Guilt (or What Went Wrong)

I think it’s human nature for a mother to feel solely responsible for the miscarriage a child – we are the host, after all. But I never realized how all-consuming this guilt would feel. How many times I would repeat the words I’m sorry to my unborn baby, my husband, my son, our parents. I replay moments over and over in my head of things I could have done wrong, things I could have done better, or done with more heart.

The following is a non-exhaustive list of things I could have potentially done “wrong” during this pregnancy: 

  • Was exposed to CMV (Cytomegalovirus Infection – I do not recommend you google that) early on through work
  • Went on a few strenuous hikes during my first trimester
  • Ate eggs benedict
  • Lifted weights way heavier than a tissue box
  • Slept on my back
  • Started off heavier than I’d wanted to
  • Continued taking dessicated thyroid hormone at the advice of my naturopath
  • Ate poke (raw fish)
  • Ran
  • Was exposed to high levels of stress
  • Took hot showers and baths
  • Walked a pretty strenuous hilly neighborhood 5x/week
  • Got my feet massaged
  • Ate soft cheese
  • Hip thrusted while laying on my back
  • Sat on a cold floor cross-legged
  • Assisted as a doula for a hospital birth at 15 weeks pregnant
  • Got chiropractic adjustments from someone other than my trusted prenatal practitioner
  • Held a front plank for longer than 45 seconds in my second trimester

Some of these things seem a bit ridiculous, right? Every culture has something they believe to be unsafe for pregnant mamas. When I was pregnant with my son, I did most of the same, and had zero issues. The only reason I even think twice about any of these things now is because something went wrong somewhere along the way.

So many things on this list I personally would not consider to be causes of late miscarriage because my body was accustomed to a certain level of functioning, but for the sake of transparency and clarity, I thought I’d put as many things out there as I could.

I feel it important to let you know that when we went in for the ultrasound on Tuesday that told us there was no heartbeat, our doctor noted a few interesting things:

  1. My uterus was measuring large for 17.5 weeks,
  2. My baby was measuring small for 17.5 weeks,
  3. There seemed to be some physical abnormalities in the lower region of the baby, and
  4. The doctor believes some type of chromosomal abnormality to be the cause of miscarriage.

As much as it hurts (and even if I don’t always believe it myself), my personal belief is that some babies just aren’t meant for this world, and that it is Nature and natural selection that often makes the tough decision for us, because life wouldn’t have been fair for anyone if the child were born. The most heartbreaking part in our instance is that it happened so far along, when we really thought we were in the clear.

That said, allow me to clear up another thing for those concerned:

I can’t know anything for certain, but I truly don’t believe my chiropractic adjustment to have been the cause of my miscarriage. I can understand why someone might have been misled to believe that I might attribute the miscarriage to chiropractic by reading this post. But for clarity, let me say that I had been getting adjusted at least bi-weekly since even before I conceived with no issues.I have always been a huge advocate for chiro – especially during pregnancy – and was lucky enough to receive it all throughout my son’s. Honestly, I think it’s what allowed me to have such an easy pregnancy and labor with him. I was simply stating a series of events, and it happened to be that I stopped feeling baby after an adjustment. My regular prenatal chiropractor had been out for a few weeks, so I was seeing another chiropractor – whom I trust as well. Again, I don’t believe it to have caused any damage at all (women are in huge car accidents, have airbags implode on their uterus and baby is protected), but if you are concerned, you could speak with practitioners about whether they’re Webster technique certified. I plan to get regular adjustments throughout future pregnancies, as well as during my healing process, to continue honoring my body.

Our whole family – including my son – has benefited greatly from regular adjustments.

I think my doctor was onto something when he said he believed it to be a chromosomal abnormality. It’s so rare to have this late of a miscarriage, even with chromosome issues, but there was something different about that ultrasound. And I have to say that this pregnancy felt different from the beginning. I was much more internal and guarded with this baby – even at 17 weeks I hadn’t told my new employer, because it just didn’t seem right, somehow.

In all reality, I feel guilt about a lot of things I did this time, and there are things I will change next time I’m pregnant, knowing that I’m just another human being. Next time around, should I be so lucky, I plan to actually follow some dietary precautions. I hope to spend more time on stress-management and be assertive in my needs as a consumer.

But that’s the thing about loss. We never quite know all the answers, and we have to learn to be okay with unanswered questions. We have no control over these things.

So, to flip it, I’d like to end with a non-exhaustive list of things that I did RIGHT during this pregnancy: 

  • Danced every day holding my belly and sometimes my son’s hand, too
  • Told the baby all about her family – our quirks and strengths, even our downfalls
  • Waited until 13 weeks to tell anyone we were expecting
  • Ate healthy, nutritious meals
  • Started planning her birth team
  • Took naps with my son
  • Let Isaac talk to her
  • Walked and hiked with her every day
  • Told her I loved her every day

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