On June 2nd, 2011, I found out I was pregnant.
I had just been to dinner with my husband and Book Club. I got home and was feeling really bloated. I really had no reason to think I might be pregnant that cycle, because I had realized early in the cycle that we were probably missing our "window" of when it could happen, since I had ovulated earlier than expected.
Anyway, I'm not sure what made me want to take a test that night, but through out the process of TTC I pretty much took tests at random and this night was no exception. I first took an "internet cheapie" as we like to call them. A while back I had ordered a bunch of these cheap HCG strip, no frills tests, for about $5 for 10 test or something, for moments like these when I wanted to take a test, but not blow $7 on ONE test. I took one while getting ready for bed and set it on the sink while brushing my teeth, washing my face, etc...
A few minutes went by, and I took a look. OMG... is that a faint line I see??
So I did what any hopeful person would do and took another, better test.
See the faint line, on the left?
Telling Greg ended up being completely anti-climactic since he was home when I took the tests, and my telling him involved yelling for him to come see the tests and confirm there was actually a line on them. It was a bit unfortunate since I'd been hoping all along he'd be gone on a trip and I'd wrap up a test or a "Daddy" onesie or something to tell him. He was skeptical when he saw how faint the lines were, but I explained that nothing shows up unless you are actually pregnant, and I went to bed pretty excited that this seemed to actually be happening finally.
The next day Greg left for a trip and I went to work, nervous and excited. I really never had a plan of who I would tell and when. I realized quickly in all my effort to get pregnant, now that it appeared I actually was, I had no idea what to do. I emailed Jen, who as many of you know is somewhat of an expert on pregnancy because of her job and personal experiences with it. Jen had just announced her own pregnancy, and when I emailed her that it appeared I was pregnant, she was thrilled for me. She told me to call my doctor and immediately schedule an appointment. I made an appointment for the following Tuesday, June 7th. The only other person I told the first day was my friend Alison, a fellow TTC buddy that I pretty much talk to on a daily basis about our TTC journey. I knew it would be hard not to tell her, and she shared in my joy. It was fun :)
Over the next few days, I took more and more tests, and watched my lines get darker.
I took a digital test, and got to see that beautiful word appear on the screen.
Finally, Tuesday came and we went to our first prenatal appointment. I'd been sure to schedule it when Greg would be home so he could join me. They performed a pregnancy test on me and confirmed that I was pregnant, then did a pelvic exam, and we talked to the doctor armed with a list of questions about everything from self-tanner, to flying, to migraines. He was great and answered all my questions. My due date was set for February 14th, Valentine's Day, which seemed fitting, since Greg and I were already in love with our little lentil.
They set my first ultrasound appointment for about two weeks later, which we realized was pretty early in the pregnancy, and we worried a little that it would be too early to see a heartbeat, but went with it.
In the meantime, I enjoyed mocktails when I was out...
I daydreamed about nurseries...
I ate lots of healthy stuff.
I bought and read pregnancy books and journals and diligently filled them in.
I eagerly read pregnancy blogs, taking in what I might expect to feel and look like in the coming months.
I took the obligatory belly shots. Around 6 weeks.
I fell in love with the idea that I was pregnant and going to have a baby, FINALLY.
I really didn't have a plan about whether or who I would tell I was pregnant. I know a lot of people wait til the end of the first trimester, til you're more "out of the woods", but I am not that great about keeping this kind of secret, and ended up telling some people along the way.
Luckily everyone I told shared in my joy :)We told our families and they were over the moon with excitement for us, knowing how long we'd waited for this. The most fun was telling my brother and sister-in-law, who are expecting a baby in September. We told them together on Skype. I told Ashley that I might want to borrow some of her maternity clothes when she was done with them. :) We all were excited at the fact that our kids would be cousins only five months apart in age. How cool.
When I told my parents and told them when the first ultrasound was scheduled, my mom wanted to come with us and see her future grandchild on the screen. We agreed it would be cool for her to come and after a couple weeks of anticipation, our appointment on June 24th was upon us. My parents were so cute when they showed up. They brought the baby's first present.
