I didn’t think I’d want to tell this story on my blog, but if I’m honest about where my path to motherhood began, it started long before Lucas’ birth, in the fall of 2016. My husband and I had been married exactly 12 months to the day the night we drunkenly decided to start trying. It had been an amazing and exciting year as newlyweds, but we were ready to start a family. We figured it might take a few months at best, and at 33, I knew time wasn’t on our side. When that first at home pregnancy test came back positive just a month later, we were both shocked and amazed. “That was so easy” we thought. We were relieved. We had our life loosely mapped out in our head, and everything was right on schedule. The idea that it was too good to be true never really occurred to me.
The beginning of our pregnancy was just like any other. I sought out an OB through my GP, quit smoking and drinking immediately, and we thought about the different and creative ways we could tell our family. I was feeling great, but as with all early pregnancies there’s no way to truly tell how things are progressing. OB’s won’t see you until 12 weeks, so it was a waiting and hoping game. Weeks came and went, and I was feeling more blessed with each passing moment. I was falling deeper in love with the life inside of me and the promising future I saw ahead of us.
Then week 5 came. I had Friday night plans with a girlfriend. We were going to the movies while my husband went to a Raptors game. I wasn’t feeling my best that day, but every feeling was so new, so I wasn’t alarmed. I assumed it came with the pre-natal territory, so I didn’t intend on cancelling my plans. Unfortunately, as I was getting ready to go out, our dog Bruce starting vomiting uncontrollably. I called my friend and told her I wouldn’t be able to make it as I had to keep an eye on my pup in case he ended up needing medical attention. I tended to him for a few hours, tried to feed him and comfort him, but he became weak and was whimpering. I knew I had to take him to the emergency vet sooner rather than later, so I text my husband and told him I was gearing up to take him in. And then I felt it. An intense pain that took over my entire lower back. I breathed through. I teared up. But the pain spread through my midsection. Like knives running through my uterus, I felt the pain of my child preparing to leave me. I went to the bathroom and saw the blood. I instantly panicked. I tried, but I just couldn’t catch my breath. No one knew I was pregnant other than my husband, and he was out. That was a big mistake. I know the Dr’s recommend you wait to tell people you are pregnant, but when the day of my miscarriage came, I had very few people to turn to. I kept my support system in the dark, so they weren’t able to be there for me when I needed them the most. And so I of course called my husband who promptly left the game to meet me at the hospital. I put Bruce in his cage, even though I knew that was a risk, and I headed to emerge. We spent hours waiting to be seen in what can only be described as the worst emergency room in downtown Toronto. I slept in an emergency room bed overnight, sending my husband home to look after our sick pup. In the morning, they finally gave me an ultrasound. There was no heartbeat. No baby to speak of. But I already knew that. I saw the baby in the toilet 12 hours prior. A tiny sac filled with a tiny tadpole, and I knew that was him. I assumed it was a boy. I named him River. Naming him helped me process what had happened.
I gave myself no time to recover. I had a miscarriage on a Friday, an ultrasound on Saturday and was back at the office by Monday. I didn’t grieve. I didn’t curl up in bed with a pizza and Netflix. I just went on about my days as if nothing had happened. A few months later it all came crashing down on me, and it resulted in the darkest and coldest winter I can remember. It was impossible for my husband to pull me out of my funk, and it wasn’t until the following fall that I was ready to start trying again.
We as women don’t talk about our miscarriages enough. It’s amazing how many women hide their loss, perhaps feeling like they are the ones to blame. The day of my miscarriage I had a half glass of champagne at an agency celebration. I didn’t want people at work to know I was pregnant, and if I turned down the champagne they’d know something was up. For so long I blamed that glass of champagne, and ultimately myself. I know now how ridiculous that is but at the time I felt like a monster.The fact is that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. We have to stop blaming ourselves. We have to stop silently carrying our crosses, and we have to start sharing the pain and disappointment with those closest to us.
My miscarriage doesn’t define me, but it is a part of the fabric that makes up my motherhood story. So today, on the second anniversary of the loss of my first baby, I want to say that regardless of its brevity, I was blessed to carry that life inside of me, and as painful as it was, losing that child made way for Lucas to enter my life, and for that I am eternally grateful.