Let’s get serious for a moment – this is not my first pregnancy, however, this is my first child.
My husband and I started the TTC (trying-to-conceive) journey in March 2014. I spent Mother’s day that year alone, sobbing because my period had just started (really, nature?) and mourning the fact that I both was not a mother yet and mourning my own mother who had passed away just three months prior. Little did I know that my Mother’s-Day-Mournfest was the beginning of my first ever pregnancy. About mid-way through that cycle, we decided to press pause on actively trying through the rest of the summer as we had six friends getting married over the course of 3 months and I didn’t want to miss out on any of the fun. I didn’t even stop once to think I could have already been pregnant at that point, because we stopped trying so early in my cycle. I have irregular periods and didn’t even think about it as 4 weeks went by, then 5, then 6. It wasn’t until I had a full-on ugly-cry meltdown over a lawncare bill that I realized something might be up. I took a test the next morning and B-A-M, two lines with the test line darker than the control! I was shaking, nervous, excited, guilty (way too many drinks). The first words I muttered to myself were “oh shit.” By those calculations I was 1 day shy of 7 weeks pregnant. I called my OB/GYN in a panic because I had been drinking and not taking any care whatsoever. No prenatals. Since everything seemed to be on the up & up, my doctor scheduled me in at 10 weeks for a urine test, blood tests, and a medical history. At 12 weeks, I went back to hear the heartbeat on a doppler. Except they couldn’t find a heartbeat. I was instantly nervous, my heart dropped down into my stomach and I was hoping against all hope that the baby was just playing hide-and-go-seek in my uterus. They brought out the ultrasound machine and I remember making a joke to my husband, that at least I would get to see the baby instead of just hearing him or her. But there was nothing there. No baby. No fetal pole. Just a sac and a lesion where the blastocyst implanted and never grew. It’s something called a blighted ovum, which I have grown to consider to be two of the ugliest words on the planet.
I was inconsolable My doctor assured me that these things do happen and seemingly for no reason. That the likely. culprit was bad genetic information in the egg or the sperm or both. It could have been Trisomy 13 or 18. It could have been nothing at all. I was convinced it was because of all the alcohol I had been consuming and all of the vitamins I wasn’t. To all the ladies out there who think it was your fault – it wasn’t your fault. Repeat it out loud. IT. WASNT. YOUR. FAULT. It wasn’t anyone’s fault. He asked me if I wanted to have a D&C or if I wanted to wait and see if it would pass naturally. I told him I needed a few days to think about the right thing to do.. I spent a week convinced that my body was broken, that I couldn’t even manage to do the one thing it was made to do. And then I started to realize that it wasn’t broken and that it was behaving as nature had intended. It recognized a non-viable pregnancy and self-terminated before my uterus even realized what had happened. I knew then that I would wait it out. My doctor told me miscarrying naturally would be like a very heavy period and would last for about a week. I did some research on my own regarding others’ experiences and I came across this blog which scared the shit out of me and at the same time, gave me peace for some reason. The thought of having actual contractions and going through the actual labor process had never even crossed my mind. I don’t know why, but in my naivety, when people said they had a miscarriage, I figured it just kind of…went away. Armed with that information, I felt confident in my decision to trust my body, trust the process and wait it out.
***I wouldn’t read any further in this paragraph if you’re squeamish or if a graphic retelling of a natural miscarriage would be triggering for you***
Two weeks later, on a hot August day, my body came through for me again and began to miscarry… I started having what I can only believe now to be contractions at work one day that continued through dinner and into the evening. They felt like bad cramps at first, and by 10:00 they were coming fast and hard, one right after the other, one on top of the other. All the things I’ve read about birthing contractions is at least you get a small break. I had none. No break, and no baby. Just pain. At about 10:30 that night I went to the bathroom and took the biggest shit I’ve ever had in my life. Like – I’ve never seen so much shit come out of one person. And immediately after that, blood started pouring out of me as though the shit was the plug that was holding it all together.. I called for my husband and told him it was happening and to standby in case I needed him. He brought me some water and held my hand as I cried through contractions and bled in the toilet. I was trying to keep myself clean as it was happening, but that was short lived. I stripped out of my clothes and stood up, since sitting was beginning to be uncomfortable. During the contractions, I would rock my hips back and forth, sway them side to side and standing above the toilet, that was making a mess so I had my husband help me into the tub which left a trail of blood between the two.. I was standing up with on hand on my husbands shoulder, howling the most guttural, empty screams I’ve ever heard. At some point, I stopped, looked at my husband and told him I felt like a fucking amazonian woman at that moment. The blood wasn’t letting up and by 12:30, two hours into the bleeding I was beginning to feel faint, I was shaking, I could feel my blood pressure dropping. Since it didn’t seem like it was going to let up anytime soon, we decided to get to the ER as quickly as possible because I know that the line between safe and unsafe was fast-approaching.
