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Breaking MY Silence on Miscarriage - Full Version

Kirsten Regel

It is time to break the silence around miscarriage, but first I have to share my story,  I have to break MY silence.

 

1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage.

I AM 1 in 4.

I had a miscarriage.

 

This is my personal experience and story that is raw and real and it might be TMI at times and, just know that it certainly feels exactly like that dream of standing in front of everyone naked on stage. And it hurts and its hard to share it, and this is the first time I have ever shared everything in full.

I don't want to sit back anymore and hint at it or hide behind the scenes and share my cover photo in October about awareness or like certain pages on Facebook and feel like that is enough for me anymore (not a judgement on anyone else, again, this is my personal journey, everyone heals differently).

For me, its no longer enough to do only that. Sharing and talking about it little by little, has been healing for me. Its important to break the silence around miscarriage, so if I feel so strongly, then I know I have to push myself to share my story once and for all. Because I don't want it to be only discussed in October, the month of awareness, I want it to be year round.

I am not a sidelines person, I never have been, I am that kind of person that digs deep and is there to support and help others and ready to face things head on.

But, I was struggling with this one, I couldn't even say the word miscarriage, yet I wanted to help others so badly because I know that pain of being alone.

Recently, through a strange set of un-related events and things that pushed me to put myself out there like I never have before.......I have found my voice, and I am ready to talk about it.

And if it is this hard for my generation to talk about it, imagine the ones before us and before, it DEFINITELY wasn't talked about then.

So, I am choosing to share my story with you because it is important to me that others who are or have gone through this, know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

When I went through my miscarriage, I was alone, and if I can help someone to reach out for help or to share their story or just have a minute of feeling like someone understands how they might feel, then that is worth it to me.

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I have sat down to write this blog post a few times over the last year and I honestly have had a hard time just typing those words you see above, just saying the word miscarriage was (is) hard, let alone saying it out loud or having it out there that I had a miscarriage and heard by other people.

People KNOWING about it, has been my biggest fear.

Like it is somehow a stain on who I am as a person. That people will automatically judge me and think less of me.

For someone who is an introvert, yet super competitive and a perfectionist who cares ridiculously too much about what people think of her, (like a stupid, crazy amount) its hard for me to be anything less than "perfection"....and that might sound stupid to you....but its how I feel....

AND....

I HATE, I FUCKING HATE, that each time I have to go see a doctor or do some kind of medical form or anything like that.....I always get asked how many pregnancies have you had and I always have to say 3........

And that number will always be greater than the number of kids I have, and I hate that I can't fix that.

I hate answering that question even though I know by now that it is coming, it still catches me off guard how hard it is to answer and that feeling of the knife stabbing me in the heart each time. It's a brutal reminder, each and every time.

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My pregnancy started off normal, the same..... but kinda different from my first one. The same excitement and disbelief that we were pregnant on the first try, again, and took like 6 tests to be sure.

I had some of the same symptoms but a new one was that I was achey in my stomach and it hurt when I picked up my toddler which I just chalked up to being normal. I had to pee a lot and frequently which happened with my first one too.

But I was happy, and had this overwhelming feeling that it was a girl. I knew with my first one so strongly and then again with my third pregnancy later on, but I just had this feeling it was a girl. I was feeling happy.

My miscarriage happened in October 2013. I was busy getting ready for the weekend which included a friend's stagette, Great Gatsby themed, so I was SUPER pumped and excited and looking forward to it as well as packing and getting ready for a work conference in Calgary which I was flying out to on Monday. I had been worried and stressing about the flight and being pregnant and telling work, and my husband and son were both sick so I was worried about all of those things at once. 

I woke up that Saturday and my first thought was wow, that was weird, I slept really long and didn't have to get up to pee at all, that is really weird......

And then I was thinking, did that happen the night before too? I think it did. Weird.
Maybe I was just so tired and that somehow overruled that need to pee. But I needed to go now, bad.

