Our struggle with miscarriages

When I got married, we were avoiding getting pregnant because we were still in law school and wanted a few years “just to enjoy each other.” Because I am Catholic, we were practicing natural family planning . Well, since the failure rate of NFP is strictly human error and we were newlyweds, I ended up getting pregnant much sooner than expected. Two months into our marriage, in fact. Due to our culture’s attitude toward pregnancy (namely, that if you aren’t a 35 year old married millionaire, your Life. Is. Over), I was duly horrified and grief stricken.
I informed my husband and our family, and was pleasantly surprised that everyone was really happy and excited about it. It is amazing how after the initial shock of discovering you are pregnant, you really start getting excited about it yourself. At about six weeks pregnant, I started bleeding. After a pretty traumatic trip to the ER, I was informed I was miscarrying. I felt like I should be relieved to hear that (I mean, I was so upset about finding out I was pregnant in the first place), but all I felt was incredibly sad. I grieved the loss of our baby.
Some friends and family members were very kind and supportive after our miscarriage. They brought us food and sent us sweet notes. Others were noticeably confused by my reaction. It made me feel confused at how sad I was, which made me feel even worse.
After about a year, I was overwhelmed by an irresistible case of baby fever. My first pregnancy had transformed me into this baby hungry woman that never in my wildest dreams I thought I would be. I was going to be a lawyer, for heaven’s sake! My husband and I got pregnant a second time, and I was ecstatic.
Eight weeks into the pregnancy, I started bleeding again. My heart sank into my feet. We went to the ER again. Tears filled my eyes in the waiting room as I asked my husband the question I was terrified to ask out loud, but it had to be said. What if I can’t have children? My husband assured me that we would deal with it together, and adopt if that is what we feel called to do. I nodded, knowing that was the perfect answer, but the tears wouldn’t stop. The ultrasound tech turned the screen away from us, and refused to answer any questions. All she said was, “are you on fertility treatments?” “No,” we answered, confused. They sent us home to make an appointment with my OB, befuddled and scared.
My OB informed me I was pregnant with eight week old twins, and there were no heartbeats. He was going to give it another day to measure my hcg levels to make sure the twins were dead, and if so, schedule a D&C. My levels dropped, and the D&C was scheduled. We went to the hospital for my surgery, and a nun walked into the room while I was being prepped for surgery. We asked her to pray for us.
Everyone was just as kind this second time. I was so grief stricken, I didn’t know what to do. I never in a million years would have guessed that we would struggle with recurrent miscarriage. I scoured the internet for answers and asked my OB what we should do. He told me I could spend lots of money frustrating myself trying to figure out our underlying issue, and quite possibly never find any answers. He told me that before I tried that, to follow his advice. I agreed and here is what he told me:
1) Gain weight. I was about 103 lbs at the time. He advised that I gain about 20 lbs. That seemed IMPOSSIBLE at the time, but I managed 10 lbs drinking 1 Boost a day.
2) Wait at least three normal menstral cycles before trying to conceive again. This also seemed impossible, but we waited.
3) When we got pregnant again, he immediately put me on progesterone supplements, just in case it was an inadequate progesterone level problem.
4) I also took low dose aspirin every day once I found out I was pregnant (internet research suggestion). My OB said that this was a total placebo, but let me do it if it made me feel like I was helping.
5) My OB was sweet enough to let me come in every other week of my first trimester just to watch my baby grow on the ultrasound.
6) I didn’t consume any caffeine the first trimester (another internet research suggestion).

Baby Ruth was born on September 19, 2011, weighing 6 lbs 12 oz. Baby Rose was born October 17, 2012. Baby Wren was born January 17, 2014.

All I can say is child bearing is a very mysterious thing. My second and third pregnancies were complete surprises and I didn’t do anything special during them. (Although I did weigh more than 103 lbs). If you are struggling with recurrent miscarriage, don’t give up hope! You never know what might happen. I was despairing, but here I am with three under three! It certainly didn’t go according to my premarital plan, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  Edited to add: This blog post has been getting some attention from a Reddit thread where women are struggling with the heavy burden of recurrent miscarriages. While I feel reactions like “f*ck her and her children” are unwarranted, I would like to address their objections anyway. No, I have no idea what it is like to suffer more than two miscarriages without any babies to take home. I am only recounting my own personal experience, not offering any sort of advice. I have no idea why I had two miscarriages and then four live births. I wish I did. For those of you that have suffered loss after loss, you have my deepest condolences and sympathy. No mother should have to lose her children. It is heartbreaking and unfair. I mourn their loss with you. 