I threw on pajamas and tried to jimmy up my underwear with three overnight pads (yes, three). We threw some towels down on the seat of my car to hopefully save the fabric. By the time we got to the hospital (a 5 minute drive), I had soaked through the pads, my shorts, and part of the towel (but my car seat was unscathed, thankfully). My husband brought me a wheelchair and the blood spilled into it and pooled underneath me. The ER was empty aside from one teenaged girl who looked at me in shock. They asked what I was coming in for, I said “I’m having a miscarriage.” and they asked me if my doctor had confirmed or if I had called him. No – no I hadn’t called my doctor to see if after two hours of bleeding profusely and feeling faint warranted a trip to the ER. I was busy laboring a gestational sac and a placenta – sorry. They brought me back into my room and between changing into the gown and getting into the bed, I had bled a small pond on the floor beneath me. They took my blood pressure – 80/50 and told me it was a good thing I came in. And then, they started the dilaudid drip. The contractions didn’t hurt anymore and I felt woozy and out of it, and falling fast. I asked the nurse if it was the drugs or my blood pressure and she laughed as I drifted to sleep. I woke up every few minutes so they could change the pad underneath me and after a couple of hours, the doctor came in to see me and gave me an ultrasound. He confirmed that everything was passing on its own and that the bleeding should start to subside soon… I cried looking at my even emptier womb. I tried to sleep for a few more hours while they got everything together to discharge me and when it was time for me to go., it felt like I was being shoved out into the street. I was still bleeding quite a bit (8 hours later), the dilaudid was wearing off and making me nauseous. I had to stop and throw up a few times while gathering my things.
By the time I got home, it was 7:00 and I finally had a chance to call my boss and tell her I couldn’t come in. She knew about my diagnosis and knew I would be needing some time off at some point. I remember feeling bummed out because I was missing an important meeting. My husband stayed home from work to take care of me and help me to the bathroom (this is love right here). By 10:30, the bleeding had slowed to a heavy period sized volume. 12 hours of intense, non-stop bleeding later. I wasn’t in a great mental state for a little while after it happened. I had gone through a horrific event and the more I spoke with people who had never experienced it, the more I hated them for it. I hated seeing anyone with a baby, or pregnant. I remember reading a facebook announcement for a girl I used to be best friends with in high school – not long after she had posted a status about being fine the way things were. I started sobbing uncontrollably and hated her, too (she now has a beautiful, perfect baby boy and I do not hate her).
We decided to put trying again on hold indefinitely. I couldn’t handle going through that trauma again. I told my husband I would be ready when my want for a child outweighed my fear of another miscarriage. That day came mid-cycle in November 2014. We didn’t conceive that month, but I knew it would be okay since we had just started trying again and it was in the middle of my cycle (which still hadn’t regulated, PS – miscarriage can really fuck with everything). The following cycle was December – our first anniversary was approaching, Christmas cheer was in the air and I was finally feeling like myself again. Babies didn’t make me cry, pregnant women made me feel hopeful instead of hopeless and bitter. I was so sure that December would be the month it happened – I pulled out all the stops to increase the chances. My period was later than usual, and I went through test after test, unsure of when my period would come, if at all. It didn’t come again until early January and I was devastated. We started this process in March 2014 and here we were January 2015 with no baby, no pregnancy anymore and I was starting to get discouraged that I would see 2016 without a child. That thought sent me over the edge. When I got my period in January, I told my husband that we were going to just relax, have sex when we felt like it and go from there.
I downloaded a new fertility app (Ovia, I’m lookin’ at you) and just entered in my data every day, had sex during my fertile period and tracked when I thought I would ovulate as best as possible. Based on my supposed ovulation date, I started a tentative mental 2 week wait and noticed some sharp twinges between my ovaries and uterus about 5 days past ovulation. I did some looking and had myself convinced it was the blastocyst on its way down my fallopian tube. By day 7 those pains had gone away and I felt some cramping in one spot in my uterus. I was trying not to get my hopes up and told myself I would wait until 14 DPO, but I caved. 3 days later I caved and took a test at 10 DPO. I wasn’t expecting anything, just wanted to use up my last test and a line showed up almost immediately. I was shocked! Instead of “oh shit” my reaction was “YESSSSSSSSSSS”
And that’s why I’m here today.