Updated on October 15, 2017
This Is My Story: I am 1 in 4
It was September 25th, 2014. King Dad and I were just back from our first child-free vacation ever. We’d gone to New York for the very first time, and then to Toronto to see my best friend get married. It was an amazing vacation. Of course we missed The Heir, but it was just so great to have that time to experience something new just the two of us together. We brought a couple souvenirs home for The Heir: two books from The Strand bookstore in New York (one of which was about a lion that shares his name). It turned out, we’d brought something else back from that vacation too. That something else showed up as two little pink lines on a pregnancy test that I took the morning of September 25th. King Dad had already gone to work for the day, so I decided to find a fun way to tell him the news when he got home.
I packed up The Heir and we went to a bookstore. You see, King Dad was in charge of The Heir’s bed time routine. He had been since the very beginning, really. One of their evening rituals was story time. At that time The Heir had King Dad reading him up to five books each night. So that Thursday, I headed off to the bookstore and bought a book called “I’m A Big Brother”. I set it out on The Heir’s dresser on top of the stack of books that I knew King Dad would be reading that night. I spent the rest of the day eagerly anticipating King Dad’s return. I took another pregnancy test, because why not? Two lines. Yup. This was happening. We made it through dinner, The Heir’s bath, and finally it was story time. When King Dad came out of The Heir’s room after tucking him in, I asked him if he’d seen the new book. He had. He was thrilled!
The next morning I took another test, of course. Two lines, this time a little darker than the day before. I called my doctor to schedule an appointment to confirm the pregnancy. She couldn’t see me that morning, so I scheduled an appointment for 10 days later since we were going to be out of town again. That afternoon we were heading to Vancouver to surprise my mom for her birthday. My dad had been planning a surprise birthday dinner for her for a few weeks, and we’d managed to get flights and a hotel booked without her finding out (which if you know my mother, you’d know this was a big deal as it’s impossible to surprise her). King Dad and I decided not to share our news with anyone just yet. It was still so new and so early. Off we went to Vancouver. My mom was surprised, dinner was incredible, and King Dad was a real champ consuming not only his own wine, but all of mine too (and without anyone noticing as far as I know). King Dad stayed for the weekend, but had to be back at work on Monday. I was staying for another full week with The Heir.
We were having a great visit with my family. The Heir was getting time in with his baby cousin, and I was enjoying the days spent with my parents and sister (who was on maternity leave at the time). Everything was completely normal and I felt fine. I did come down with a bit of a cold, but it was no big deal. Fast forward to Wednesday. I had some cramping, and a bit of spotting. The cramping was what I would consider normal cramping in the early weeks of pregnancy, nothing to be alarmed about. The spotting was different. I hadn’t experienced that in my pregnancy with The Heir, but I knew spotting was normal for many women in early pregnancy. I tried to push it to the back of my mind and ignore it. I couldn’t. I decided to head over to the drugstore to buy a pregnancy test. It wouldn’t hurt to just confirm that everything was as it should be. I texted King Dad to tell him about the spotting and we agreed that it was probably nothing. I took that pregnancy test in the bathroom at the drugstore. Then I waited. I waited for a second line to show up on the test. Eventually it did, but it was almost impossible to see. It was what I’d call a “squinter”. If you angled the test just so, you could see the faintest test line. I called King Dad to tell him that I thought it was over, that I thought I might be losing the baby. The spotting had all but stopped, so maybe it was just a faulty test? You can’t really use a pregnancy test to determine the viability of a pregnancy, and a line was a line, right?
That night, in the quiet of my parents’ condo after everyone was asleep, I cried myself to sleep. I didn’t know what the morning would bring. Maybe everything would be okay, maybe not. I couldn’t be sure. All I was sure of was that I wanted this baby. We wanted this baby. It had to be okay. When I woke up the next morning, I knew it was over. There was absolutely no denying it. I was miscarrying. I texted King Dad to tell him, and all he wanted was to be there with me. I had to get out of the condo. I needed to go for a walk. So I did. I made it to the end of the block before the overwhelming sadness couldn’t be contained anymore. My tears were impossible to hide. Strangers walking past could see me crying, and I just didn’t care. I decided I needed to tell someone, so I made a phone call to one person. The phone just rang and rang, but there was no answer. I pulled myself together as best I could. I popped into the nearest Starbucks to grab a coffee. I called my doctor’s office to let them know I needed to change my appointment the following Monday from one to confirm a pregnancy to one to confirm a miscarriage.
