The next day we headed to the Dominican Republic. Greg and I decided early on that we were not going to tell many people this time around, until at least the first ultrasound confirmed everything looked healthy, normal, and we saw a baby with a beating heart on an ultrasound screen. The trip to DR actually made keeping this a secret a lot easier for me since I couldn't easily communicate with people for the first 5 days I knew I was pregnant. I even posted pictures of drinks (non-alcoholic) so that I could throw people off. The trip was also great because it enabled me to get away and relax instead of being home where I surely would have gotten really worried right away.
When we got back from DR, I had my first doctor appointment on January 24th. For the first appointment, my practice does a standard pelvic exam, urine pregnancy test, and takes 6 vials of blood to test for various things. They send you on your way with a detailed packet about how the rest of the pregnancy and doctor's visits will go and then you wait til your first ultrasound. It's not very much to go by. My midwife and I also decided to go ahead and have them do a blood HCG test on me because she was aware of my previous miscarriage. I had mixed feelings about this, since we did it in my last pregnancy and it led to "gray" results. If you're not familiar with this test, they draw blood, get a number, and then 48 hours they draw more blood and get a second number and you want to see the number double if the pregnancy is normal. Last time mine increased but didn't double. I was hesitant to do this test again and get more "gray" results, but since I knew my ultrasound was going to be a couple weeks away and this was all I had to go by, I agreed to do it. That Friday I got a call from the midwife and my results were great- the numbers had more than doubled. Phew, everything looked good.
I had actually had my annual "female" exam two weeks before this, in which I was already "barely" pregnant, but my doctor and I didn't know then. I had talked to him a lot about our options since it had been a year of trying and a while since the miscarriage and I still wasn't pregnant (or so I thought). We'd discussed the possibility of doing insemination because of our issues TTC with Greg's schedule and he'd offered to refer me. We'd also run blood tests on my progesterone and thyroid levels, which ended up coming back normal and was a relief to me when I knew I was already pregnant, since I knew low progesterone can be associated with miscarriage and that was one of my concerns of something I might have that could cause me to miscarry. I didn't have a progesterone issue, so it wasn't a concern.
Greg and I looked at the calendar for February before I went to my first appointment. There was no way I was going to my first ultrasound without him. The second factor that was important to both of us was that I be far enough along that we went in when there was no question we should be able to see a heartbeat and baby. With my first pregnancy, our first ultrasound was around 6 weeks, which was borderline for being able to see anything. This caused a lot of confusion when they didn't see a baby with a heartbeat, and we were told to come back in 2-3 weeks to confirm the pregnancy. I spent 2-3 agonizing weeks a nervous wreck over what was going on in my uterus. This time we wanted no confusion. We scheduled my first ultrasound for February 21st, which was probably later than most, since I would be over 8 weeks pregnant then, but I just didn't want there to be confusion this time, and this was a date that worked with Greg's schedule, or so we thought.
In the month leading up to my ultrasound appointment, I felt completely different this time than the last pregnancy. I wasn't really excited. I describe it as being kind of "flat-line" about it. The first time I was crazy excited, pouring through nursery pictures, smiling like crazy, and just psyched. After the miscarriage, until I got pregnant again, I kind of went through sort of a depression. I had a blanket of sadness over me and a feeling of helpless/hopelessness. When I got pregnant again, it basically helped to erase the low of sadness, but I didn't go immediately through the roof with happiness this time. I really just felt relieved to be pregnant again but still scared about how things might go. I didn't want to go nuts celebrating til we knew for sure if everything looked ok though. I just had to remain guarded and cautious.
I bought a new pregnancy journal, but never didn't want to write in it til the ultrasound, or take any week-by-week pictures, buy baby things, or get too excited.
As for telling people, I still tried not to, but over the course of the month, the news did leak out to some people. Some close friends noticed I wasn't drinking, and a few other people that knew to ask how things were going were able to get it out of me. I am not a great a secret keeper with news like this, so I knew I would cave and tell some people. It was actually nice to have a few people to talk to about it though, or I probably would have gone nuts.
