Trigger Warning: pregnancy loss, miscarriage and bleeding.
It’s been over a year since I’ve posted on here. I wish I had happier news to report, but sadly it’s been a lot of heartache.
In April and again in May, I had two back to back chemical pregnancies, which is another way to say a very early miscarriage. I never made it past 4-5 weeks when I started bleeding and my pregnancy tests faded to nothing. Disappointing, yes, but not nearly as difficult as my second trimester loss. I was, at least, encouraged that something was happening.
I have a condition called PCOS with a luteal phase defect. It is characterized by hormonal imbalances. Usually a woman’s period starts about two weeks after she ovulates. My lutel phase is about half that because my progesterone levels are too low. This can cause an early miscarriage because my body will trigger a period before a fertilized egg has the chance to fully implant.
I got some fertility testing done through my OB, and was in the process of trying to select a fertility clinic. My insurance doesn’t cover any fertility treatments, but I was hoping they could at least prescribe some progesterone to help lengthen my lutel phase, so I have a better opportunity to get, and stay, pregnant.
However, in August, before I was able to research, choose a fertility clinic, and make an appointment, I got pregnant again. Perhaps, I thought, I don’t need to do this. My body can do it. These supplements and lifestyle changes are working.
This time everything seemed to progress. My pregnancy tests got darker, darker than the control line. I had pregnancy symptoms. My OB got me in early and started me on a progesterone supplement. At 6 weeks 4 days I had an ultrasound, and we saw a baby measuring right on target with a beautiful heart beating 138 times per minute.
Most of my losses at this point have been at 6 weeks or earlier. I felt relief. Maybe this baby was going to stick. Once you have a pregnancy loss, though, there’s never a time that you feel “safe.” It is all too apparent that a positive pregnancy test or ultrasound is not an indication that you will be bringing a baby home in several months. But, I got past the first two hurdles, and was feeling more confident.
At that time I started developing a runny nose, which I had pregnancy rhinitis in the first trimester with my daughter, so I didn’t think too much about it at first. However, it began to progress to a point where I thought, hmm, perhaps this is not just pregnancy related. I was sick, and not just a little sick… very sick. Coughing up a LOT mucus, constantly, wheezing and trouble breathing paired with extreme exhaustion. I could barely get out of bed, and when I did I got so tired that I had to climb back under the covers. I felt awful.
After a few weeks of that and not getting better, I finally I went to urgent care and got a course of antibiotics, which didn’t really seem to help either. Urgent care never checked my chest/breathing, didn’t test me for covid, and barely even looked at me. I had my daughter with me because she had an earache, so I wanted them to look at her too.
I had to tell them I was pregnant, but managed to do so quietly. I told them I was 8 weeks pregnant and my daughter didn’t know yet. Yet, the doctor still came into the room saying pregnant this pregnant that, blah blah blah pregnant.
My daughter looked at me quizzically and said, “You’re pregnant?”
This was not how I wanted to tell her. I was actually hoping to have another ultrasound done just to be sure everything was progressing well and baby looked good.
The doctor thought that I was 8 MONTHS pregnant, not 8 WEEKS. Because it’s totally normal not to tell your child that you’re pregnant when you’re 8 months along… never mind that I don’t look 8 months pregnant either. I was really annoyed.
The doctor was also annoyed with me, because apparently I should have gone to my OB and not urgent care. Since I’m high risk, my regular OB referred me to the maternal fetal medicine doctor, which I hadn’t seen yet. I wasn’t sure who I should talk to, so I ended up talking to the high risk doctor and they told me to go to urgent care (because they hadn’t seen me yet), so that’s what I did. They didn’t tell me to go back to my regular OB. How was I to know?
A week or so later, I started to spot intermittently. Brown at first, then pink, and a mix of brown and pink. This time, after the whole situation with the urgent care, I called the regular OB and said, “I’m not going to the maternal fetal medicine doctor until 12.5 weeks and they won’t see me sooner. I’m spotting. Should I be concerned?” and they said, no, it’s normal as long as you’re not filling a pad frequently with bright red blood and clots.
I tried to be patient and wait for my next appointment. I was so uneasy, though. I decided to book a private ultrasound just to (hopefully) ease my mind since my OB wouldn’t do one. However, the scan was far from comforting. I was 9 weeks 5 days, and I’ve seen ultrasounds at that time frame before. The baby was too small. We saw a flicker of… something, but they were not able to pick up a heartbeat on audio. Since it wasn’t a diagnostic ultrasound, they weren’t able to measure the baby for me or get the heart rate through imaging. The tech reassured us that nothing was wrong with baby, but, it didn’t seem right to me. I walked out more troubled than when I went in.
The bleeding continued and even started picking up, including some clots, but was still intermittent. I finally called the OB again about a week later, just this past Tuesday, and told them that I was not comfortable with what was happening and worried that something was wrong. I asked for an ultrasound. This time, they got me in right away.
You know, sometimes, I wish that my intuition was wrong.
