Recurrent miscarriage and anxiety

Her blood pressure was high- she told me soon after we started her annual visit.

“I just get so nervous at doctors offices…especially the OBGYN.”

I explained to her it’s very common- there’s even a name for it “White Coat Syndrome.” She seemed relieved. We talked of ways to make sure her general blood pressure was normal outside my office- like at her primary care provider or at-home monitoring. She went on to tell me she has been feeling anxious lately. She’s always had anxiety but the past few months it has been ramped up- every since her miscarriage.

Reviewing her OB history she told me she had an unplanned pregnancy a few months ago and a few days later miscarried. The experience plunged her into a deep anxiety. She had a family member announce her unplanned pregnancy around that time too, which added to her complex emotions. We launched into a conversation about loss. She has had multiple miscarriages and two living children. Her recent miscarriage made her realize she how she in a way would want another child but doesn’t think she could handle the anxiety behind the risk of miscarriage. We were able to come up with a reliable birth control plan that would take away that anxiety. “It made me realize I guess I should be happy with the two children I have.” I understood her thinking, but wanted to shout, No! You can want more children! You deserve to go through a pregnancy without anxiety! I instead comforted her how I could. We side tracked a bit and talked of her family member who announced her pregnancy early, about how difficult it can be to watch others go through pregnancy without any obvious worry, without the real threat of miscarriage and loss hanging over her head. She was tearful at times and I think it felt good for her to say the words and feel validated.

At the end of the visit, she looked at me, tears still in her eye. “Have you gone through something like this, “ she asked hesitantly.

“I had a baby last year and she died after birth,” I told her. “I’ve never miscarried before. It’s a different kind of loss, I know, but I do know what it’s like to have the same feelings you do.” We talked a little more about loss and watching others seemingly easy pregnancies. She was good to me- expressed her sincere condolences and was very sweet. But what I appreciated most was the gratitude in her eyes. I could tell she just felt so thankful to have someone who understood.

Have you been on the other side of things- able to be the comforter, showing understanding?

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11 thoughts on “Recurrent miscarriage and anxiety

  1. I’m glad you were able to provide her with comfort and understanding. As more people know our story, I have started receiving phone calls from people going through a miscarriage asking to hear the details and how I chose which procedure to have. I figure if there is one good thing about what we’ve been through, it is helping others know they are not alone.

    • yes- I totally hate “looking at the bright side” which is how some people look at this- the “at least you are able to provide really good care to your patients who have loss.” BUT as someone who has lost big time, you totally get it! It’s not the bright side, it’s taking what we have learned and trying to help others- it the way we may have been helped (or wish we had). giving our losses some additional meaning. I”m glad others can find comfort in you too.

  2. When I went to the Doctor last November suspecting I was having my 3rd miscarriage I was obviously pretty upset. My Dr. was pretty quiet and I kept wondering why she wasn’t jumping in and saying anything. When I finished explaining everything through tears she hesitated again and then said to me “I don’t normally share personal stories, but I had 4 miscarriages before my first child was born…and I now have 6 children!” It made me feel so much better! Just like you would have helped your patient.

    • I”m happy she shared with you! It’s so hard to know when to share and when not to- knowing how I will feel, how my patients will feel. We are supposed to keep a professional distance, but sometimes its just right and human to share, the kind thing. I”m glad she shared and I”m glad it helped you- though I am sorry to hear of your multiple losses.

  3. Pingback: Sharing our pain / Olive trees | baby boy blue

  4. Lovely you were able to provide her with comfort and understanding. People who haven’t suffered such a loss can be kind and empathetic, but the true understanding can come only from those who have had similar losses. It is important to stand together and support each other where we can xxx

  5. I hope to be a friend to others in their grief. Because we all know how real losing a child is! I haven’t yet been on that side of it, but I hope that I can be a support and comfort to someone eventually since that to me, in a way, gives value to the loss of my babies.

    • I think blogging about your experience, you are a virtual friend to many. And there will be a time- because there always is- when a friend in grief will cross your path. And you, with your painful knowledge of the process, will be such a comfort.

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