We talk about breastfeeding, the soreness and bleeding nipples, when our kids are constipated, their tantrums, the laundry list of what’s leftover after pregnancy like incontinence, stretch marks, varicose veins, bigger feet. You name it, we talk to our mom friends about it. We talk about the struggles to get pregnant, being in labor for 36 hours, having an emergency caesarian. Everyone has a different story and each of their stories is special. But why don’t we talk more about our losses? Miscarriage is as common as most anything else we discuss when it comes to motherhood. Around 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, this number would be higher except some are so early, many women mistake it for their period. I get it, some people don’t want to talk about it. Just the thought of it hurts, whether you’ve experienced it or not. Sometimes though, you may want to know you are not alone. Just like everything else motherhood brings our way, there are others there with you.
It’s been just over a year since we started our journey for #2. But before I go into that, some background. We tried for two years to get pregnant before we finally did fertility testing and found out we had a minor fertility issue. We met with a doctor at a fertility clinic to discuss our options and found that an IUI procedure could work for us, less invasive and less expensive than IVF. Sign us up! No luck on the first cycle, but on April 25th of 2017 I found out I was pregnant after the second cycle. How lucky were we that after only 2 tries, it worked! I had a pretty seamless pregnancy all things considered. I went to the hospital 4 days before my due date with a migraine and spiked blood pressure, turns out I developed preeclampsia and my little man was born on New Year’s Day via c-section. He’s been the absolute best thing I’ve ever done, ups and downs sure, but the most happy and healthy little boy. Fast forward and just like many others we get into a groove, we’re so blessed to have such an awesome little boy, it’s time to shake things up and start trying for #2! Back to the fertility clinic we go, we opt for doing the IUI route again, why wouldn’t we?! Of course, I haven’t gone into that process, because well looking back to the first time, it seemed so simple. Unfortunately, this time it was not. I mentioned IUI is a less expensive procedure, but that does not mean it’s free. Insurance does not cover any of it and the meds are what really get you! Injecting myself countless times with the fertility meds, the ups and downs of the additional hormones running through you. Not to mention the constant monitoring, going into the clinic almost every other day for bloodwork and ultrasound so at that perfect time, we do the procedure and then we wait an excruciating 15 days for the blood test to find out if it worked. So incredibly grateful for my good friend that would watch D during these countless appointments, not to mention having someone to confide in and with this whole process. It’s not easy, we wanted another baby though so it was worth it.
August/September 2018 we start our first cycle, shots every night, bloodwork/ultrasound every couple days until the timing is right and we have our IUI done. Two days before I’m scheduled to go in for the pregnancy test, I get my period. They have to be thorough though and I still go in for the blood test, they call that afternoon, I’m pregnant! What, but I’m bleeding? Sometimes that happens early on they say, we’ll keep monitoring to make sure your HCG level continues to rise as it should. But the bleeding doesn’t stop and after a couple more tests, it’s determined it was a chemical pregnancy. Such a cold, technical term for an early miscarriage, as if that term makes it hurt any less. You haven’t built a bond yet, but it still makes you feel like your body failed you, at least that’s how I felt. Why didn’t my body do what it’s supposed to do? Age counts, at 37 my egg supply is not what it used to be. On the positive side, the procedure did work so that’s at least good. Time is against us, no use in waiting, let’s gear up for round two. Higher dose of meds this time, fertility shots every day, go into the clinic for bloodwork and monitoring almost every other day. Hormones are running wild and I’m just trying to stay sane. This is a 365 day a year business, our bodies don’t take days off so on Christmas Eve I go in for the pregnancy test and patiently await the results. They call that afternoon, pregnant! No better Christmas present than that! Fertility clinics continue to monitor you the first few weeks to ensure everything looks good before graduating you to your own OBGYN. At our 6-week appointment, you can see the teeny tiny little heart beating, but the doctor looks worried. The placenta is larger than it should be at this stage, but he doesn’t want to jump to conclusions yet, it’s still so early, let’s come back in 2 weeks and take another look. I feel great, just like did with my first pregnancy, no morning sickness, more tired, but I’m also chasing around a one year old this time around. We go to our next appointment and there’s no heartbeat…. They can somehow tell it’s been recent, ‘have you felt any different?’ I’m sorry, what?? Should I feel different? Should I have known something was wrong? Should I have felt it when my baby’s heart stopped beating? Such a ridiculous question, right? You never feel the heartbeat even with a full-term pregnancy. But these are the places your mind goes. Should I have known something was wrong? Was it something I did? All these thoughts constantly running through your mind, should I have done this, what if I hadn’t done that. Your rational side telling you that you’re being silly, it wasn’t your fault, you did everything right. But the irrational side always wins in these situations, always… The sonogram they gave me at the 6-week appointment still sits in my nightstand drawer. I know it’s probably not good to keep it, but I don’t feel like I can throw it away either.
