I just want to start off by saying that I am fully aware that many people struggle with miscarriage as well as infertility. I am so incredibly grateful that I am able to conceive and on top of it all, naturally. I don’t share my story of miscarriage as a means of looking for sympathy. I share it in hopes to inspire and encourage others. When I was going through my miscarriage I looked at blog posts and Instagram pics for this same encouragement and sense of hope. It was a means of gaining understanding, not feeling alone but mostly feeling encouraged that there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Upon my searches I read many heartbreaking stories of woman who lost babies further along in their pregnancies as well as immediately after their baby’s birth. My heart literally broke for them and it still does. I can’t imagine how hard that would be. This might sound inappropriate, but if I had to have a miscarriage, I am happy that it occurred so early on in the pregnancy. Because as any woman who has been pregnant knows, each passing day, week and month you become more attached to that baby growing in you as your body begins to grow with it. The loss of a baby brought on many emotions and one of the hardest parts I found was the sense of loss related to the expectations, future plans, thoughts and daydreams, so I can’t begin to imagine the pain you would feel being further along. I hope that I don’t ever have to experience another. At the same token, I don’t want to minimize the loss that I did experience. The loss of any baby or child at any stage is awful. I can’t help but wonder what the gender was, what he or she looked like, when they would have been born, what they would have been like, etc. June 7, 2017 was our baby’s due date. And even though I am currently 22 weeks pregnant with my third baby, the ‘what would life have been like thoughts are always present.
One thing that helped me get through the miscarriage was focusing on the next pregnancy. This might sound weird to some people but I drew a lot of comfort in knowing that one day when I finally would give birth to a second baby, it would be impossible to look at him/her and not picture life without them. I knew that that future second baby whoever he or she was would one day not exist if we didn’t lose this one. That one day when I had two babies to hold in my arms I would never be able to picture life any other way. Since the loss was out of my control, and even though it was hard to imagine fully at the time, the thought of that alone really got me through the hard, sad days.
Ever since Emsley was about ten months old I knew I was ready for another baby. I tried to tame my ovaries by putting it on the back burner for a while as I hadn’t even returned to work at that point and was worried I’d make an rash decision. But fast forward a few months and I knew that burning desire of wanting another baby wasn’t going to go away. Gosh, how I never thought I’d be like this! I always thought that if I had it my way I would space my kids out at least three years apart so I was quite surprised by how ready I was feeling that early on.
We started trying for a second babe when Ems was 13 months old and were shocked to find out that we fell pregnant instantly. For us, it was just too good to be true. We conceived Emsley fairly quickly as well but I’ll admit, I had fears that her pregnancy and birth “ruined me” and that it wouldn’t be as easy again. Irrational I know, just my worrying taking over. I had past issues related to my stomach and baby making region prior to conceiving Ems and had been told by doctors that I might not be able to conceive at all so I think that’s where my fears stemmed from the second time around. I was quite surprised by how fast we fell pregnant with Ems as I was expecting years of struggles and many more diagnostic appointments, followed by medical procedures. I am so incredibly grateful that this was not the case.
When we became pregnant the second time we took a pregnancy test in NYC while we were on vacation celebrating our 5 year anniversary and were elated. We got engaged in NYC so it was bittersweet to find out that we were expecting our second child in the same spot. I originally bought a discounted pregnancy test from Target while in NYC because let’s face it, our dollar sucks and those things aren’t cheap.. but when I took it at the hotel that night it initially read negative, but well after the two minute mark we noticed it changed to positive. We went to bed that night very confused. The next day I decided not to cheap out and I purchased the expensive kind that reads either “pregnant” or “not pregnant”, as I figured there was no ambiguity in that! If you’ve been to NYC you’ll know that public bathrooms rarely exist. I raced around desperate to find one and after a solid couple hour search of holding my pee in I finally found one in a Starbucks. It was so incredibly dirty. No toilet paper, pee on the seat, garbage overflowing, dirty toilet paper all over the ground. Just awful. I hovered over the seat, careful not to touch it, peed on that stick as fast I could, drip dried, hand sanitized and got out of there as quickly as I could. I barely walked out and peeked down in my purse to see the “pregnant” sign staring back at me. I came out smiling at my hubby and told him that we were going to have another baby! A guy sitting next to him dressed to the nines in his business attire, talking on his cell phone, paused for a minute, removed his phone from his ear and interjected with a big “Congrats!” I guess people in NYC are busy but still courteous. 🙂 The whole trip we were on cloud 9. I couldn’t indulge in wine and cheese like I typically do but the sacrifices were obviously all worth it. I thought to myself, it’s not supposed to be that easy!… and I guess I was right…I get a bit graphic now so if you don’t want TMI then stop reading now!
