Tell us about your pregnancy loss(es).
When my husband and I decided to try for a baby, I got off my birth control and followed my obgyn’s instructions to wait 3 months. The next month, I had another painful ovulation, and actually got pregnant! I couldn’t believe how easy it had been! I told everyone, even strangers. At the time, I was commuting from Charlotte to Asheville. When I was about 8 weeks pregnant, I started to bleed. I was in Asheville, alone, and away from my husband and Doctor. I went to the emergency room, where they couldn’t find the baby or a heartbeat. I was diagnosed with a threatened “spontaneous abortion”. I was furious at that term. Spontaneous abortion. As if I didn’t want this baby that my husband and I had created. A week later, I learned that I had indeed miscarried. I had actually had a blighted ovum…where I was chemically pregnant, but an embryo never actually formed from the yolk sack. I was heartbroken, but chose to focus on the fact that I had gotten pregnant so easily as opposed to the struggles I had expected. I had a D&E, and was told to wait another 3 months before we started trying again.
A couple months later, I should have gotten my period already. My doctor even prescribed progesterone to help start my period. That was when I started to have a tough time with the miscarriage. I really felt like I had, emotionally, dealt with the miscarriage well. However, I was beginning to feel like my body was holding me hostage from moving on. A friend of mine wanted me to take a pregnancy test. I told her she was nuts, but she just wouldn’t let it go. So, I took one to shut her up. To my shock, and horror if I’m being honest, the digital reader said I was pregnant before I had time to lay it on the counter. I couldn’t believe it! I went to the doctor the next day and found out I was 7 weeks pregnant, with the most beautiful heartbeat I had ever seen. I was monitored very closely throughout my whole pregnancy, and delivered the most beautiful baby boy via emergency cesarean 7 short months later.
When our son was about 3, we decided it was time to try for another baby. After several months of not getting pregnant, I was put on clomid to try to help my ovulation. A few months later, I got pregnant. For some reason, as much as I wanted to be happy, there was something inside of me that just didn’t, I don’t know, feel right. I don’t even know if that’s the right word. I guess I just instinctively knew something was wrong. Around 9 weeks, I miscarried. Part of me knew it was coming, and part of me was angry that maybe I jinxed myself. Regardless, I had another D&E, and refused to allow myself to think about it. I convinced myself it was another blighted ovum, and therefore wasn’t really a “loss”. It sounds totally stupid when I write it out now, but that’s what I needed back then. When my doctor performed my D&E, he sent everything off for testing to make sure there was nothing wrong with me. When I got the test results back, I made the mistake of asking if the sack was empty, because I had convinced myself it was. It wasn’t. There had been an actual embryo that didn’t make it. My baby. My baby didn’t make it. To say I was crushed is an understatement. I was so angry. I was angry at myself, I was angry at all my pregnant friends, I was angry. The thought crossed my mind, pretty much every day, that I thought I was doing a pretty good job of raising my son and didn’t understand why G-D didn’t trust me with another baby. I saw all these other people getting pregnant so easily, some of whom didn’t want their babies or were in situations where a baby wasn’t ideal, and they got to have their babies. Why didn’t I get to have mine? Little did I know the journey I was about to go on.
Longer story short, we just couldn’t get pregnant again. I did a few more months of clomid, had 3 failed IUIs (intrauterine insemination), and finally conceived through IVF (in vitro fertilization). My RE (reproductive endocrinologist) didn’t expect me to get pregnant with that first IVF, however I did. I was cautiously optimistic. However, my pregnancy was rough. The embryo didn’t attach to my uterus lining in the typical amount of time, which resulted in low test results for several weeks and the constant threat of another miscarriage. Once we got past that, the fetal sack that housed the baby was dangerously small. So small, in fact, that I noticed it on my own in my ultrasound. When we finally got past that, I realized that I didn’t feel the baby move very much. Apparently the placement of the placenta during this pregnancy prevented me from feeling the baby move very much. Because of everything I had been through, I was terrified to bond with my baby. I was more scared than I knew what to do with that I would lose this baby too. After some incredible advice from a new friend, I sat on my couch late one night and just talked to my belly. I told my baby how much I loved them, how much I couldn’t wait to meet them, and how I was sorry if they didn’t feel my love for them. I was 36 weeks and 6 days pregnant. The next morning, at 37 weeks pregnant and 18 days ahead of my scheduled cesarean, my water broke all over the doctor’s office. Several hours later, my beautiful and perfect daughter was born via cesarean.
What do you remember most about the initial stages of grief immediately following your loss? How did you feel? What were you thinking?
When my husband and I were going through our fertility struggles (which were really mine because he was deemed fine), I felt very alone. Don’t get me wrong, my husband couldn’t have been more supportive if he tried. However, it was my body that was failing us. I felt wholly to blame for our struggles. Furthermore, I didn’t know anyone who had been through a fertility struggle like ours, so I didn’t have anyone to talk to who “got it”. There was no one to say “I’ve been there and done that, and I completely understand how you feel”. However, I have had several friends go through infertility after me, and I got to be that someone for them. The friend that just “got it”. Besides my beautiful children, it made everything I went through have some meaning besides just heartbreak.
What would you like to say to another woman walking a similar path?
If I can only convey one message to someone struggling with a loss or infertility, it’s that you aren’t alone. So many people have been there, and have felt exactly what you are feeling. We are here for you, in whatever capacity you need the support. Know you are loved and supported, and we will stand with you as you travel this long, difficult, and exhausting journey until your very own rainbow baby is in your arms. I promise it will happen, one way or another. Keep the faith, and a good bottle of wine 😉
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