“I’m sorry, but you’ve had had a miscarriage.”

The words spoken by the ER doctor were said gently, but the news he delivered came as a devastating blow.

My second pregnancy ended at nine weeks and with intense physical and emotional pain. Ironically, that week was the first time since seeing the two pink lines on the pregnancy test that I had allowed myself to actually start hoping and allowing myself to get excited about being pregnant.  

infertility warrior audrey ford and her husband

By dinner, I knew something was off. By 10 pm, I knew it was definitely not good, and by 2 am I was in so much pain I couldn’t speak or move. Please let me keep this baby, I repeated over and over in my mind and aloud.

Hours later, the local ER doctor confirmed what I had feared since day one of finding out I was pregnant: My baby was gone.

In the months after that miscarriage, I attended the usual checkups at the doctor and received the (meant to be) comforting words from everyone.

“This happens all the time, especially with the first.”

“You’ll get pregnant again really soon after.”

“My ____ had a miscarriage, and then got pregnant just fine.”

I had no reason to believe otherwise, but after five months of trying (unsuccessfully) to conceive again and three medicated cycles, I knew something was wrong.

Over the next few months, I found myself knee-deep in the draining and emotional process of researching fertility clinics, consulting insurance (what a nightmare), and undergoing very invasive tests. Eventually, I was given a diagnosis of polyps as well as a genetic blood disorder. My next steps of treatment would include surgery followed by medicated cycles and IUI. Though I was relieved to get answers, I was so frustrated that something others seemed to do so easily was so hard for me.

infertility warrior audrey ford on top of mt princeton

I had never considered what it would be like to struggle to get pregnant, and now, the rollercoaster of emotions on a daily (or hourly) basis still catches me off-guard. I struggle to have both hope and deal with the reality that things don’t always happen as I think they should. I cry when it seems like everyone is announcing their pregnancies. I feel ashamed at the jealousy over the fact that some people conceive purely by accident. I lose sleep counting the months that are slipping away as I wait on tests and surgeries that can only be done on certain days during a cycle.

Now that the infertility world is also my world, I’ve gained perspective on things I had never had to understand before. My hope in sharing is that other women like me won’t feel so alone and that those supporting them can start to understand our unique heartache. Below are three of the many things I think everyone should understand when it comes to miscarriage and infertility.

Ignorance Isn’t Bliss

My husband and I waited six years to even start trying to have a baby. Honestly, I was pretty naive on all things conceiving prior to my miscarriage. I didn’t even know how to count the days of my cycle or what ovulation was.  

I had always assumed that when we wanted it to happen, it would happen. We’d start trying at age twenty-nine and a half, conceive by thirty, and be right on track to have three kiddos by age thirty-four. Easy peasy.

What I WISH I would have known is that pregnancy isn’t a guarantee. A fertility test may have given us a reason to start trying sooner or be more proactive in fixing the problem. There’s no going back now, but I do wish someone would have encouraged me to make sure that waiting so long was a smart move.

Support ISN’T…

Be the expert in you.

Take the Quiz

There’s support and then there’s…not. I’ve learned that most people who haven’t experienced miscarriage or infertility really have no clue what helpful things to say. (To be fair, I didn’t either before experiencing it myself.)

Sentiments like “everything happens for a reason” or “at least you’re young / can try again / know you can get pregnant” feel like someone is glossing right over the fact that a baby, my baby, died. Those phrases make me feel ashamed. What is so wrong with me that I feel completely devastated and sad?

I’ve found the best support to be when someone gives me an authentic hug, sits with me, asks questions about what I’m dealing with, and then gives me room to just talk. It’s not giving me answers, positive quotes, or distancing themselves from me.

Being “both, and”

It’s the reality I live in, being both sad and hopeful. I grieve when a friend announces her pregnancy and I’m also excited for her. I doubt that I’ll ever actually conceive, carry, and deliver my own baby and I’m optimistic that the treatments will work.

It’s freeing to realize that it doesn’t have to be black or white. “Both, and” allows me to survive this rollercoaster of grief. It gives me the strength to celebrate a good day and space to cry my eyes out on others.

Infertility is a journey I wish on no one. But I do know that even if it’s something I never would have chosen for myself, I can choose to have hope, strengthen my marriage, develop deep friendships with my sisters that fight the same battle, and learn the value of true compassion and empathy for others while I’m here.

More than anything, my heart goes out to others going through their own journey with miscarriage or infertility. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever faced and difficult to truly understand unless you’ve been there. Every woman surviving one more day of hope, grief, and waiting is such an inspiration to me. So, if that’s you, know I’m right there with you. Whether it’s been a day of tears or a day you felt brave enough to smile and laugh, I am so honored by the way you fight.

infertility warrior audrey ford watching the sun set

Audrey Ford loves to hike, write, read and spend every minute she can outdoors. She works in social media marketing and loves living in beautiful Denver, CO with her husband. She shares perspectives on her story, encouragement, and other life topics on Instagram at @shemountaineers.