Category Archives: Miscarriage

Suffering a Miscarriage for the Second Time

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.

Guest Post: The Pregnant Friend’s Perspective on her Friend’s Miscarriage

Pregnant Friend's Perspective

I’ve written a little about Diana before, and I asked her to share her experience/perspective about something that created a visible wedge between our friendship: my miscarriage (written about here and here and specifically in reference to Diana here). Want more of Diana? Visit her blog, Losing It where she writes about weight loss and maintaining a healthy lifestyle after pregnancy.

On a Sunday in January of 2012, I found out I was pregnant. The next day, I told only my family and one very dear friend, Rachel. I will never forget our conversation. I sat down in her classroom before school started and I said, “So, I am pregnant.” She responded with a “Shut-up!” It was an awesome BFF moment. All throughout the day via email, and later that night over text, she asked me a variety of questions. Actually, she asked me A LOT of questions, things like “How are you feeling?” to “How dark was the line on the pregnancy test?” I just assumed she was curious.

The next day at school, Rachel came into my room and shut the door. I didn’t think anything of it: we do stuff like that all the time. She handed me a card, which I assumed was a written congrats. Rachel is a generous and thoughtful friend, and one of her trademarks is surprise gifting and affirmations. I read the card quickly and looked up at her. Then I said, “Wait!” I read it again. The card was not from Rachel; it was from Baby B. My own personal joy of being pregnant had just been amplified. My best friend was pregnant, too! She energetically pulled out multiple pregnancy tests from her purse and showed me each one. She told me that she found out she was pregnant on the exact same day that I found out I was. Suddenly, all of the questions from the day before made sense. I had never felt so connected to a friend. I already had so much in common with Rachel, but we were about to experience the most amazing time in our lives, together.

Rewind just a bit. I typically am difficult to get to know. I would imagine that my first impression can sometimes be read as stuck-up, standoffish, and distant. I don’t always do well during social situations and I don’t open up for a long time to people. So, you can imagine my surprise when I first met Rachel and I immediately knew we would be friends. We have joked about how we are seriously like friend soul-mates and that we were meant to meet each other by working at CHS. Another coworker actually bought us a paper gift for our first friend-iversary.

Rachel started trying to get pregnant around the same time that I started trying. This was not some weird pregnancy pact thing, although multiple students have asked me if it was. We just happened to be in similar places in our lives. (We each got married in June of 2009.) We spoke a lot about how exciting the prospect of becoming pregnant was, and we shared concerns that it seemed to be taking longer than either of us thought it would. One day at lunch, I remember Rachel saying, “I hope that no matter what, we can be happy for each other.” I never felt like it was a competition or a race to become pregnant, but I did wonder how I would feel if she got pregnant first, or vice-versa.

Over the next two weeks, Rachel and I exchanged emails throughout the day guessing at each other’s due dates and speculating on the size of our tiny babies. We talked about birth plans, names, worries, maternity leaves, etc. It was so nice to be able to talk about it with her because I was keeping it a secret from everyone else until it was appropriate to share.

One day during the last block of the day, Rachel came to my room. She asked to talk to me, so I went out into the hallway and shut the door. She told me that she had spoken to her OBGYN office, and they asked that she go to the hospital for some tests. She was fighting back tears, and I could tell that she was trying very hard to not jump to any conclusions. I did not want her to drive herself, so I insisted that I drive her home so she could leave for the hospital with her husband. I had a team teacher in the room with me during that class, so I told her I was leaving and we got in the car. It was an icy day. The roads were not clean and it was snowing. I don’t remember exactly what Rachel and I talked about in the fifteen minute car ride, but I do know that I was trying to stay hopeful for Rachel. Like Rachel, I had been pouring over pregnancy articles, blogs, and books from the moment I started trying to become pregnant. She had shared her symptoms with me, and the word we avoided saying out loud was bouncing around in my mind. I was very scared for her.

Later that night, Rachel called

me. She did not have any results back, but she told me a few details from being at the hospital. While we were on the phone, her doctor called her, so we hung up. A while later, Rachel sent me a text telling me that the worst had happened: she was miscarrying. I don’t remember how I responded, I just remember feeling so sad for my friend. I do remember suggesting that she take some time off, but she told me that she needed to move on and live as normal, and I knew in that moment that she was incredibly brave.

