When I found out I was pregnant for the first time, I FaceTimed my husband, Mark, right away. He was at our home in Los Angeles and I was in Wilmington, North Carolina, filming Six. You should’ve seen our faces. They were a mix of surprise and pure terror. Can we raise a kid? I’d just gotten the job, so it wasn’t the best timing, but still, we were so happy. We told our families immediately, but I kept it a secret from my costars and producers.
At 9 weeks, I went to an ob-gyn in Wilmington and heard the heartbeat. It felt like the sky opened up. There was so much love. Then, a week later, I woke up at 4 A.M. with horrible cramps and started bleeding. I was alone in this rented house, and I can’t describe the terror. I was thinking, “Please, God, make everything okay.” But in the back of my mind, I knew this wasn’t good. I called my husband, crying. Then I called my mom in Atlanta, and she got in her car as soon as we hung up.
I had to be on set in three hours, and all I wanted to do was ball up in bed. By the time I left the house, I was already grieving. Almost unbelievably, the scene I had to shoot that day was at the grave of a child my character had lost, and my character was supposed to be stone-cold, no tears. Filming it was one of the most difficult things I’d ever done. I told the producers, the director, and my costar what was happening, and they were devastated for me. After the scene ended, I started hyperventilating. My mom, who’d arrived by then, drove me straight to the doctor.
The exam room was silent except for my crying. I already knew the answer. There was no heartbeat. Instead of having a D&C, I opted for the pills that cause contractions, because we were still shooting and I didn’t want to delay things. What a mistake! Before long, I was in so much pain that my mom rushed me to the hospital. They kept me overnight, and I had the D&C in the morning. By then, my husband had arrived. Seeing him walk into the room was like seeing an angel.
When you miscarry, it’s hard not to blame yourself. You replay everything in your head. What if, before I knew I was pregnant, I hadn’t had that glass of wine or hadn’t worked out so hard? It turns out I had a small fibroid, and the pregnancy hormones made it grow faster than the baby. The fibroid took nutrients from the fetus.
When we got back home, my husband made calls to our family, because it was too hard for me. As a woman, I feel like I’m built to have babies, so I struggled with feeling inadequate. But, of course, keeping it a secret keeps in the sadness. After I got through the initial pain, I started talking about my miscarriage, and that’s when my healing began.
Many of my girlfriends told me they had been through miscarriage too! I felt less alone and less ashamed. Only one person said something stupid: “Well, at least you don’t have to get fat.” But everyone else was there for me.
Five months later, I started preparing my body again. I had a myomectomy to remove my fibroid and took vitamins and received fertility acupuncture. We got the green light to start trying two months later, but I didn’t feel ready, so we waited six months more. Then we conceived right away.
I was shooting our second season in Vancouver when I took the test. Mark and I were so happy, but I was worried too. I woke up almost every night, thinking that 4 a.m. situation would happen again. Trauma doesn’t go away.
But now I feel stronger. I also feel blessed that I get to talk about my loss, because when I hear others share their pain, it reminds me that we all go through horrible things we can’t control. I’m lucky my story has a happy ending. Many believe in rainbow babies, but that’s not how I see my newborn. I think the same spirit who tried to come has now made it, and I feel that Davis Nolan Gantt will be the kindest, sweetest soul in the world.