Today I’m telling the story of my third miscarriage and some of the lessons I learned along my journey through relief, excitement, hope, denial and grief. Scroll down for links mentioned during this episode.
Each one of my losses came with lessons. Lessons about the physical body, my emotions and processing grief.
My third pregnancy came right on the heels of my second one. I had just undergone a procedure where my OBGYN went into my uterus with a camera to see what was lodged between my fallopian tube and uterus and to potentially correct a septated uterus. It turns out that what was lodged in my fallopian tube was just some benign tissue and I did not, in fact have a septated uterus. All looked healthy and pink in there.
I woke up to this news and immediately felt a huge weight lift off my shoulders that had been weighing me down for the 6 months since my last loss. I could finally breathe.
2 weeks later, I was pregnant again.
Lesson #1: tests are only sometimes accurate.
I had an MRI that showed a fibroid in my fallopian tube and a septated uterus. Neither was accurate. Though I had never had an MRI prior to this, I had always believed that they were pretty much going to tell me the truth. And they don’t.
This was reconfirmed when I asked my doctor what my FSH levels were when I had the surgical procedure. You see, I happened to be on Day 2 of my cycle when it was scheduled and so they tested my FSH levels (follicle stimulating hormone). And then we happened to conceive naturally 2 weeks later. My FSH level was at 17. I was told that 12-13 was considered high and I would not likely get pregnant on my own if I was at that mark or higher. Yet, I did.
I was 42 years old at this point. The fertility specialist said I’d need help for sure, but I got pregnant naturally.
When the doctors tell you something isn’t going to happen, it won’t. It’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy. What we believe will manifest. And if we believe it won’t happen, we won’t manifest what we want. So don’t always listen to the doctors. They’re just basing what they say on probabilities.
I knew very early that I was pregnant. By this time around, I was very attuned to the symptoms (almost so much so that I would imagine them). I spent 2 weeks excited but worried until I went to the bathroom one day and there it was again. What I was so worried I’d see. A few spots of blood.
I called my doctor and she got me in for an ultrasound quickly. This was the first time I had an ultrasound so early – 6 weeks. And it was the first time I had ever heard a heartbeat.
I was ecstatic! And let me tell you, for me, actually seeing the baby on the ultrasound screen and hearing the heartbeat made it so much more real.
It seemed that the blood was stemming from a lesion on the other side of my uterus and looked like it was unrelated to the baby. So I went home concerned but relieved.
I went back the next week for another scan and this time, those dreaded words many of you have heard before: there’s no heartbeat. The fact that I’d heard the heartbeat before made it more difficult to process the reality that I’d lost her.
Lesson #2: Even when we know what’s true in our hearts, we will still grab on to any shred of hope that our baby is still alive. And that’s okay.
My doctor, thank goodness, never tried to take that hope away. She let me have that.
When I asked her if there was any possibility that the ultrasound was wrong, she was honest. She said that there’s always a slight possibility that the ultrasound didn’t detect the heartbeat. When I asked her why I still felt nauseous and my breasts were still sore, she told me that my HCG levels likely haven’t dropped enough for the symptoms to disappear but that it was okay to just wait and see what happens. She scheduled another ultrasound for a week later.
Then she let me just be for that week. And I was grateful for that. Grateful to hope for another week. Grateful to hang on to my baby, to stay pregnant for another week.
After that, she gave me options. A D&C, drugs or wait. I decided to take the misoprostol (Cytotec), a labour inducing drug. I was fearful of the pain it would cause but now that I had lost hope, I didn’t want to wait to miscarry naturally (though I was dead set against the drugs after my second).
This time around, I had essential oils to help me through it.
Lesson #3: essential oils are powerful.
I had been using them for about 8 months or so by the time I had my third loss, but hadn’t had any really big ah-ha moments. This time, I used doTERRA’s Deep Blue soothing blend and ClaryCalm women’s blend every hour or so to ease the pain of contractions and was shocked by how well it worked.
After this, I really opened myself up to the power of natural solutions.
For the next two years, my husband and I tried to conceive on our own, we tried IUI a few times and when the specialist told us that we likely wouldn’t be successful without a donor egg, we decided to stop fertility treatments.
This was the most difficult decision we’d ever had to make as a couple.
Lesson #4: It is almost impossible to move forward and feel like you made the right decision until you’ve been able to heal from your loss or losses.
You also can’t make a decision for yourself if you are caught up in everything everyone else wants for you – it’s impossible to figure out what you truly desire for your life when society is constantly telling you what you should want and your family and friends are constantly telling you what they believe is best for you.
It took me a long time to figure out how to wade through all of that.
- First, I had to heal from my losses. If you haven’t healed from your last loss, the pain of it will impact your decision to have another. You will be fearful of that pain and worried that it will happen again. It will keep you stuck in decision mode without ever moving forward.
- Second, I had to figure out if I wanted to be pregnant or if I simply wanted a child. This would help me decide if I should go with IVF or consider adoption or foster care.
- Third, I had to figure out if I could be okay without having kids at all. My husband wasn’t 100% on having them and at this point was encouraging me to get onside. To do this, I had to strip away the pressure I felt to please my parents, who desperately wanted another grandchild. I had to stop listening to my friends who all had kids and wanted me to have what they have. I learned that almost everyone who has kids will tell you to have kids.
It took one very brave and honest friend of mine to tell me the truth for me to be okay. She said that as much as she loves her children, she would have been okay without them. After that, I felt like I could be too.
I’ll get into more info on how to actually wade through all of the outside influences on your decisions so you can do what’s true to you, on a future episode. If you can’t wait to get into that, there’s a whole module in my online program that gets into this very topic.
It wasn’t long after our decision to be happy without children that I was able to heal enough and to feel I had learned enough to support other women on their pregnancy loss and infertility journeys. My business became my new baby and nothing makes me happier than to watch my clients grow through their pain, to release it and be able to move forward.
Let’s recap on the lessons from this episode:
- Physical lesson: Tests are only accurate some of the time. Trust your instincts. Doctors can only say what is most likely based on the stats.
- Mindset lesson: It’s okay to hang on to even the thinnest threads of hope. Hope is what keeps us from despair, and sometimes that’s all you have when your baby is at risk. If you need to hang on to it a bit longer even when others are telling you there’s no hope, let yourself do that.
- Physical lesson: natural solutions, specifically essential oils, are powerful.
- Mindset lesson: you need to heal emotionally from your loss or losses before you can decide on your future. You also need to strip away society’s expectations of you and your friends/family’s advice in order to get to what you truly desire.
That’s a wrap for today. I’ll be back next week with an episode on how to handle the back to school week when you’ve had a loss or are going through infertility. The first day back to school photo bombardment on social media is tough but something I still find tough is the count – another year has passed. It reminds me that my first baby would have been going into grade 2. My second and third into kindergarten. I’ll teach you how to get through back to school with grace.
References from this episode:
Online program: Release the Pain of Miscarriage in 6 Weeks