And that was that moment before I crossed that line from sweet oblivion and pregnancy bliss.......to then knowing what it feels like to answer that question.....
that has a higher number of pregnancies than kids.

There was so much blood, I just knew instantly.

I am a worrier and read all the pages of the What to Expect books for pregnancy with my first son and tried to do all of the things you should do/eat and stayed away from all the bad things.

I read all the good and exciting pages and all of the scary ones too.....

So I knew, I just fucking knew it.

I remember screaming and feeling like my heart exploded.

And I wanted to scream more........and cry and yell all at once but I just couldn't breathe.........like air........was not going into my lungs.

The pain was overwhelming.

There was just so much blood. I knew exactly what had happened. No question.

I immediately thought of everything bad thing I had done, OMG I had a bath that was for sure hotter than lukewarm, was that it, did that cause this? What about that medication my doctor gave me, I told him I was still nursing and planning to get pregnant, did that cause this? Sure enough, the bottle said not to take while pregnant or breastfeeding, I was always so careful, how did I not check? How did HE miss that? Did that cause this, I will never know.

I was still nursing my son, we were having a hard time weaning him, and it was basically just one time a day, did that cause this? I was cramping a little when I fed him but everything I read said that was normal and okay. And they said the fact that I got pregnant in the first place while still nursing means that I am super fertile so it should all be good. Did that cause it, was nursing my son the reason why I had a miscarriage?

Those were just a snapshot of my thoughts......the train of crushing thoughts and blame that immediately steamrolled through my brain.

 And I HATED myself. I really, really, really hated myself.

I felt betrayed by my own body. Like......how could it (me) take away the one thing I really wanted, the ONLY thing I wanted? Why would my body kill something I wanted to badly?

I didn't want to be alone with myself, especially at night, but my little guy was sick, so my husband was taking care of him and sleeping in another room with him.

So, I was scared, absolutely terrified.....it felt like I was a passenger in the body of something evil. I felt so scared and alone and I didn't want to be in this body anymore.

I was scared of it, of myself. What had I done? Why did it happen? For a long time I felt like that, months (years), I was scared to go to sleep, scared to be anywhere alone with myself. It felt like there was something evil there........that is the only way I can describe that feeling.....but it was honestly, terror, pure terror to be anywhere by myself, especially at night.

 I flew to Calgary, plans unchanged, and that was really hard. Emotionally and physically.

They don't tell you that you can continue to bleed, worse than any period, it is exactly like after you have a baby, just so much blood. And pain, the cramps....it hurt so bad, I was so sore and it felt like being in labour and it felt like that for a long time.

But, I went....because I had work obligations and I knew it would be a distraction and because I would get to see my little sister who just happens to be a nurse. No better place, I figured, than to be with her. And she helped as much as she could, but you don't know what you don't know........She tried her best to distract me and take me shopping and continue on. She did good. I just couldn't manage to escape all of my thoughts and self-blame. But she helped and the conference helped and life continued on even though I wasn't ready for it to.

 But it does, and it did. I saw the doctor and confirmed it was a miscarriage. I went through all of those same thoughts and blame and spiraled down a dark hole. 

And went through things alone, my husband was there for me through it all, but can never and will never know my pain.

And I went through things that again no one tells you. Like oh yeah, in a month when its your period again, yeah...........its going to hurt and be really really bad again. And you will just randomly bleed and cramp in between. And your next period will suck too. More pain, more cramps.

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December 2013

So, life went on. And then I started to push it on again, faster and faster....too fast.

So fast, that as I was consumed with my pain, but trying to move on at the same time...... I missed out on life with my toddler. I was checked out. And tired. And sad. I will never get that time back again.

And then my son got sick, really, really sick. He was in the hospital and it was a nightmare and he wasn't breathing well or eating or anything. We were in for a week in isolation and it was so scary seeing all these tests and things done to him, it was like a horror movie. And seeing your little toddler hooked up with an IV in a miniature hospital gown it was really hard going through all of this at once. And I cannot imagine having him go through anything more that I know so many brave kids and their parents face each day.