The next day at work, I knew that something had shifted. I did not know how to act around Rachel. She was visibly drained. She was broken. I was the only one at work that knew what she was going through, but I also knew that I was probably the last person she wanted to be around. I couldn’t help but feel like the enemy. I was pregnant, and she was not. I decided it would be best to give Rachel space. I felt so conflicted. I argued with myself. I thought, maybe I should do something for her. I should pamper her. However, I couldn’t shake the feeling that just my presence pained her somehow. I tried to consider how I would feel. If she did have any negative feelings towards me, I completely understood. I read the signs as best I could and I tried to give Rachel space while letting her know I was there when she was ready. This strange friendship limbo went on for awhile. People at work started to notice. After I announced my own pregnancy, a coworker actually approached me and guessed the entire situation. She somehow knew just by our actions that Rachel had experienced a miscarriage. I, of course, did not share Rachel’s story, but I dismissed the claim. Women know.

It felt very strange to be so happy for myself and so very sad for my friend at the same time. Although I was not mourning the loss of my pregnancy, I was mourning for a friend, and I couldn’t help but feel like I was mourning the loss of our friendship. The overwhelming emotion during this time was guilt. When it was safe for me to announce my own pregnancy, I felt guilty that I did. I wanted to be happy for myself. I wanted to tell everyone. I wanted to do all of the things I planned on doing as I waited to become pregnant. I told myself that I couldn’t continue to compare Rachel’s situation to mine and I needed to enjoy the experience I was having. Every time I did though, I felt like the most selfish person alive. I convinced myself that I would also suffer a miscarriage. In a weird way, I felt like I almost deserved it. At one point, my husband confronted me and told me that I was never going to experience being pregnant for the first time again, so I had to stop analyzing everything as though I had had a miscarriage. I knew that I had to just try to separate our two situations.

I eventually had distanced myself so far from Rachel that she confronted me. “It seemed like you stopped being my friend.” I was so afraid of hurting her that I actually did. I continued to hope that after some time, Rachel and I would be able to be as close as we were before. It was through honesty and a few letters that we were able to express to each other how we each felt about the situation. As time went on, things started to feel more and more normal between us. When Rachel found out that she was pregnant with Porter, I was overjoyed. I know that she was very worried and did not have the easiest pregnancy, but I felt so happy that she was going to become a mother, and that we would still get to go through the process together.

Now, Rachel and I talk daily about the joys and struggles of being new mothers. Rachel and I get our babies together as often as we can. Porter is the most amazing little man. He has beautiful skin and eyes, just like his momma. She is Auntie Rachel in our house. Although our friendship has mended, that difficult time has not been erased. Whenever I share something with Rachel about McKenna, I worry that I might be reminding her of what she went through. If Rachel did not experience a miscarriage, our babies would be exactly the same age. I can say that Rachel and I are now very honest with each other, and we are able to share these thoughts instead of letting them stew.

I can’t say that any of my other friendships have been through something like this. I am forever thankful that I met Rachel. I am a better teacher, friend, and person than I would be never having met her. She challenges me. She gets me. She is my sister, a supporter, and an incredible friend. Most of all, she is an amazing mother to Porter. I have a lot of regret from how I handled myself during this complicated situation, but I know that Rachel forgives me. That is what sisters do.

Thank you, Diana for sharing your story! Be sure to check out her blog, Losing It!

Also, don’t forget to enter my first giveaway! You have until August 3 to enter and you have three chances to win!

The Miscarriage: The Not Too Detailed Details

It’s taken me over a year and a half to be able to sit down to write this post. Naturally, it’s not something that I like to recall, but it’s still something I think about often. Even though I have a beautiful baby boy whom I love so dearly, I think about the first “baby B” more than I’d like to admit.

I was terrified that I was going to miscarry as soon as I got my first positive pregnancy test. I know that most women probably are, but my paranoia seemed to be a little over the top. I panicked at every twinge and pain and I Googled almost anything that could be a “symptom” of miscarriage. Every time I went to the bathroom, I feared that I would see blood. And then one day, I did.

This next paragraph may be TMI for some of you. Skip it if you don’t want these details. It didn’t start out as bright red obvious miscarriage blood, which gave me some hope. At first, there was just a bit of brown discharge. I turned to Google and knew that this could be considered normal for some pregnancies. Most sources said it was probably implantation bleeding, and there were plenty of women who said they had bleeding during successful pregnancies. After experiencing my second pregnancy, I know that bleeding–even bleeding for several weeks–didn’t necessarily indicate miscarriage or other problems. I tried to think positively, but deep down, I feared the worst.

Then the discharge increased. It still wasn’t bright red, but there was more of it. Since Google could no longer assuage my fears, and my first appointment was several weeks away, I called my OBGYN during my prep period at school.

