In our new Realtalk series, we're sharing personal stories about fertility and family planning. We hope they offer support and inspire honest conversation about an incredibly tough topic.
When I first found out I was pregnant, it was an overwhelming — exciting but scary — moment. I had been on birth control, and I simply stared at the test in disbelief.
But after my husband and I got over the initial shock of this little surprise, we started breaking the news to our closest friends. I know they say you should wait until 12 weeks before you tell people. But we were excited, both young and healthy, and we thought nothing would happen.
In December 2014, I scheduled our first, eight-week ultrasound. I remember looking up the statistics for miscarriages: one in four pregnancies, although the number for women my age, 25, was significantly less. But as we got closer to the appointment, the more anxious I became. I can’t tell you what it was, but those miscarriage stats kept creeping back into my head.
At the appointment, when we got to the ultrasound portion, the doctor pulled over her dinky little machine and got the wand in place. Then she just went quiet.
Looking back now, this moment still feels like a hazy dream. It seemed to last forever. “I don’t see anything,” she finally said. She kept looking — and still nothing. She explained that she saw the gestational sac, the yolk sac, and some other things, but no heartbeat.
She sent me for blood tests to confirm what she thought the ultrasounds were showing, and said we would go from there.
Afterward, my husband and I, in shock, sat down and tried to process everything. He reassured me that we would try again, and that everything would work out. I just remember hearing him but not quite taking it in.
That night was one of the hardest of my life. I made the dreaded phone calls to my mother, mother-in-law, and all my friends that I had told about the pregnancy, who had been anxiously awaiting my ultrasound pictures. Those friends and family members were the perfect people to talk to in that moment: Three of them had had miscarriages, and my mother-in-law went through the same type of miscarriage as me.
While waiting for those results over the next few days, I was in a zombie-like state. I remember lying awake at night, staring at the ceiling, holding my belly, just wondering why.
Then we received the results, and they showed that my blood levels were rising like they should in a normal pregnancy. So my doctor sent us for clearer ultrasound pictures. Afterward, she informed us that it was what she had expected from the beginning: I had suffered what's called a "missed miscarriage," in which the baby stops developing but the body doesn’t recognize a problem and continues the pregnancy process.