About sylcell

Wife, mom of four girls, Catholic, insatiable sweet tooth
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23 Responses to Our struggle with miscarriages

  1. Sara says:

    I had two miscarriages after my first two perfectly normal pregnancies. (Just as an aside, I got pregnant with my first daughter during my third year of law school. You can’t imagine the looks you get walking through the halls ginormously pregnant. I felt as though I was letting down an entire generation of strong, smart, empowered women. Yikes!) I recently gave birth to my third girl, which is one of the reasons I so love your post to the lady in the elevator pregnant with her fourth. My oldest girls are 7 and 11, which leads people to instantly assume she was a “surprise” (or, as some more rudely suggest, an “accident”). If I’m feeling kind, I smile and respond in the negative. If I’m feeling less kind, I tell them how long we tried for a third and let them know I lost two babies in the mean time. It usually shuts people up pretty quickly 🙂
    Incidentally, progesterone and baby aspirin (with weekly ultrasounds) worked for me, too. If I can talk my husband into it, we’ll definitely have another.


    • sylcell says:

      Congrats on baby girl number three! My husband calmed my fears when I was pregnant in law school (although we lost that baby) by saying, “people will stare because they are so jealous, baby.” Sssuuurre;)


  2. Siné says:

    It is refreshing to see someone write about miscarriage so openly. I had two miscarriages after having my 2nd child. The first one was at 5 weeks (the day after finding out I was pregnant) and the 2nd was at 13 weeks. My youngest child is now 6 months old and would never have been here if I hadn’t miscarried, but I still miss and pray for my lost babies daily. I’m so sorry you have had to go through this too.


  3. Sudatta says:

    Oh my God!! You’re me!! I struggled with a miscarriage before my older daughter was born. And everything you’ve written feels exactly like what I went through. Thanks for sharing. I’m sure there are so many like me out there


  4. Thank you for sharing your story!! It is so helpful to hear how you worked through things (practically and spiritually), and to be reminded that there is still hope for full-term pregnancies. As Anne mentioned, there is something special and unique about the bond us sisters share who have experienced miscarriage(s).

    It is definitely a journey to trust God in ways unlike many other aspects of life call you to… I was just talking with a friend who mentioned that fertility/childbearing has such a prominent place in Scripture, it kinda makes you think God saw it fit to use it in a powerful way to draw His people closer to Him in dependence and into a deeper faith. I am thankful we can remember He uses all things for our good, although in the loss and sadness of miscarriage, it can be a difficult truth with which to reckon.


  5. Grace says:

    I have a 7year old boy…i was pregnant 5weeks when severe pain started..all i wanted was for the pain to go away. I dint want to lose my child..it was 17-4-2014 when i was told it was an ectopic pregnancy. My left fallopian tube was removed…i cry a lot to date..I thank God for the 5weeks…n pray that He will bless me one day and that i carry the baby full term..i gave my baby a girls name Wambui..


  6. Lori says:

    So much of what you wrote resonates with me. I miscarried our 11 week child a month ago. I have three beautiful children, ages 17, 15 and 12. So yes, this pregnancy was of ‘advanced maternal age.’ I’m 46. We, too, are Catholic and have practiced NFP for years. This was my first ‘unplanned’ pregnancy. It was, as you said, human error and the fact that perimenopause (which my doctor confirmed that I am in) makes NFP quite challenging. So, there I was, pregnant at 46. And terrified. And, well, embarrassed. But this was our child whom we would love, even if it turned our life upside down and even if people offered more condolences than congratulations. (Yes, that really happened.) Then, just as reality was setting in that I indeed was having another child — we had picked out a name, bought maternity clothes, and started making plans to rearrange the kids bedrooms to add our new one– just that quickly, she was gone. I haven’t stopped crying. Every new baby I see makes me cry. I think, ‘That was supposed to be mine.’ I longed to hold what I could not. I even slept with one of my daughter’s baby dolls for several nights after. Maybe that’s crazy, but it did help. I had waited out the miscarriage at home. We named her Grace and, with the help of a loving pastor, gave her a proper Christian burial. My 15-year-old autistic son told me the day after that he thought perhaps God needed another soul, just not a baby. The depth of that discernment blew me away. I was mad at myself for not wanting to be pregnant again, so late in life, but I was heart sick at losing her. I have to take comfort in my son’s words. It’s true, a baby changes everything, even the one you don’t have.


