Many of you know, I miscarried back in December. But, there’s a lot you don’t know. You don’t know about how we planned for this baby and wanted this baby so much, then when I finally got pregnant we started doubting our decision to try for more kids. Or how we found out about the miscarriage and our reaction to it all. As we prepare to try again in the coming weeks, I’m finally ready to tell you about everything. Prepare yourself for a long post.
My husband and I decided when we were out to eat celebrating our ninth wedding anniversary last May that it was time to seriously start talking about expanding our family. When we started talking we didn’t know what the other was really thinking on the subject, we kept putting off discussing it because of our rough start with Cakes. But Cakes was getting older (17 months when this conversation took place) and it was time to decide since if we had kids, we didn’t want them spaced too far apart. I’ll spare you the details of that conversation because honestly at this point, I don’t even remember them all. Long story short, we decided we did want to have another baby (just one) and that since we had tickets to ACL (aka Austin City Limits – an annual music festival) that we would wait until after that to get pregnant so we could have one last hurrah.
After using basal body temps/charting (aka the Fertility Awareness Method) as birth control and then to get pregnant with Cakes, I was pretty confident I knew what it took to get pregnant. As luck/fate/planning would have it, we got pregnant right away. Based on my ovulation date, my EDD was 6/24/11. Since I had Cakes prematurely, I was definitely apprehensive and more cautious this time around. After the elation of getting pregnant wore off, I started freaking out a little (as did my husband). We were uncertain if we made the right decision to have another baby and didn’t know if we could handle two kids, let alone the possibility of another preemie. I cried several times before accepting my decision and growing to love my little bean (who I felt was a boy).
Even with my history, the practice I chose didn’t see me until eight weeks. At that appointment, the midwife attempted to do an ultrasound but was unsuccessful. This brings up another issue with the practice being my husband took the morning off to come with me to this appointment and see the ultrasound and they were unable to perform it. Well, they were but I was asked to come back two hours later to a different practice in the building and they could do the ultrasound. Needless to say, I was pretty freaked out the first ultrasound wasn’t a success. We went to lunch as a family, then my husband took Cakes home for her nap while I went back to the building for my ultrasound. I was noticeably nervous and told the tech that my close friend had just had a blighted ovum and subsequent miscarriage and I was really nervous. She assured me that she saw the baby’s heartbeat although it was measuring a couple of days behind from my LMP. I explained my cycle and day of ovulation and everything was right on target with that information. I got some pics of our little bean and I was on my way.
Fast forward to my first perinatology appointment. Since my OB wasn’t able to do my ultrasounds in their office, I decided to book my consult with the perinatologist to coincide with my First Trimester Screening (at 12 weeks). I went by myself since I knew it would be a long visit and my husband was working from home while Cakes had her nap. After starting the ultrasound the tech told me my bladder was too full (which it was, I couldn’t argue) and my bladder was blocking her view. I went to the bathroom and when I came back she wasn’t in the room. It took an abnormally long amount of time before she came back and when she did the perinatologist was with her. I already suspected something was wrong because when she tried to get a pic of the baby it was much smaller than Cakes was at her First Trimester Screening. Then I heard the words no expectant mother wants to hear – there’s no heartbeat.
I think the perinatologist expected me to have a breakdown when he told me that. Even at the moment, I could tell he expected me to break down and cry. I was in such shock and denial I just asked when it happened. He said based on the size of the baby the hear stopped beating shortly after my last ultrasound at eight weeks. He mentioned that there could be a connection between my abruption with Cakes and this miscarriage and that he’d call downstairs to my OB so I could meet with her (or someone in that practice) before heading home.
I left the office in a daze and by the time I hit the hallway I was bawling. I felt so helpless and broken. I was mourning the loss of my baby while at the same time bothered that my body failed me yet again and I had been carrying a dead baby for four weeks and didn’t know it. When I arrived downstairs at my OB to check in for my impromptu visit, I was crying so uncontrollably I couldn’t speak. I think the receptionist was expecting me because she just looked at me and asked me to take a seat.
I met with the OB for the first time on the day I miscarried. She told me that she understood I was going through a difficult time and that she was going to give me options and that she didn’t want me to make any decisions while I was there. She then asked if I wanted to talk or have her talked, I deferred to her. I just couldn’t speak. She explained how common miscarriage was but after I interjected and brought up my conversation with the perinatologist about the abruption/miscarriage connection, she reconsidered. She said we’d probably never know why I miscarried but there was blood work she could run to try and find an explanation. Unfortunately, the blood work could only be done when my HCG returned to normal around 6 weeks post-miscarriage.
From there she went on to discuss my options. I had a missed miscarriage (my body didn’t realize the baby had died) so I had three options – do nothing and wait for my body to recognize what had occurred, have a D&C; (a surgical procedure to remove the tissue), or take pills and “schedule” my miscarriage at home. This was the week before Christmas and after talking about our travel plans to Colorado, the OB said she was retracting her previous statement of letting me take my time and that if I had an inclination one way or another I should go with it considering their surgery schedules and me not wanting to miscarry in a dirty, gas station bathroom.
Ordinarily, if we hadn’t been traveling, I would have opted to just wait it out. With our travel plans, I decided to go with the pills. I’ve heard complications arising from D&C, and I wanted to let things happen as naturally as they possibly could. And being able to be home and as comfortable as possible was the most appealing of the options. I found out I miscarried on Friday and took the pills on a Sunday. I planned it so my husband was home with Cakes and I didn’t have to worry about anything but myself. I woke up to some spotting that morning and felt more reassured about taking the pills at that point (
prior to that I just kept thinking what if there’s still a heartbeat and they just missed it?). From the time I took the pills until the miscarriage was over (the bleeding continued for another 10 days) was about 12 hours. It definitely wasn’t what I expected and would never wish that experience on anyone.
Now we’ve waited for the two cycles necessary before trying again and I have mixed feelings. No longer about whether or not we want a baby – we most certainly do. But now I have even more apprehensions about if all. Now I’m not only worrying about a premature birth, but I’m also worried I’ll miscarry again. I’ve tried to remind myself while going through this whole ordeal that someone always has it worse. We deserve our time to mourn and our experience is significant but in the grand scheme of things, maybe we were being spared a greater loss (stillbirth, SIDS death, etc).
The results from the testing about why I had a miscarriage are in. Well, most of them anyway. I got a call from the OB’s office today (although I guess maybe I should say GYN since I’m not exactly pregnant anymore/yet) saying that I needed to get more blood work. You’re probably asking yourself, after six vials of blood two weeks ago why would you possibly need even more blood work? That would be because the lab failed to complete two of the six tests that were ordered.
One of the tests, Factor V, I already told you about that came back negative. None of the others had been uploaded to the patient portal so I didn’t know they had come back yet until the receptionist called. (Again, do you see why I don’t care for this office? Administratively they leave much to be desired.) While on the phone with the receptionist I asked what test had come back and the results. The tests that did come back were the biggies (in my mind) and the ones I could remember the names of. All of the tests – Lupus, Proteins C & S, and Anti-Thrombin – all came back either negative or within normal range. My Granny and at least one cousin we know of has Lupus so this was the one I was most worried about – whew!
So now I need to carve some time out of my week and throw my schedule off yet again to get these last two tests finished up. The receptionist ensured me I don’t need to fast, so I’ll make sure to head over there are Cakes wakes up from her nap and hopefully avoid the fasting crowd of the morning hours.
If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading/listening to my experience. I hope I’ll have more uplifting/lighter fare as the weeks go on.
Have you had a miscarriage? Were you scared to try again? Did you have a healthy pregnancy after miscarriage?