After telling the nurse what I had been experiencing, she asked a series of questions.

“How long has this been going on?”

“A few days.”

“Do you feel any pain or cramping? Have you passed any clumps or clots?”

“Maybe a little, but nothing severe. No, I haven’t passed anything.”

“Have you done any heavy lifting lately?”

“No.” I hoped that these answers would earn me some gold stars or brownie points in the eyes of the fertility Gods.

Even though nothing I had said would necessarily provide any hints towards miscarriage, the nurse wanted me to go to the hospital for an ultrasound. After hanging up the phone, I immediately burst out in tears.

I walked to my friend Diana’s classroom, whose classroom is around the corner from mine. She had a class, but at the time I didn’t care. She was also pregnant (and found out on the same day as I did). She came into the hallway, and I told her what was going on and that they wanted me to go to the hospital. She immediately said that she would drive me home and that she didn’t want me driving. It had been snowing and the roads were icy. Despite my protests, she insisted. She had a co-teacher who could cover her class for the rest of the day (it was near the end of the day). I called David and told him the news. Diana and I talked in the car, but I was afraid if we talked about it too much that it would make it real. “They are probably just being overly cautious. I’m sure everything is fine.” She told me. Later, she confessed to me that deep down she knew. I don’t know how she did–and maybe I did, too, but I was too afraid to admit it–but she did.

David and I went to the hospital and after waiting in the waiting room at the hospital, I was finally called back for the ultrasound. The technician only spoke a few words to me throughout the entire process. Then she sent me back out to the waiting room to wait for my doctor’s phone call.

It seemed like we waited forever, but in all honesty, I don’t remember how long it actually was. Finally, the phone rang and the receptionist called my name. My OBGYN was on the phone with the results from the ultrasound.

She verified the first day of my last period and told me that there was no amniotic sac or fetal pole on the ultrasound. However, she did not say that meant I 100% miscarried. Since I was only a few weeks pregnant, she said it would be too early for anything to show up. Next, she sent me down to the lab for blood work. A quantitative pregnancy would give us answers for sure.

I was pricked with a few needles, got my blood drawn, and then was sent home. My doctor was supposed to call me at home when she got the results. I was told that this could take a few hours.

By this point, it was around 7 in the evening. We hadn’t eaten dinner (not that I was hungry) and my car was still at the school. We picked up a pizza and I retrieved my car and drove it back home. I ate a few bites of pizza and we sat on the couch for a few hours…waiting.

Finally, my cell phone rang, and even though I was hoping for some crazy miraculous freak of nature positive prognosis, my doctor gave me the news I was already expecting: I was losing the tiny life inside me. 

In addition to this news, she also told me that I am Rh-negative. While this in and of itself is not a huge deal, it can cause problems later with future pregnancies. Thus, I was told that I needed to return to the hospital on the following day in order to receive a shot of Rh immunoglobulin to prevent sensitization. None of that made sense to me (and it still doesn’t) but I returned to the hospital the next day. I had to have my blood drawn again because they had to verify I was Rh-negative. Even though my blood was drawn the day before and it was in my chart, it had to be drawn again. We had to wait two hours for the Rh-negative results, and then I received the shot in my lower back/butt. I had to get this shot again later in my pregnancy (third trimester, I think) and also after giving birth.

What I won’t tell you are the real details of the actual miscarriage, because honestly, I couldn’t put it into words, and I wouldn’t want to try.

I do think about our first “baby B,” though. I wonder if it was a boy or a girl. If it was a boy, we would have named him Porter, but then our Porter wouldn’t be here today, which is a weird thing to consider and think about. Would he look like our Porter does now? Would his mannerisms and personality be the same or would he be completely different? These are not questions I’ll ever know the answers to of course, but they are questions that still haunt me at night when I lie awake.

After I miscarried, someone who also miscarried once told me that if she wouldn’t have miscarried then she wouldn’t have the daughter she has today. While I do not want to say I’m glad it happened by any means (because I’m not), I do consider that point. If I wouldn’t have miscarried, Porter wouldn’t be here (or at least the Porter we know today…a different Porter could be here, which is enough to make my brain hurt). It doesn’t make the memories of the miscarriage any easier to deal with or less painful, but I am so happy and grateful to have Porter with us today.

*I had several pregnancy tests at home, so I did continue to take a pregnancy test every day for several weeks until it no longer was positive. This was tortuous, and I can’t explain why I did this to myself, but some weird logic told me that maybe everyone was wrong. I thought that maybe if I kept getting positive pregnancy tests then I actually was pregnant.