  7. Madeline Grace says:

    God bless you and your family. Just something to consider: I cringed a little when you wrote ‘ adopt if necessary’ the ‘if necessary’ makes adoption sound like an unpalatable last resort to a degree. I don’t believe it was intentionally negative. But something to think about. And I am not ‘ touchy or defensive’ when it cones to adoption. ( I know some people who are)
    MadelineGrace ( adoptee, mom of two awesome children, one by birth and one through adoption)


  8. Kerry says:

    Your story is making my heart smile. We had 2 miscarriages before our 2 healthy pregnancies. We wanted another baby, but miscarried another time + we have just had a miscarriage + ectopic @ the same time. I’m not sure if we’ll have anymore, we’ve been advised not to, but we’re leaving it in God’s hands. He has a plan for our family. I’ve been truly saddened with each loss + thought it’d be easier the last 3 because we had two sweet boys already, but a loss is a loss. We celebrated + mourned each one. This past double dip has really changed me (could be the near death experience). I see things much more clearly. I’m more thankful for all I do have, I’ve actually quit my job (thankful I had the opportunity) so I could be a better mom, wife + person. So far so good😊

    Thank you for sharing your stories + successes.


  9. Anne says:

    I am leaving a comment mostly to ask for prayer. I have two wonderful children ages 3 and 4, followed by six in heaven from five miscarriages in a row. I am both eager and terrified to become pregnant again. I feel like I have “one more shot” at this before I assume that having another biological child is not meant to be for our family. I would so appreciate your prayers as well as any of your other readers. I know prayers would be no less effectual from others, but somehow it’s a comfort when coming from other women who have faced this. God bless you and your family!


  10. Jenny Shortreed says:

    I had a miscarriage about a year after being married. I was so confused why I got wary looks from my coworkers when I told them excitedly that I was about 4-63 weeks pregnant. ” Well”, they said, “It’s early. Hopefully, everything goes ok.” I miscarried about 2 weeks later. I was consoled by everyone telling me how common it was. How 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. Even my mom! Why didn’t anyone warn me!! Then a wise friend took me aside and said, “That was your baby and don’t let anyone or anything let forget. You go ahead and grieve your child.” It took me 5 long years to get pregnant again. I didn’t spread the news for 3 months. My next child, maybe I waited 2 months. My next? I remembered the joy I felt with my first pregnancy, the complete absence of fear. I told EVERYONE the day after I found out. I knew the joy was first and foremost…mine. This was my child, whether I birthed them or not.


  11. Kayla says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. Recurrent miscarriage is a horrible thing to deal with. We lost 4 pregnancies (5 babies) between Mother’s Day 2012 when i gor my first positive pregnancy test and April 2013. I was told so many things from condolences to I caused the miscarriages (which I most certainly did NOT).

    But we got pregnant again in August 2013 and I am holding my beautiful baby boy born 5/14/14. He was our 5th pregnancy and was conceived in the 14th cycle. His birthday was perfectly ordained and fell 2 yrs and 1 day from my first positive test.


  12. Jessica says:

    Thank you for sharing your story with this. Such a painful journey you went through, but I am so happy to see your hands full (as everyone in the grocery store reminds you, I’m sure) of beautiful daughters now! I hurt for you so much during the miscarriages and, honestly, wasn’t sure how to best support you through it. Do you have any advice for others about how to help a friend through a miscarriage?


    • sylcell says:

      Thank you so much. And yes! That is actually a good idea for another post I could write. I would advise to do the same type thing you would do for anyone that is healing from a trauma, surgery, etc. After a miscarriage, you are bed ridden and in pain for a week or so afterward. It meant so much to us when people brought us dinner or dessert, wrote us nice notes of condolence (I still have all the nice letters everyone wrote us saved), sent flowers, or just came over to chat! Personally, I felt much better if my friends would just let me grieve and be a shoulder for me to cry on.


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