At the doctor's office, Greg, my mom, and I went into the ultrasound room, where I changed into my sheet, got on the table, and the technician began the ultrasound. Soon my uterus popped up the screen and the tech asked how far along I was. I said I was about 6-7 weeks, and she said my yolk sac looked to be 5 weeks and 1 day, a little behind where we thought I'd be at that point. Confused, we next met with a nurse midwife, who went through the results with me.
|Not my ultrasound, but it looked similar to this.|
Basically, the doctors considered me to be about 7 weeks pregnant at that point, since they go by the date of your last period. Even though I knew that my baby should only be about 5 weeks from the date we conceived, the ultrasound should still have shown me further along according to the tech and nurse. Still, I tried not to freak out, and asked about doing a Beta HCG test, to see if my hormone levels were normal or not. They agreed to do it, and I had the first test that day, with results in the 7,000's, good for 5-7 weeks pregnant. The way the test works, is that you take a second test about 48 to 72 hours later and you want your level to double if your pregnancy is normal.
Slightly uncertain, but not too worried, I went on with my weekend with my parents. We went to the mall, and Greg, knowing that I love the lamb themed nursery, bought me a lambie mobile, saying that we would need it, no matter what. I love him :)
Out of all of us, I think I remained the most optimistic and least worried all weekend. I felt like the ultrasound was explainable with the baby's size matching the date I believed we conceived. I was probably fine, it was just too early to conclusively know much. I was scheduled for a second ultrasound on July 11th, and knew that that would be the defining moment of my pregnancy, either we'd see a heartbeat or we wouldn't, and we would know if everything was okay or not. In the meantime, I would try to hang in there and stay positive.
Then Monday came, and I went in for the second Beta test on my way to work. A few hours later I received the results. My level didn't double, but it rose to 11,412. I didn't know what to think. More "gray" results. The number had climbed, but not doubled. That could mean things were okay, or it could mean bad news. I started to worry more than I had been with only the first ultrasound results. To make matters worse, I started having a little bit of bleeding later in the week, some brownish discharge.
I tried my best to remain “cautiously optimistic” as my nurse midwife had advised me too, but it was hard. Part of me still wanted to research cribs, and part of me googled miscarriage symptoms to see if I fit them.
I felt it could go either way. More than once I said that if I found out everything was normal, I would just think it was all explainable. If I found out there was something wrong with the baby, I would think these were all the signs. I had good days when I was completely optimistic and bad days when I wasn't sure it was going to be okay. It was a rough couple weeks, wondering and not knowing.
About a week out from the second ultrasound I had a meltdown. Maybe in hindsight it was intuition. Work was stressful and the lack of knowing what was going on with the baby was starting to kill me. I was scared and crying and I knew I couldn't wait til the 11th for an answer. We had originally scheduled our appointment for the 11th, partly because Greg was definitely off then and I needed him to be there with me. I realized he would be home by the morning of July 8th, and decided to call my doctor's office and see if I could move our appointment up to the afternoon of the 8th so that we could have our answer sooner. I also wanted the weekend to either celebrate or cope with whatever news we were given. At first they weren't sure if they could fit us in, but I explained everything going on to the person on the phone at my doctor's office and she agreed to somehow make it work and get us in for the afternoon of July 8th.
After changing the appointment, I left Greg a shaky message explaining that I had changed the appointment and that he would NEED to be home the morning of the 8th to come with me. He called me back and was great, sensing my anxiety and told me something wonderful. He said, “I’m one hundred percent sure we will be parents, so you don’t need to worry”. He said if it didn’t happen now, he knew it would still happen. It was comforting to hear him say those words.