I didn’t tell anyone what was going on. No one even knew we were trying to conceive. No one even knew I was pregnant. I didn’t see the point in telling my family that not only was I pregnant, but that I wasn’t anymore. The Heir and I were heading back home the next day, so I just needed to make it through the next 30 hours without losing it. That I could handle. I had never felt so alone while being completely surrounded by family. This was easily one of the loneliest times of my life.
The next morning we all headed out to visit my 95 year old grandfather. He was meeting my niece for the very first time. He was doing really well that day. He was laughing and happy, and was following the conversation really well. It was a great visit. Of course as often happened during visits with my grandfather, the topic of new babies came up. Someone suggested that I was up next. It was my turn to have the next great-grandbaby. I smiled and nodded, meanwhile in that very moment I was miscarrying what should have been the next great-grandbaby. I managed to hold it together until The Heir and I got back to Calgary and King Dad picked us up from the airport. I had wanted nothing more than the comfort of my husband’s arms, my own house, and my own bed.
It wasn’t really over yet. I saw my doctor that Monday, and there was one little problem that needed to be taken care of. I’m Rh negative. You’ll know if you’re Rh negative. If you are, you’ll get a WinRho/Rhogam shot during pregnancy and again after the birth of your child. If you’re Rh positive, you’ll probably have no idea what I’m talking about. Well, since I lost the pregnancy, there was a chance that my Rh negative blood had mixed with the baby’s blood. That’s a problem. Not a problem for me, per se, but a problem for any future pregnancies. Whether the baby I lost even had blood cells yet was debatable. My doctor wasn’t sure whether I’d need to get the shot. She had to consult with the early pregnancy loss clinic to find out if I needed it. All I wanted was for it to be over. I wanted to be able to move on, but I couldn’t. Not yet. First, I had to get some blood work done to confirm that my HCG levels were back to zero. Then I waited for a phone call from my doctor. She called a few hours later and told me that I would need to get the shot as a precaution. That evening I went to the after hours clinic for the shot. I got to go over the entire course of events with the nurse, then again with the doctor. Then the shot. Then it was “finally” over.
You know how they say that after every storm there’s a rainbow? They say the same thing about pregnancy and infant loss. A baby born after a loss is a rainbow baby. The happiness after the sadness. The joy after the sorrow. Petit Prince is my rainbow baby. My pregnancy with him was different than my pregnancy with The Heir. I don’t just mean in terms of my cravings or the way I carried him. There was something missing. The day I found out I was pregnant again I just calmly told King Dad. There was no fun surprise, no special plan, no anticipation over his reaction to the news. I just told him and then we waited. I took a pregnancy test almost daily for two weeks. I had repeat blood work done to make sure my HCG levels were doubling the way they should. For the first twenty six weeks of that pregnancy, I was constantly checking for any signs of it going wrong. I was paranoid that the next time I’d go to the bathroom I’d be spotting or bleeding. I didn’t want anyone to touch my growing belly, the only exceptions to that were King Dad and The Heir (although others still did reach out to touch). I needed to be in my own bubble.
Sometimes I wonder how things would be different now if I hadn’t miscarried. I can’t help it, especially this time of year when it’s so close to the anniversary of our loss. With Petit Prince in our lives, I wouldn’t want it any other way. Truly. But every so often the baby that we lost crosses my mind, and I can’t help but wonder who that baby would have been.
This isn’t something I talk about very often. In fact, I could count on one hand the number of people who knew about this before now. This is my story, and it deserves to be told. October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month, and today, October 15th, is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. 1 in 4 women will experience miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss. I am one in four, and it’s time to break the silence.