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Wednesday, 28 July 2010

I never expected to have to write this

Yesterday morning, I woke up to a nightmare. Blood everywhere. Not spotting. Not that little pregnancy bleeding, which can be normal. But the kind that means it's over. I screamed and cried at 6am blaming myself and the stupid race. Why? WHY did I do it? SR persisted in saying it wasn't the race, but I wouldn't believe him. I needed to blame myself and I needed to blame something. But SR reminded me I was blaming something without any proof, just as I've always warned against. But even he probably suspected the race.

We went to the hospital. Not because I thought they could DO something, but because I thought we could get an explanation. Why had the pregnancy lines never gotten really clear on the pregnancy tests? Why had something seemed wrong to me from the beginning? Why, when I had told everyone in real life about the pregnancy, had I called it "positive pregnancy tests"?

We were taken to the ultrasound suite and I started screaming in terror. I couldn't stand the thought of seeing a heartbeat and knowing it would stop inside of me. But what we saw was MUCH, much better. In fact, it made so much sense. The fetus had stopped growing at 3 weeks gestation, so about 2-3 weeks ago. My body still thought I was pregnant, but there was just a 4mm gestational sack with nothing visible inside. So it wasn't the race and it wasn't my fault. It had stopped "existing" , or at least growing, long before. My body was just finally getting rid of it.

This is an intrauterine fetal demise. And is noted much more frequently now that there are ultrasounds. They just used to be categorized under the blanket term miscarriage. And 1/3 of pregnancies that make it to the stage of giving a positive pregnancy test will be lost. And, as the OB-GYN explained, it was either due to a genetic defect or a problem with the supply from the uterine lining.

I could handle this, much more so than I could handle guilt, but a miscarriage is a huge emotional and physical event. First physically, I went through quite a lot of back pain, but when everything was finally out of my body, it was a matter of less than an hour and my uterus was back to normal size and my shortness of breath was gone and I felt more energetic and clear-minded. SR was actually the one who remarked that my face was suddenly thinner. I had woken up that morning coexisting with an organism, my body larger in many ways to accommodate this, and going to sleep small and just an individual again. I had never guessed how quickly this would all occur. SR and I were so lucky to be alone with each other so we could share our grief and let go of the many expectations we had together. And that is, of course, the hardest part, provided you can avoid blaming yourself.

And I don't blame myself. I certainly am glad to know that the fetus was dead or had at least stopped growing long before the run. And though I attempt to look back and remember what I was doing when it was 3 weeks gestation, that achieves nothing. I only have a vague sense that my diet should have been better and that I should have been taking prenatal vitamins. We just actually had tried NOT to get pregnant that month, so it all came as a surprise. But when we try again, which won't be next month since the lining of the uterus is just too unsafe of an environment to try to grow a baby for a least a month after a miscarriage, I will simply continue to try to live healthy and exercise and really not change much except for my diet, which I am always working on anyway.

SR and I are thankfully now at peace with what happened and know it simply happens 1/3 of the time. I am also really thankful that my family and SR's family have been very supportive and there has certainly been no blaming, though it helps everyone to know it happened long before the run.

I believe women should be open about miscarriage (obviously) just to avoid holding guilt or fear inside and I will be happy to answer anyone's questions or even answer emails if there is anyone who wants to chat.

Otherwise life is pretty much back to normal here.

38 comments:

cherelli said...

Ah, SLG......so many emotions at the moment. i am deeply sorry for your loss but I'm also glad it happened actually 3 weeks ago because I love that you did that race. In some ways maybe the race HELPED your body recognise that it wasn't carrying a viable pregnancy. Maybe it helped things move faster as I've heard it can occasionally take more than a month for the body to recognise the pregnancy isn't viable...so now you can move into recovery, healing, and health...glad SR could be there with you too.

olga said...

Oh, baby, that is sad beyond words...I hoep you're holding on, and onto each other, for comfort. Hugs to both.

Ellen said...

So sorry to read this, but also grateful that you are willing to share. Thinking good thoughts for you and your family! Ellen

Emily P said...

Hey, I am so sorry to hear this...I wish I could offer you some serene words of wisdom, but I can't imagine what you are going through, so I can only offer sympathy. I'm here for you if you want to talk/skype/email/whatever.

Dale Nesbitt said...

Sad to read this. :( *hugs*

amy said...

