Monday, June 22, 2009

My Miscarriages

I have been wanting to write a post about my two miscarriages for some time. Only because I have mentioned them in passing several times, but never spelled out how they came about, how their effect impacts me now and how I feel about them.

I know that reading about miscarriage is difficult for some people, so if you'd rather not, it's okay.

Both were in 2007. We were ttc for several months and finally I got a BFP in May. My DH was so cute...protective and not wanting me to do much in the way of work. But we had a shipment of brick delivered for a patio we wanted to put in. I loaded bricks into a wheelbarrow, hauled and unloaded them. Of course after the mc I wondered whether the work could have caused the mc. Little did I know.

One Saturday in June when I was about 6 weeks, we went to a backyard BBQ at the home of one of my co-workers. He and his wife had an 8 mo old baby girl. I looked at her bopping in her chair, watched as people passed her around, and sent knowing glances to my DH. In a year we'd have a little one too!

The next day, Sunday, I drove my DH to the airport in the early afternoon. He was to be gone all week for a work related conference in southern California. I spent the day with our dogs, watching movies on TV and just hanging out. At 10 pm I put the puppies to bed and went to the bathroom to clean up and brush my teeth. When I peed, there was blood. It suddenly occurred to me that I had been feeling AF type cramps during the evening.

It was 10 o'clock at night, I was alone and I was scared. I called the advice nurse phone number on the back of my insurance card. The woman was calm and kind and reassuring, but straight forward. If I was miscarrying, there was nothing anyone could do to prevent it. I was crying. She was very sweet and told me to watch how much I bled and she made me an appointment for the morning. I hung up and called my DH who immediately arranged to come home first thing in the morning. I also called my friend J, who knew of the pregnancy. She asked me questions but never offered to come stay with me. I was awake much of the night, bleeding.

Monday morning I called in sick to work. My DH got home and went with me to the OB's office. She was cool and matter-of-fact. "Well, you are definitely NOT 6 weeks. There's a sac but it looks like 4 weeks, or it could be that you are miscarrying and the sac is degrading. Come back in 2 days for another blood test."

Needless to say, it was a mc. I bled for a week or so. I went back to work on Tuesday. No one at work knew anything about the pregnancy. And although I was an emotional wreck, I was also trying to work hard as an associate to climb that freaking corporate ladder.

The co-worker whose house we went to on Saturday for the BBQ teased, "Hey! Must be somebody wanted to have a nice long weekend! You seemed fine on Saturday." I tried a weak smile, went into my office and sobbed. I wanted to scream, "No, buddy, not a long, fun weekend. I was miscarrying my baby, okay? I was bleeding my baby right out of my body, if you really want to know!" Two weeks later I got a statement in the mail from the OB's office which said, "Your HCG is x and this confirms you had a miscarriage." Gee, thanks for the bulletin.

In the third week of August I got another BFP. I was more cautious this time. I quit exercising or doing anything that I thought could hurt the baby. I was ignorant about the real effect of my age on my eggs and why I miscarried. I thought the first miscarriage was a fluke and that if I was just more careful this time, everything would be okay. My DH and I actually went to a bookstore and bought "THE" book (W.hat to E.xpect).

Remember my co-worker with his 8 mo old baby? Well, he announced his wife was pregnant again. Funny thing was that by my calculation, my baby would be due only 2 weeks after hers! I of course told no one, but I thought about how great it was going to be to make my announcement and how our babies would only be 2 weeks apart and how he would think back and know that when he made his announcement, I knew I was pregnant too.

At week 7, I wanted to relax. I had passed the point at which I had had my first mc. But something happened during week 7. It was a weekend. I woke up in the morning and the "presence" was gone. The "presence" was a feeling I had which began sometime after the stick turned positive. I can't say exactly when it began, but with each pregnancy, at some point I had a sensation that I was not alone in my body. There was a presence. It's like the feeling when you are home and someone else is there too. Even if your back is to that person, or they are in another room, there is a feeling - a state of mind - that you are not alone. Contrast that feeling with the feeling or state of mind when you are home alone. Alone in the house, your mind feels and thinks a little differently.

Anyway, one morning I woke up and I could not feel the presence. I felt alone in my body. I freaked. I cried and sobbed and curled up on the floor telling my DH that I thought I was about to miscarry. He couldn't' understand me. There was no bleeding. No cramping. He tried to reassure me. My first OB appointment was still weeks away. After "just" one mc, they didn't consider me high risk.

Nothing happened, I did not bleed or cramp, so I tried to carry on. Maybe the presence only lasts for a while? My boobs swelled, my belly bloated and I was pregnant. In October, at 11 weeks, there was blood. And cramping. I called the OB's office. New insurance now, new doctor. The nurse practitioner got me in right away. I was becoming familiar with the U/S wand. She turned the monitor so I could see and she inserted the wand. I saw it! I saw a sac and a little bean! I saw my baby! I gasped and almost cried out loud! A tear began to squeeze out of the corner of my eye. A baby! But wait....

The nurse practitioner was quiet. She looked at the screen too. She finally spoke. "I'm so sorry, hon, but there is no flicker. There is no heartbeat. There should be a flicker by now." I stared at the screen. Flicker? What flicker? Maybe it would come. I didn't know about the flicker. She went on, "You say you're 11 weeks? The crown-rump length indicates that the baby is only 7 weeks. It probably never developed a heartbeat and simply stopped growing at 7 weeks. I'm so sorry."

I had carried my baby 4 weeks after it was no longer viable. My body wanted this baby. We scheduled a D&C for the next morning. But you know, the mind-body connection is an amazing thing. I knew my baby was gone. I went home that night and on its own, my body began to miscarry. Twelve hours through the night I had horrendous contractions, 3 minutes apart. Yes, I timed them. This was my baby. This was the birth/death of my baby and I monitored every minute of it. The contractions were just horrible. I was on my hands and knees in the bathroom. I passed huge clots. My DH slept through the night. But what use could he have been anyway?

