I wrote this post while going through my second miscarriage. I wanted to share it with you all in hopes that it could help at least a few people who may have gone through similar situations.
David and I always knew we wanted to have more than one child if possible. We wanted them to be fairly close in age, but I did not like the idea of having “two under two,” so we didn’t start trying until we knew Porter would be at least two once the baby was born.
I woke up on July 12th with a terrible head cold. I was extremely congested, my head was pounding, my throat was killing me, and I felt so much sinus pressure. I knew that some women experienced cold symptoms during early pregnancy, so I decided to take a test, and it was positive. It was very very faint, but the second line was there. It was just a few days shy of my 30th birthday, and I couldn’t think of a better birthday present.
It took us awhile the first time, so I anticipated it taking some time again, but to my surprise I fell pregnant within a few months of starting to try. We were naturally so excited and as soon as I got my first positive pregnancy test, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. My mind constantly wandered as I thought about who this baby would become. Would it be a girl or another boy? We need to think about names. I guess we’ll have to set up a “big boy” room for Porter. Even though I had experienced this before, it was just as exciting. It was hard to keep it a secret, but we agreed not to tell anyone.
From that moment on, something felt different with this pregnancy, but it was different in a good way. With my miscarriage before Porter, I lived in fear from the moment I saw my positive pregnancy test. I kept thinking about miscarriage, and I was convinced it was going to happen. And then it did. It was like deep down I knew something wasn’t right. Then when I fell pregnant with Porter, I started bleeding the very next day after my positive test. Then I had low and slow rising HCG. I was terrified, and truly I never felt comfortable. I always feared something was wrong and that something would happen to the baby. When I received this positive test, I didn’t feel any sort of doubt. I felt confident, and I finally–for the first time–let myself feel that way.
A few days after testing positive, I called my OBGYN. I was still feeling miserable, and I couldn’t take regular cold medicines, so I called to see if there was anything I could take that would at least allow me to sleep at night. I told the nurse on the phone that I was pregnant. I was already scheduled to see my doctor in a little over a week for my yearly check up, so we didn’t make any other appointments, but she did schedule for me to get my HCG levels drawn.
On Wednesday, July 16–the day after my birthday–I got my blood drawn, and then I went again on Friday, July 18. I never heard anything in between about my numbers, so I assumed all was well. That weekend I went to Indy to visit my sister. While in Indy, a nurse from my doctor’s office called me on Monday, July 21. She said they were going to keep my yearly check up on Wednesday, the 23rd, but then she also asked if I had any spotting or bleeding. My heart sank. I knew this wasn’t a good sign. She told me that my first level was an 80 and that my second was only 96. I knew from my hours and hours of reading during the beginning of my pregnancy with Porter that HCG levels typically double in 48 hours. This obviously wasn’t even close to doubling. The nurse said that the doctor would probably ask for another blood draw when I saw her on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, July 23, I went in for my yearly check up. My doctor explained that my numbers were really low and that she was concerned because most normal pregnancies have doubling HCG levels; however, she also commented on my extremely low numbers with Porter–my first number was an 11 and my second was a 44–and said that there definitely was a chance that this pregnancy was fine. She sent me to the hospital to have my levels drawn again. I left the office and held on to that small chance of hope.
On the morning of Thursday, July 24, I was at Porter’s music class when I heard my phone ring. I figured it was the doctor’s office and let it go to voicemail. Once the class was over, I got in the car, listened to the voicemail, and called my doctor back. I spoke to the same nurse I spoke to before, and she told me that my third blood draw was only 131. Five days had passed since my second blood draw, so it was clear my numbers were not rising appropriately. She asked me to come in that afternoon to meet with my doctor.
I met with my doctor and she handed me some tissues before saying “I can say with confidence that this is not a healthy pregnancy. It will end in miscarriage.” My heart grew heavy, and I immediately felt like I was being cheated. Of course I was sad, so so sad, but I also was angry. I had already been through this once. It didn’t seem fair that it was happening again. I felt like I already had “my turn,” and truly it had never crossed my mind that it would happen again. I know the world doesn’t work that way, but that’s truly how I felt. And then I felt naive for feeling so positive about this pregnancy. I was stupid to think that I was immune or exempt from experiencing such heartache again.