At 6 weeks I started to experience some bleeding. I had bleeding during my entire pregnancy with Emsley but was told it was due to a polyp which was found at 9 weeks and soon after was removed. The healing process of that polyp was long and apparently explained my spotting with her. This time however there was no obvious reason as to why I should be bleeding. I had been checked for polyps again and nothing was found. My doctor ordered an ultrasound at 6 weeks to make sure everything was okay. I went into that appointment with my husband and Emsley, mentally preparing for the worst. The technician spent an incredibly long time silently looking at my lady parts and at the baby that was inside of me. My mind went to all the worst case scenarios. I worried the baby had implanted wrong, I worried that something was wrong with me, that perhaps they spotted a tumour or a growth. I literally worried about everything while I laid there in silence. While the technician left the room and I waited for her return with my hubby and Ems, I focused on the little baby girl that I had brought into this world. All I could remind myself was that I WAS capable of creating this one tiny human which alone was more than I ever could have wished for. I knew that no matter what happened that it was going to be okay. I prayed for the baby and prayed that nothing was wrong with me that would affect this baby’s health. When the technician returned she didn’t say much, only saying they were having a hard time dating the baby and asked me to come back in one week. I knew this wasn’t a good sign. I was six weeks along and fully aware that they should be able to date the baby. I quickly asked, “But is there a heartbeat?!” I was shocked to hear there was. What I didn’t know then was that it was a higher heart rate than normal. I went home feeling reassured that the baby was alive, that my bleeding wasn’t a sign of a miscarriage and that they weren’t saying anything was wrong with me. A week passed fairly quickly and I was feeling okay with returning for my next appointment. I went into the second ultrasound alone as my husband was away for work. The technician looked once again at my lady parts for a few minutes and then out of the blue asked me if I had ever had a D&C before. I shockingly and confusingly replied, “The surgery for miscarriage?! No.”. He then left and returned with the doctor who quickly informed me after looking for himself that they were no longer able to find a heartbeat. I was in shock, awe, disbelief. I wasn’t prepared to hear this, I didn’t expect to find this out today. It just couldn’t be.
They left the room so I could get dressed and said they would be back in a few minutes. It felt like an eternity. Reality set in and as I sat there alone on the hospital bed, the tears started to stream down my face. Panic overtook and I realized I needed to call my husband. What happened after that was sort of a blur. I was told that I had three cysts in my endometrial lining that were right near where the baby had implanted. I was told this could have caused an imbalance in blood supply to the baby which could have contributed to the miscarriage. I was also told that the baby’s shape was oval and not circular as it should be, showing that something wasn’t right. And finally, I was told that they were unsure based on the shape if the pregnancy could have been a molar pregnancy. A molar pregnancy??, I couldn’t believe it. I have had one patient in my past who had a molar pregnancy so I knew how rare it was. Basically, if the tissue from the fetus does not leave your body completely and instead hangs around in your uterus, it can grow and develop into a form of cancer. The doctor said because they couldn’t determine whether it was or wasn’t I had two options, either 1) have the D&C and have the fetus sent for testing to find out if it was in fact molar or 2) let nature take it’s course and then go for weekly blood work for the next 6 months to ensure my HCG was dropping properly (HCG rising would be a sign of a molar pregnancy). If I chose option 1 I had my answer right away as well as the benefit of having the cysts removed whereas option 2 meant having to wait a lot longer to try to conceive again followed by many trips to the lab to be poked. Option 1 seemed like the better choice. The doctor asked me to see my GP to get a blood test to confirm that my HCG hadn’t rose, ensuring it was a miscarriage. Not sure why this was necessary if there was no heartbeat but I obliged. Fast forward and I had my surgery just before my husband’s birthday in late October. I declined any type of medication during it and only had local freezing. I was awake and aware of it all. I received the results a few weeks later and it appeared that my pregnancy was not molar. What a relief.
A few months passed and I kept checking my HCG levels every two weeks to ensure they were dropping properly. Each time I would get my results back only to find out that they were still higher than what my doctor expected them to be based on how many weeks had passed since my D&C. I was discouraged and deflated but happy that they were at least decreasing. Over 2 months passed and I finally was testing under 5 which meant my body no longer recognized me as being pregnant. We started to try again only to find out the first month that my period had returned. Second month in and I decided not to focus on it. I was worried my anxiety would cause me to become stressed and therefore I would not be able to conceive so I decided to not pay attention to any dates. Not even 4 weeks later and my breasts were noticeably very sore during the weekend before Valentine’s Day. I ignored it though, fearful I would become too focused on it before it was time to test. 4 or 5 days passed and Valentine’s Day came. I couldn’t shake it anymore, I sensed I was pregnant so I ran upstairs after we returned home from Valentine’s dinner and I peed on a stick while Emsley played in her room. My husband was downstairs and hadn’t come up yet to help with her bedtime routine. It felt like the longest two minutes of my life standing there waiting for the results, only to see a + symbol looking back at me! I was elated, shaking and so excited to tell my hubby! I quickly pulled out a big sister t-shirt that we had bought for Emsley when we announced to our families that we were pregnant with the baby we evenutally lost. I gave her the stick that I had just peed on and called my husband upstairs. He had no clue why I wanted him upstairs so fast. He also had no idea what was going on as I hadn’t been dwelling on conceiving or pregnancy during the past month so I think he sort of forgot that was an option. He walked into her room and Ems ran up to him, handing him the stick and we both started to tear up. It was so nice to experience it together in NYC the first time but this second time was much more special to be able to share in it together as a family of three. We are now expecting our little baby boy in late October.