I’m all too familiar with miscarriage. My husband and I were married in December of 2006 at the age of 19. In 2007 we had one of our first big trials as a married couple…
It was earlier on in my first pregnancy. When we went to the doctor and they could not find a heartbeat, which meant the baby was no longer alive.
I was only 19 at the time and this news really shook me up. The nurse explained that because of how far along I was, I would have to have a dilation and curettage procedure (D and C). This would be only ONE of the hard trials we would go through together. But trials make us stronger.
Four years later, we decided we were ready to bring another baby into our home. After only six months of trying, we got a PLUS sign! We were so excited! We scheduled our first OB appointment for eight weeks and anxiously waited for the day to come.
It seemed very familiar lying on the table having the doctor put the cold gel on my belly. I could see a tiny spot on the ultrasound screen. We sat in silence as the doctor looked around for several minutes. He turned the machine off. He said something was ‘off.’ Our baby looked really small for being eight weeks. However, he said not to worry, to take some deep breaths and that he would send us to the Radiology department to have an official ultrasound done. We felt defeated. Only the worst scenarios ran through our minds…
Several hours later we were at the Radiology Department getting our second ultrasound. This time I could not see the screen, only my husband and the ultrasound tech could. As she began, the first thing out of her mouth was, “have you guys done in vitro fertilization?” We were confused… we hardly knew what that was. I said “No,” wondering what was going on. Several minutes later she said “I’m seeing THREE here, but hang on just a minute…” Our eyes went huge!
It turned out there were three fetuses in there at one time. However, the third had been absorbed, which she explained was totally normal. We were having TWINS! My identical twin boys were born in May of 2011, healthy and happy!
Four years later we were ready to expand our family. We had my IUD removed in June of 2014 and by July fourth I had conceived. I got pregnant SO fast! We couldn’t believe it!
When I was five weeks pregnant I was at Walmart using the restroom when I began bleeding huge amounts of blood. I knew something was not right. I called the doctor and he said I was likely having a miscarriage. After a few hours, I passed something rather large. I thought it was the sac. I called the doctor the next morning and told them everything that had happened. The doctor’s office said I would be fine, unless I had abnormal bleeding that continued for a long period of time. After talking to the doctor, I insisted that I be seen.
I went in for an ultrasound. The results from the ultrasound were inconclusive and couldn’t confirm or deny I had miscarried. The fetus measured normal at five weeks and three days. I was told to come back in a week for another ultrasound. The results were inconclusive again. I still measured at five weeks and three days. They recommended I come back in another week for a follow up appointment. I just knew that it was a miscarriage. I felt like was in limbo. I had no answers and I had to wait and wonder for weeks! It was awful. On August 21st I went back for a third ultrasound. Results showed I was still measuring at five weeks and three days. Doctors decided it was a miscarriage. Yet, I still felt like something wasn’t right.
Once I was diagnosed with miscarriage, my midwife gave me my options. Waiting for my body to pass it naturally was out of the question. I could either take a pill that would hopefully help my body pass what was left, but I had done my research and did not want this option. (Google was not good for me! I’d read that it was awful and not even guaranteed). I also knew that having a D and C was pretty rough on the uterus. My midwife explained they could do an in office D and C, but could still not guarantee success. My last option was a full D and C where I’d be put under anesthesia and would be taken to the OR. I went home, called the insurance, talked with my husband, and decided I’d go with the, in- office D and C. I had my phone in my hand, ready to call my midwife with my decision, when she called me….
I sensed a hint of panic in her voice. She told me that the options discussed earlier were not possible anymore. The placenta had attached to my C-section scar and was posing a huge risk of uterine rupture. She said that the on call doctor would call me, but that she needed to turn my case over to him. I was a little nervous after I got off the phone, but I didn’t fully understand. When I told my sister what my midwife had said, she started to cry. She is a labor and delivery nurse and she understood. The news was not good.
I took my boys home for a nap. I tried to sit down and rest, but my mind was racing. An hour later I got the call… The doctor said my case was considered high risk and very rare. He told me he was going to admit me to the hospital and that I should expect to stay for several DAYS.
I was in shock. I was frozen. I sat on my couch with my mind racing. My husband was at work, my boys were asleep, and I was supposed to drop everything and head straight for the hospital…for several days!? I sobbed.