She explained that I had a few options. The first option she presented to me was that I could wait to miscarry naturally. She couldn’t give me any sort of time frame as to when this would happen. She said it could start to happen tomorrow or it could be weeks away. The second option she presented to me was a D&C, and the third was a shot of methotrexate which would essentially force my body to miscarry.
I sat in her office in tears. I didn’t want to make this decision.
I told her, “I don’t know what I want to do, but I don’t think I want to walk around pregnant but not really pregnant.” Sitting around waiting for the “ball to drop” didn’t appeal to me. She said she understood and told me to think about it and talk it over with David and then to give her a call in a day or two.
When she was leaving the room, she told me to take my time. I followed her advice and stayed in the room for several minutes. I watched as my mascara began to cover the tissues in my hands, and I wondered how many women in the doctor’s office right now were experiencing what I was. Was I the only one?
When I was on my way home from the doctor, I called one of my closest friends who had texted me earlier asking me to call her. I thought it would be a good distraction as she is always bubbly and full of life. A few minutes into our conversation, she revealed the reason she asked me to call her: she was pregnant. Tears fell from my eyes, and while I was sad for myself, I was so so happy for her. As I was experiencing loss for the second time, I really marveled at the miracle of pregnancy. She and her husband had been trying for several months, and my situation didn’t make me feel any less happy for them. She deserved this just as much as I did. Similarly, I had several other friends who were pregnant or who just recently had babies, and while it still hurt, I didn’t find myself feeling any bitterness. I am grateful for that.
That night David and I talked about the three options. At first I was against a D&C because I didn’t want to undergo surgery unless 100% necessary. I was leaning towards the shot of methotrexate, but then I started doing some reading about it online, and was feeling less and less confident about that decision. I really hated making this decision, but David and I decided to give my body a few days to see if I would start to miscarry naturally. If that didn’t happen, we would schedule a D&C for the following week.
I felt sick about my decision because I didn’t want to have to make this decision at all. I prayed that my body would start on its own, and about 24 hours after David and I made our decision, my body granted my wish. I never thought I would be thankful to see that, but I was. It was Friday, July 25, 13 days after my first positive pregnancy test.
Miscarriage this second time around has been similar to my first in so many ways, but it is also very different. I think I am experiencing more emotional turmoil the second time, but I am also able to cope with it better. Porter has been a nice distraction and is keeping me busy. I don’t have time to sit around and feel sorry for myself like I did last time.
Since we obviously have Porter, I am experiencing some emotions that I didn’t feel the first time. My emotions seem to ebb and flow. Since we have already been blessed with an amazingly beautiful child, I almost feel guilty for feeling sad. I know so many couples experience miscarriage without already being blessed with another child. So many couples struggle with infertility and I am mad at myself for feeling sad. I feel like I don’t deserve to be sad because we already have a child. Even now, I still find myself feeling that way.
For awhile I have felt like I am just going through the motions of life while still trying to be the best wife to my husband and mother to my child. It is hard for me to socialize, though, because every single conversation, text message, facebook status, etc. seems 100% pointless. I can’t focus on anything else, and normal, everyday interactions have lost meaning for me. Nothing seems to matter. I try to put on a brave face, to fake it as well as I can, but it is difficult for me when my heart feels so heavy.
A few of my friends and family members know and I get asked a lot “How are you? Are you okay?” I want to say No, I’m not okay. I just lost my baby. You can’t understand, and I hope you’re never in a situation when you can. I need time to heal and time to grieve.
I also feel a lot more fear. Since this is my second time losing a pregnancy, I fear something is wrong with me or my body. I know I can conceive and sustain a successful pregnancy, but I can’t help but to worry. I also feel a fear of “trying again” because I’m not sure I could go through a third loss.
I know most women probably experience fear of losing a pregnancy, especially during the first trimester, but I truly don’t think it is the same fear as women who have actually experienced a loss. A woman may think she can imagine what it would be like, but experience is the only way.
The experience of two miscarriages has taught me a lot about faith, about hope, about life. As a result, I’m a little more bruised, but I also feel stronger, wiser, and more compassionate towards others.
Porter’s smiles and laughs have helped me get through some really tough days and hard moments, and I’m grateful for that.