6 Weeks A Mom: The Story Of My Miscarriage
By Brianna Seagraves
I’ve tried to write about this for over a year now. But every time I got ready to do so, the words wouldn’t come. It seems that this ride from Brooklyn to Harlem has sparked the urge yet again. The whole story starts with coffee. I drink it every day. One morning I grabbed my usual cup but didn’t finish it. The taste was a bit off and I figured the culprits were a few lame beans that had gotten into the mix. The next day I was so busy with work I didn’t get past the third sip. The following days were similar until I went to grab an afternoon pick me up, took one sip and said, “I don’t want this, at all.” Was my love of and mild addiction to this stimulant finally subsiding? With no real explanation, I continued the work day, hoping my taste buds would even out eventually. Not long after, I started to notice everything I encountered had “a smell.” More specifically, everything smelled bad to me. It wasn’t until a week later, while brushing my teeth, that I hurled and raised my head from the toilet with the WTF face. This is not the point where I chose to take a pregnancy test. With no prior experiences to compare this to I brushed it off. It was only after I mentioned my nausea and off feeling for the past few days to a friend that she convinced me to purchase one.
Shortly before heading out the door to an event a few days later, I popped open my pregnancy test double pack. Sure enough, both tests confirmed I still loved coffee and I had a mini bun in my oven. Surprise! While, I wasn’t expecting that outcome, I was quite elated that I could even get pregnant (I never had a scare or a close call before). As I thought about this new information the next morning on my commute, a sensation of happiness lingered over me like a halo. I floated to work and all was well until I started to feel a few cramps. The discomfort was somewhat familiar, but I could only imagine it was my body adjusting to the new shape it was preparing to take. As each hour passed in that day, I felt more cramping and a little discomfort in addition to nausea. After tossing out a few “asking for a friend” questions to some of my homegirls, panic began to creep in. I googled every symptom and sentence I could think of on the matter and started making calls to clinics for short notice visits. Being in between GYN’s made the task even more aggravating. From what I was finding and a good guess from one of the nurses on the phone, my discomfort was the beginnings of a word I refused to say out loud.
At this point, I reached for my phone and dialed my future baby daddy to let him know what was going on. It was the hardest and most adult conversation. I had to tell him what we made happen and follow that with what I thought biology was stepping in to make happen. My appointment wasn’t until Friday but it was Tuesday afternoon so I had to spend the next three days going through a roller coaster of emotions I still can’t even make sense of. I do remember clearly at one point when my insides had so much activity going on that I rubbed my hand over my abdomen and calmly told myself repeatedly that all was going to be well and I wanted this baby.
Friday came. I chose to go to the doctor alone but my BFF refused, even though she was scheduled to fly out of town that evening. During my examination, the technician asked me if I had a history of fibroids. I said no and asked her why. She commented that she was just asking and the doctor would let me know the test results. Let’s fast forward here to me gathering my stuff and nonchalantly walking out of the hospital. I said little, called my future baby daddy and left him a message. He called back. In that moment and subsequently every one that followed, I proclaimed “Nope, not pregnant. It’s fine” all the while not realizing that what I was doing was wrapping myself in a blanket of language that would provide me with enough comfort and shelter to avoid any further questioning. What I learned during that ordeal was that I definitely wanted children. Mentally, once you know you have something real and it turns out you actually don’t anymore it has a much deeper effect on you than I imagined. I cried for the next four weeks.
