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7 Steps of Grief: First Pregnancy Miscarriage: What I Didn't Know

Updated: Jun 20

This post is as transparent as many of my posts. It expresses raw emotions concerning my miscarriage experience, and the struggles since. This may not be a suitable read for everyone, still I hope it serves those who've suffered the same pain, and those who are attempting to empathize with people who've had a miscarriage. This post may also support those finding it difficult to become pregnant for their first time.


I've gone through this before. After losing grandparents, an uncle, peers, and my best friend, I learned there are in fact, 7 steps of grief.

I did not know a life the size of a blueberry could feel just as painful and heavy to grieve as the lives with heartbeats, blinking eyes, flexing fingers, and many memories.


This life lost is not only an emotional heartbreak, but a physical pain burrowing deep within me as it tries to leave my body completely.






Shock


I was set back. The year 2020 has already been so wild for everyone. On New Years Eve, I was introduced to the man who is now my fiancé, since my birthday, May 29th. Knowing we wished to marry before pregnancy, I schedule an appointment for a birth control implant. In order to accept the implant, I needed to be on my period. It is normal for my monthly to move around. Due to my thyroid condition, it might shift from the beginning of the month to the middle of the month. I missed my period that was meant to go down between the 1st-5th of June. Since I couldn't get the BC implant, I thought to take a pregnancy test, and as I presumed, I tested positive!


Initially, I felt shocked, grieving over our wedding plans, unable to find joy for our engagement and new home. I didn't feel ready yet. My fiancé was excited from the get-go, but it took me a couple of days to move beyond shock and sadness. Financially, we couldn't possibly afford to have a new home, a wedding, and a baby all in one year. Soon enough, we allowed ourselves to began dreaming of the nursery decor and the toys we'd get this baby love. We began to share our the news that we were 5 weeks pregnant with famiy and friends who we would hope would be there for us, have it we would miscarry.

We decided we were giving birth to our personal flower girl or ring barer, or that we made our moms a grandchild for their July birthdays! We were switching gauges and finally feeling excited about God's plan for us.





Don't get too excited.


Over the weekend, I began to feel detached from this idea. Friday night, I had a bad feeling that was hard for me to connect with or understand. Saturday morning, I began the process of either implantation, or a miscarriage. Terrified of the bleeding and cramping, I took the advice from nurse friends, my primary care doctor, and my friend, the owner of Oh Baby! KC. I put my feet up to rest and took part in the waiting game.

The only way I could keep calm enough during the wait was to eat ice-cream and float in a pool beneath the hot sun. There, I could pretend I wasn't afraid.

I was given the option to either go to the ER for a blood test and ultrasound over the weekend, or wait until Monday. Being we are living amidst a global pandemic, I didn't want to take any chances at the ER. I had set an appointment for Monday, and by that afternoon I learned that my hCG levels were too low. They decided this meant I miscarried.


What are hCG levels? Human chorionic gonadotropin is a hormone produced by the body during pregnancy. It supports fetal growth. Doctors test hCG levels in the urine and bold to confirm pregnancy. They also use hCG blood tests to help determine if a person could be experiencing an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage. One hCG level cannot support a diagnosis of a pregnancy, ectopic pregnancy, and miscarriage, alone. Perhaps you need multiple tests and/or other treatments.





Floating


I no longer felt like I was seamlessly floating in a pool on a beautiful summer day, but I felt I was floating aimlessly with a great emptiness processing from within myself. When my loved ones passed, I knew I needed to say their name and the fact that they were gone, aloud. I needed to shake disbelief from shock. So, I also needed to admit that my little blueberry was now leaving my body in the clots of blood draining from me. I said out loud, "We are having a miscarriage," and immediately, alligator size tears flowed from my eyes as I attempted to stray away from the incoming panic attack.