Now, I have to tell you that during that week, I had to do something. I had to prepare myself for bad news. Everyone kept telling me to be optimistic, and I really did try to keep hope alive, but at the same time, I knew I had to prepare the possibility that I might get bad news. When I was cop, my training officers taught me to prepare for any situation that might occur: a person whipping out a gun on a traffic stop, guys running out of a bank after just robbing it, an accident occurring in front of me. They taught me that it was good to run through scenarios of things that might happen so that you would be prepared for how you would react. I learned to do this to prepare myself for possible outcomes. If I only prepared for good news, how I would I deal with it if I got bad news? I had to think about the receiving bad news, at least a little so I could prepare myself.
Friday finally came and Greg arrived home that morning, which was a relief, since sometimes he doesn't make it home when he think he will due to the nature of the airline industry. I left work early and we headed over to our appointment. It had been exactly two weeks since our last ultrasound, and this was the day we had waited for, we were finally going to get our answer. I was called back from the waiting room and changed into a sheet on the lower half of my body for my ultrasound. I climbed up on the table and the ultrasound tech got working to check me out. I soon saw a similar sac to the one we'd seen a few weeks ago on the ultrasound screen, but it looked bigger with a little something more inside this time. I was a little bit hopeful. But soon the ultrasound tech said she didn't detect any fetal heartbeat activity, and that I was only measuring at about 6 weeks and a few days. I knew...
Numb, I changed back into my clothes, then came out and hugged my husband, feeling the tears start to well up just as the tech opened the door and led us down the hall to an examining room. Our doctor came in, and we asked questions. She went through our ultrasound pictures with us and showed us why our pregnancy wasn't viable. Our yolk sac was too big, our baby was just unformed tissue. She wasn't sure that our baby ever had a heartbeat, since it would have been right on the cusp of being at that point when it stopped forming/growing around the 6 week mark. She was 100% sure that I had miscarried. I knew from my prior research, that I'd had a "missed miscarriage", where basically I'd had a miscarriage, but it wasn't expelling itself on its own.
Then came the hardest part for me in the process, deciding how I wanted to proceed. My options were:
1. Do nothing and let the miscarriage happen on its own if/when my body ever realized it was supposed to expel it, which obviously wasn't happening yet.
2. Take drugs to induce the miscarriage.
3. Have a D&C, to surgically remove the pregnancy.
I REALLY struggled with this decision. It was the thing that made me cry the most. I talked it over with Greg and thought about the options, and eventually decided to go the drug route (#2). It was obvious to me that my body was not in a hurry to expel the pregnancy, so the first option was kind of out, and surgery made me nervous. I didn't want to do anything that would prevent me from being able to have a baby in the future. Drugs seemed to be the logical option, since I could start the process of miscarrying non-invasively. The biggest con seemed to be that it might take a while, since the bleeding might not start right away and once it did, it could last a week or two. Also, the doctor would have to kind of monitor things closely to make sure everything was expelled as it was supposed to, because if it didn't, I could still have to have a D&C in the end to remove whatever didn‘t come out. I still thought the drugs seemed worth trying if it meant preserving my fertility, and walked out of the office with a prescription and a hollow heart.
I took my first dose of the Misoprostol around 6:30pm on Friday night, with some delicious Donato's pizza. In an hour or so I felt some cramping coming on, but nothing major. I popped a prescription strength Ibuprofen once I could feel the cramping more. Then it got worse, and I decided to take a Tylenol with Codeine, my other pain prescription. Basically, the Misoprostol induces labor. We're talking full on contractions. While I was advised of this by the doctor, I had no idea it would be so painful and severe. I started with a heating pad on my abdomen, and then things went downhill from there. After a while, I ran the bathroom and spent a bunch of time sitting on the toilet. It was getting ugly.
Then I started cramping, contracting, and shaking uncontrollably, and decided to climb into a lukewarm bathtub and run the Jacuzzi jets to see if that would ease the pain at all. It helped a little, but it was obviously I was in bad shape. I started to heave and Greg grabbed me the trash bin and I threw up. It was not pretty. I was crying, shaking, and terrified. It was literally the most pain I have ever been in. Side note, if and when I do get pregnant and carry to term, I am getting an Epidural!