My symptoms were pretty light. This time I didn't have the huge bloat feeling quite as much in the beginning like last time. I've had a handful of evenings where I was falling asleep at 8pm, but not many. Starting in week 6, I guess I got some morning sickness, feeling queasy a bunch during the day (usually mid morning or in the afternoon). I also had days where not much sounded good to me except specific things like baked potatoes, meatball subs, and peanut butter cups (healthy, I know). I didn't have a ton of food aversions though and for the most part my eating remained normal. The lack of symptoms has definitely concerned me. Last time I didn't have many symptoms and that pregnancy didn't end well, so would have almost welcomed some puking or heavy fatigue to indicate that things inside were going well.
Right before my ultrasound, we got some bad news. Greg's schedule was changed by the airline and he would not be making it home for the appointment. I basically threw a fit and was really angry and upset, since I'd already waited A MONTH to find out if everything was ok, but gegrouped and rescheduled it for February 27th. Since we couldn't go to the doctor on the 21st, I took another pregnancy test, my third since finding out, and it immediately showed a dark line of confirmation. It helped ease my mind that things were still on track.
|I couldn't get this picture to flip, sorry!|
The weekend before the ultrasound, I had just the teeniest bit of brownish discharge. I'd had that last time before my miscarriage, but way more, so I tried not to be too concerned, but definitely took it easy, cancelling dinner plans and staying parked on the couch most of the weekend.
Lighting Never Strikes Twice...
Monday the 27th finally came and I was totally freaked out with anxiety. I did not know what to expect and definitely thought it could go either way. It took a while for them to call me in for the ultrasound, but finally we went in to the same room where I'd had my other ones. I knew the drill. As soon as I saw my uterus come up on the screen, I knew. It was bigger than last summer, but it looked empty. The tech clicked around, and mentioned checking my ovaries. She finally said that she didn't detect any heartbeat or blood flow to the area. Ughhhhhh....
I felt kind of numb. Tears spilled over as I got to the exam room to wait for the doctor. Soon my doctor came in to meet with us and go over everything. We talked about conception dates, looked at the ultrasound pictures, and tried to make sure everything was as it seemed. I was measuring around 7+ weeks. The plan became to wait a week, do one more ultrasound to confirm no growth or change, and then have another D&C surgery to remove the miscarriage.
The day of the news, I was really sad. I couldn't believe this had happened again. The first time I was willing to chalk it up to a fluke, an unlucky occurance. My body had been through a "test run" before, and this was supposed to be the real event. I was now scared for the future. Something is wrong with me that is causing this to happen again and again. Is it something we can overcome? I don't know. I went through (am still going through) a range of emotions. I definitely cried a lot for the first couple days. Then I went to anger and motivation to figure out what was wrong. I poured over the internet, looking through forums, and gathering information about repeat miscarriage, taking notes on clotting disorders, chromosomal abnormalities, killer cells, and other issues to talk to my doctor about. By later in the week I kind of felt kind of like my normal self again I resumed my normal life, working, walking Clyde, cooking meals, etc... That only lasted for a few days though, before I became sad, withdrawn, anti social, and crying and feeling generally mopey again.
Yesterday we went for that final ultrasound, and was surprised, for the first time, to see something tiny and resembling a baby on the screen. The tech said she thought it looked to be around 6 weeks, but definitely had no fetal heart activity. We hadn't seen this at the previous ultrasound, it had looked empty when the tech had clicked around. Dare I say it actually gave me hope to see something resembling a baby. I had thought that our cells weren't really forming anything normal On the other hand, it felt like a more real loss to see that this was something pretty real.
I had my surgery yesterday and it went fine. Greg and I debated a lot about whether to get the baby tested for issues, since we are planning to have a blood panel testing me for various things in a couple weeks. After much discussion, we're having it done. It's not covered by insurance and it's expensive, but I want to know if they find something. I knew I'd regret not doing it if I end up back in a hospital bed, waiting for yet another D&C, in 6 months and something they find in this pregnancy could have prevented issues with the next one. I don't yet know what the tests on me or the baby will tell me, but I think I made the right decision, just for me own peace of mind.
I know a lot of you didn't know about any of this because I opted not to blog about it til the ultrasound. I just hoped that this time I'd be sharing happy news, but obviously that was not the case. For those that know and have sent me cards, cupcakes, flowers, and called, texted, tweeted, and made me go out for happy hour, thank you all for your support. It's meant a lot to me.
I'll keep you guys posted on the next part of our journey, which is obviously trying to figure out what our issue is so that we can have a successful, healthy, pregnancy. I really hope that's in our future.