It’s estimated that one in five families experience the pain of miscarriage. WNBC traffic reporter Megan Meany — who is a part of that statistic —shares her personal story here as a way to encourage other women to speak up and seek support for their loss.
I had my first miscarriage four years ago. We were trying for our first child. I got pregnant easily and then — wham! — at about six weeks I started bleeding. What a shock that was. I come from a long line of fertile women. I had always loved kids and motherhood was a no-brainer for me. I thought, when I want to have a baby, I’ll have one!
Miscarriage, on the other hand, was a thought that never crossed my mind. But I realized how common they were (once I had one). So, I tried again. The second time I made it to eight weeks only to find out the baby had no heartbeat. This one was going to require a D and C (dilation and curettage) procedure at the hospital. I felt really crushed that it happened twice. After some time to heal — both physically and mentally — we tried again and with great success. Nine months later my son was born, complication-free.
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Kellen is nearly 4 now and I want to give him a sibling and also experience the joy of holding a baby again. So, we had been back on the “lets get pregnant” bandwagon for a year or so and that’s when the third — and most crushing — miscarriage happened. I was 16 weeks pregnant and went in for an amniocentesis (a test to determine if a baby has Down syndrome or other chromosomal abnormalities).
I knew something was wrong when the nurse quickly left the room to talk to the doctor. When they returned they delivered the bad news: The routine ultrasound they did before sticking the needle in revealed that the baby — again — had no heartbeat.
I felt like the floor had dropped out from underneath me. AGAIN? I thought. And this far along? I had weeks of positive checkups and coveted ultrasound pictures. This was not happening, I thought. Though my other miscarriages were emotionally draining, this one was more traumatic. I had announced my pregnancy, I was showing, I was in maternity clothes, my son knew a sibling was on the way — this was raw heartache. There was guilt, too. I wondered if I had caused this? I colored my hair. I had the occasional glass of wine. I exercised and worked a lot — could that have been why? No, not likely. Although, stress can be a factor in miscarriage, it can’t be proven.
I took a week off from work and cried and rested and eventually faced the world again (still with a swollen belly) and lots of emotions. There were very few people who were comfortable to ask me how I felt or about what I went through. But there were a select few who were sensitive and they were a great comfort.
This last miscarriage forced me to take a closer look at my medical history. I wanted to see if there was anything that might be contributing to these miscarriages (as I had experienced other “chemical pregnancies” that were very early but nonetheless — more losses). I felt my general ob-gyn was not showing enough concern for this pattern, so I found a fertility specialist who is doing a workup on me right now.
In most cases, miscarriage is bad luck — it’s chromosomes that aren’t a good match and God takes care of the problem. But there are cases when miscarriage can be prevented: blood clotting issues, thyroid problems, diet and other diagnoses are out there. I figured, why not check everything before trying again — knowledge is power.
All of these experiences brought me to the Internet, and that’s where I stumbled on the Hygeia Foundation and the support groups they offer for women who are suffering a perinatal loss. I thought doing a story on this subject would be good therapy for me and it has been. I hope this helps some of you who are out there and have never shared your pain about miscarriage. It’s a funny thing — many of our friends and family aren’t comfortable talking about this subject because death isn’t dinner table conversation. But we can talk about it — to each other — I am here and I’ve got big ears! Sending anyone who needs it an electronic hug.