Author: Michelle Felgenhauer
Our Miscarriage StoryBaby, Family, Miscarriage
I don’t know how to even begin to tell our story. The only thing I knew is that my husband and I experienced something that, at the time, felt like no one could relate to and I wanted to share that. I also knew there were people I didn’t want to share my story with, and I figured with the lack of traffic that comes here, this would be the perfect spot (lol). My story out there but not completely; whoever needed to read about our experience would find it.
I searched online for others that went through what we did, and I couldn’t find anyone who experienced what I was going through. Even just to give me an idea on what to expect when your doctor tells you that you WILL miscarry. It’s called a missed abortion or missed miscarriage. I only knew two people at the time who had a miscarriage and that was my mom and grandma. Well I was able to talk to my mom, but my grandma had just passed away a few weeks ago so there’s that. Her experience was far different from mine and she received nothing but criticism from her circle of friends and family. And she was scared about me sharing my story because she didn’t want the same for me.
It took me so long to sit down and write this because I knew it would be so hard to relive the worst thing that my husband and I experienced in our lifetimes. I also knew the minute people started to find out they might think this is me being open to hearing what they have to say or give their advice. Frankly, I don’t want it. I was also in the middle of processing a lot of relationships with friends and family and had come to terms of which ones have ended and the ones John and I would prefer to keep at arm’s length. We didn’t want them knowing anything about us. But the couples who would go through what we did searching for answers outweighed the people that didn’t matter. So here goes nothing …
It took us so long to get pregnant in the first place especially when we were surrounded by people who kept telling us how easy it was for them or when you hear it just happened. What made it worse was the constant questions about having kids. My favorite question was “don’t you want kids?!”. I was like a ticking time bomb waiting for the next person to ask not knowing how I would react. And honestly, I still am. If anything, the miscarriage makes that innocent question worse. When we finally got a positive test, my husband was in disbelief that he needed a doctor or test to say pregnant. He even kept telling me that I was lying, in true Johnny fashion (lol). We were so excited, and we were so excited to share the news. I knew my mom’s and grandma’s history but it’s not genetic so I never thought I would miscarry. I mean who does!
So, when we went in for our first ultrasound at 10 weeks, we had no idea what was about to happen. My doctor first said that she only wanted to do a Doppler, just to hear the heartbeat but she said at the beginning sometimes you can’t hear the heartbeat, even at 10 weeks. So, when we didn’t hear anything she said, just for her paranoia, let’s do an ultrasound. She pulled in a computer, which she explained wasn’t an ultrasound but just a bottom tier version to see the baby. I just remember her saying that sometimes this doesn’t work either and so when she couldn’t find the heartbeat or the baby this time, she moved us to another room and said you’re getting the real thing!
We were nervous at this point, of course this would happen to us. But we were also so excited to see the baby. I think at this point the doctor already knew what was going on and just wanted to confirm it. She told us at first that if she still can’t find the baby with the ‘real’ ultrasound she would use another machine. So again, couldn’t find the heartbeat or baby with the regular ultrasound so she moved to the 4th version. I could tell, immediately, by the look on her face that something was wrong. The minute she said your pregnancy isn’t normal and she couldn’t find the fetal pole, John fainted on my bed behind me. I couldn’t even process what she was saying because I was trying to see if John was OK.
She pretty much gave me a grocery list of issues. Most women either miscarry and then go to the doctor or get told that they will just have a miscarriage in the next few days. She told me that I might have a heart shaped uterus, an anembryonic pregnancy, and a missed miscarriage. She also couldn’t find the fetal pole at all. When she showed us the ultrasound she said I have this large black mass, which is why she thinks I have a heart shaped uterus, but she needs a second opinion cause she has never in her 20 years seen anything like this. Awesome. It would take anywhere from 1 to 8 weeks to miscarry, but my body will still think I am pregnant. Great. She also said she recommends that I let my body do it naturally with no d&c; which is an option for surgery but came with risks for me. I made it through the rest of my doctors appointment and blood test to home to finally register everything I got told. I literally came home thinking I had a tumor in my uterus. So, I did what anyone would do researching everything she told me. It sucked to literally be given a diagnosis that I was hoping wasn’t true and not finding many stories like yours. I was rare and not it a good way. Then to top it all off, as we started telling our family and friends that we had told came the ‘well at least you know you can get pregnant’ and other fun comments that literally reminded more about how long it took for us to get pregnant in the first place. There is nothing you can say to make a couple feel better about the situation. The only thing you can say is that you are there for them when they are ready to talk because we also had people who knew what was going on and had nothing to say to us; the silence and ignoring what we just told them was worse, especially when you’re getting ready to miscarry during a pandemic. There were times I wanted people to ask me how I was doing and then there were times I didn’t. My poor husband experienced something entirely different, people asking him about how I was doing but not him. And even if they did ask, it wasn’t the right questions. Again, there is no winning with this. So, when I say we, our and us, it’s because we both went through this; even if my body psychically went through more, I know he felt the pain beside me. He is healing with what he saw and experienced in his own way.
