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.
7 months ago