Heartbreak

My Traumatic Miscarriage Lasted Months And Ended In The ER

Photo: cottonbro studio | Pexels, marcin_szmyd, imaginima | Canva
Sad woman with tears in eyes, looking at ultrasound

I’ve always been a free spirit, regarded by others as young at heart and slightly eccentric. Children were never something I thought about or desired. I was the fun aunt to my nieces and nephews and adopted mom to the cats in my neighborhood. But then I fell in love in Morocco.

Ours was a whirlwind romance, full of intense affection and adventure. The moment I met him I knew that he was the one. I was so certain of this that I proposed marriage within months of our meeting.

There was one problem: We lived on opposite sides of the world (he in Morocco, and I in Australia) and I knew it would be irresponsible to start a family while we were in a long-distance relationship. I impatiently waited for the news that the distance between us would be a hair’s breadth and not over 6,000 miles, and one year after our marriage it finally happened. We were living on the same continent, under the same roof, and swiftly got pregnant.

I was so overwhelmed with joy that I declared the news to everybody … to my eventual regret.

One week later I suffered my first miscarriage.

I was heartbroken and, as news can sometimes trickle slowly amongst friends and acquaintances, I was still getting messages of congratulations long after the miscarriage.

RELATED: 6 Things I've Learned From 3 Miscarriages In 9 Months

My husband did not seem disappointed by the loss — he certainly expressed sympathy for a loss he perceived to be mine but was completely void of any sadness for what was his loss too. For the first time since our relationship began, I felt abandoned by the man I loved.

In the following months, I became obsessed with my menstrual cycle, marking on the calendar the five-day window of opportunity to conceive and utilizing every single one of them. Soon those familiar sensations would arrive: the fluttering in the belly, the aches, the exhaustion. But with those telltale signs came a flood of anxiety: What if I lose this one too?

My doctor confirmed what I knew to be true: I was pregnant but my hCG levels indicated I was three weeks pregnant, not the six weeks they should have shown.

This meant one thing: I was having another miscarriage.

When I told my husband he simply said, “We don’t need a child anyway. We’re already a family.”

I’m sure his intentions were good, but his lack of concern for yet another loss shattered me. I needed him to say how sorry he was. I needed him to say we will try again. But it was crystal clear to me: He didn’t want a child. And that knowledge devastated me.

   

   

I started questioning everything: Did we rush into this marriage? Were we so focused on being together that we forgot to consider our future? Is love truly enough? But I didn’t want to seek the answers to those questions. I just wanted the babies back that I lost.

RELATED: 10 Ways To Help Your Wife Through A Miscarriage

Blinded by grief and not wanting to acknowledge that my husband had no interest in fatherhood, I resumed my obsession to conceive to the detriment of my own physical and mental well-being.

I was pregnant again. But believing that my husband did not want it, I kept this knowledge from him. I told no one and kept a fire of hope alive that the third time was the miracle. I was in such denial that even when I was bedridden a month later, bleeding profusely and in extraordinary pain, I continued to lie: “It’s just period pain, nothing to worry about.”

But this miscarriage was not like the others.

The physical pain was torturous and consumed every part of me. This miscarriage, unlike the others, went on for days, then weeks, then months. After two months of incessant pain and bleeding, I finally realized I needed help.

When I saw my doctor, she was horrified that I had allowed it to go on for so long. She made it clear that this was a medical emergency and arranged for me to be taken to the hospital.

I underwent an emergency D&C and when I awoke, the nurse requested my husband’s phone number so that he could pick me up. I panicked and told her that my husband didn’t know. The look on her face mortified me — she blinked with confusion, then advised me to tell him or find another support person to help. But since I had told no one, I believed I had no one.

My husband was mostly nonchalant. He was the dutiful husband, of course, picking me up from the hospital and taking care of my physical needs once home. But there was no shock at my dishonesty, nor concern for another miscarriage. He either did not care or lacked the maturity to deal with what had been happening for the past year.

Due to his demeanor, my hormones wreaking havoc, and having just endured surgery to remove what was left of my pregnancy, I finally allowed my grief to wash over and desperately sobbed. Only then did he say he was sorry and held me with a willingness to listen, rather than run.

And only then did I realize that no one was to blame for this tragedy: We both had failed each other. With hindsight and after years of healing work, I can now recognize the mistakes I made that led to that traumatic point in my life.

RELATED: I Blamed Myself For My Miscarriage

Here are 2 invaluable lessons I learned from my miscarriage:

1. Romantic love alone is not enough for an enduring relationship.

Sure, being in love with your spouse is important. But so is trust, honesty, and sharing a vision for your future.

A lack of emotional connection and failure to communicate can destroy a marriage so asking the heavy questions early on is important if you want your relationship to last.

If one of you is the avoidant type, seeking help from a marriage counselor can help with cultivating vulnerability. They can also provide a safe space for you both to express and address any concerns you may have before you walk down the aisle or bring a child into your relationship.

2. Your miscarriage is not your fault.

Show yourself the same empathy that you would for anyone else experiencing pregnancy loss.

   

   

When loved ones or acquaintances express sympathy for our loss we tend to shrink back with shame and suffer alone. Instead, acknowledge that what happened to you was traumatic and talk about it. Through this, we have the potential for deeper connections with others, gaining knowledge about alternative avenues for boosting fertility, and normalizing miscarriage as an equally palpable loss as the death of a loved one.

If you feel you have nobody to talk to, a grief counselor can be the support you need to help you move through your grief with self-love and acceptance.

Grief is normal, but denying it can be detrimental to your well-being. Be honest about what you're feeling and allow the people you love to hold space for you, no matter how long it takes.

RELATED: How I Healed From A Miscarriage Amid A Year That Took Everything

Ruth Boukhari is a freelance writer and poet with a Master of Creative Writing Degree from the University of Sydney. Her work has appeared on Tiny Buddha and Inside the Bell Jar’s Mental Health Anthology, We Run Through the Dark Together.