Grief Interruption


I couldn't let this go. Though I was only 6 weeks along, this tiny life lost has shaken me physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I still haven't fully known how to handle it or make sense of it. I have dove into worship music and prayer, finding a grief counselor, making myself eat (even without an appetite), and carry on as a nanny at work.


Today is Friday, one week since that blank feeling crept in. Will I be ready to have a baby soon? This miscarriage is still happening . There are several things I did not now before testing positive. Having experienced grief before, I knew to announce I had a miscarriage so that I'd accept this fact. I knew I would need grief therapy and to pursue consistent exercise. I'll start with yoga for a while. I knew to let it matter, let myself cry, let myself feel angry. I knew to still treat this life with care, no matter how small it was, it matters.

In phase 3 of the 7 steps of grief, anger, I grew frustrated at the lack of knowledge shared with me as a woman. We learn that sex can make us pregnant, and we have been encouraged to wear protection or simply, abstain from intercourse. Can we also add what happens when you test positive? If you miscarry? If you experience Postpartum Anxiety, Depression, or Psychosis? These need to be common teachings just as importantly.


Out of my frustration, I decided to make a list of what I've just recently learned, alongside a good friend who is also trying to get pregnant. Neither of us knew what we needed to do to prepare for pregnancy. I hope this supports you as you try to concieve.



The Things I Wasn't Tought


No one taught me to take prenatal vitamins with DHA's a month before trying to conceive.


No one taught me to set up a blood test as soon as I've tested positive on a pregnancy stick. This way, you will learn your hCG levels and confirm the pregnancy.


No one taught me to know my blood type, or discuss with my doctor, what might make it hard for me to become pregnant and conceive.


No one taught me to see an OB specifically, for my well women exams as to form a relationship that might keep my spot on the waiting list, over other pregnant women trying to set appointments.


No one taught me how long it would take to gain your appointment with an OB, or even their nurse practitioner.


No one taught me about the foods, medicines and even skincare to stray away from as to prevent harm to the baby.


No one taught me these things that every woman may face, purposefully or not. Did I miss a class? Why is pregnancy on a learn-as-you-go basis?


I am currently feeling the aches and pains of my body and heart, feeling more overwhelmed and empty than I've felt in a long time, and I'm angry that this is all new to me.

What more do you wish you knew before having children, having a miscarriage, or getting pregnant?


Here are a few more things I have learned since my first pregnancy miscarriage:


  1. Record your menstrual cycle frequently. (I use the app called "Clue")

  2. Monitor Ovulation

  3. Have sex every other day during the fertile window

  4. Strive for a healthy body weight

  5. Take a prenatal vitamin (with DHA's in it)

  6. Eat healthy foods (perhaps following a list featuring pregnancy safe foods)

  7. Cut back on strenuous workouts

  8. Kick smoking and drinking habits

  9. Know when to seek help (I use the pregnancy app, "What To Expect". I am apart of the Miscarriage Support Group now, and was a part of the group of many women who's due dates are, or were, February of 2021)

  10. At first, you may feel bloated for a while before showing. (Typically at 5 months, you show)

  11. You eat for 1.1......not for 2.

  12. 1 in 4 women miscarry (once I initially shared about my miscarriage, my family and friends who've had one or more, told me about their's.


Support System


I am so grateful for all of the support I've had from family and friends. In the past 24 hours, I've met with one friend who began talking to me about my wedding plans and helping me to feel excited again! Another friend bought me a necklace and has been giving me such great information, referrals, advise and encouragement during this time. Another friend is taking me to get my nails done, before another friend brings cupcakes and tea to our Nicholas Sparks watch party. Next, I'm taking a mini trip to see my other friend at a lake after a morning Chai Tea Latte at a sweet place called, "Milk & Honey". Another friend says she's mailed me a gift, coming this Sunday! I feel loved, supported and encouraged that I will feel better emotionally and physically sooner than later.


Find your OB, build a relationship with him or her. Tell the people who would support you throughout your pregnancy and any of its complications. People need people, especially when we lose people.






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