The pain was there, never going away, but that countdown of when can I get pregnant again, when can I fix this, when can I make this better, when can i prove that my body can get pregnant again...................controlled my life. I wanted time to fly so I could try again. The doctors said wait 2 months, some said six. I went with 2.

It was December, two months post miscarriage. We were lucky again, first try. I took the tests and I saw the line, but my husband didn't......
I knew deep down, by the look on his face that he was only nodding and pretending to be excited, for me.

Because he didn't see the line. But I did. It was there.

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January 2014

Went to the doctor (who had told me to wait longer to try again and that nursing for sure caused the miscarriage) excited to be pregnant.........He didn't believe me.

REMEMBER THIS SPOT FOR LATER - And, I went super early in January, at least that is the only way I can think of why what happened to us....did.......

Because he took the blood and the urine and it came back as a NO, not pregnant.

And when the doctor called to tell me, maybe i am just imagining it, but it seemded like he was saying it like :"I Told You SO!", your HCG levels are negative, nope not pregnant. He was so happy to be right.

A crushing blow.

(HCG, levels should double and go up as that is what basically grows and keeps baby alive until around 12 weeks when the placenta takes over, in non scientific terms. Declining numbers likely mean a miscarriage, if that occurs early on in pregnancy)

I just felt so strongly that I was.
Until a week later in January still,  I started bleeding again, randomly, in between periods and it lasted for 10 days, another miscarriage I thought.

We were actually in the hospital AGAIN, with my son who was previously severely sick with bronchiolitis and pneumonia and now he had RSV. He was so sick again, and it was so scary. And I was trying to nurse him again as that is the only thing he would eat as he was so sick and not drinking or eating and was on an IV and masks and tubes to help him breathe. Another week in there.

And then my husband and I both got RSV and were sick the rest of January, and that was pure hell. I have never been so sick and tired and felt worse in my whole life. I honestly thought I was dying and had an incurable disease, and I don't mean that lightly, I was so sick and felt so terrible I literally wanted to die. Nothing made me happy anymore, I felt like shit and I hated life. I was severely depressed.

I saw that same doctor again and we did a bunch of tests and he did a PAP test. But never heard back from him. 

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February 2014

So, we tried to get pregnant again in early February, then took the took the test a few weeks later and success! I was pregnant.

But shortly after, I started to bleed again, at work, just bawling in the bathroom freaking out, knowing it was ending again.

So I left and this time, I went to the hospital. To the Emergency and said I am 5-ish weeks pregnant, and having a miscarriage. So,they took tests and I was told that my HCG levels were dropping and it looked like another miscarriage. But they had booked an ultrasound and further tests and was gonna be there awhile.

I went to the ultrasound appointment in the hospital, prepared for the worst. I knew the technician couldn't tell me anything.
But I just had to ask, tears streaming down my face I asked, " could you see if there was a baby, was there ever a baby in there?"

She was confused and kind of looked at me weird and then said "sorry, we aren't aloud to show you or talk about it". So I laid in silence crying, tears rolling down my cheeks...
but I could see she was struggling with something, which was making me even more scared of what she was finding. Am I sick, what is wrong, what is in there?

And suddenly, and I am so thankful she did this, I wish I had her name. She turned the screen and said " I am not supposed to do this, but.....here is the baby, here is the heartbeat".

My turn to be shocked and confused. My knowledge, from my worrisome past of reading everything in my What to Expect books and following the growth of the baby, religiously, week by week, was saying WTF, at 5 weeks, you do not see a heartbeat....right? But I kept quiet, forever thankful for the glimpse that she gave me, an image to hold on to forever as I headed toward the impending miscarriage.

The hours passed, and more tests and more waiting. The HCG levels continued to decline, I was prepared for the worst but so confused by what I had seen on that screen.

I was there 14 hours in the emergency room. I love the nurses, they were great, it was not in their control. I have a family of nurses and know a bit of what it looks like from their side. They did what they could to answer my questions and help me.

