Mom to Alexander Michael
2nd trimester angel, born June 30, 2011 due to Incompetent cervix
and 10 early losses July 2004-Sept 2007
Calgary, Alberta Canada
My journey to become a mother started in July 2004. My boyfriend (now husband) and I discovered we were pregnant, I had just turned 20. The timing was not perfect and there were so many things going on between us in our relationship that we were not sure where this was headed, but we were excited. I had had a previous child in 2002 and had given him up for adoption, and since that day I had always felt I was missing that part of me that yearned to be a mother. I don’t regret placing my first child for adoption, I know I wasn’t ready and neither was the babies father, and the family I placed him with were very loving, and experienced a lot of loss on their journey.
I had discovered I was pregnant on July 21, 2004. I remember everything was ok, our first ultrasound had shown a tiny little yolk sac and gestational sac, then I started bleeding, about August 10th. I bled so bad I remember calling my boyfriend from the train station one day to come get me because I was bleeding through my clothes and on to the floor. We ended up in the hospital ER, they sent me for an ultrasound and discovered two empty sacs and massive hemorrhaging, I was sent for an emergency d & c, I knew I had miscarried, but was naive to get it checked out any earlier.
In June 2005 we got married, and nearly a year after my first miscarriage, and 2 months into our marriage we discovered we were pregnant again. We were so excited! How awesome! Right after getting married too! I remember we were my husbands family reunion, also his grandfathers 80th birthday party, surrounded by children and so many people I had never met, I was soooooo tired. I kept falling asleep everywhere. My husbands aunt said “I think your wife might be pregnant”. I never gave it a thought until then. We went home and got a test, low and behold, we were pregnant!!! I don’t remember much of what happened afterwards, I remember discussing names, and liking the name Katrina, but it was during hurricane Katrina, so that was out of the question. I miscarried in September.
I had a tendency to get pregnant between July and September every year until 2008, although I had gotten pregnant many different times of the year, there was always a positive test in August. Some pregnancies lasted days, some weeks. Finally I was sent to an OBGyn in 2006 after being diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. (PCOS). And suffering my 6th loss. My OBGyn was convinced that was what was causing my losses and I was sent to the Calgary Regional Fertility Clinic, my first appointment was January 2007, we had met with the Reproductive Endocrinologist, and since I had PCOS, we started silly plan with fertility meds. I never understood that, since I could concive on my own, but it had to do with quality of eggs and such. I managed to get pregnant 4 times in 7 months. The first two pregnancies where blighten ovums, or “Chemical” pregnancies, where the egg thinks it is pregnant but never actually grows anything inside of it. We then had a boat load of genetic testing done, as well as numerous blood tests, uterine tests, biopsys. My husband was fine, nothing wrong with him. They could not find anything wrong with me, I had a “perfect” uterus, my blood tests were all clear and negative, but I was overweight quite a bit. So we went on, we were given Clomid ( a fertility medication that aids in ovulation), the first cycle I was on it I ovulated but we missed it, the second cycle I used an ovulation prediction kit and we managed to get pregnant. I found out May 21st 2007, then I miscarried yet again June 4th. Our RE decided to test my progesterone levels and my luteal phase. We discovered that my progesterone was low and my luteal phase was short. An average women has a 28-30 day cycle, ovulating between 14-16 days then having a 12-14 days luteal phase. I had a 44 day cycle (give or take the month) and an 8 day luteal phase. Basically my ovulation to gestation was not long enough and my body kept tricking my ovums that I was pregnant. My plan of action was increased folic acid, baby aspirin and progesterone supplements from day one of pregnancy. I noticed by August, after my last loss in June, that I had yet to get a period. So I took a test on my husbands birthday (Aug 8) and it was positive. By this time, when you see a positive pregnancy test you nearly pee your pants in fear. I called the clinic, and I went in for blood tests. My pregnancy hormone level was through the roof, higher then it had ever been. I went for an ultrasound and was discovered I was already 6 weeks 4 days pregnant, farther then I had ever made it, other then my first miscarriage at 9 weeks. We even had a heartbeat! It was really low and the RE was quite nervous about it, but it was 110 beats per min, however, and was the first heartbeat we had ever seen, so we were hopeful. I was told to stop taking the extra folic acid, so i did. Everything was going great, I was booked in for an 8 week ultrasound and we were so psyched! We went, and I told the tech that I wanted pictures if everything was ok, and this was the same tech who had been with us for the last 3 pregnanies, so she knew if anything was wrong we could handle it. She looked at me and said, I no longer see a heartbeat….
