motherhood

Our Miscarriage Story (with Q&A)

Thank you everyone for your love and support. I’m sorry this post took so long. I was planning on going live with this post in late 2020. However, we found out we were not only pregnant with our rainbow baby, but we were also having problems with that pregnancy. We weren’t sure for a while there if this rainbow baby would make it so I had to take a huge step back from social media in general until we got more answers.

Now that we have them, I feel like I can accurately share with you what our experience was regarding our miscarriage. This story was hard to put in words because it was a very drawn out and quite frankly, complicated experience. My biggest goal was to give you a truthful but clear re-telling of what happened in the least words possible. As you can tell, I’m already failing at that so let’s dive right in.

I went in to the doctor when I should’ve been 7 weeks along for my first ultrasound, which was in early June 2020. As soon as the doctor took his time talking, I knew there was an issue. I looked at the screen and it pretty much confirmed what I mentally knew.

He told me that there was a gestational sac, but no baby (technical term: fetal pole) which meant one of two things: a miscarriage, or that I was earlier than what I originally expected. He got me scheduled for lab work to test my HCG levels.

I went home and told Jesse that this wasn’t a good sign. Because of our fertility issues, I track meticulously. Which meant I knew I wasn’t earlier than expected. Which also meant one of two things: an impending miscarriage, or a child that would have significant special needs. We weren’t able to get me in for lab work immediately (thanks, COVID) so I had to wait a week. We spent the better part of that week grieving the situation. I was absolutely heartbroken, especially after the year we’d had.

At my checkup on June 11th, the doctor came in and told me I was definitely pregnant, then gave me another ultrasound. He told me my HCG levels were at 21,000 which is high for only measuring 6 weeks at this point, when I should’ve been 8 weeks. We were able to get a fetal pole this time around and a heartbeat, which made me so extremely happy, but also very nervous.

We were supposed to go up to South Carolina for my mom’s birthday, and my nieces were in town visiting from Indiana, but we decided to wait a couple days just to make sure because we had a couple of close calls, and we didn’t want to be 5 hours away from home if something happened.

Everything was okay until June 14th. That day, we were cleaning the house and getting everything packed to head up to South Carolina the next day, when our neighbor knocked on our door, absolutely hysterical. Without going into too many details, her husband had collapsed, and come to find out later, he had a significant brain aneurysm. It was a very traumatic day.

Later that night, after getting back from the hospital, we were sitting on the couch in absolute shock when Jesse told me I was bleeding. I looked down and I just knew then. I called the doctor, and was put on bed rest until I could get in. We were devastated again, because I was not only passing blood but tissue, and we once again, grieved the loss of this baby. We, of course, postponed our trip so I could get into the doctor’s and get another ultrasound.

I was fully prepared to be told this baby had stopped developing, so I was absolutely shocked when he told me the baby had a heartbeat.

I continued to bleed and pass tissue, though, so we didn’t go to South Carolina. I started googling the shit out of this, because I was so baffled by what was happening. I finally chalked it up to “vanishing twin syndrome”. Between the fact that my pregnancy test was so strong, my slowly rising but very high HCG numbers, and what I was passing, I figured I had lost a twin.

Unfortunately, I continued to bleed and pass tissue for another 3 weeks before I was seen again. In retrospect, I should’ve gone back in to the doctor’s sooner, but I figured that since everything was alright at the last appointment (and the bleeding hadn’t worsened), this was just my body’s way of handling the pregnancy.

Well, I couldn’t be more wrong if I had tried. When I went in for my “11 week” check up in July, we found out that the baby had stopped progressing the day after my previous appointment. Unfortunately, there were pockets all over my uterus of pregnancy tissue. It looked like a bunch of Dalmatian spots.

Because of the amount of tissue I had, and the fact that I tend to bleed more than the average person (#redheadproblems), my doctor recommended a D&C. He was afraid I would hemorrhage if I tried to pass this baby on my own or through Cytotec (aka the pill they give you to take at home). The surgery center was booked up, so they had to get me in the hospital.

However, after a month of bleeding post-op, I went in for another check up to find that my pregnancy tests were still coming back positive, so they did another ultrasound on me. They found some pockets of pregnancy tissue still hanging out (seriously, I was so beyond done at this point), so the doctor put me on Cytotec to get my body to pass the remainder at a quicker pace.

Which meant that I was afforded the opportunity to experience a second round of the same miscarriage.

We were told multiple times we were losing this baby before it happened, and then I had to re-live my miscarriage after recovering from my surgery. It had been constant salt in an open wound, not to mention we spent upwards of $5k for a child we didn’t get to bring home (more than we spent on B).

