriage and I truly hope you don’t, I hope you remember these tips (in no specific order) that helped me get through the crazy 5-6 days of physical pain:
- Have someone there with you. David’s cuddles, his massages, and his presence was my favorite. But I also loved when friends were over to keep me company and to help with anything I needed when an episode hit. It also helped to smile and laugh with them, too.
- A heating pad will be your best friend. I kept it on 90% of the time and I had one where it can wrap around my tummy and back. Sometimes it was an annoyance during the episodes, but other times it helped.
- Pain meds. Over the counter didn’t always help. Heck, even the 800mg tablets that my doctor prescribed didn’t always help. But there were times when it did kick in and I at least got to sleep through the pain instead of being awake and crying.
- Hot showers. Not baths, because we can get an infection and who wants to sit in blood? Put a towel down (Beware: Sometimes it can cover the drain) and either get on your knees and curl over and let the water hit your lower back and to put pressure on your uterus OR lay down on your back and let the water hit directly onto your lower belly area. I did both and switched back and forth. If you have a partner there with you or even a close friend you are comfortable with, have them help move the shower head when you move through out the shower. This will help you from having to get up and down.
- Have someone massage your lower abdomen/pelvic area. I am not lying, it hurts and it’s hard to relax, but this helped me pass more clots/tissue.
- Stay hydrated. Drink as much water as you can. I know it’s hard and sometimes you will finally get comfortable when in pain, only to have to get up to pee. But water will help the pain.
As I end this novel, I am ending it with a thankful heart that is still going to need some grace with herself, as it heals from the loss. It’s hard to say I am thankful for something so sad and heartbreaking, but this experience is already taught me so much which has me thankful. I know I am strong and can get through the rest of this road to recovery.
To our angel baby, thank you. Thank you for allowing me to carry you for as long as I did. Thank you for making your father and I stronger in our marriage and love for each other from the moment we found out about you and especially as we lost you. You have changed us as individuals and as a couple. We will keep your photo and cling on to it when I miss carrying you in my womb. We love you and will never forget you and what you taught us. XOXO.