Early Twin Miscarriage at 11 weeks
January 2nd, 2011
and “Spock” – Miscarried at 14 weeks
August 4th, 2011
Virginia Beach, Virginia
My story begins in March 2010 when my husband and I started trying to conceive. We are in our twenties and like any young, military couple, we wanted to start our family a little earlier than most. A long seven months later, we discovered we were pregnant! At just 5 weeks, we made multiple ER visits due to bleeding and spotting and discovered there was not just one but TWO gestational sacs. Shocked and in disbelief, my husband and I started telling all our family and friends. Although my hormones were still increasing, it was still too early to see any heartbeats.
A few weeks later, another ultrasound showed both sacs growing a little larger & measuring 7 weeks but still no fetal pole or heartbeat. We started to get worried and the worst thing a newly pregnant woman can do is go to “google.” I googled everything involving early pregnancy and miscarriage and it didn’t look good. In a healthy pregnancy, a heartbeart should be seen and/or heard on an ultrasound between 6 and 7 weeks and we had passed that already.
Finally, at 11 weeks on January 2, 2011, I started bleeding and passing clots the size of my hand–and we knew it was over but nothing could have prepared us for this moment. The cramps were intense and came in waves–similar to what I imagine labor to be like.
We went to the hospital and were told I was actively miscarrying, most likely due to blighted ovums. The doctor tried to tell me sympathetically, “The pregnancy just didn’t take. The sacs just stopped growing.” We were advised to go home and rest, and come back if I was lossing too much blood.
There is no way to rest when you’re actively miscarrying at home, passing clots the size of your fists as well as fetal tissue.
After you miscarry, it’s no longer called a sac, fetus, or an embryo. It’s called “products of conception.” That’s all–just leftovers, isn’t that horrible? Do you know where all that blood and fetal tissue goes when you miscarry at home?
Everything gets flushed down the toilet. Blood, clots, & products of conception, everything.
And there is a grotesque amount of blood. I remember screaming and crying, after passing something that looked different from the blood clots. This was purple and gray looking. I screamed and cried for my husband. I reached in the bloody toilet for the purplish-gray fetal sac that our baby should have been in. I screamed and cried harder.
So it was that my pregnancy and innocence was lost. I felt ashamed, embarrassed, and unfeminine. I felt as though I was branded with a scarlett letter “M” for miscarriage because my body had failed me. The bleeding lasted for 8 or 9 days. My body returned to its normal cycle 30 days later. Some women who naturally miscarry need to go on to surgery to remove additional products of conception. Ironically, although my body failed the pregnancy, it somehow managed to have a successful miscarriage.
We were advised to wait one cycle before trying to conceive again. And we were pregnant, surprisingly, 4 months later in May 2011. We decided to remain much more quiet about this pregnancy, despite hearing a heartbeat at 7 weeks. I had only 3 ultrasounds by the time I was 12 weeks pregnant–which was much more different than the first time. I was having the normal nausea, fatigue and was happy that I wasn’t experiencing bleeding or spotting this time.
At 12 weeks we had an in depth ultrasound for our NT scan. During a NT scan, they do measurements and ultrasounds of the baby and they measure the back of the baby’s neck and the second part of the NT scan is blood work. The ultrasound was pretty amazing and was the first time my husband got to see our “Spock” baby. They did an abdominal ultrasound and the ultrasound was transfered from the computer to a huge flat screen TV. We watched, giggled and smiled as our little bean jumped, sucked it’s thumb and stretched out. I remember looking at my husband who’s normally outspoken or loud, and was surprised to see him quieltly speechless as he was in awe. Now that we were past the point of our previous miscarriage (11 weeks) and with the first trimester behind us, I started to feel a little more excited about this pregancy. I started to believe that the first miscarriage was just a “fluke” like everyone reassured me.
Less than a week after our amazing 12 week NT scan, everything changed. I was 13 weeks pregnant when I woke up in the middle of the night to a gush of fluid. And then there was another gush. As I rushed to the bathroom, all I was expecting to see was blood. Was I miscarrying? Hemorrhaging? I sat down on the toliet and I didn’t see any blood, but I felt a third gush–this time it felt like a bucket of water was pouring out of me. I grabbed my husband and told him I needed him to take me to the ER just in case. It was a sad, silent and solemn drive. As I waited to be taken into the ER, there was one gush after another, after another. I remember freaking out. I now had amnionic fluid leaking all over me. Through my underwear, through my pants, in the middle of the waiting room. It wasn’t supposed to happen like this. I was just starting to see a baby bump and it was all being taken away from me again. In the ER, they were able to confirm the baby had a heartbeat but it wasn’t moving. Amnionic fluid was low and without it, the baby wouldn’t be able to move or develop it’s lungs.
The next few days went by in a huge blurr. I had to follow up at my OBGYN the next day. They confirmed I had pProm (premature preterm rupture of membranes), but the baby still had a heartbeat. This was rare at this early in pregnany. If the fluid didn’t replenish itself then there is a risk of infection for the baby or myself. If baby’s heartbeat stopped and the baby dies in the womb, there would be an increase risk of infection.
They gave us our options–we knew we didn’t want to go through another natural miscarriage especially being father along this time. Our other option was to wait until an infection began or the baby died in the womb, or a surgical procedure called D&E (Dilation of the cervix and evacuation of the fetal tissue) to remove the pregnancy They explained that due to the size of the rupture and the amount of amnionic fluid that was lost, it was not likely that the fluid would replenish itself safely in time to continue growing our baby and protecting it from infection.
In a difficult decision, we decided to go ahead with the surgical procedure. Four days after my water broke, I was officially 14 weeks pregnant, and we went in for the D&E. After administering the anesthesia, they did one last ultrasound and the last thing I remember my doctor telling me was that the baby’s heartbeat finally stopped beating. I was physically numb, emotionally exhausted, pumped full of anesthesia and other drugs so I wouldn’t be uncomfortable but I still ached when I heard those final words. Our little Spock baby struggled four long days in little to no amnionic fluid and we doing the right thing, however difficult the situation may be.
I remember waking up after the operation, and thinking “I’m not pregnant anymore.” I went in the hospital pregnant and I was leaving with nothing–no baby, and no answers. There weren’t any answers why my water broke so early. The doctors looked back at my ultrasounds for the NT scan just a week before my water broke and everything looked normal. What happened within that week that caused my water to break? I never imagined I would suffer two miscarriages, 7 months apart. I struggle still with feelings of shame, blame, and guilt. After you suffer a miscarriage, it’s difficult for others to acknowledge your pain and suffering. No one really knows what to say because no one can or will ever be comfortable talking about it if they have never gone through it themselves. Why can’t my body do what a normal woman’s body is supposed to do? The worst feeling is feeling unbelievably less feminine. Pregnancy is supposed to be a beautiful, feminine experience filled with love. Mine wasn’t. Mine was a messy, broken, and painful tragedy.
It’s difficult to imagine what my next pregnancy will be like. It’s not fair that some women get to enjoy their pregnancies, enjoy watching their bellies grow and seeing the baby get bigger. It’s hard knowing that that will never be me. The chances of pProm in any pregnancy is 2%. After a pregnancy with pProm, the chances increase dramatically in the next pregnancy–1 in 3 chances that my water and membranes will rupture early again. Before this experience, I used to say I wanted 3, 4, or 5 children as if getting pregnant and staying pregnant was no big deal. Now, I will be happy and most blessed with one child, even if it takes 3, 4, or 5 miscarriages.
Jessica can be contacted at email@example.com
You can find her on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/#!/