About > Allison’s Story > Miscarriage #1

Miscarriage #1 (SHOCK)

It was a Monday afternoon and my husband and I had just wrapped up a long weekend at the Paleo FX conference in Austin and had spent that morning at an entrepreneur’s workshop. Before heading home (we live ~1 hour outside of Austin), we went to one of our favorite restaurants in Austin, Elizabeth St Cafe. After our pork & shrimp crepe and chicken meatball pho, we were lingering on the front patio, deciding if we needed to run errands or just head straight home… when all of a sudden I felt something.

It was like a wave washed through me and dropped out of me. I looked at Brook and said, “I need to run to the bathroom,” confused about what was going on. When I got to the bathroom, I pulled down my jeans and they were soaked through with blood and when I sat on the toilet, blood rushed out of me. Still very confused, I tried to clean up as much as possible then headed out to find Brook.

“I think we need to find an urgent care,” I told him. I happened to have a dress in the trunk of the car so quickly changed into that. When we got to urgent care, I tried my best to explain what had happened and also asked for a spare pair of underwear.

Sitting on the exam table, I will never forget what the doctor told me that day. She looked me straight in the eye and said “you’re pregnant.” I burst into tears. Of course, this is what we’d been hoping, planning, trying for the past 5 months. But I also knew that all that blood was not a good sign. I was also confused as I’d just had a period 2 weeks prior.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t much else the urgent care could do for us, so we headed to the ER to figure out exactly what was going on. In the meantime, I continued to bleed and soak through pad after pad (barely secured by the extra large disposable undies the urgent care so kindly gave to me).

When we showed up at the ER, I remember having to answer questions about my pregnancy. Specifically, “how long have you been pregnant?” This question stung and I was unsure of how to answer it. I started out, “Well, I just found out I was pregnant a few hours ago?” But using the word pregnant to describe myself seemed misleading and inappropriate.

As part of my check in process, the nurse asked me my height and weight. I could not remember my height! Like, I could not even think what range of numbers would be appropriate for my height if I were to guess. I thought, I need an example and then maybe I can come up with my number. I was eventually able to remember my height (5’6”), but that few minutes of having no clue my height or what a normal height might be, is a pretty good indicator of my mental state throughout this whole ordeal.

While I was struggling to remember how tall I was, my husband ran to the Walmart across the street and bought me a pair of sweatpants, a t-shirt and a smaller pair of underwear (which still somehow managed to be twice the size I actually needed). I was glad to finally be out of my dress and to finally dispose of the disposable undies.

After a few hours in the ER waiting room, we were taken back and the nurse ran vitals and did some blood work. She took my HCG levels which indicated I was about 6 weeks along. This made sense given that exactly 6 weeks ago we had “tried” getting pregnant (it was my first time using an ovulation test to predict the best day to have sex and I had an acupuncture appointment that same day to really help things along). However, my recent period still did not make sense. Note: this part still confuses me, once pregnant, some bleeding at the time of your period can be normal, but I had experienced a full on period.

In addition to the frequent questions about my pregnancy (seriously, could people stop asking me about this pregnancy I knew nothing about up until a few hours ago!) the term “threatened miscarriage” was used a lot. I think the doctor had a guess of what was going on and was working off of a protocol. Either way, the frequent use of this term was not reassuring.

The next step was an ultrasound. The nurse kept saying, sometimes bleeding is normal. I knew the wave I had felt followed by the surge of blood (so much blood!) was not normal. So instead, I prayed that maybe I was pregnant with twins and on that ultrasound we’d see our one remaining future little baby. How funny would that story be, the day we found out we were pregnant?!

This is not what happened. The ultrasound revealed an empty uterus. No heartbeat, no signs of a baby. It was still early, but you would expect to see something. I was sent home and instructed to go back in to my obgyn to confirm that my HCG levels were indeed dropping. And they did.

This miscarriage left me heartbroken, even though we only “knew” we were pregnant for a few hours (and neither of us ever fully believed it). The grief would come and go in waves and was surely exacerbated by the plummeting hormone levels in my body.

It also left me hopeful. Miscarriage is common. We had gotten pregnant! We had used the ovulation test and it worked! We knew what to do! I have so many friends that struggle for years without even getting pregnant. I actually found it very encouraging and figured it was only a matter of time before we would be pregnant again.

What Helped Me

I got a cat!

Anyone who knows me or follows Prep Dish, knows that I am obsessed with my cat, Lucius Tiddlypus. While we were traveling for several months, he stayed with my mom and was quite fond of her cat Sheba, which made us realize that perhaps he would like a friend, but we weren’t in a rush to add another cat to our family. Brook’s rule was no more cats until baby, and while I know this is not the situation he’d had in mind, it was the right moment to ask ;).

I got on the local cat rescue website and found the cutest little gray cat, she looked like a mini version of LT. We named her Livia and from day one she was a firecracker. She brought lots of much needed laughter and love into our house just when we needed it. I find having animals around during times of grief so comforting. Both Livia and Lucius have been a huge source of comfort over the past year and half.

Allison - I got a cat!


Being able to share my experience with others was important in my healing. I have a group of women I meet with every month. We’ve created a space where we share our top & bottom 5% in all areas of our life… business, family and personal. It is a safe space to share life’s highs and lows. Having this group as well as my mom and a few key friends I could talk with, helped so much. Obviously I talked with my husband a LOT to work through the pain, but it was nice to have outside sources to confide in, too.

Allison talking with friends about miscarriage


I only went to therapy once and not until a few months after the miscarriage. While I wish I had gone sooner, I still found my visit immensely helpful. The big aha was when my therapist acknowledged that I had experienced a trauma. I had never looked at it that way before, but there was something in that acknowledgement that allowed me to see it for what it was (trauma) and then move on. Having the label helped to validate my emotions and feelings and to then move past them.

A New Home

We had spent the 6 months prior to the miscarriage traveling and staying at Airbnb’s, but two weeks before the miscarriage we had moved into our new house. In the weeks following the miscarriage, it was comforting to have my own space and home in which to experience everything that follows a miscarriage.

Physically, it is a lot of blood (I don’t feel like the doctors adequately prepared me for the amount of blood loss that would occur!). The bleeding continued for me for a full week after the miscarriage, a constant reminder of what had happened (and not happened).

Emotionally, it is a roller coaster and having space in which to experience those emotions was so important. As much as I’d loved our time spent in New Zealand, Hawaii and all of the other locations we had visited during our travels, I was so grateful to be experiencing this in the comfort of my new home (my first “real house” as an adult) and not some random Airbnb. I knew I was right where I was supposed to be.

Sitting with my husband in our new backyard a few weeks after my first miscarriage.

Allison sitting with husband in backyard of new home after miscarriage

Miscarriage #2 (GRIEF)

It took 4 months and we were pregnant again. I felt confident that this time was our time. At about 6 weeks pregnant, my husband and I attended an entrepreneur’s conference. I was tired (yay!), my boobs ached (yay!), I felt my hands often resting on my belly… 

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