Does it Count?
If it wasn’t planned for?
If I wasn't very far along?
If “there is no way they would have survived”?
If I only knew a few weeks?
If I only knew a few days?
If someone else had it worse?
If I wasn’t very sad?
Does it even count?
Five months after giving birth to my beautiful first-born daughter, I had a period from you-know-where. I was still nursing, I was on birth control, and it was only my second period since giving birth. I figured a bad period was in my cards, and I truthfully didn’t give it too much thought. That is, until I realized I’d been bleeding for over a week, and the cramps were only getting worse. It wasn’t until after relentlessly complaining, a coworker questioned if I was pregnant.
When the second line turned pink, my heart sank. Something was wrong. My mind was racing. I had an IUD. I’d been bleeding. I already had a baby. I couldn’t be pregnant. I frantically called my doctor, I made an appointment for the next morning, but I never made it to that appointment.
That night was a long one. My husband and I talked of the future, what our fate would hold in the morning. We bounced from excitement (maybe everything would be okay), then fear would envelop us, something didn’t feel right. Ultimately, in the middle of the night, we rushed to the ER; I was in excruciating pain, and bleeding more than I could control. Once there, our fears were confirmed.
Nothing they could do.
I lost the pregnancy that night. I also lost a fallopian tube. The experience was shattering. I pleaded with nurses, doctors, and my husband before being wheeled back to the operating room. But, there really was nothing anyone could do. It was done. All that was left to do was try to repair the damage as best they could.
The weeks following were a rollercoaster.
I questioned myself constantly. Did I do this to myself? I was the one that chose the IUD. I should have realized something was wrong earlier. Would I be able to have more children with all the damage?
Then my nanny announced her pregnancy. I watched as her belly began to swell, and listened to her gush about her growing babe, all while my heart was breaking.
But the worst part was the feeling that I didn’t deserve to feel this way. I had only known about the pregnancy for a day, hours maybe. The pregnancy wasn’t planned; I was on birth control even. Was I just being dramatic? And, it was an ectopic pregnancy, so did it even count as a miscarriage? Did I have the right to even feel bad? Other women have gone through so much worse, does my experience even pale in comparison?
It wasn’t until my next pregnancy that I finally got my answer. As I was answering all my nurse’s questions, she asked if I’d had any miscarriages. I responded that I’d had an ectopic pregnancy and I didn’t know if that counted. That blessed nurse looked me straight in the face and said, “Of course that counts.”
With that one sentence, all my pain, grief, and fear was validated. It counted.
Regardless of when, or why, or how, a loss is a loss. It counts. Every woman’s experience bringing children into this world is unique.
It does no good to compare our experience to another’s. It does no good to blame ourselves. It does no good to bury our pain and grief. Whatever degree of loss you experience, please remember that it counts. We are allowed to feel, to cry, to grieve, and to heal.