I told Greg to call the doctor and he couldn't reach anyone. I told him he should take me to the hospital. I dressed myself in sweats, we threw together some stuff, and we were out the door headed to the hospital within a couple minutes. We arrived at the ER and checked in and I was still shaking and moaning. I expected to be rushed into to doctors waiting to check me, give me pain meds, and help me. Instead I sat moaning in a wheeled chair for what seemed like forever, while Greg continuously begged them to see me and insisted I was in severe pain. Eventually, I was checked by a preliminary nurse to got my vitals, and seemed relatively unconcerned with the fact that I was ready to die. She mostly seemed annoyed that I wouldn't stop shaking to give her a steady reading on her thermometer. After she checked me, I was returned to the lobby to sit and wait to be seen by a doctor. Somehow, the contractions finally started to stop, and after a while I actually felt like a somewhat normal human being again.
Finally, after about an hour in the lobby, our name was called, and I was admitted into the ER. I was seen by a great nurse and doctor, who listened to my whole awful story. I told them I could not handle the drugs, the contractions, and the pain and that I wanted a D&C so this would be over. They were able to reach my doctor group and schedule me for the D&C that morning- Saturday. I was so relieved.
Around 1:30am, I was discharged from the ER with paperwork to come back in the morning for my surgery. I went home and ate the best peach I've ever tasted, drank an ice cold glass of water- my last food and drink til after my surgery, then went to bed.
Saturday morning, we got up and got ready, on about 5 hours of sleep each, and headed to the hospital again. I was checked in and prepped for surgery by a great nursing staff, and my doctor came in to chat with us before the surgery. He was the same doctor we had for our first prenatal appointment, that had answered all my silly questions, and Greg and I both really liked and trusted him. He assured me the surgery involved no sharp instruments and would be as minimally invasive as possible. He understood our wish to conceive again and said in two menstrual cycles, we would be cleared to try again. I held back tears as he reassured me and squeezed my foot through my sheets.
|The nurses gave me a cute stuffed monkey to hold.|
I remember nothing after they wheeled me in to the hallway to go to the OR. I woke up in the same room where I was prepped and was given the best ginger ale and Saltines I have ever tasted.
The rest of the day was kind of a wash. I got my new prescriptions for bleeding and infection prevention, and Greg and I ordered some take-out Chinese, because I love wonton soup when I’m sick. We both took a 5 hour nap on Saturday afternoon and later I talked to my mom for a while when I woke up.
I wasn’t in pain at all from the surgery. At least not physical pain. Emotionally, I guess I have felt the same ever since I received the news on Friday: Sad, frustrated, worried, angry, jealous, numb, hollow, uncertain… Thoughts swim in my head. Why? Will we have trouble conceiving/maintaining a pregnancy again? Why do some people not have problems? Sometimes I feel like I just returned to the person I was before I got pregnant, but I know I really haven’t. This has changed me forever, and now when I look in the mirror, I see a sadness now that wasn’t there before. Something is missing now. I feel kind of apathetic. I noticed yesterday that I just didn’t care about things that might have bothered me before: my husband driving too slow, which sandwich to eat at lunch, whether the radio was on or off. It all seems completely trivial now.
My heart is broken.
I understand the mother/baby bond, even if I only got to experience it for a short time. I would rub my tummy and say, "Grow baby grow" to it all the time, hoping it would. I miss that already.
I need to mention that my friends and family have been great. My mom calls to check on me daily, and I've received countless texts, emails, phone calls, invitations for froyo and drinking binges, and even cupcakes from my friends. You guys are awesome, I love you, and thank you.
I do think we will conceive again. I have to keep that hope alive. I do think I will be a mother and hold my baby in my arms in the near future.
In the mean time, I told Greg that we need to take a trip, so as soon as he gets his August schedule, if we can swing it, we are hoping to leave the country for a few days.