This is a very personal post for me. It’s been a difficult time in our house. I’m experiencing my second miscarriage in the last five months. It’s left me feeling physically and emotionally drained. I’ve had to force myself to ask for help that I normally don’t ask for and share a very personal life experience with people I wouldn’t normally share these things with.
I’m writing about this for two reasons: The first because I need to get things out and not let them sit inside me, and the second because if there are other women out there who have had similar experiences hopefully they’ll come across this blog and realize they are not alone.
You see my journey to become a mom has never been an easy one. It started more than five years ago. Like many couples when my hisband and I first got married we decided we wanted children and because of our age we wanted to start right away. At first it was a fun adventure. But as time went on it became harder and harder to be optimistic. I changed my eating habits, started drinking less coffee, and tried to prepare my body for pregnancy. I started charting my temperatures to make sure we were not missing my ovulation. Sex became a planned and strategic routine. My husband had to plan business trips around my fertile times. Our lives became consumed with trying to have a child. After two years we finally conceded that maybe we needed the help of modern medicine. We subjected ourselves to tests and endured endless rounds of questions involving our medical history. I’m happy to say that we found wonderful doctors and nurses who helped us realize our dream. We now have a beautiful 20 month old son. He’s the joy of our lives.
We’ve enjoyed parenthood so much that we have decided we’d like our son to have at least one brother or sister. Figuring that it might take awhile to get pregnant again we started trying when our son was a little over a year. Much to our surprise the first month we tried a miracle happened and I got pregnant with no medical interventions. We were overjoyed and maybe too confident in our ability to bring forth another child. We told lots of people as soon as we found out. But life has a funny way of humbling us all. Seven weeks into my pregnancy I miscarried. My husband was in Germany when it happened. I was alone with my 15 month old and had to call my mother and ask her to drop everything and come. It was heartbreaking to have to make the call across the Atlantic to break the news to my husband and equally as heartbreaking for us not to be able to be with each to offer comfort.
We decided to focus on the positive points from that experience – we were able to conceive without medical help and the chances of another miscarriage were small. We started trying again three months later. Lo and behold, quick success yet again. But this time we were jaded. We didn’t rush to tell everyone. I insisted my doctors start monitoring my hormone and progesterone levels right from the moment I got my first positive test. The first round of blood work looked promising. My HCG and progesterone levels were fabulous. The second set of blood work things started to look not as good. My HCG numbers were not doubling at the rate they should have been and my progesterone level, while still in the high zone, had dropped. I was put on a progesterone supplement. I proceeded to have blood drawn every other day for the next week to monitor my hormones. The levels rose but not at the rate they should have, however, I wasn’t spotting or cramping so we tried to remain optimistic. I had an ultrasound to make sure the pregnancy was not ectopic. It wasn’t. One week later, another ultrasound to check viability. We got a heartbeat and we felt blessed. Our chances of having this baby increased to 80%. The only downside was I had two areas in my uterus that showed some bleeding. I had one small bleed like this when I was pregnant with my son so we tried not to worry too much. Still no spotting or cramping.
Once more life stepped in to humble us. At seven weeks I started light occasional spotting. But it was not like what I had experienced the last time. My doctors said it could just be some residual old blood from the bleeding in my uterus and I should get pelvic rest. For those of you not familiar with this terminology pelvic rest means no sex, no exercise, only minimum light lifting or none at all, and stay off your feet as much as possible. I’m a stay-at-home-mom of a 20 month old. My husband works long hours and travels a lot. Our families are not near us. We knew we needed help, and fast, as my husband had trips scheduled for later that week. So, he took the day off and we started looking for a nanny. Au pair and nanny services wanted very high fees just to sign up. We posted an ad on craigslist.org. We got flooded with responses. The next day we interviewed a Thai girl. She was sweet and had good qualifications and references and our child took to her immediately. Her English is limited and she has to return to Thailand in July but since I will be home when she is here we decided that she would meet our needs. Besides most of the college students who answered our ad couldn’t start until mid-May. We didn’t have the luxury of waiting that long.
I humbled myself yet again and sent an email to some of the women in my neighborhood that I’m friendly with, explaining our situation and asking if they knew of any resources that could help us. It’s a hard thing for me to ask people that are not immediate family or close longtime friends for help. The response I got from these women was unbelievable. I’m so blessed to have such caring and supportive neighbors.
Tuesday night at seven weeks and five days into this pregnancy the light spotting I was having was becoming more frequent so I called my OB. The doctor on call was one of the females in the practice who has also experienced a miscarriage. As soon as she heard my medical history she recommended coming into the office first thing in the morning. When I explained that my husband would be leaving the next morning for a business trip and I would be alone with my toddler she told me to come right to the ER and she’d get me in for an ultrasound so I could find out exactly what was going on before he left. That night we received the worst news. I almost felt sorry for the ultrasound tech because you could see she honestly hated giving us the news that the baby hadn’t grown since my last ultrasound the week before and that there was no longer a heartbeat. She paged my doctor and I had the most compassionate conversation any woman can have from her OB at a time like that.
So now I sit and wait for my body to expel what should have been life. It could take a day or several days. It’s in God’s hands. All I can do is make calls to those that need to know and try to understand and accept this reality. I’m helpless to stop the inevitable. I have no answers as to why this has happened again.
In the next few weeks and months we will have to decide if we want to try again. At this time we have no answers. Do we chance going through another miscarriage? Do we go through more blood tests to make sure that there is nothing medically wrong that is causing me to lose these babies? Do we go back to our reproductive endocrinologists to get more specialized help? Or do we just say one healthy, beautiful child is all we need? I guess we have to ask ourselves what price; emotionally, physically, and financially; are we willing to pay for the chance to have another child.
Only time and God truly know what is in store for us. The only thing I do know is that this is not the journey I expected to take when I set out to become a mother.