(Since this post is longer than my typical post, I've 'titled' sections. Feel free to skip around to parts that may be more relatable!)
THE REASON FOR THIS BLOG:
For some reason miscarriage tends to be a taboo subject. I get it, none of us want to talk about it: I think simply for the reason that it's hard emotionally to talk about, it's very personal/private, and we don't always have answers. Miscarriage is very common, which I didn't realize. I spent nights during our 'uncertainty' period, looking for information similar to our scenario, forums or blogs for hope, reasons, etc. SO for all those reasons I'm choosing to talk. I'm fine, and my family is fine! This blog is not for sympathy but hopefully a place of hope OR relatability for another mother.
THE ECTOPIC PREGNANCY:
Our 2020, started early on with the excitement of a positive pregnancy test! We all know the feeling, excitement, and surprise this brings! Not even a week later though, I started spotting. Although also common of pregnancy, my gut said otherwise. My doctor said my HCG was low as well as progesterone. I had to take progesterone and had ultrasounds to monitor progress. All new territory for me, I tried to stay hopeful and optimistic, at least until I started bleeding heavily. At this time, my doctor stated it was probably a chemical pregnancy. I was disappointed, but optimistic to try again.
Not even 1.5 weeks later, my boobs felt sore and mild nausea had started. Out of curiosity I took a pregnancy test and had a positive pregnancy test. Confusing, right? It was. I hadn't had time to even ovulate again, let alone get a positive test. Weekly blood work and ultrasounds started again. My husband and I were hopeful, although my doctor had mentioned concerns of ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic is rare -so I wasn't allowing myself to believe that could be the case for me. Over the weekend, my kids had a 'slumber party' night with my parents. Still on progesterone, I started having strong sharp pain in my abdomen. My husband wanted to take me to hospital, but I was certain it was gas pains from progesterone. (Don't listen to me - I was wrong). During Monday's ultrasound, my abdomen had blood from the ruptured pregnancy and I was reminded how fortunate I was it didn't end up life threatening.
It was hard to lose this pregnancy (the ectopic). The loss was hard, but after our recommended wait period, my husband and I decided to try again. We were ecstatic to find out 1 month later, we were expecting! HCG and progesterone looked good -'here we go!!' As with any loss, the next pregnancy brings excitement and also a lot of fears; hope/excitement for baby, but also worry/fear for loss again. We made it to my 8 week appointment and ultrasound, but I was filled with nerves. Maybe because I was fortunate to have had 2 healthy/full term pregnancies before -I had never thought to worry. I went to those ultrasounds and appointments only excited!
At the 8 week appointment -we saw baby on the ultrasound! However, baby was much smaller than expected, and the heartbeat was only a flutter. Again, being optimist- my thoughts were: baby is there and heartbeat is showing! We had to repeat the appointment to see if possibly post ectopic pregnancy I had just ovulated later than expected. This is the point I started constantly googling and looking for hope and answers. The next ultrasound came and baby had not grown much. The heartbeat was there but still not countable. "Come back in a week"- was a the response we got. We chose to stay optimistic. As I say this, in all honesty -there were still moments of worry where I'd sneak to the closet to cry so my kids wouldn't see or know. My doctor felt certain miscarriage was coming at this point and explained all the signs/symptoms. As the week went on, I had no signs of spotting or bleeding which gave me a continued sense of hope! However, as expected at my next ultrasound -the heartbeat was gone. I was about 10.5 weeks at this point. This is one of the hardest feelings to describe. We are a mother when we see the positive pregnancy test. We FEEL it. The joy, excitement, and the fear/worry. To lose mine to miscarriage, left me with feelings of extreme sorrow, disappointment and guilt. We had told her our kids that we were expecting at the 8 week mark, feeling certain everything was ok. All to say, I now had to go home to 2 excited kids and find an easy way to explain this.
TELLING OUR KIDS & THEN THE D&C:
My husband and I took a few days to ourselves. I tried to deal with it before talking to the kids. My mom and aunt had a suggestion for explaining the loss that I liked. For those of you looking for a way to explain loss to your toddlers we tried this: "As moms, we have seeds. Like seeds for a flower- some grow and some for all sorts of reasons cannot grow. The seed inside my tummy just was not able to grow." We kept it simple knowing if we tried again, my daughter would immediately recognize the "signs": such as my dry heaving/throwing up, which Kooper called the 'nasty coughs'. Even in attempt to keep it simple they knew. When I tucked Kooper in she told me she knew the 'seed' was the baby. Kooper also asked if it was ok to feel sad, which of course led to further discussion.
My body did not start to miscarry, so I started with medication prescribed by my doctor. After that didn't work, I had a D&C. The hospital and staff were very supportive and caring. Although pathology was tested, we were not left with many answers as to why the heartbeat stopped and pregnancy failed to continue growing. My doctor and the team of nurses/staff gave me a card with a little gold ring to remember our baby that I thought was sweet. I'll share the poem from the card for anyone going through this as well:
on a sea of hope and pain,
the leaf cradles a teardrop.
Just as winter awakens to spring,
our deepest sorrow
harbors the seed of hope renewed.
-by Susan Ring
I finish with this: you are NOT alone. Your feelings of sorrow, guilt, anger, hope -whatever it may be- is normal. You are not at fault or to blame. Miscarriage is very common and according to my doctor 1/4 -1/5 women will experience it at some point during their fertile window. Miscarriage can occur for many reasons. We all grieve differently, so take the time you need and heal. BUT knowing what the probability of miscarriage happening during our fertile window is, and that outcome is inevitable -I chose to focus on the laughter and joy our baby brought if even for a short time. I saved the funny things the kids said or asked, so these are the memories we will enjoy. For example: as pregnancy progressed, my right boob seemed to thrive, haha! All to say, after we told our kids about the baby -Brock pointed to my right boob and asked, "momma? Is that where the baby is?" LOL! Again, my final thoughts are to focus/or find comfort in the joy and laughter your baby brought.
Although our story for this blog ends with loss, I hope it can bring you comfort in relatability. We plan to try again one day and remain optimistic and hopeful!