This post has been written several different ways in my mind, but it was overwhelming when it came time to actually type my thoughts. I had a miscarriage in early July 2019, right before the Fourth of July. Nick and I had only told family and close friends that I was pregnant, but I always knew that no matter what happened, I would own it. It is part of my story.
I had started to bleed, so we went in for an emergency ultrasound on a Friday. We heard the heartbeat, which was low, but beating. The next day, I had a miscarriage. I told Nick that in some ways it was worse than being hit by an ambulance. Both were mentally and physically traumatic, but no one died in our car accident. It’s surreal to have something growing inside of you and then suddenly it’s no longer there.
I won’t write too much about my experience because everyone heals in different ways, but I cannot recommend a therapist more. I was lucky to already have a phenomenal therapist with years of experience to help me work through it. I’m also thankful for good friends. I’m naturally an introvert and I didn’t want to see anyone for weeks, but voicemails and letters from friends meant the world to me. Even if someone doesn’t answer the phone or reach out, it’s still important to show that you’re thinking of them.
On a related note, a little background on how we got here. Getting pregnant is a wild ride. Some women are pregnant as soon as they start to try, while other women have a much more difficult path to pregnancy. I knew my body was still in healing mode even two years after our car accident, so I began prepping my body for pregnancy more than a year before I got pregnant. I met with a holistic doctor to make sure my hormones and thyroid were functioning properly.
As I suspected, I have a low thyroid. Lots of lab work (and passing out) later and I had a good baseline of the status of my health. I went gluten free up until this pregnancy (too difficult to maintain with nausea), which helped naturally lower my TSH number. My endocrinologist also has me do monthly lab work while pregnant to ensure the correct dosage of Synthroid (a synthetic thyroid drug). I hope to not be on the medication forever, but it’s a good solution to keep your numbers in check while pregnant.
The lab work also found that I have the MTHFR mutation, which almost half of women have and don’t know it. The mutation means that your body cannot process regular folate unless it is in methylated form. This is important to know when it comes time to choose a prenatal vitamin. If you don’t want to pay for the blood test, choose a prenatal with methylated vitamins just to be safe.
With more information at my disposal, I started to track my cycle. I was not the most regular person. Blame stress and a body that had been injured. So, I purchased an Ava bracelet, which tracks your cycle and ovulation. You wear it to bed every night and then sync the bracelet to an app on your phone every morning.
At around $300, it is expensive and Nick thought it was annoying. It would light up at random times and you’d think, “What does this mean?” The tracking information was helpful for visits with my OBGYN, but I don’t think the Ava bracelet is a miracle product. There are lots of free apps that will also track your cycle. What sets Ava apart are the vitals that it records (heart rate, pulse, sleep).
This is cliche, but my best advice is to not think about getting pregnant. Both times I got pregnant, I was not fixated on it. Take the pressure off and give yourself some grace. Knowing it is in God’s hands and not mine, allowed me to focus on being thankful for everything I did have.
Fast forward to today and I am currently at the halfway point of this pregnancy. I feel for any women that experienced constant nausea because the first five months felt like the movie, Groundhog Day. I woke up every morning and had nausea all over again. In some ways, it was a relief to be sick because I knew my body was working correctly. The increase in hormones are responsible for the “I’m going to vomit” phase.
I went through several food aversions. I ate only potatoes (potato chips, mashed potatoes, french fries) one week. Goldfish crackers and ginger ale another week. I’m typically a healthy eater, but I couldn’t eat any vegetables the first few months. I was lucky to be able to eat fruit and cereal. I can’t complain because I’ve been blessed with a healthy pregnancy.
If I’ve learned anything during the first and now second trimester, it’s to not be too hard on yourself. Eat whatever you can stomach, the baby will be fine. And take the drugs! The Unisom + B6 combination did not work for me, so I took Diclegis every night. I was still nauseous, but I didn’t throw up if I took it. It was a lifesaver.
I would be lying if I said I am not still anxious about this pregnancy, which I think is normal after loss. In addition to a good therapist, there are two things that have really helped ease some of my anxiety: an OBGYN that listens to you and self-care (mine has been workouts). My doctor practices at a hospital that is not conveniently located from my house, but she understands me and I know I can ask her anything.
Second, incorporating workouts back into my routine has been the perfect stress release. I was cautious and waited until 16 weeks, but I have a personal trainer that has worked with pregnant clients and a Pilates instructor that is certified in prenatal Pilates. Both allow me to have “me time” and will hopefully contribute to a smooth delivery.
I hope this update provides some insight or comfort to you or a friend. Pregnancy is not easy, but it’s the only time in your life that you go to the hospital and leave with the most precious gift.