Trigger warning: pregnancy, miscarriage, blood, female body functions, periods
Pregnancy has been more unexpected than I ever EVER imagined. Part of me thought, I’ve wanted this my whole life and therefore I will be able to get past all of the hard parts no problem. It’s an interesting juxtaposition because you’re so incredibly grateful, excited, and happy (this doesn’t even really begin to describe the level of elation) while also going through something very difficult. Add in having a scare, being anxious, financial stress, etcetera, there are so many fears women experience, you kind of don’t know how to feel at times. And if you’re like me, you definitely don’t know how to express all the feelings to others when they say, "So, how are you feeling?".
Another factor, especially having gone through what I firmly believed was going to be a miscarriage, I am now even more acutely aware of the pain and struggles someone else may be going through while trying to get pregnant, stay pregnant, or after loss. Maybe some other women can relate to this, I just cannot express how much I feel for anyone who has gone through any kind of undesired pregnancy situation, so much so that I would rather not talk about the pregnancy I’m having and what I went through (even if it is also hard at times) to protect those going through things so much tougher than my situation. So, that all said, I wanted to type up my story on the off chance that even one person has gone through something similar and will feel less alone after reading it. Also, part of me hopes that I will have a successful pregnancy and a healthy baby and can someday read this and hold onto that baby with an even deeper sense of gratitude.
Trigger warning: pregnancy, miscarriage, blood, female body functions, periods
This story is going to start at week 4 of my pregnancy, which is when I found out I was in fact pregnant. It’s wild how early you can test these days. I hadn’t really experienced any symptoms other than boob pain that seemed prolonged compared to what I typically experience around my period time. This wasn’t even that much of an indication to test for me. I tested more so because we had never had unprotected sex before so I knew there was a small chance it would be positive. I tested with two tests and both came back glaringly positive. (If you’d like to know more about our TTC journey, message me privately)
Fast forward two weeks, at this point I had told my husband, mom, aunt, best friend, and brother. I had a completely normal day with some nausea (I started to feel sick around week 5 and full on vomiting by week 6ish) and was really still just processing the news. It was a Thursday evening and I decided to take a bath. Tripp was home and nearby. Nothing eventful happened in the bath until I was ready to get out. I saw something floating in the water that looked kind of like a small period clot. I didn’t think anything of it and assumed it was just something that resembled that. I stood up in the tub and instantly knew something wasn’t right. Blood was dripping into the water and I reached down “there” to discover it was very much coming out of my body. I stood there frozen for a minute not saying a word, knowing what this probably meant (or so I assumed). I was instantly woozy feeling like the world stopped rotating for those few minutes. I called for Tripp (still in the tub) and said “I think I’m having a miscarriage”. He came in, looked at me and said “What do we do?” I waddled over to the toilet and basically said I had no idea. No one had ever told me what to do or not to do... I just said “Let’s call the mini-ER that’s closer to our house and see what they say.” So, I did that, and they said to go to the main ER right away. We said okay, got dressed, got the dog set, I texted my best friend, and we were out the door.
That drive was brutal. I silently cried thinking I knew exactly what was happening. We got there and walked into the ER to check in. I could feel the blood leaving my body. The nurses/ER staff were so incredibly kind and gentle while I whimpered the answers to their questions. They were so optimistic, which I really couldn’t even stand to hear at the time. I just knew that if they got my hopes up and the outcome was not positive, my heart would break again. They told me stories about their experiences, that it could be normal, etc. but I really don’t think I comprehended much. We got checked in and sat in the main lobby (crying still, of course) while periodically being asked to answer the next check in lady’s set of questions. I bled on every chair I sat in. It was more blood than any period I’d ever had.