When my husband came home, I had my bags packed, the boys bags packed, and the dog ready to go. We locked up the house and drove away. Still in tears, I said a silent prayer that everything would be ok. I felt like I couldn’t be the mom I wanted to be while I was in the hospital. I thought about my husband… what about work? He was so busy at work. My life had to be put on pause. I had to trust that my boys would be taken care of and my home would be fine.
It was after eight pm when we walked into the quiet, hospital waiting room. They sent me to the Women’s Special Care floor and got me settled into my room. The doctors came in and explained to me the rarity of the situation and conveyed their deep concern. Cesarean-scar, ectopic pregnancy, only occur one in 2200 pregnancies. In the eight years of my doctor’s career, she’d only seen one other.
The medicine used to terminate the pregnancy was called Methotrexate, which is a chemo therapy drug meant to stop rapidly multiplying cells. It had some of the same side effects as chemo therapy too. Nausea, vomiting…the whole shebang! It was injected into both of my hips that night and the next day. After fasting for 18 hours they used an ultrasound probe with a needle attached to it and injected the Methotrexate into and around the sac. I was given four total doses of medicine and was monitored for an additional day. Fasting for 18 hours was miserable!
My case was considered ‘special,’ but nothing about it made me feel special. The anesthesiologist helping during the procedure, made it sound like there would be flocks of people in my room… doctors, nurses, students, and other staff. That scared me! Luckily there were only a handful of people there. The doctor explained the procedure in detail… most of it I didn’t understand. Then the anesthesiologist said I would start to feel tired, but I felt like I was completely awake! That scared me too. I thought I was aware of what was going on, but before I knew it, I was done! That was it!? I must have been out!
Everything went as planned, so I was given the green light to eat…finally! I ordered a whole meal. I was so hungry! However, it took them an hour to bring my meal. That hour was just what my body needed because the side effects of the medicine hit HARD! They gave me some Zofran, which usually is a wonder drug for nausea. Not for me… I hate it! I puked harder than I ever have in my life! I told them no more Zofran! Then they gave me two Promethazine. After about two hours, I felt SO great! I told the nurse I needed food! I watched Jimmy Fallon (my guilty pleasure) and ate my heart out! I slept until NOON the next day. Since I didn’t have any reactions to the medicine they injected, I could go home! They said I would bleed and there would be clots (they were definitely right about that one). They also said they would follow my HCG levels every week. They were at 31,000 and eventually needed to be at zero.
Going home was so nice, but recovery and reality were not. I didn’t have much pain… just lots of bleeding and blood clots. The bleeding went on for about two weeks. Although, my HCG levels took forever to go down! It took almost four months for my numbers to be below 5! During those three months I had to go to the clinic every week and have my blood drawn…ugh…but we did it! I say ‘we’ because I had so many people who supported me and helped during that time. They were aware of my situation and offered service when I needed it. I couldn’t have done it without my family, friends, and neighbors.
Since my HCG levels were finally low enough, my doctor said we could start ‘trying’ again. December went by, then January and February….on March 5th we had another positive home pregnancy test! But again at 5 weeks I miscarried this one wasn’t as bad. I mean, all miscarriages suck, but it felt like I had just started my period a little late. My midwife said it was likely a blighted ovum. She said to count the first day of bleeding as the first day of my period, and to keep trying from there…
Trying to get pregnant has been a long, not so fun ride. I’ve been admitted to the hospital, injected with a chemo therapy drug, thrown up, and bled unhealthy amounts. I have been poked and prodded. I had my third miscarriage. I had to start medicine for anxiety because my world had been rocked, HARD! Yet, I’m here to tell you, after what felt like endless trials for me and my family, there is a light at the end of the tunnel… no matter what.
We can’t doubt and lose hope. I’ve had many days where I’ve wanted to give up. And although my journey to get pregnant felt like an eternity, it is short compared to many others. My experience may be a grain of salt, but we jumped the hurdle. We kept our heads high and kept living life. Now, I am excited to say that we are expecting baby number three in January of 2016! I’ve heard my baby’s heartbeat and it sounded like a symphony! Life is so precious. I am grateful for my life. I am grateful for my trials…I really am. I am especially grateful for the triumphs in life and for the amazing blessing I will soon hold in my arms!