I Blamed Myself For My Miscarriage

Life can change in an instant. Count your blessings.

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Disclaimer: This post contains sensitive information intended for the catharsis of the author and may not be suitable for the faint of heart.

Ten years ago, my friend Kevin and I reconnected and started dating after he came home from living in Italy for seven years. 

Six years later, he proposed to me in Montreal. A year later, we got married and had a fabulous honeymoon in Europe.

Three months after that, I found out I was pregnant.


January 5th, I had a miscarriage.

We found out I was pregnant on October 13th. My period was 8 days late and I'm never late. I woke up at 5:30 in the morning and decided to buy a home pregnancy test, which confirmed it: POSITIVE. I woke my husband up and almost shoved the pee stick in his face. We were so excited.

I set up an appointment with my family doctor the week after. They confirmed my hCG levels and told me I was about 5 weeks pregnant and my due date would be around July 18-20th. We delayed the very first ultrasound until after the holidays since we were traveling to the states for Christmas to spend time with my sister and her fiancé.


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Save for nausea and vomiting, I exhibited all the standard pregnancy symptoms: breast tenderness, fatigue, increased appetite, etc. (In hindsight, I noticed my breasts started to feel normal but I chalked it up to passing the second month.) 

On our last night during a trip to Houston in December 2009, I noticed an increase in spotting. Since I had left my Pregnancy Bible at home, I naively consulted Dr. Google. (Never a good idea.) All searches said the same thing: Spotting during pregnancy is never normal; all signs point to miscarriage. I panicked. Kevin and my sister managed to calm me down but I didn't sleep a second that night. 

As soon as we got home, we went to the ER where the doctor told me that my hCG levels were high, my cervix was closed, and that sometimes spotting happens in pregnancies but the women still carry to term.


Just to be sure everything was okay, I scheduled a follow-up appointment at the Early Pregnancy Assessment Department at another hospital and didn't think anything else of it. I was convinced that both baby and I were okay after the previous trip to the ER. That is, until they gave me an ultrasound.

I knew something wasn't right when the doctor was silent as she looked at the screen.

The doctor pointed to my uterus, the gestational sac, and the fetus. The crucial part missing was the fetal heartbeat. Mid-sob, I asked if she was sure. She said, "Unfortunately, I am." I don't know how I managed to drive myself home that day. I just remember following a Jeep most of the way and my husband opening the car door to help me out as I sobbed in his arms.

The doctor gave me 3 choices: to wait for my body to expel the fetus, a D&C (dilatation and curettage), or a prescription for Misoprostol to induce the miscarriage. Well, there was no way in hell I wanted to wait for my body to do what it was supposed to do on its own so it was a no-brainer to take the pills. Less invasive, certainly, but not any less traumatic. 


Eight hours after taking the pill, I started to experience severe back and abdominal pains. So much so I yelled out for my husband to help me. He woke up in a panic and started rubbing my lower back which eased some of the pain but not enough to keep from wailing. It was bad.

I consider the next few hours the most traumatic moments of my life.

There are no words that can describe the pain and despair I felt. I kept thinking that after all these years, now that I was fully ready and willing to be a mom, I was forced to confront the vilest and inexplicable horror of losing my child.

Muffled sobs replaced my wails and I started blaming myself thinking, what causes miscarriage?


If didn't have my hair colored weeks ago, If I didn't have that little sip of wine, If I would've rested instead of having people over, If I added more calcium to my diet ... the list went on and on.

Then I convinced myself my miscarriage was simply karma for being such an acerbic, callous person and vitriol cow in the past, either to myself or to undeserving people. Maybe I had a miscarriage because I had become so smug in my happiness with my husband. I just wanted someone to tell me what it was that I did, didn't do, or should've done in order for this not to have happened?

We had just started telling friends and family about the pregnancy and now had to retract our statement. 

Turns out, 1 out of 5 pregnancies lead to miscarriage before the end of the first trimester, chromosomal abnormalities being one of the top reasons. You'd think this would make me feel better but it didn't. Not one bit.


 When we went back to the hospital for a follow-up, the doctor asked how I was doing. I wanted to say, "I think I'm holding up well for someone who just flushed their baby in the toilet, how about you?

When my husband made me eggs and bacon for breakfast, I barely touched it. When he tried to soothe me with his touch, I barked at him to stop. He asked me what was wrong. I bit my tongue but I really wanted to club him in the head for asking me such a stupid question.

He cleared my plate, kissed me goodbye, and told me to call him if I need anything. I thought: How about I call you to tell you that I need to not be sad about losing our baby? But I immediately felt guilty for thinking such awful thoughts. I couldn't take it out on him even if he was an easy punching bag. 

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My husband is a solid human being. He's also very good at this whole husband business, thank goodness. Because I was so focused on my grief, I'd almost forgotten that he was going through the same thing. (See what a selfish person I can be?) Sure, he didn't go through the physical symptoms of being pregnant and having a miscarriage but it was still painful for him and I owed him an apology for neglecting to see that. 

Within the next two years, I had two more miscarriages, so three miscarriages in three years.

I had several consultations with two different fertility doctors but I was convinced I was the one at fault since I couldn't sustain the pregnancies. It was a cruel vicious cycle of me beating myself up and hating my body for not being able to do what it was supposed to. I went through intensive psychoanalysis to help me get through the guilt and depression.


After the third miscarriage, I was convinced that I wouldn't be able to have a biological child and with heavy hearts, we decided to forego the fertility treatments altogether and look at adoption. I also had to learn to be nicer to myself and forgive my body's limitations. I kept telling myself just because I wasn't someone's biological mother didn't make me less of a woman or less of a loving and nurturing mother to a child who would clearly need it.

We were slowly getting adjusted to the thought of adoption when I found out I was pregnant. We didn't want to celebrate until about 10 weeks into the pregnancy when we finally heard the heartbeat of the fetus. We had never gotten so far along before and it was such an emotional rollercoaster.

I don't think I fully accepted that it was a successful pregnancy until I had my sweet little daughter in my arms on March 27. Here we are, 21 months later, and my daughter reminds me to savor and live in the moment because one can only fully appreciate the good having gone through the bad.

She teaches me every day that change is constant and the best thing we can do is embrace it and be present. Tomorrow is a gift to be had, but today is a gift to relish in.


RELATED: This Is How Long Women Should Really Wait To Get Pregnant Again After A Miscarriage, According To Experts

Aggie Armstrong is a writer for Yourtango who covers family and pregnancy.