M has been a busy bee lately. As soon as he gets home from work, he’s doing things around the house, cleaning, organizing, fixing things. His current project is re-staining the back deck. We did it last summer, but only did one coat and it’s faded and scratched from the two dogs always running around back there. I am too big and tired and hot to help, so he’s doing it on his own. Watching the progress, I can’t help but think back to last year when I was right in there with my paintbrush, breathing in those fumes when I was only a few weeks pregnant with the baby that we would eventually lose.
Did I cause my miscarriage by painting????
The truth is, I’ll never know. And I can’t blame myself for the loss of our baby. I knew I was pregnant at the time, but I didn’t think it would be a problem to paint because we were outside, not in an enclosed space. Partway through it, I thought maybe I should check online to see if painting was advised against while pregnant. What I read told me that the reason they used to say pregnant women should avoid painting was because paint used to include lead. However, household paints are no-longer lead based, so it shouldn’t be a problem. Most sites also advised to not paint for long periods of time and make sure you took fresh air breaks.
Back when I first miscarried, my doctor told me that there is usually nothing the mother did to cause a miscarriage. Miscarriages just happen if things aren’t coming together properly, and that in the long run that means that the embryo wasn’t going to develop correctly. She said that 90% of the time, women will have a successful pregnancy after they have a miscarriage, and that miscarriages are unfortunately very common the first time. That was of little comfort at the time.
Awhile ago, I wrote a post on what would have been my due date if I had not miscarried. Lately, I’ve been thinking about what that meant. Instead of being 33 weeks along, I would have had a month and half old baby right now. It’s hard to imagine!! Right now, baby is still inside of me, kicking away as I type this, and getting bigger and stronger each day. I have to just hold firm to the belief that this is what was meant to be, that I can’t regret anything that happened or that I did in the past.
I miss being pregnant.
Every day, I wake up and think the same thing: I wish I was still pregnant. Then it usually goes away, and I get out of bed and go to the bathroom to get ready and my mind is filled with other mundane thoughts. Still, at all sorts of times during the day, but mostly when I am alone, my mind drifts back to the baby I no longer have growing inside of me and I’m overcome with feelings of sadness and loss. I feel robbed, like something was taken away from me that I was meant to have. It makes me angry and frustrated, but at the same time sad and lost. Why didn’t I get to meet you? I already loved you and I’ll always miss you.
During my pregnancy, I would often wonder if it was really real. I wasn’t showing yet, and I was not experiencing any morning sickness, so I would question if I was really pregnant or not. I would wish that I could just get an ultrasound so I could see it and know that there was really something there. It drove me nuts that I would not get that first prenatal visit until December 4th. It was a day that couldn’t come soon enough. I find it extremely sad and ironic that the ultrasound I so badly wanted ended up being the most devastating news of my life.
I did the strangest thing when my bleeding was becoming heavy when my miscarriage was starting to happen. When I looked sadly into the toilet and saw the clumps of blood, I cried and said “I love you.” I know that is weird and crazy and sick and embarrassing, but I did. Am I disturbed for thinking this way? To say “I love you” to nothing but tissue and blood?
I would have been 11 weeks today.
Every time I see a calendar, my eyes go automatically to the Thursday. That used to be the best day of the week. Another milestone of a new week with more exciting developments. And now I dread them. They’re just another reminder of what’s gone. Will I ever be able to look at a calendar again?
It was October 22nd (a Thursday, of course) when I found out I had a miscarriage. The day before I had noticed a bit of spotting and told my husband, M. He said not to worry and just to keep an eye on it. He assured me that I would be fine. That day, the spotting continued. It was bright red. I closed the door to my office and called the doctor. When I told the receptionist what was happening, she suggested I come in to talk to the doc. A few hours later, I was sitting on a bed at the med-ray clinic, with M beside me, holding me tight, as the clinic’s doctor said the words I already knew were coming. There was no heartbeat. I know that I was already crying when he told us that I was having a miscarriage. How could this be happening?
It has been three weeks since that day. Sometimes I’m OK. Sometimes I’m not. M has been an incredible source of support for me. I don’t know how he does it. I know it hurts him, too, because we were both so excited. I feel like I was stupid and naive to have thought it could have all been so perfect. I got pregnant immediately on our very first month trying, due on June 3rd, which was exactly the month we were hoping for. Everything was going so well… I wasn’t really sick. I wasn’t really tired. I used to look at myself naked in the mirror and smile at my belly, thinking, wow, my body was made to do this! And now whenever I think of my now-empty belly, I wonder over and over again why it had to be this way. I’ve tried to be strong, think positive, all of those things that you’re supposed to do after a miscarriage. It just doesn’t work all the time and I wonder: Will I ever be happy again?
So many thoughts and questions run constantly through my head:
How could this have happened?
Did I do something wrong?
Did my baby ever have a heartbeat?
Will I ever get over this feeling?