So sad for you, but glad to know that you found out the facts about the timing of it all so that the feelings of guilt about the race don't crush you. I'm thinking of you, and sending healing, healthy thoughts your way.

Mapp said...

I am sorry for you and SR. Only now that I have Malo do I realise what it means to lose a baby, even if still in the womb and still early on in the pregnancy... Big hug, I am thinking of you...

PiccolaPineCone said...

I wish there was something I could say to help make this better. Regardless of the statistics and understanding the cause, I know it still hurts. I wish you & SR comfort and healing.
big, big hug.

The Chapples said...

:( I am so, so sorry...

Marathon Princess said...

I am so sorry :( Glad you were able to find out that is was not caused by the race, but it still hurts.

Anonymous said...

So sorry to read this. I am a long-time fan of your blog and, having gone through an early first-trimester miscarriage myself earlier this year, I can definitely sympathize. The hardest thing I found was to feel like I wasn't entitled to any feeling of sorrow or loss because it was so early -- so kudos to you for being so open and taking the time to recover, which I am sure you will be able to do.

kathleen said...

i am glad you are doing okay and not blaming yourself for what happened. it may not pertain to you but when i lost a fetus i was okay the first week and then i wasn't. then i got a period and really wasn't. then i was okay because we could try again but it didn't work the first time so that was upsetting, etc. don't be surprised if you find yourself on a roller coaster of emotions.

it isn't anything you did or didn't do. it isn't. miscarriage happens to all kinds of women. i knew that logically but i really didn't believe it until, well, a few weeks ago. now that i am just shy of 20 weeks into pregnancy #2 without having changed my lifestyle, i think that's decent proof =)

on another note. i don't know if it's because i go to a midwife center and not an OB. perhaps they are a little bit more holistic or "out there" but they want you to exercise for 30-45 minutes at least 3 days per week. also, i was told that my upper limit for cardio was 4 hours a day. the midwife center i go to has had professional ballet dancers as clients for 15 years. they normally dance for 8 hrs/day but better pregnancy outcomes have been seen when limiting them to 4 hrs/day. of course it's not published or peer reviewed but i thought it was interesting.

Brooke said...

My prayers are with you... I know the pain , guilt adn sadness you are experiencing. reading this post was like reliving my own miscarriage to a T. It happens a LOT and its never easy to get over, but one day you will really look back and see all you learned from it. Its never the running and its never your fault when these things happen. You spend some time with SR and comfort each other because thats all that really matters. Hugs to you from Indiana.

SteveQ said...

I am so sorry for your loss... there's not much more that can be said.

When you announced the pregnancy, I was thinking you were being a little hasty (completely understandable! It's big news!); usually couples wait for 3 or 4 months just because things like this happen so often. Of course, those same people tend to not mention miscarriages - you're just bringing into the open something that people never used to be open about.

We've been sharing in the joy, we will share in the sorrow. And we will still be here when joy returns. And it will return, at its own pace.

Julia said...

I am so, so sorry about your loss. I went through something similar- I lost a twin at 8 weeks or so, didn't find out until 10 weeks. I wracked my brain trying to think about what was happening the week the twin died, but honestly, nothing was "off" at all that week. It is so much better to find out after the actual demise, I'm glad you got to have that happen, at least. Take care and hugs to you.

Meghan said...

SeaLegs,

My thoughts are with you and your hubby. This is so sad. It's life, but that doesn't make it any easier.

I'm also glad you took the time to investigate your situation, so that you could find the accurate, correct answer and not live on blaming yourself.

Hugs!
Meghan

Xenia said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, but am thankful that you are finding peace and are able to move on. That's what's important. Take care.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I had two miscarriages (I think 3, actually, but one I am not sure about). I now have a toddler and one on the way. It's so, so emotional to go through this. I'm glad you wrote about it. Like you, I thought it was important to share that it happened, and so many women came out of the woodwork to share their experiences. It made me feel so much less alone to know others who had been through it. I'm also a long-distance runner, and I know how easy it is to blame yourself. But don't. What I relied on is knowing there is almost nothing you can do to prevent/cause a miscarriage. It's totally out of your control.

Hang in there.

Helen said...

So sad for you. Thinking of you both, hope we can still meet tomorrow if you are feeling up to it.

H

Ingrid said...

So sorry to hear about this! Thinking about you and your family as you process and grieve your loss. Thanks for being willing to share with those of us following your blog. I am so glad that you were able to find out that your run was not the cause and not something for feel guilty for.

Jrahn said...