We were devistated, this was the closest we had ever gotten and had it pulled from us. The baby had died at 7 weeks and the gestational sac was still growing, which was giving my the illusion of still being pregnant. I had what was called a missed miscarriage or a “silent” miscarriage. I had a d & c 2 weeks later (yes, I still had to carry the loss for 2 weeks) on September 11th 2007.
We decided to have our baby tested for genetic disorders or other possible causes. We were also forced to have a break, since we had never bothered to mourn the losses we had in such a short time.
We went in to get our genetic results on September 25th, and were told that the baby was a girl, but other then that nothing was wrong, there was nothing to tell us. We were at such a loss. We were also told there was nothing the fertility clinic could do for us any more. It was their job to get us pregnant, and they could do that, but they had no idea how to keep us pregnant. I was diagnosed with Unexplained Recurrent Loss Syndrome (Wow, there was a name for it). I took this as a challenge. I was so angry that we had to go through this so many times. We had to wait until February 2008 to see the geneticist to get the OK to try again. So, since try to conceive was no longer my full time job, I went out and got one. In 5 months I got a job, made friends and, amazingly, lost 118lbs. When we went to the geneticist we were given the OK to try again, naturally. I had to continue the progesterone in pregnancy and take the folic acid religiously at nearly 5mg a day. I took my last birth control pill, and threw out the pack. We did everything, we charted my temperature, hubby wore boxers and we stayed out of hot tubs, we did the ovulation test and my monthly visitor came for her visit. I was devastated. I completely gave up. I was done. Time to move on with our lives. We were never going to be parents to a living child…..25 days later a friend of mine asked if my visitor had come to visit, she said it seemed like I was late. So on a whim I used to dollar store test I had in my bathroom, and….it was positive! OMG, here we go again. 11th times the charm??? I text messaged my husband, we was just getting off of work (It was 4pm) to bring in the pregnancy test he had in the truck. The test was there because I had bought a double pack for a friend who thought she might be pregnant, and since the first one was negative she gave me back the second one, thank goodness. So, we took the test and it was very positive. I was so scared I waited 2 weeks before I went to the doctors, just tiptoed through the days, went to work, shut my mouth, ignored everything. Finally saw the doctor, and was sent for an ultrasound. The blood work was good, so i relaxed a little. At the ultrasound we discovered that the baby was 8weeks gestation and had a strong heartbeat of 176 beats a min…..OMG, are you serious???! 8 weeks?!! Wow.
By mid May I had started to have some bleeding, I was so scared. Ultrasound showed a healthy bean in there. Our anniversary in mid June, had a 12 weeks ultrasound. Still there! 6 weeks later at the 18 week ultrasound, STILL THERE!!!! And, its a boy!!!! We were good, so excited. I never really relaxed until I was 24 weeks pregnant though. Then on November 24, I was 35 weeks pregnant. Our roommate moved out, and I cleaned 2 bedrooms and helped my husband move our bedroom set from one room the the next, I was so sore. I went to bed at 1am Nov 25th and heard this popping noise, I said to my hubby “Weird, I think my hip was out and just popped back in.” I passed right out, stuck in the same position on my right side. I changed position to my left side at 3:45am. Ummmm, ummmm, ummmmm HUNNY!!!!! I THINK MY WATER JUST BROKE! I gave birth to a healthy, thriving beautiful baby boy at 9:55am. Thank the Lord, I was finally give such a gift.
I was so depressed postpartum, I finally grieved all those babies I lost while trying to take care of my newborn son. It was very difficult. I also had retained placenta in my uterus, so I needed to have an emergency d & c on Dec 17th. I was so sick with infection. Luckily my husband was on layoff for the season and was able to take care of our son. I felt that I missed the bonding with him in the first month of his life.
I went on the pill for a year, packed on 70lbs and didn’t care. But my cycle never came back. Then it came back every 2 weeks and then disappeared for 2 months, then came back and never went away, I bled for 3 months straight. My progesterone was nearly non existent in my body and I was put on supplements as well as the 3 month birth control pill. I lightly spotted for the 3 months on the pill. I remember Feb 2011 my 2 year old son told me he wanted a baby. I told my husband that I would not get pregnant ever again unless our son asked for a brother or sister, as I was very happy with my son and sure another baby would be great, it really didnt matter to me.