My doctor was truly amazing is all this. I already knew I liked her but how she handled everything made me like her more. John was skeptical in the beginning, but I think he was holding on to hope. She gave us our next steps and a plan for when we get pregnant again. Which we don’t want to share yet. It’s not like I have a baby on the way to tell you there is a happy ending after this story; we are still in the midst of our journey and maybe for a while which I am not ready to share and have people follow along. I want to be able to tell our close family and friends when we are ready. And believe it or not I have some people in our circle that will ask me if I am pregnant even after knowing all this. EVEN after I have told them to stop. I just don’t understand why anyone would want to take that joy of telling people your news away from you?! All I got from my doctor’s plan was that our next pregnancies would never be the same. But her plan made me, and John feel better because we are planners. So right now, our next step was to get a 2nd opinion. 2 days later I had an urgent ultrasound with the radiologist. And I was not prepared for that at all…
The appointment wasn’t scheduled so I was told to come in an hour on that day because it was urgent, with a lot of fluids in my system. So, I went over guzzling water knowing that this was going to be hard without my husband next to me, due to covid, but what other bad news can I get?! I didn’t look at the screen at all. I felt like death in that moment. But then my tech kept gasping and I kept thinking what are you gasping about. She then asked me “are you pregnant?” I said yes and she said they filled out my paperwork wrong, ran out and came back with someone else. Then they both kept gasping. Ugh. She kept asking me when was my last period and how many weeks along I was. She explained to me that my doctor’s office didn’t say that this was an OB ultrasound, so they didn’t know they were doing it on someone ‘pregnant’. So, I told her that my doctor told me I am having a missed miscarriage. And she then kept asking “have you miscarried yet?” and I said no. And they continued to gasp. They kept saying it was measuring 6 weeks and I kept hearing ‘look’ and hearing them poke at the screen. After 30 grueling minutes the tech told me to look at the screen and said, “there’s your baby”. How are you supposed to respond to that?! First thing out of my mouth was ‘is it alive?’. She said my doctor would call me immediately since this was an urgent ultrasound. They then proceeded to try and hear the heartbeat twice but said you can’t at 6 weeks. In this moment I knew they thought I still had a live fetus inside of me. I walked out shaking and John was holding on to hope so hard that this made him hope more. This is what made me know that not many people have experienced a missed miscarriage. And maybe I am wrong. I don’t blame them for the false hope, but I think they didn’t get the right information to handle my situation differently. Anxiously waiting for the call, I got one early next morning.
My doctor told me that my blood tests confirmed that I am miscarrying. The embryo ruptured at 6 weeks. She doesn’t know why, but she was clear that there was nothing that I had done to cause this. I feel like everyone says that, but you can’t help feeling like you did something to cause the miscarriage. She also said that the black mass they saw was a ball of blood or Hematoma waiting to drop. I was in the clear of having a heart shaped uterus and our pregnancy was not anembryonic. She reassured us of the plan and said we just have to wait to miscarry now. I was so relieved! I felt bad saying it but with the news that this was just a missed miscarriage, I was relieved. Again, this information does not mean I am inviting anyone to ask us what we plan on doing next (that is more aimed at our family and friends that like to ask). Believe it or not someone asked me when I was going to start trying again and I hadn’t even miscarried yet. Those comments were like a punch to the gut. All anyone needs to know is that I’m healthy and we are allowing ourselves to grieve and allowing my body to heal naturally. This journey for me and my husband has just begun.