I cried all the way to the appointment.
Dear God, please let my baby be OK. Please let me be worried for nothing. Please please please. I begged. I pleaded.
I missed my exit on I-4, and had to turn around.
I walked into the office. There were pregnant ladies with their big round bellies sitting in chairs with their significant others. One woman was exiting with a tiny newborn on her chest. I felt a pit in the bottom of my stomach as I held back my tears.
I settled down on the bed while they did the ultrasound.
Too small. No movement. No flicker.
She looked at me apologetically, “I’m sorry, there’s no heartbeat. Baby is measuring a bit behind too.”
I asked her, “What are they measuring at?”
“Around 7 weeks.” she said.
It dawned on me that baby stopped growing only days after my first ultrasound.
It felt like a dagger to my heart.
I don’t know if what I saw on the elective ultrasound was a heartbeat. It doesn’t seem likely knowing that baby stopped growing at 7 weeks. At the point my daughter found out about the pregnancy at urgent care, the baby had already passed or was at least in the process of dying.
We laid in bed at night, looking at the pregnancy apps to see how big baby is. She was so excited.
“Here’s how baby looks this week!” I exclaimed, “Hard to believe next year in April we’ll have a little baby with us.”
My daughter said, “How do you know we will?” My poor child knows this song and dance all too well.
I said, “I don’t, but I think this one will stick.” I was trying to step out with faith and be positive.
All those nights we prayed for a healthy baby.
But baby was already gone.
I didn’t know.
About a week before my daughter found out, she asked me, sadly, if she would ever get to wear her big sister T-shirt that I bought her when we told her about Shiloh. She wants a little brother or sister so badly.
My heart aches.
I can’t stop playing these things in my mind.
God, why do I have to keep reliving this pain over and over? Will I ever bring another baby home?
The doctor gave me the option of a D&C, taking a pill, or letting it happen naturally. I didn’t have to tell them right then and there, but could let them know on Monday. We had already planned a long weekend, and decided to continue with those plans. I hoped that my body would hold off long enough that we could try and enjoy it, and thankfully it did. The three of us put on a brave face and tried to have a nice time in the midst of this heartbreak.
On Monday, I called the doctor and let them know I would like to let it pass naturally with the help of the pill since it still hadn’t started yet. They called in a prescription for the pills, but I didn’t end up needing them. Before I could pick up the prescription, I started to bleed heavily and had some mild labor/contractions. After a few hours the worst was over, and now the bleeding is more like a regular, but heavy period.
I’m praying a lot. I’m asking God, if it’s His will, to give us a baby we can bring home. If it’s not His will for us to have another child, I’ve asked Him to help me accept it.
So far, the desire to add at least one more to our family is very strong. I’ve always wanted 3-4 children, but it doesn’t seem like it’s going to work out that way. We aren’t ready to stop trying yet, but I don’t know how much of this heartache I can take, and I’m not getting any younger.
I don’t know why this baby died. Sometimes there is no discernible reason. My husband thinks perhaps I had covid, and that caused the miscarriage. I don’t know. I never got tested for covid. I was sick for about 5-6 weeks, I’m just finally starting to feel better. I think being pregnant was keeping me from getting better more quickly. I was also limited on what medications I could take to help. I’m usually not sick like this; I have a good immune system. I may be sick a week at the most. People have noticed and been increasingly worried about me.
I have told some about this situation, but part of me doesn’t want to keep sharing publicly about all of these losses. With this one, it’s now 5 losses. It’s also hard for me not to say anything when I am in such a sorry state. I am an over sharer by nature. Maybe God can use my story somehow, for His glory.
It may be entirely my own insecurities, but I feel like some may judge me. I know that I am high risk. I have some health issues. I am obese. I am of “advanced maternal age.” All of these things increase my risks. I have read studies. Even though I have risk factors, we are talking about increased risks that are less than a percent, on paper. I have done as much as I can to try and mitigate these risks. I have lost some weight (though granted I have a lot more to lose), I eat a low carb, low sugar diet and watch my blood sugar levels, and before I got seriously ill I was exercising, which I will ease back into now that I’m feeling better and getting more energy back. I have been going to my doctor regularly and working on everything I can. I take a dozen supplements. I know you think I’m exaggerating, I can assure you I am not. 😛
As many as 20% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, it’s hard to know because some woman may have a miscarriage and not know it. That risk is there for any woman who is pregnant or trying to get pregnant. There are many of us who have had 3 or more miscarriages, and some of us have had late miscarriages, still births, or even lost their babies after birth. Sometimes there is a clear medical reason for it, and sometimes there’s not.
Some people have told me, you’re so strong.
I don’t feel strong. It’s hard for me to see anything relating to pregnancy or infants without completely crumbling. I’m so happy for those of you who have recently given birth to your precious babies. But I am sad for me.
I’m upset. I’m angry. I’m hurting. I am not OK. I might say that I am, but deep down I’m not.
But I will survive this. One way or another.
God help me.0