I was moved to a shared room. Sitting in there bawling as other people stared and waited to be released. 

Then the doctor came in and was like okay which one is this. (I had seen another much more pregnant lady in there when I checked in, as well and knew she must be going through the same thing).

He said " Okay this is the 10 week one. with bleeding and HCG levels declining...blah, blah, blah...."

I didnt hear anything he said after 10 weeks.

Me: Whoa what!?! I am maybe 5 weeks along.

D: No, you are almost 10 weeks.

Me: But I took tests and my doctor said I wasn't pregnant, and he did a PAP on me and I had RSV and took medication while I was sick.....what is going on, why didnt he call me back after the PAP or the other tests....and I am bleeding again and...

D: Hold on, I don't know, I need to check this out. But you are 10 weeks.

ME: But my doctor said I wasnt, but I knew it......I told everyone I was back in January when I saw those doctors and nobody believed me. And I have an appointment with him coming up and I was worried about miscarriaging again and...

D: You are pregnant, but your HCG Levels are declining and it doesnt look good, and....

Your next appointment with your doctor will be for a DNC (to remove and clear out the miscarriage) and to confirm the miscarriage. But, its a wait and see.

He actually said that. Like, that is one super conflicting sentence, like its over and done but also have some hope and dont stress out....FUCK OFF

D: But baby looks healthy from the ultrasound. I am sorry, I need to just review this a bit further.

He was confused, and left to check out more of my records and came back......................2.5 hours later.....so I was crying that whole time and so stressed and confused as hell, but also..........
I knew I was pregnant, i just knew it, that whole time I was pregnant from the very beginning in January when he called and said "no, you are not pregnant" I WAS!!!!!!!!!!!!

He came back and said its still a wait and see,......but have hope cuz cavewomen had babies....and I am sorry you have been let down by the medical system, someone should have called you and told you that you were pregnant or given you some results. As for the bleeding, we don't know what caused it or why you still are, but we have more tests booked for you and another ultrasound. Just wait and see.

That was so stressful. I laid in bed for hours that night (and many nights after), crying and thinking of all the what ifs and how I could not bear to lose another baby. And then planning what I would do to commemorator this loss and tried to accept the miscarriage. I thought of getting a necklace engraved or something to have to hold dear to make me feel better and remember both of my losses, as they were certain I would lose this baby too.

But that night, when I finally fell asleep, I had a dream, it was my brother talking to me and he said Kirsten take this, wear this to protect you. And it was the St.Christopher necklace that he had given my son 6 months earlier for his baptism, as his godfather present. It was still in its box, but I grabbed it the next morning and wore it everyday. 

And it was so hard, going to work each day, putting on a brave face. Seeing others happily talking about their pregnancies, but I kept going on and saw that same asshole doctor (who called and said no and then didnt call me back) and he said you have maybe a 10% chance of a successful pregnancy, and then the next time I saw him, he said NO CHANCE. And my OB, said the same thing, it was weeks of stress and terror and misinformation at the same time.

Because my husband and I googled and found out that (from mayo clinic and other reputable sites) that the HCG levels can drop and level off in that 10-12 week timeframe as the placenta takes over).  But no one believed us when we mentioned that. 

And the HCG levels kept dropping and dropping and dropping and the doctors kept saying no chance, no chance. I remember calling in from work and begging them to just give me the number over the phone and each time crying and feeling crushed as I wrote them on a sticky note, it was dropping and every couple days when I gave blood and would call back, it kept dropping and dropping.

And everything I kept researching in discussion posts and blogs, searching and reading everything with titles HCG LEVELS DROPPING, IS IT A MISCARRIAGE? etc. They had the same stories and everyone gave advice, but no one ever came back to update the blogs, and you were left to assume it ended sadly as there were no happy posts or discussions that ended happily with the title HCG LEVELS DROPPING EARLY ON.

And the doctors were pessimistic. Always uncaring and robotic.

