This is about one author's personal, anecdotal experience and should not substitute medical advice. If you're having health concerns of any kind, we urge you to speak to a healthcare professional.
I never underestimate the power of a woman's intuition. It was the first day of the Safer At Home order amidst COVID-19. At this point, the virus was rapidly spreading, and taking preventative measures was of utter importance in my household (we're those people who'll sanitize the container of sanitizing wipes). My husband had stepped out to get the mail (gloved, masked, and equipped with sanitizing wipes), when my intuition kicked in: I think I'm pregnant.
I had no signs or symptoms, only an inkling that something was occurring in my body. I quickly took a pregnancy test in the three minutes I had to spare. There it was, staring at me blank in the face: two distinct lines, confirming my intuition was spot-on. As it stands, there's already a slew of things pregnant women have to be worried about (high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, and listeria, to name a few). Throw a pandemic on top and it's officially the least desirable time to find out you're pregnant. My first thought after seeing the two lines? Shit. How am I going to carry a baby with a deadly virus floating around? I began to cry, but it was unknown if my tears stemmed from happiness or regret. That feeling of anxiety was met with guilt almost immediately. How dare I take this precious moment and turn it into anything other than joy? I should be grateful I was able to get pregnant naturally, given that 6.1 million women in the U.S. struggle with infertility issues.
My husband walked back inside and I quickly held up the positive pregnancy test. It's inexplicable, really, the feeling I got hugging him after finding out we created something together. Immediately, any feeling of fear or anxiety I had subsided. We were going to get through this together. We stayed up late that night taking turns guessing what the sex would be, giggling at potential names, and discussing financials and potentially moving. It's amazing how one little test can change the entire course of your life.
I wasn't set to have my first prenatal visit until I was eight weeks along, and judging by my calculations, I was around four weeks when I got the positive test. As the weeks passed I tried not to watch the news—which showed terrifying images of overcrowded hospitals along with the increasing number of COVID-19-related daily deaths. I did everything I could to be good to my body, even during such a stressful time when resources were limited. But, if I'm being honest with myself, I struggled emotionally during those few weeks, going back and forth with feelings of not wanting to be pregnant during this time, then guilt, and back again.
I had yet to feel any pregnancy symptoms after hitting eight weeks, but I didn't take this to mean anything. Then, one morning, a day before I was set to visit my doctor, my morning trip to the bathroom came with spotting. I ran to my husband and began bawling, knowing that this could be the onset of a miscarriage. But I was also battling feelings of not wanting to be pregnant in the first place. Needless to say, I was on a roller coaster of emotions. I called my doctor, who told me spotting was normal and to stick to my appointment the following day.
As that day went on, though, I saw more blood. I couldn't help but feel like I was losing a little bit of what would have been my baby after each bathroom visit. I'll save you the gory details and just say I knew something wasn't right (it's that intuition again). I rang my doctor's office again (at the risk of sounding like a hormonal pregnant woman) and begged to be seen that day. They obliged, and thirty minutes later I was staring at an ultrasound machine that showed no heartbeat. "I'm concerned this is a miscarriage," my doctor said through her mask. I couldn't tell you anything she said after that. My brain only held on to that dreaded word: miscarriage. After doing some blood-work and crying to my doctor (PSA: it's very uncomfortable crying through a face mask), I got in my car, took off my gloves and mask, and the tears came pouring. I would have loved this baby no matter when I carried it, pandemic or not. I kept thinking I was being punished for my initial feeling of doubt. Maybe I deserved this for not feeling ecstasy the second I saw those two lines show up.
You never think a miscarriage is something that can happen to you, until it does.
To come to terms with the fact that you're pregnant, get excited about it, and then have it taken away is nothing short of cruel. My miscarriage came as a complete and utter shock—I've been healthy all of my life and have never experienced fertility issues in the past. I have spent hours comforting friends who have gone through this before, but never did I think I would be in the same position. You never think a miscarriage is something that can happen to you, until it does. It doesn't discriminate against age or health. It can happen to anyone. And, they're tragically common, with 10 to 25% of all clinically recognized pregnancies resulting in loss. It took me a few weeks to come to terms with the fact that I was now a part of that statistic.
It's ironic during a time we were being ordered to quarantine, I was already feeling isolated. A miscarriage brings about feelings of loneliness regardless of when it occurs, but when coupled with a pandemic (where you're required to be home-bound, unable to distract yourself with a movie night here, a girls night there), the feelings multiply and you're stuck with your own grueling thoughts. I experienced feelings of failure even though I know it's not my fault. My body failed to perform how it "should," I failed to see this pregnancy through, I failed my husband—the works.
Thankfully, I have a strong support system and was able to find consolation in the notion this truly wasn't the right time for me. In a way, I'm thankful my miscarriage occurred during such a circumstance, for it gave me my silver lining, an answer to my inevitable question of, Why did this happen? And, the fact that many women experience a miscarriage (my own doctor included, I came to find out) made me feel like I'm not alone. If you've gone through a miscarriage, are going through one, or will eventually have one, know that you, too, are not alone.