Shandey Bailey's Story

Let’s talk about miscarriage. My husband and I were 27 when we first got pregnant. We were traveling cross-country months into the pandemic with our Goldendoodle, George, to see family in Montana and Washington. As many say, I knew I was pregnant since something seemed off, but I wanted to wait to take the pregnancy test until we got home from our travels. When we arrived back at our home on a Sunday afternoon, to no surprise, the pregnancy test I took was PINK with a very evident positive sign. 

I knew I wanted to be a mom, so a wave of excitement came over me.

At this point in our marriage, my husband and I weren’t ready yet – but I knew I wanted to be a mom, so a wave of excitement came over me. Wow – this was finally happening for us! We had been married for 6 months and felt the pressure from family and friends to start our family. I instantly started Googling: What to do if you’re pregnant? What to avoid if pregnant? Can I eat soft cheese? What happens if I eat a turkey sandwich while pregnant? - and the list went on. Like with most Google results, the answers were different and based on whichever article you clicked, so I left it to the professionals to answer my questions. 

Monday morning before work, I called my doctor and scheduled the 8-week scan to confirm a viable fetus. They predicted I was around 7 weeks, so fortunately, I only had to wait about 1 week before my appointment. The pandemic was still in full swing, so my husband wasn’t allowed to go into the doctor’s office with me. I was walking into the ultrasound tech room, not sure what to think, ALONE. I sat down as they rubbed the jelly on my belly and held my breath – beep, beep, beep – there was a heartbeat! Baby was measuring a few days short of where it should be, but the heartbeat looked good. The doctor instructed me to go home and wait another 4 weeks before I returned for another ultrasound. 

When week 9 rolled around, I began feeling a bit off. It’s a weird feeling knowing you have a baby inside of you, but at this point in a pregnancy, you’re still so early on you can’t feel the baby or see if it’s growing, you’re simply just waiting. But I knew something seemed off – don’t attempt to self diagnose with Google. In fact, my direct family member had bleeding in both of her pregnancies and had two healthy babies – that is how common bleeding during pregnancy can be. I couldn’t help but Google the symptoms, which led to a rush of all sorts of emotions. My doctor got me in quickly and helped put my mind at ease by letting me know my baby’s heartbeat was still there.

A week or so later, as the bleeding continued for days, I was in the shower and fainted from blood loss. FAINTED. I had never fainted before in my life – and here I was, fainting from a healthy baby due to blood loss. I’ll never forget my husband yelling at me, “Do I need to call 911?” But since the doctor felt confident that this was probably just implantation bleeding and that our baby still had a healthy heartbeat I continued with the rest of my day – by eating a sandwich (with no turkey meat since my doctor recommended this to avoid listeria).

Following dinner that night, I experienced the worst pain I’d ever felt - think menstrual cramps on steroids. My bleeding continued but seemed to pick up. I tried to take medication but couldn’t keep it down. I Googled again, – What does this mean? Am I losing my baby? Unfortunately, a couple of hours later, I fully passed the baby. My doctor guided me through what to do to feel better – Advil, water, etc., but I couldn’t go into the office for two more days to confirm the baby was no longer alive. Two days later, they confirmed there was no longer a heartbeat and that they would send my scans to be reviewed to ensure I didn’t need D&C surgery to pass the rest of the tissue.

Recovering from a loss of a baby that you barely got to bond with is hard, especially when friends around you are having babies or someone famous just announced a pregnancy. Although this pregnancy was unexpected, after the miscarriage, I’d never felt more alone or less deserving of something. But that’s not why I’m writing this blog post – I’m writing this blog post to let readers who have had or may have a similar experience understand that you are not alone. In fact, my doctor had told me I wouldn’t be able to see a fertility specialist until I’ve had 3 miscarriages – that’s how common they are.

Today, 2 years later, I have a one-year-old daughter who is the absolute light of my life and wouldn’t have been here had I not gone through this.

According to March of Dimes, 15% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, with most happening before 12 weeks. From the time of my lost baby (August 2020) to now, I’ve seen famous people, friends, and family all announce that they’ve been through a loss as well. It’s not easy, but you are not alone. And today, 2 years later, I have a 1-year-old daughter who is the absolute light of my life and wouldn’t have been here had I not gone through this.

Subscribe to the Juno newsletter to receive pregnancy tips, special offers, updates from our community, and more!

*This blog post was sponsored by Juno Diagnostics
September 29, 2022 — Stephanie McClintock