I have a thing with dates.
I’m not the best at remembering all of the important ones, but there are many that, even if I tried, I could never forget. Some good, some…not.
March 23, 2007 – Scott proposed marriage
March 23, 2012 – The due date of the baby from our 1st pregnancy
June 2, 2015 – The due date of the baby from our 3rd pregnancy
June 2, 2015 – We heard the heartbeat of 160 of this sweet, growing baby from our current/4th pregnancy
So yes, this past fall…it happened again. Not another miscarriage, but we were pregnant and lost another baby.
Before I get going on my story, I feel it necessary to provide a disclaimer of sorts. I am sharing my story in order to support others’ in their pregnancy/pregnancy loss journeys. To show them that they are not alone. I am a detail-giver, to a fault. So expect details of the TMI fashion…or feel free to skip this post. No hard feelings. Promise.
I have a serious passion for this subject since it is SO INCREDIBLY COMMON and rarely ever discussed freely. Mostly because women feel alone and ashamed, constantly questioning their own behavior and actions and every move they made during that precious time. Silence breeds shame and I am not okay with that.
It was utterly devastating to have the miscarriage. It’s one of those things that you can’t imagine would ever happen to you. It was our first pregnancy and we were in the la-la land of dreams before we saw it all come tumbling down. I was sad that I would never have the opportunity to have a carefree, naïve pregnancy like many are lucky enough to have. But when it’s happened to you once, you almost feel as if you’ve paid your dues, so to speak. That you’ve already lived through that agony and that you are deserved smooth sailing to pregnancy island from here on out. For me, the second time around was even more devastating. Luckily, we knew that we could conceive and have a healthy baby. The potential was there. That knowledge helped us to get through some really rough days. Max’s face helped us to get through a lot of those days. However, to look into that sweet face and think that we may never be able to give him a brother or sister was hard. I felt the blessing of that boy to my core but felt extreme guilt for the empty feeling that crept up when thinking that he may be our only child that we get to meet. Wishing I had nursed him a little longer, let him sleep on me a little longer, stayed home from work a little longer. How I would’ve done things differently had I known, if it came to be, that it would be not only our first but last time with all of those firsts and lasts.
We started trying for baby #2 in April of 2014. We had a feeling it wouldn’t be immediate this time and we were okay with that. A baby born between April and September of 2015 would be ideal. It’s funny when we try to “plan” events of which we have no control.
We found out we were pregnant at the end of September. A few weeks in, I wasn’t feeling right and I had some light spotting. This changed to moderate spotting and severe pain. I called the Dr. and we made an appointment for the following morning, first thing. We had the option to go to the ER, but I felt as if it wasn’t going to change the outcome and I wanted my doctor to tell me the circumstances (of which I knew were grim). Maybe I wanted another night to hold on tight to the dream of that baby before being forced to face the facts. Probably. Who knows. But, probably.
We went to my Dr.’s office the next morning. Honestly, the details at this point get mighty cloudy. The ultrasound showed no baby or gestational sac, however blood work proved I had pregnancy hormones. There were some abnormal details on the ultrasound that suggested an Ectopic pregnancy. We had to wait on results of repeated blood work to be sure. My Dr. said that it was looking like an Ectopic pregnancy, but that there was a small chance that I was having a miscarriage and an even smaller chance of a healthy pregnancy. It wasn’t looking good. We were given options, but I was not ready to make a decision until absolutely sure of the circumstances.
I had blood work done 2 more times before things were clear, living in utter limbo in the meantime. My pregnancy hormones were not decreasing as they should in a miscarriage and not increasing as they should in a healthy pregnancy. They were staying almost the same and that wasn’t good. Basically, an Ectopic pregnancy is when the fertilized egg does not make it to the uterus and instead gets stuck in the fallopian tube. There is very little to no chance that a baby can survive there and the mother is also in extreme danger. When this type of pregnancy is not caught early enough, women often need to have a fallopian tube (or 2) removed, have an ovary removed due to damage, and in some cases result in death due to bursting of a fallopian tube leading to bleeding out. It is a dire and time sensitive situation and I am glad mine was caught early. Surgery was the last thing I needed. The best course of action for me in my situation was to have a Methotrexate shot.
Methotrexate is a drug that is often used as a part of treatment for certain types of cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and to induce abortion. This drug kills cells that tend to reproduce quickly. So yes, I was forced to stop the baby from growing in order to keep myself safe. The baby wouldn’t have survived, either way. Impossible to swallow? Absolutely.
Getting this shot was scary. The thought of getting something pumped into my body that is used to manage cancer was a lot to wrap my head around. A LOT. But, I had no choice. The emotional toll? I just can’t. After a day or so (again, fuzzy), results of repeated blood work showed that my hormone level still was not dropping as expected. Another Methotrexate shot was necessary…this time as an admitted patient to the ER (due to the results being delivered over a weekend). A shot in each butt cheek later, I’m not sure I’ve ever felt lower. All I could think was that I was killing my baby…and the baby wasn’t going down without a fight. It was awful. Just awful.
As devastated as we were, all we could think about was when could we start this process all over again. When could we try for another baby? Did we have to wait 3 months, like after the miscarriage/D&C? My doctor said no. She showed me studies that proved trying again SOON after an Ectopic pregnancy loss (corrected via medication) could result in increased chances of successful pregnancy versus waiting. We were advised for me to get through a normal period cycle before trying, however. And that’s what we did.
Come December, we were back in the game. More afraid than ever. I stopped consuming caffeine and alcohol while trying, as I did while trying to get pregnant for Max, and we started talking ovulation kits and all of that business. On our 12th month of trying, we got pregnant for the 4th time. And here we are. Although the beginning of this pregnancy has not gone off without a hitch, but I suppose that is info for another post…
We feel incredibly blessed to be where we are now. Truly. But we are scared out of our minds. To find the balance between excitement, and caution, and positivity, and skepticism is exhausting. We have gotten to the point where we throw our hands up and literally have left it to God. To fate. No other choice. For now, we choose excitement and taking each day as it comes.
All I know is this is our 4th pregnancy and 4th baby. Someday, in heaven, we’ll meet our sweet angels who left before us.
Our story is not unlike many others. Many have it much harder and I recognize our blessings. Miracles are not lost on anyone in this family. Just know, you are not alone and it was not your fault.