This experience has been beyond traumatizing for us. And being in the middle of a pandemic made us even more isolated. Bleeding for three months straight and passing a clot the size of your hand will really wear you down. This whole experience with the American Healthcare system has put an extra nasty taste in our mouth, and it has been not only physically draining but emotionally draining for us.

Unfortunately, our issues with this miscarriage didn’t end there, but we didn’t find that out until December 2020 when I went in for my check up with our rainbow baby. Because that is another story, I will address this current pregnancy in an upcoming blog post.

Q & A

What were your pregnancy symptoms?

I was bloated, I gained weight, my tastes and smells became more sensitive, and my breasts swelled up. I couldn’t handle sweets, and then certain smells set off my nausea. I also had a couple bouts of morning sickness.

How did you find out you were pregnant?

My app told me to test a couple of days early. I took it on a whim not expecting anything, but it came back extremely positive. The line was so dark I turned to Jesse and said, “this might be indicative of twins” and he basically was like “nope not happening”.

Was this pregnancy different from B and your current pregnancy?

Night and day. With both B and my current pregnancy, I didn’t have any symptoms until I was around 6 weeks along, and I mainly spent my first trimester sick with various colds, but other than a couple bouts of morning sickness and passing out, I had no symptoms. I also didn’t gain weight until I was almost half way through. With our miscarriage, I was showing symptoms before I even knew I was pregnant and my symptoms were very strong.

How much weight did you gain if any?

I gained 7 lbs with this pregnancy. I was overly bloated and it was extremely weird. I legitimately looked pregnany. With both B and my current pregnancy, I didn’t gain in my first trimester at all.

What were your HCG levels?

So, your HCG is supposed to double every 48 hours. My first test was 19,000. My second test 48 hours later was 21,000 for a 6 week fetus. High but also not progressing like they should’ve been.

Did you have any signs of a miscarriage prior to bleeding?

Yes, my pregnancy symptoms disappeared. I tried not to read into it because I have significant anxiety that causes me to jump to conclusions at times, but that was not a good sign. I also had cramps, which can either be your ligaments stretching or something more serious, which in my case, was the latter.

What kind of ultrasounds did you have?

I had trans-vaginal ultrasounds every single time (7x). Not my favorite, that’s forrsure. I could go the rest of my life without having another one of those.

What has been the hardest part of this experience?

The physical and emotional toll. My body was so sick from this. I was literally ill from the failed pregnancy inside me. Emotionally, of course, this couldn’t have come at a worse time for us, and then to be constantly pulled in different directions… it was very difficult.

Was your husband able to come with you to the appointments?

No, he was not able to be there due to the pandemic. No visitors except patients were allowed. He was allowed to be at the hospital for the surgery, though.

What was your bleeding like?

Bright red and heavy with tissue at first, then just regular bleeding and tissue until the surgery (4 weeks). Then I bled for 7 weeks post-op. So I bled for just shy of 3 months.

Do you feel like stress contributed to the loss?

Absolutely not. This baby struggled to hang on from the get-go. Sometimes, these things happen. My body recognized an abnormal fetus and rejected it. You cannot play the blame game. You have to understand that you could do everything right, and things can still go wrong. We were walking everyday. I pretty much only drink water (aside from the occasional Coke) and I limit my meats. We are almost completely caffeine free, and we don’t drink alcohol or smoke. I was taking prenatals. I’m in a healthy, committed relationship. I could go on and on, but the point is, we were in a beyond “optimal” situation, and it still didn’t work out. We live in an imperfect world. If you let grief consume you, it will eventually drown you.

What fertility issues do you have?

I have Endometriosis and Jesse has low testosterone. This is one of the reasons we started earlier on in our marriage instead of waiting to have children. We weren’t sure how easy it would be for me to get pregnant.

How long did it take you to lose the pregnancy weight?

It took about 2.5 weeks for me to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight, but my tummy didn’t flatten out to it’s normal shape for another week or so.

What was the best way for you to deal with this loss?

For me, it was shutting out the world and letting my body heal. Finding music you connect to, and just letting yourself grieve so you can eventually move on. I stayed off social media and basically ghosted everyone for a couple of months. I will do a separate post on this because I struggled with depression after my miscarriage for months.

My friend is going through a miscarriage. Do you have any ideas on gifts I can purchase to let them know I love them?

Yes, my friend Mar got me a beautiful necklace from Etsy with two circles intertwined that signifies a mama of an angel baby. I absolutely love it. My friend Heidi got us a wooden nail board with a picture of an ultrasound and a heart on it. My parents also got us a magnolia tree that we planted in the backyard and I love having something I can look at outside everyday and see growing. We lost a life, but we gave one to another. It’s important to have these reminders because that child will always have a place in your heart.

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