This post discusses miscarriage and pregnancy loss, and may be triggering for some readers.
On some level, I 'knew' the risks that came with early pregnancy. I 'knew' why the 12-week wait was a societal norm, and I 'knew' women close to me who had suffered an early pregnancy loss.
In reality, though, I knew nothing.
At least, nothing that would be of any help to me when I became one of the 'one in four women' who suffer an early pregnancy loss.
And when it came to the topic of a 'missed miscarriage', I had absolutely no idea that there was such a thing; not until it became my reality.
Watch: The comments women receive after a miscarriage. Post continues after video.
"I can’t see a heartbeat."
No amount of rational thinking or emotional numbing can prepare you for when the worst-case scenario actually happens.
But we had heard the heartbeat - less than a week ago, and another two weeks before that.
We had actually seen it fluttering on the screen.
But I’ve had no other symptoms.
"...Are you sure?"
I did not know that roughly three per cent of miscarriages are considered a 'missed miscarriage' or a 'silent miscarriage' – meaning that the mother does not experience any of the usual symptomology.
And while nothing could have prepared me for the shock in that dimly lit ultrasound room, here are some things I wish I had known.
1. There are no warning signs.
Naively, I had thought that miscarriages were always foreshadowed by some pretty explicit symptoms, be it heavy bleeding, lower back pain, or cramping.
And just as naively, I had thought that in the absence of these symptoms; I had nothing to worry about.
2. You should probably listen to your gut feeling.
In the case of missed miscarriage, most women do not find out that they have lost their baby until they’re in for their next ultrasound.
Had I not gone in for a 'reassurance scan' a week after visiting my obstetrician, it’s more than likely that we would not have found out until the upcoming 12-week scan that our baby had died just weeks earlier.
That’s two more weeks of thinking everything was okay, two more weeks counting down to the end-of-trimester 'safe zone,' two more weeks of getting excited about the future. And while part of me still wishes I could have held onto two more precious weeks of thinking everything was okay, I know that listening to my gut that time was the right decision – even if it meant hearing the worst possible news.