Again, I thank God for good friends. I’m so grateful to have had a friend who knew what I was going through, who knew exactly what to say and what to do. I’m also so very sad that I had a friend that knew what I was going through. I could not have gotten through this without her and I hope she knows how much it meant to me.
Once again, my body wasn’t doing what it was supposed to do and I had to have a D&C scheduled. Not a pleasant experience at all, although I can’t imagine the pain of the alternative. However, a couple days of walking around knowing your baby no longer has a heartbeat inside of you is simply torture and I can’t stop crying. But I have a 1 year old and I can’t curl up in bed and let it all out like I want to. It’s in the shower, in the car, in the laundry room. We opted to have testing done to see if it will show a reason for the miscarriage and it did, additional chromosome 22 which is an abnormality = it wasn’t a good egg. As I’m sure most women know, you’re born with a certain amount of eggs and that’s all you get. Stands to reason, the older you get, the older the eggs get. Here come the thoughts again - maybe it’s not meant to be, everything happens for a reason, don’t be greedy, you have a perfect, healthy child already. I’m heartbroken. But it’s still not over. The fertility clinic still has to be thorough and I have to go back in shortly after the D&C for another blood test, just to be sure my levels go back down. I procrastinate on this, I don’t want to have to go for another pregnancy test, but I have to and I forget to let my nurse know that I had scheduled it. She didn’t know to put the orders in for what needed to be done. So there I am in the waiting room, barely keeping it together because I do not want to be there in the first place and the wait is getting ridiculous. Then a nurse comes in and asks what I’m there for, and I can barely keep it together enough to tell her that I’m there for a pregnancy test to make sure nothing is left behind after the D&C. How can this be happening? What did I do to be going through this?
My husband and I take a little break; we get away to clear our heads. After much back and forth, we decide one more try. We agreed at the beginning we’d go three rounds, let’s finish it out and what is meant to be, will be. Round three begins, start the shots, start the monitoring. Everything looks good, the procedure is done and now we wait those 15 excruciating days again. 13 days later, bleeding starts… But again, test is positive! They continue to monitor and my levels continue to rise as they should. But I know something is not right, unfortunately this is not my first time. After a few days the bleeding stops! Great, they were right, sometimes it just happens at the beginning. At our next appointment, they can see the gestational sac which is a good sign, it’s still very early. A few days later, more bleeding but only lasts a couple hours. As I mentioned earlier, this is a 365 day a year business so luckily, I was able to go in on a Sunday to make sure everything still looked good. They no longer see the gestational sac on the ultrasound… another miscarriage… that’s makes 3 in 7 months…
How do you process such heartache, how do you get rid of all the irrational thoughts, how do you stop the tears? You start with time, lots and lots of time. Thankful once again for that perfect little boy I am so lucky to have, thankful again for having a good friend to talk to who knows what to say and what not to.
Now we’re left with the unanswered questions. Are we ok with just one? Are we meant to be a family of 3? Will D ever get to be a big brother? Do we feel whole? It all takes such a toll – emotionally, mentally, physically and financially too.
It’s been almost 6 months since the last one and I write this now as it’s somehow therapeutic for me to. If you’re reading this and had to go through any of these experiences or ones of your own, you are not alone and it’s ok to talk about it if you want to. I’m sorry to all the women who have to go through any of these pains, sadly I guarantee a woman standing next to you has been there too, it’s terrible that so many of us have. Hopefully, you are stronger coming through it. Hopefully you have or will soon have your rainbow baby. Hopefully one day I will too.