Oh, Tracy. We heart aches for you. You are in my prayers.

I am so glad that you are not blaming yourself, as you absolutely had nothing to do with this. Please don't ever go down that road.

I hope that you and SR are able to grow in intimacy through this difficult time. Hang onto one another – you're one another's best source of comfort.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry to hear this news. Having gone through this experience twice myself, I can relate. Despite miscarriage being common, it doesn't make it any more shocking or devastating when you are the one going through it. It can be a long road - do what you need to do in order to take care of yourself and your family right now, that is the only thing that really matters.
- Shannon in KS

Lisa said...

I am so sorry about your miscarriage! Take care of yourself and I am glad you are not beating yourself up about it. I have never had a miscarriage, but after having a healthy child, I can imagine how it would feel to lose a wanted baby.

Angie Bishop said...

I am so very sorry for you loss :( I have had a MC and it was hard. Take good care and be kind to yourself. Cherish what you have, grieve for your loss, and be hopeful for the future.
So glad you have SR to support you.

wildknits said...

Sorry for your loss. Like many women I have had my experience with miscarriage (albeit 24 or so years ago).

It is hard to go through, but being able to talk about the experience helps. Thanks for being willing to share.

Layna (aka Willow) said...

SLG, so sorry to read this news. It's great, though, that you are open to writing about your experiences with it, b/c it's something that few women (or men) talk openly about, and yet is very common.

Although I've never miscarried, I can imagine how difficult it is and I can completely appreciate the temptation to feel somehow responsible. Best wishes over the next few weeks and months.

Kirsten said...

I'm really sorry that you have to go through all these emotions and all the stress about blaming your self.

Hopefully you will realize that it was better that it happened now and not when you were 6 months pregnant or having a baby with some birth deficiancy.

Keep going and I wish for you to see some blue lines when you are ready for it!

sea legs girl said...

These comments are so thoughtful and so meaningful to us. I am so glad I was able to write about the experience here and receive such wonderful support.

As those of you know who have been through it, there are moments I forget about it and moments I still get down on myself, but we both know we'll get through this fine and that there are many wonderful things in life to come.

Thank you so much to everyone for taking the time to write.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear this. At least you know the run had nothing to do with it - I had a similar experience a few months ago, and had a miscarriage a few days after an 18 hour adventure race. They did not determine when the fetus died, and even knowing the facts, it is hard not to blame the race. I am 6 weeks pregnant again, and chose to not race a 50 miler last weekend. The doctors insist that I need to reduce my mileage by 50% at least for the first trimester - I'm not sure about that! Anyway, the whole process is devastating, but you will come through it. You are not alone - lots of us have gone through this! Keep on running (and run some miles for me!)

clea said...

So sorry for your loss. When I became pregnant that 1 in 3 pregnancies don't make it stat was constantly on my mind. When you stop and think about it, a healthy baby really is a miracle. Best wishes on your road to healing.

Anonymous said...

SLG... I'm so sorry for your loss. I read your blog only occasionally, and I disagree with you a lot - but a miscarriage is a terrible thing to go through and I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

I lost a baby last year late in the 2nd trimester and was absolutely devastated. Give yourself time to heal emotionally as well as physically, don't underestimate the toll this can take on you!

mmmonyka said...

I am sorry to hear this and glad you have your family near you. Big hug to you and SR.

Joy Joy said...

So sorry for the loss of your little one. My heart goes out to your family today.

My best.

黃信梅 said...

人生中最好的禮物就是屬於自己的一部份............................................................

Kate said...

very sorry for your loss. you are doing a service to others to share your pain openly. miscarriage is a subject all to shrouded in secrecy and mystery, which makes the pain all the harder to bear, I'm sure.

Anonymous said...

Kæreste Tracy.

Det gør mig meget ked af det at læse din blog idag. Jeg føler med jer begge og ord er for fattige. I er i mine dybeste tanker og jeg glæder mig til at se og tale med dig.

Mange tanker og kærlige hilsener

Henriette

Michelle Simmons said...

I'm so sorry you had to go through that. I went through a similar experience earlier this year... Miscarried the day after a bike ride and of course I wondered if the bike ride did it but (according to my hcg numbrs) it had stopped growing weeks prior so that helped alleviate some of the guilt. Life goes on, but you don't forget. Miscarriages suck.

cldevall said...

SLG, our thoughts are with your family. Such devastating news. Take good care of yourself.