What occurred is relatively common and can happen to anyone but is not often talked about outside of quiet confidential conversations. There’s an egg, it’s fertilized and implanted and then for some unknown reason at any stage, your body decides not to continue with the process. I scheduled an appointment with a new OB-GYN to follow up on my situation and check things out further. I explained to her about my early stage miscarriage and the suggestion to have a fibroid checked out. It just so happens that the reason my body didn’t continue the pregnancy process was due to a sizeable fibroid. One so large, in fact, that it was bigger than my uterus. The doctor recommended I have it removed eventually but not to wait too long because there was no way to gauge whether or not it would grow bigger. More specifically, if I waited, it would be highly likely that I would miscarry every time I became pregnant and eventually be unable to have children at all. You think it was hard to read that? Imagine getting this news the day before your birthday. Yup, that happened. Talk about beginning your personal year with a bang. The news was unbelievable. Where did this thing come from, especially since I had no symptoms of it being in my body? It wasn’t supposed to be like this. I didn’t expect to find that plus sign on those pee sticks only to then be told that there would be a bundle in my future, but no joy attached.
In writing this I am finally coming clean to a few friends about how I discovered this abnormal growth. I had no symptoms or warning signs before the miscarriage. Thankfully, the good Lord and timing were on my side because had I never shunned my coffee or become so acquainted with the inside of my commode, I would still be partying on the outside while baking a large fibrous mass of tissue on the inside. Don’t get me wrong, I was thanking sweet baby Jesus that I finally knew about this mass, but I was faking normalcy on the outside. I wanted the positives to carry away the sadness I felt thinking about the loss. I had to let go of being strong or acting like it all was no big deal. I was hurt and needed to cry and talk to my mom and be cuddled by my man and cry some more. I had to address the nagging thoughts of doubt and fear in my head. For me, I had to play out in my mind what my life would have been like with a baby. Generating thoughts of my mom style, family interactions and our lifestyle helped me cope. I even had an imaginary discussion with my baby daddy about what the name should be. We decided, boy or girl, it would be Hunter. After naming the would-be baby, it was time for me to move forward. I had to prepare for surgery and recovery.
After a successful surgery, I found myself shying away from and eventually avoiding interactions with babies. I couldn’t look at them or touch them or be around them; it was too painful a reminder of what I didn’t have. Apologies go out to one of my friends whose adorable offspring I could only manage to see via Snapchat and Instagram, even though she lives close to me. It felt like the gene – to make goo goo eyes at babies and proclaim “I want one!” – had extinguished itself. I didn’t feel that way anymore. My friends were posting photos and sending out mass text messages about their new bundles and buns in the ovens, and though I was happily excited for them it was grossly masked by sadness and more thoughts like why not me. Similar apologies to another friend who told me she was expecting and soon after I stopped checking in on her progress and growing baby bump. It was a terrible time and I’ve since reprimanded myself for being “that friend” to both of those women. It wasn’t fair to them and I sincerely apologize. I was unintentionally being an a–hole whether they know it or not.
The memory and pain of what I went through still nags at me from time to time. Certain moments or songs catch me in a place of contemplation and sorrow mixed with a bit of longing and a dash of FOMO. Thanks James Blake. Thanks Drake. I guess I understand better now why people drink and party to excess. They want to escape gnawing pain that pops up without warning like a zit. A blemish coming forward in your happy moment that eventually becomes the only thing you can think about as it stares back at you, taunting you to deal with it. It’s taken me so long to write about this because of sheer avoidance. Letting outside people know what was really behind my laughter, Instagram posts and fun social self is, well, real intimacy. The kind that is reserved for my love but is so tangled in hurt, embarrassment and no desire to talk about it, that even he didn’t know about the back room in my mind where these storied emotion were locked in.
Recently, I realized I scheduled my surgery close to what would have been my due date. Funny how that happened. Looking back, I hope I never have to go through that experience again. Having to deal with it once was painful and awkward enough. I can’t imagine how the women and men who have had to deal with this multiple times carry on. They are much stronger than I think I could ever be. To this day, I question why I am still bothered by it. I am healthy and now able to have kids whenever I’m ready to do so. In my mind I already have a little girl. It’s just a matter of time before my partner and I have two more on the way that we will be responsible for growing into fully formed adults.
Brianna is a fashion girl, actor and writer making fetch happen everyday with her witty commentary. From being a content writer to a script editor, she keeps up with the hustle and flow. Brianna currently lives in New York.