By Dori Hackleman
I knew that I was pregnant again almost two weeks in, but I dismissed it because maybe I was just feeling crazy.
Then I was a week late, and I just knew that I was pregnant again. I texted my best friend the happy news and that I was going to go get a couple more pregnant tests from the store because I took one already and it read positive but the line was really faint. So I drove to Walmart with my toddler in tow and grabbed another box of four tests. Went back home and tested two more times just to be safe and they were all positive.
I was so happy, I texted my best friend back and said, “I am pregnant again!!” I went and bought my husband his favorite bottle of scotch (he loves scotch) and wrote a cute little note on it saying, “You’re going to need this for the next 9 months” and had it all set up on the table for when he got home. I waited patiently until 5:15 rolled around. He got home and read the note and we hugged in excitement and together told our daughter the big news, that she was going to be a big sister! She was so excited and started talking about all the things that she was going to do with her little brother or sister. We bought her a cute little shirt that said “Big sister in the making” for Christmas. Since my mom was coming down for the holiday and we had decided that we were going to do Christmas at our house, we had it all planned out that after dinner and while opening presents, Wednesday (my daughter) and I would sneak off into her room and we would change her shirt and she would come back out and ask her Mimi, Papa and Yaya to read her shirt. So after dinner, we opened presents and as we were winding down, Wens and I snuck off and she slipped her shirt on and she was so excited to tell our parents. She ran back shouting “Read my shirt!!” Our parents read it and just showered us with hugs and happy tears and smiles. We were doing this and it was pretty surreal that we were about to do the whole adventure again.
My first doctor’s appointment was set for January 11th, two days after Wednesday’s birthday. We had told our family and our closest friends and we were so excited to share our first ultrasound photos. Wednesday was so excited to see her baby brother (she was dead set we were having a boy), and she was going to tell her best friend Mia all about it the next time she saw her. They called us back to do the usual checking of blood pressure, pee in a cup to make sure that was clear and all that jazz, then took us back to our room and had me change. I was so nervous and excited and it felt like the first time all over again. I sat up on the bed and waited for my doctor to come in. Twenty minutes had passed and she finally came in, congratulated us on our new pregnancy and asked if we were ready to see our baby! Wednesday jumped up and down with so much excitement and they wheeled the ultra sound machine in and I laid back, lights went off. The machine kicked on then I saw my baby, the size of a bean. Wednesday asked if that was the baby and I said yes, but it didn’t look like there was any movement. My doctor looked at the screen and just stared at it for a second, and moved the wand around a little bit and said that maybe I should go pee since it looked like my bladder was full. I hopped off, made a joke about how I drank a bunch water beforehand so I could pee in the cup and went to the bathroom. I came back, hopped back up on the table and we checked again and again, there was my baby, the size of a bean, but no heartbeat. Nothing.
Wednesday said “Hey! There is the baby!” My heart sank and I thought maybe I was just missing something. I mean, it had been three-and-a-half years since I last went through this. I looked at my doctor and she looked at me and my husband and then back at me again and the screen and looked at me again. She said, “ Dori, I am so sorry, but I think that you have miscarried, because I am not seeing a heartbeat.”
I was in shock. My husband grabbed my hand and the only thing that I could say was “ok” as I was trying not to fall apart in front of everyone. My doctor looked at the screen again and then back at me and she had tears welling up in her eyes as she said, “I’m so sorry, Dori. I would like to have our other ultrasound tech look at you just to be sure that I am not wrong, but it does look like your baby doesn’t have a heartbeat.”
I laid there and I started bawling as my husband was trying to comfort me and trying to explain to Wednesday what was happening. My doctor left the room to talk to the ultrasound tech and I fell apart. Wednesday had so many questions and I had no idea how to answer them. I had so many questions and I had no idea how to answer them for myself. I failed. I did this. I’m a failure. Why me? What did I do? I failed my husband. Those were the thoughts that went through my head as I cried and let the pain wash over me. I got dressed and I held my daughter and tried to find the words to tell her what just happened. I explained the best that I could and she understood the best that she could and cried right along with me. The three of us just held each other for seemed like forever.
After awhile, my doctor came back in and led us to the other side of the building with the other ultrasound tech to have a better look and still, no heartbeat. She did measurements and concluded that I was 9 weeks along and that it had happened within the last couple days. We went back to the room and my doctor sat me down and said that she wasn’t sure what happened, but that this does happen and it’s more common than people think it is and that I did nothing wrong. She told me what would happen next, that I would have to physically go through the miscarriage in the next couple weeks to a month, but that I could opt to go under and they would remove everything themselves, but I didn’t want to do that. I wanted things to take its natural course, and she said that she knew I would go for that route. She broke down what was going to happen and I was still in shock. I heard her words and they just hung in my head. I couldn’t stop thinking about being a failure.
We went to our car and sat there for awhile, trying to think of how we were going to have to tell our moms and our friends. Those were some the most heartbreaking calls that we have ever had to make. Scottie’s mom said that she could take Wens for the night so we could have some time to ourselves and I agreed, she didn’t need to be around me for the day. I told my husband to just go back to work because I needed some time to think and process what had just happened. My in-laws came and got Wens, gave me warm hugs and left me alone. I got in my car and I drove. I had no destination, I just blared music and I drove.
I tried to think of anything that I could have done differently and the only thing that ever came back to me was feeling like a failure. I had no answers for this. I was angry with myself, being so ignorant to think that this would never happen to me since my first pregnancy went so well and it was such a great experience. I knew that these things happened, but I didn’t think it would ever happen to me.
Six weeks later, I finally had my physical miscarriage and I will spare you the gory details. I thought that I had felt better about the whole situation when really, it was just the beginning of a long battle. I ate my feelings a lot and I lashed out, I had a few mental breakdowns, I ended up having gallbladder problems and had to have my gallbladder removed in April, and I think that contributed a huge part to my miscarriage because my body knew that other things were happening and decided to opt out of having to go through that pregnancy. Maybe I am right in my theory and maybe I wrong, who knows. What I do know is that the things I can change, like my weight, are things that I will change and I have found my peace with what happened. Now I am here to help other women who have miscarried through their journey to find peace as well. I have had people ask me when Scottie and I will try again and I politely say that we are not ready yet because that is the truth.
Statistically, it is estimated that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. Among women who know they are pregnant, it is estimated that 1 in 6 pregnancies end in miscarriage. The majority of miscarriages happen in the first trimester – about 3 in every 4 miscarriages happen during this period. Those are some scary but real numbers. I personally know 4 women ranging from ages 25-33 who have had a miscarriage or suffer from infertility. We need to be talking about this more, we need to bring this to light and we need to help women understand that they are not alone. I felt so alone because I didn’t think that I had a valid reason to be sad since I wasn’t that far along, but I needed to feel my feelings. It doesn’t matter how far along you are, you are allowed to feel sad about your loss no matter what stage you were at. Please feel your sadness and please talk to someone about it and if you feel like no one will understand, then reach out to me and talk to me about it. I am always here to listen and I genuinely mean that.