What do you do when you get pregnant after a miscarriage? Well, if you’re anything like I am, you freak out and worry about it. A lot. I got pregnant just two months after my miscarriage and I feel like I’m constantly worrying about ensuing health scares now. I didn’t have this constant fear with my first pregnancy and it’s sort of sucking the fun right out of the experience. I was so thrilled and jubilant the first time around but now I'm too scared to feel the same excitement.
I miscarried in February of this year when my husband and I decided to take a relaxing trip to Jamaica with our two-year-old daughter. Yes, I was eleven weeks pregnant and no, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy those wonderfully sugary slushy drinks but I am nothing if not a trooper. Besides, I was confident that the pretty blue water and delicious warm sand would ease my suffering. Turns out I was right and I definitely enjoyed lounging on the beach while my daughter played in the pool with her dad. Until the fateful last day of our vacation. Ugh, don’t you just hate when that happens.
In the interest of full disclosure, this is the part where it gets gory and grossly detailed so skip down if it’s a little TMI for your liking. I woke up on the last day literally hemorrhaging and blood was gushing out by the bucketful. It’s like your period on steroids and it’s not pretty. I’d never had a miscarriage before so I didn’t realize that it could get so ugly. I knew what was happening but figured the bleeding would eventually stop so I basically sat on the toilet for three straight hours. I warned you that it wasn’t pretty. Needless to say, the bleeding never let up and I was getting quite lightheaded when I finally allowed my husband to call the resort doctor. At this point, my body was going into shock and the ambulance was called to transport me to the nearest hospital.
Ah, the hospital. I love Jamaica but do I ever hate their healthcare. I was left alone to continue bleeding for an additional eight hours, after which they performed a routine D & C without once checking my hemoglobin levels. I was then told that it was safe to travel back home to Ontario the next day. My husband took me back to the hotel with yellow pupils and blue lips. I was having a very hard time breathing and didn’t have any strength to walk but I told myself it was nothing serious. I think women have a tendency to do that even when we probably shouldn’t.
The next day I boarded a plane home, thinking that I’d be fine. I wasn’t. I couldn’t breathe about 30 minutes into the flight and had to lie down with an oxygen mask on while a nurse checked my vitals every 10 minutes. I refused to let on just how difficult it was because I couldn’t bear the embarrassment of diverting the plane or scaring my daughter but my vitals were easily giving me away. Damn those vitals. Emergency personnel met us at the gate but I adamantly refused to go to the hospital because I was convinced I just needed to get home where everything would get better. Guess what? I was wrong again. Shocking since it happens so rarely.
Anyways, to make a long story short, I ended up in the hospital where I needed blood transfusions and multiple tests including a CT Scan to rule out pulmonary embolism among other things. When I was admitted to the hospital, I had less than a third of the blood left in my body. The doctors repeatedly told me they were astonished that I had survived the surgery in Jamaica, let alone the flight home. They were shocked that I was even functioning at all. Apparently I should have experienced major organ failure and/or a heart attack—if not during the surgery, then definitely up in the air. You know, just your everyday worries.
My reluctance to admit anything was wrong and stubborn misguided view that I couldn’t get seriously ill almost cost me my life. If I had waited just a few more hours at home instead of going to the hospital, I might not have made it. In the end, I spent the next two months recovering which meant endless specialist visits and countless hospital trips. Somewhere during that time period, my husband obviously gave me some wine one night and knocked me up. Trust me, it wouldn’t have happened without the wine.
Which brings me to my current predicament. I’m scared that something like this will happen again. I’m scared of miscarrying and losing another unborn child. Not only am I scared, I feel like I’m permanently scarred as well. It is physically and emotionally draining. I can’t help but think that I would have been going into labour any day now if I hadn’t miscarried. I also can’t help thinking that somehow it’s my fault. If only I hadn’t gone to Jamaica maybe everything would have been okay. If only I had stopped sleeping on my stomach. If only I had been more careful.
It’s consuming my thoughts and I’m really starting to resent it. This time I’m really trying to be more careful. Intellectually I know that I didn’t cause my miscarriage but emotionally, I can’t let go of the guilt. And did I already mention that I can’t stop worrying about it? Did I also mention that it’s really annoying? But all the worrying in the world can’t change what will or will not happen. Deep down inside somewhere, I suppose I know that. I also know that making light of a serious situation won’t make it any easier but it’s the only way I know how to cope. So what do you do when you get pregnant after a miscarriage? I guess you try to let go of the worry and trust that everything will be okay. Or maybe just fake it until it becomes easier.