Then we had another ultrasound and they could see where there was a bleed and there was always a chance of something bad happening but he was healthy and growing as expected.

And he continued to grow and they continued to say no, he wont make it. But he proved them wrong.
And with the third ultrasound they finally said oh yeah, that can happen with the HCG levels dropping. Like all of the terrible and horrible things they had said and the 10% chance of survival and then no chance of survival were never said, and they were right all along to keep hope. No, fuck off.

So he was due end of September. And then he was overdue.
I woke up in pain the morning of October 1, 2014. Bleeding again. I feared the worst. I didn't even wake up my husband because I couldn't say miscarriage to him again.

So i left, I drove myself in from our town into the hospital, in labour, in pain, through a very bad rainstorm and went to the hospital again. This time, as I was over 20 some weeks and overdue I was taken upstairs.

And you never want to run into someone that you know in those kind of places, fearing who will see your downstairs and lady parts and it being awkward.

But, I did see a familiar face, She checked me in and was my nurse. At first I was scared and worried to have her, but it was nice to have someone there that I knew. She was a mom of one of my old friends, and she was amazing. She was supportive and kind and worried all at the same time but made me feel comfortable. 

She made me laugh and was there for me when I was scared. She didnt end up having to see my lady parts, which was awesome, but she was the one that was there that laughed when I told her I drove in by myself and reassured me that I was actually in labour and the blood was likely just from that and not a miscarriage.

She was the one that said "honey, you are having this baby so you had better call your husband.......AND.....quick". I am thankful she was there for me, not knowing everything I had been through or seeing me for years until that night, it was nice that she was the one to help me and hold me through the tests and my fears.

Nurses rock. This nurse, especially rocked.

And some hours later, he was born. My little Rainbow Baby. His first name means a special gift, and his middle name is Christopher for the St.Chrisopher necklace I wore through the whole journey and labour and months after.

It gives me goosebumps, but he held on for October, not on accident. October is the month of pregnancy and infant loss awareness AND it is the month of MY miscarriage.

He is my sunshine. My survivor. My everything. I hate that I had to go through a miscarriage and say that I had more pregnancies than kids.........

But........

Now, I am happy. The pain is there. I will never forget. But I have come to a place where I am so thankful and happy to actually have had that miscarriage.

Because if I didn't, I would not have my wonderful and amazing, sunshine boy. He is happy and goofy and silly, and life without him would not be a life at all.

His life is a miracle, it is a gift. He is my best gift ever, he gave me my life back.

 

Take what you will or what you want from my story but in the end, I hope you can see a glimpse of what it is like on the inside of a miscarriage. And to know how important it is to talk about it and to share your story.
I had dark thoughts and I know that others go through depression as well. Sharing your story and letting people know YOU ARE NOT ALONE, could save their life.

 

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I know that there are people out there with a rockier path than me, I know and understand that, but there isn't a competition when it comes to who has lost more or has had more miscarriages than others, 1 is enough, 1 is too much.

Its a club that you join that you never ever wanted to, but you are there and once you meet others, its like an instant connection that I feel that never goes away, and you suddenly become thankful to be connected to others and be a part of something with them and around people who know a bit of what you feel.

I had no one and no place to go when I went through mine. I hope that going forward that is different for others.

I wrote this to share with others and for those people out there desperately searching online for advice and answers, maybe you will stumble upon this.

This HCG LEVEL DROPPING IN EARLY PREGNANCY, had a happy outcome, there is hope. Don't give up. And don't just wait and see, take your healthcare into your own hands, ask questions, demand answers, don't settle for people not getting back to you. Stand up for yourself and your body.

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The Future

I am passionate about breaking the silence and I am creating a line of inspirational t-shirts that the proceeds will be donated to the Pregnancy and Infant Loss Network of Canada and the new Early Pregnancy Unit in Regina.

Thank you, and if you ever need to reach out, please feel free to email me or find me on Facebook, I will always listen.



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