We eventually got moved to a different waiting area where I cried some more. I truly can’t remember another time in my life where I felt so helpless and genuinely uncaring if people/passersby saw me sobbing. After probably 45 more minutes, we were called back to a room. At first a semi-crass nurse did some in-take questions and had me pee in a cup. (Medical professionals are probably going to think I’m stupid when I say this but when I tell you that I went to pee and thought based on the amount of blood and giant blood clot-esque things I saw, I figured I had given birth. Like, it was that bad.) I will save you the details but let me just say my poor husband had to sit next to my far from normal looking pee sample the entire time. I don’t even know that they did anything with it?
After that, I think a PA came in and had me tell her that same spiel about what was going on and ordered an ultrasound and fluids. When I tell you that I was about ready to refuse the fluids on the 4th attempt to get the needle in the right place, I mean it. I guess it was my body's reaction to the situation because I’ve never experienced a phlebotomist/nurse having to try more than once. We tried both inside elbows and my hand before she went back to the inner elbow with success. The bruising was not cute the following week. She left and maybe an hour or so later a girl showed up to take me to the ultrasound. In a wheelchair. Which I hated, and bled on. Mind you, I haven’t been to the OBGYN yet so I had never had an ultrasound. So, you can imagine my surprise when she said it would need to be transvaginal. I was instantly shaking and all I knew to say was, “It’s a hairy bloody massacre down there.” She didn’t care, obviously, because she is a professional, but I did. As I’m sure many of you know, the ultrasound tech can’t really tell you anything, so I just shook violently with a stick up my vag crying in silence until it was over. She wheeled me back up and then… more waiting.
After probably another 45 minutes or so the PA came back and could clearly tell I was still distraught because she immediately said “I have good news.” I couldn’t believe it. I think part of me blacked out at this moment. I remember her saying the baby had a heartbeat, was in the uterus where he/she belonged, and that I probably experienced a subchorionic hemorrhage. She said it wasn’t that uncommon, and about 30% of women experience it. I was so shocked and happy, I wish she hadn’t told me the next part. I still can’t exactly explain what she was trying to say but it was something like… a hemorrhage doesn’t necessarily mean miscarriage, but it can. And (here’s the part I wish I wasn’t told) that I have about a 50% chance of miscarriage. She told me I needed to be on pelvic rest (no sex, tampons, exercise) and needed to rest in general for the next week or until the symptoms subside. We were discharged after all the fluids were gone and I thanked/hugged the nurses that were so kind to me at the beginning. When we left, it was early hours of the morning, maybe 3:00am ish? We got home and we went straight to bed.
The next day I woke up dazed, confused, and upset. I laid on the couch and really didn’t talk to anyone for two days. I felt like I was back to the waiting period. Just sitting, wondering if I would miscarry. I think my best friend stopped by at some point. I went to work the following Monday and continued my life with no one around me knowing what I was going through. This part of pregnancy sucks so bad. You just want to tell everyone everything but you can’t (my personal choice).
It took quite some time for the bleeding to fully stop. I think it was around 2.5-3 weeks. When the 8-10 (first) OBGYN appointment rolled around I was beyond nervous. I hadn’t had any indicator whether things were going okay inside of me or not, so this was going to be the first confirmation. When I went in and did the ultrasound (also transvaginal, which I’m basically a pro at now) and got to hear the baby's heartbeat, I was so incredibly relieved. I knew it could still be a long journey, but at the moment, things were okay. The doctor I saw that day told me I wouldn’t be fully “in the clear” until around 20 weeks, so yes, more waiting. Other than the everyday vomiting, from this point forward things seemed to be looking up. We made it to the 10-week genetic/gender testing, the important 12-week mark, and the anatomy scan/20-week ultrasound. I can’t put into words how grateful I am that we are where we are now. I know things will never be easy and there are so many unknowns with pregnancy, but I feel really confident that we will meet this baby earthside. I may never look at a bathtub the same way again, but that’s just part of my journey. If you made it this far, thank you so much for reading. I hope someone along the way finds some comfort in my story. I’d love to chat more on my Instagram, @thenikiblackwell.
Happy 2023 and baby year!