We decided we would try again, expecting it to take another 4 years like it did for our son, and magically I got pregnant the first month. I was so awestruck, not sure what to think, and right away I started bleeding. I was convinced it was over, but every time I went to the doctor the little fighter was still kicking. For the 3rd pregnancy in a row I had what is called a subchrionic hemorrhage beneath my placenta. I had one with my first born, my son and now this one. But the baby held on, held on tightly. When I was 17 weeks pregnant I started getting this really sharp nagging pain on my right side of my low low abdomen. I was scared. I thought I had a bladder infection that had gone wild. I went to the hospital and had an informal ultrasound in the ER, got to see my little ray of sunshine roll over and suck his thumb, then look right at me through the screen. His little heart flickering on the tiny screen. They sent me for a formal ultrasound and I laid there for an hour while the technician did his thing. Check, go away, check, go away, check, bring in the doctor. I was told the baby was fine. His heartbeat was 145 beats, he looked really good, and as far as the could tell my cervix looked closed, though it was a little short for my stage of pregnancy, but it could be normal. However, they did see me have 2 contractions while I was lying there. Um, what? So thats what that feeling is?
I went back to the ER and had to wait for a privacy room to open so I could have a pelvic exam. I sat for nearly 3 hours waiting, and during this time I kept getting this pinching sensation that would come an go, the pains were very intense. I got into the room at 7pm on June 29th. I laid back, the doctor did his thing and the nurse asked if he wanted to do swabs, and he said. “Uh, no, we need to get Gynie down here now”. My heart stopped. I asked why? He said that I had an opened cervix and that my membranes were sticking though. I remember reading that when the membranes stick out that there is nothing that can be done without risking severe infection….
The oncall resident from gyno came down and taked to me, and told me I was already in labor and that there was nothing they could do, that I was going to have a baby tonight. I called my hubby, who had to find an emergency sitter for our son (Thank God for parents). And he come to join me while we waited. I was in hysterics at this point. I had chatted with the spiritual counsel and the social worker, and they calmed me down, my hubby showed up, the reverend said a prayer for us and the baby and left. I went to the bathroom and started gushing blood, right though my pants ( I don’t know why I bothered to put them back on). I walked back from the bathroom, that was right next to the room I was in, and thank goodness I had the IV poll with me because I had the most severe pain I had ever had shot through my body. I was told it was a contraction, wow, have never had a contraction like that. I got back to the bed and told my hubby I was going to be sick, quickly get me the bucket, and as I gagged my water broke. That was it, any shard of hope I had was gone.
We were transferred to a room upstairs, kind of a general area where they do day surgery and colonoscopys, ectopic pregnancies, and 2nd or 3rd term miscarriages. We decided that there was just to much physical pain and emotional pain that we wanted to end this quickly. I was given some pain medication through IV and a pill placed on my cervix to help open it. I went into full labor very quickly, about 40 mins, but I was in so much pain. I was waiting for more contractions so I could deliver the baby, but they stopped, but the baby was right there, I had to push him out all on my own, he was born June 30th at 3:45 am weighed 120 grams and was 7 inches long. It was incredibly painful. They then ripped my placenta out of me and that hurt worse then any pain I have had in my entire life. I started to hemorrhage and I saw the white light. I was apparently sent to have an emergency d & c and investigative surgery to stop the bleeding. I was told in recovery that I nearly died. I finally got back to the room, and there was my angel, lying in a cardboard box. He had a tiny blanket and a teddy bear with him. We checked him out with the nurse and discovered he was a boy, my husband named him, since I named our son it was our deal that he name the next one. We took pictures, we cried, we said prayers to the baby, talked to him about his brothers and kissed his tiny hand good bye. In total we spent 12 hours with him together. I had to stay an extra day because I had a really bad infection and had to stay on meds, hubby had to go back to work. I was so alone to deal with this on my own, and I was in so much physical pain too. I fell apart for 3 days, was completely useless. I has been very difficult to explain to my 2 and a half year old, who was very excited to be a big brother, that his baby brother is in heaven, he thinks heaven is some sort of store or something. Explaining that his brother is watching over him, and that kind of scared him, but I think he gets it in his own little way. Some days are better then others, the wound is still very fresh, but we are getting there, and when the time is right we will try one more time, nothing will ever replace our baby or our babies for that matter, but the memory will always be there. Our baby was very loved and very wanted. I was diagnosed with an Incompetent cervix, but that is all I know so far. It has only been nearly 3 weeks, but we all seem to be doing well. This is my story, we have experience much loss, but we never give up and we never forget.
“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” –Thomas A. Edison
Sheena can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org