Just to give you a timeline, all the above happened in a week. After the last call with my doctor, she said she would check on me in 2 weeks if it still hadn’t happened. I was now 11 weeks ‘pregnant’ still waiting. Sometimes I wished it happened and then I found out I miscarried, but I was able to prepare mentally for the aftermath. I read stories about women miscarrying late in their first trimester and my doctor told me it would be intense cramping, but you really don’t know until you go through it. So, I stocked up on adult diapers and we waited.
About a week later from the call it started. I was 11 weeks. The day began with some cramping and they weren’t bad, and I remember telling John that I think it’s going to happen today, and he agreed. Around 2pm it got a little worse to the point where I needed to go lay down and, fortunately, I was finishing up my workday, so I finished up in bed. At around 5pm the pain started to come in waves. John came home shortly after around 6pm and it started to get worse. We had read that some women go into labor when they are further along, so we were not sure how mine was going to go. My doctor said it should only last a couple hours and anything more than that I should call. After 2am the pain got bad and the waves of pain where shorter apart and after finally deciding to call, the doctor confirmed that I was in labor, having contractions with no medication and they said I could go into urgent care but I knew they would do the d&c and I didn’t want that. The doctor also said it sounded like I was at the end of miscarrying so it wouldn’t be a big deal to wait it out. So in complete pain, the type of pain that you are screaming, we held out and until about 5am I finally had no more pain, and without getting too graphic, the pain and everything was completely gone after I released everything into the toilet. John and I cried for a while. We still do. And we knew this moment would forever change us.
I went days from my first doctor’s appointment not talking to anyone except for those who knew. I still have trouble talking about it. John had to force me to see my parents after a couple of weeks, so that they can see that I was physically OK. I don’t feel like myself and some days I feel less of a person and other days I feel like I could be OK without kids, if that is what our future holds. I’ve accepted our reality, but I’m not interested in fertility treatments or adoption or anything else right now. I just wanted to experience pregnancy and everything that comes with. I am still coming to terms with that. I am angry and jealous and ashamed. Hearing the news of others pregnancy sucks. The milestones of what would’ve been hurt like hell. I would never wish this on anyone.
I think the funny part about this whole thing is we started renovating the house to get ready for the baby since we had to make room and what everyone sees is us remodeling but they don’t know the reason behind it. We even added things here and there because of the baby. John added a speaker in the ceiling of the bathroom to play when he gives baths; our contractor asked us why we chose that and that was after we got the news, so how do you explain that to a stranger?! My favorite is one of the workers was trying to joke with me about using the bathroom often (eye roll). I joked with John that our bathroom remodel came in perfect time for me to miscarry in. He didn’t find that amusing. The obvious one was my office turning into a nursery and a few others. In the beginning they felt like awful reminders. A few people asked why, and we gave them the honest answer but most people we lied. Now we are in the midst of completely changing the garage and I don’t know how John would’ve done it without me, not dismissing his ability to do it on his own but he relies on me a lot, so a very little part of me wonders if time is on our side and maybe something behind the scenes is happening for a reason.
I really hope our story helps someone. Even though statistics are 1 in 4 not many people know what that is like and that’s not their fault. Having a miscarriage is so lonely. I also hope this helps people to know someone going through this. Tell them you’re there for them when they are ready. They might want to talk about it. And the biggest one, don’t ask a couple about their plans to grow a family. You don’t know what they are going through. And by asking them you are forcing them to tell you something that they might not be ready to share. I’ve had people tell me to prove to them I’m not pregnant and that was so hurtful. Let yourself grieve, surround yourself with people you know you can trust and will support you. If you can find someone to talk to about it, talk; it was the best thing for me to heal and try to move forward. We’re still holding on to hope and the rainbow has never meant so much to me as it does right now!
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Please check out the full post on Beijos Events!
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The event was so perfect that Green Wedding Shoes featured it today! Please check out both posts below and here are the gorgeous photos by Roxanne McClure …
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Design/Planning – @beijosevents
Photographer – @taylornicolehotter
Rentals – @sweetsalvagerentals
Florals – @rootedandwildco
Tabletop – @cherishedrentals
Calligraphy – @standtallmia
Napkins – @hostesshaven
Runner – @partycrushstudio
Catering – @contemporarycatering
Wine – @onehope
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Design/Planning – @beijosevents
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Florals – @mulberryandmoss
Calligraphy – @standtallmia
Catering – @colettescatering
Desserts – @laurenlowstan
Wine/Champagne – @onehope
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Original post from Beijos Events: A Colorful Al Fresco Summer Solstice Dinner