In the morning I was supposed to report to the hospital at 7 am for the D&C. I had the nurse practitioner paged and told her I miscarried. She got me in at 6:30 for an U/S. My uterus was completely empty. The D&C was cancelled. All I have from that pregnancy is a copy of the U/S where I can clearly see a baby bean. A bean who never had a flicker.

I went back to work two days later. Screw them. At one point my co-worker casually said to me that he hoped this time his wife would have a boy. He said, "If God gives us 5 daughters I will love them to death, but I'd really like a boy." I thought, "Gee, I'd just take one, either gender." I said nothing of course. Yeah, in late April 2008, my co-worker's wife gave birth to a healthy baby boy.

No one at work, except my friend L, ever knew we were ttc, or that we had 2 BFPs or that I had 2 miscarriages. My DH and I continued ttc using OPKs for several more months. We finally gave in and went to a fertility clinic (the OMC!) in June 2008. Our original doc was Dr. Creepy. He wanted us to do an IUI. By the time all the testing was done - it took forever! - and by the time the IUI was scheduled, I had been laid off. We cancelled the IUI while I reeled from the loss of my job. At home every day, I had time to peruse the internet. That's when I stumbled across embryo donation.

It has been 2 years since my miscarriages. I can think about them now without crying. I actually remember those pregnancies fondly. I was pregnant! I remember shopping and looking out of the corner of my eye hopefully at the maternity section. I remember walking around and saying silently to myself inside my head, "I am pregnant! There is a little baby inside of me that no one knows about!" In my heart, I know that I am mom to those 2 little babies. Losing them was painful, but I don't wish for a minute that those pregnancies never happened. I hated my miscarriages and wouldn't wish one upon anyone, but the old saying really is true: 'Tis b.etter to h.ave l.oved and lost than to have n.ever lo.ved at all.

At my age I never wanted to do an IUI. I just thought it could end in nothing but another mc. I was afraid. But with our donated embryos, this upcoming FET fills me with hope. My body knows how to be pregnant! It knows how to grab and hold onto a baby. It never wanted to give up. I hope and pray that it will embrace these little embryos and do the job it has longed to do. But even if we are successful, I will always remember that I was first mom to 2 other little ones. And their memory will be with me always.


NoodleGirl said...

You wrote about this so beautifully. I'm so sorry you had to get through this but you have such an amazing outlook on it.

I had a m/c very similar to your second one. I had no outward signs that anything was wrong, I just knew that it didn't feel the same. Just like you, at the next u/s, there was no flicker. For me it never passed, I waited 2 more weeks and finally had a D&E. I panicked at the D&E that somehow all the prior tests were wrong (u/s, free-falling beta, etc) and right before they put me under, I made them do a final u/s on the OR table. Of course, it confirmed what we already knew, but I thank goodness to this day that I got that final glimpse of my bean.

If nothing else, this whole IF experience has made me try to be a better friend, colleague and all that. What I took for granted in my blissful ignorance in the past, that things were always easy and happy and how they appeared on the surface, I now know is naive. I wouldn't wish IF on anyone, but I hope it has helped to make me a more aware and therefore better person.

As an aside, the awesome nurses and NPs I've met in my journey through IF have me taking night classes in order to apply to nursing school in a couple of years. It's a drastic change-of-career, but one in which I feel that I would be so much more satisfied. Of course I ultimately would like to be a nurse at a fertility clinic or OBGYN. Who would be better at it than one of us? :)

stillhopeful said...

Such sad stories... I'm so sorry for your losses, and I'm so hopeful for your future!

just me, dawn said...

I am so sorry that you had to go through that, this journey is so hard. You wrote about it beautifully, thank you. ((hugs))

IVF 40+ said...

I found that whole post so moving - I am weeping and yet inspired. Our experience are similar in so many ways. I am so sorry for your losses. I wish you all the luck in the whole world to you. You are a great mom.

looking4#3 said...

I could read the pain. I could read the loss. I CAN see the HOPE for the future!!! Truly amazing and inspiring.
I hope with all of my being that THIS is the one/or two/or maybe even three babies on the way for you!!!

Anonymous said...


TABI said...

I am so sorry for your losses. I know how you feel and my heart goes out to you. I don't think I will ever be the same after my losses. It's good to talk about it too because otherwise it can just seem like an invisible loss. Big Hugs

Sandra D. said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story. It takes a lot of guts to talk about such painful experiences in such a heartfelt way. I make a lot of jokes on my blog because it's the best way I can deal with this crazy experience. But after I read your posts, I always feel a beautiful calmness about everything - particularly this one.

Your amazing positivity and outlook on this difficult chapter in our lives is very inspirational - and luckily - contagious :-) Thank you.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post. I am so sorry to read the details of your losses and cannot imagine what it must have been like to go through them. You have taken something positive from something so heartbreaking...not everyone can do that and I'm in awe of your ability to do so.

tireegal68 said...

thank you so much for sharing your story of your two babies. You told it so well - I felt I was with you through the whole thing. I hope that next time you are able to enjoy a long and healthy pregnancy and you get to bask in the glow of being pregnant and having everyone know about it when you are ready to tell. (BIG HUGS)

K said...

Thanks for sharing...I hope it was comforting to you to write about it. Awaiting your FET....

cindyhoo2 said...

You write about your losses in such a beautiful way. I am so sorry you had to endure these experiences. But thank you for sharing them. M/c really do have a way of bonding us (in this community) all together all the more tightly.

I respect you for making the jump to donor eggs relatively quickly (like me). I love that you have a wide view of how your family can be built.