I should begin by telling you, admittedly, that up until this point in my life, I was a pretty lucky girl.
I came from a happy, nuclear family. I always had a small circle of great friends. I was fortunate to attend college, graduate in four (largely) uneventful years, and immediately find a teaching job while some of my peers were scrambling. I met my soul mate in college (although we knew one another in high school, but we hated each other then–another story for another blog post) and we had a nice, June wedding. During this time, I had misfortune in only one area–my health. Being overweight had been an attribute of mine for as long as I could remember. I went on diet after diet, but I would always lose a few pounds and then simply give up. I made excuses such as “It’s too close to the holidays”, or “I’m just too busy right now,” but the simple fact of the matter was that I simply lacked the desire to do it. It just wasn’t there. I liked to eat, and I hated to exercise–I knew I needed to do something, but I simply did nothing. It kind of pains me to admit that.
When I was a teenager, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS for short. The nurse practitioner, in kind of a hushed, cautionary way, told me I might have trouble having children. I couldn’t have been older than sixteen, so I shrugged off her words. I was a long way away from having children. I would cross that bridge when I got there.
Fast forward to October 2011, when I get a positive result on a home pregnancy test. “Take that, PCOS,” I think to myself. My husband and I break the cardinal rule of pregnancy and tell our parents only a few days later, and slowly the good news begins to trickle to our immediate family. A week or so later, I wake up with the feeling that something isn’t right. I rush to the doctor who performs an ultrasound, and I see my teeny, tiny speck of a baby. They assure me everything is a-okay, telling me to simply relax. I miscarry my first child two days later.
Heartbreak and devastation do not adequately describe how I felt in the days and weeks and months afterward. My hopes and dreams for a June baby were crushed. All around me, friends and acquaintances were announcing their healthy, normal pregnancies. I felt, for lack of a better word, like a freak.
When I got a second positive home pregnancy test in January of 2012, my emotions were different. I was petrified. My husband was petrified. Under the care of a fantastic new doctor, a specialist, I immediately had blood work done. My hCG was high, but my progesterone was low, almost half of what it needed to be to sustain a pregnancy. She prescribed supplements; I took them religiously. A second blood test a week later revealed my progesterone was even lower and my hCG, while up, wasn’t doubling every 48 hours as it would normally, going only from a 210 to a 388 in a week. An ultrasound was performed, but it was too early and nothing could be seen. Still, we tried to hang on to a shred of hope.
A few days ago, that same ol’ something-isn’t-right feeling cropped up again. We went to the emergency room. After what seemed like an eternity of blood tests and exams and more blank ultrasounds, the emergency room doctor told me in a matter-of-fact tone only tinged with sympathy that I was in the early stages of a miscarriage.
At twenty-six, I have lost two pregnancies, mere months apart from one another. Miscarriages are physically and mentally painful and confusing, as society often doesn’t regard them as a loss. People are quick to tell you that you can always have another one, or that there must have been something wrong with the baby–in other words, that your grief is not warranted.
I have sort of a “perfect storm” of small medical conditions that makes carrying a pregnancy difficult. Not all of them are weight-related, but some are. In the last few days, my grief has somehow transformed into determination. So much of pregnancy is chance, so many factors out of my hands, but I know there is one big thing I can control.
I don’t have a specific game plan as of today, and there is a possibility that a small surgery looms in my future, so I’m not sure how that will mix with exercise; however, I am planning to enlist the help of a personal trainer. What kind of diet/eating plan I will follow is up in the air, but I am open to suggestions and hoping to work with a professional on that front as well. I also hope to keep my blog updated, at least weekly, letting you all know how many pounds/inches I lose or gain (hopefully not the latter) complete with embarrassing photos. I also hope to talk about other things, as this is my blog after all, but my journey to a healthier me will be my main focus.
Carissa blogs at http://shrinkingmrss.