Mom to Baby #1, lost at 9 weeks on October 23, 2010,
Baby #2, lost at 6 weeks on February 4, 2011,
Baby # 3, lost at 4 weeks on May 16, 2011,
Baby #4, lost at 7 weeks on November 21, 2011, and
Baby #5, lost at 6 weeks on February 25, 2012
Fort Worth, Texas
If you would have asked me when I was 20 where I would be in 5 years, the answer would have come out loud and clear: having babies. There was never a doubt in my mind that my purpose in life was to become a mom and when I met my husband, Gabriel, when I was 24, I knew that that purpose was going to be fulfilled. I loved my life; I was living in Hawaii, working at Tripler Army Medical Center as a Licensed Practical Nurse. I had been in the Army for 6 years, and had found exactly who I was. Meeting Gabe was like the icing on the cake. Once we started dating, we knew that we wanted to have children, which was on the table even before getting married was. Luckily for us, 8 months later we found out we were pregnant. I was back in Texas when I found out the news. I called Gabe, who was still in Hawaii, and told him, “You are going to be a daddy!” We were both so incredibly excited! We were getting married in just over a month, so it was perfect. I couldn’t believe what the doctor was telling me, so I went home and took at least 10-15more pregnancy tests; all of them were a clear positive! Life was good. We immediately told everyone, Facebook and all. I would sit there drawing hearts on my tummy, with a smile on my face. Each week I would write a quick update on what went on that week and how I was feeling; all the excitement that was building.
When I was just shy of 9 weeks pregnant, I went to a CPR class with my sister to re-register. At the end, I went to the bathroom and there was some pink. I was stunned, but not incredibly worried. I spoke to my sisters and decided it would be best to just go have it checked out at the ER. They did an ultrasound, but the tech wouldn’t look at or speak to me, which caught me off guard…as a nurse, usually most people are pretty talkative, but not her. She turned the screen away from me and quietly rolled me back to my room. My sister, Jo, was there with me since Gabe was still in Hawaii, and I didn’t want to worry him for nothing. When the doctor walked in, his face was sullen and I looked at my sister and we knew; we just knew by his face I was losing it. Surprisingly, that’s not what he said, he only said it was a threatened miscarriage and that as long as it didn’t get worse everything should be fine. I called Gabe and let him know what was going on. He was supportive but unconcerned. Later that night, I went out for dinner, but on the way home I was so uncomfortable…my back was killing me, I felt sick, like I just couldn’t sit still. When I got to my sisters’, I went to her restroom and there was a lot of bright red blood. I walked out crying. She walked me outside and I buried my face in her shoulder and sobbed. She cried with me. When I left, I prayed I didn’t stop praying begging god to spare this little life and let everything be ok. I got home and immediately went to the bathroom; I felt something and when I looked down I saw my baby’s tiny quarter sized placenta. I picked it up and held it. I knew exactly what it was, I knew that it was the life line for my baby and this was the end. I called my fiancé and cried/screamed. I was buried into the floor of my bathroom. I had never felt my heart break until that moment; it was like someone was pressing on my chest with a million pounds of weight. I don’t remember if he cried or what was even said, I just know that he sat on the phone with me until I could pick myself up off the ground. I wrapped the tiny placenta in its perfection in toilet paper and put it in a bag. I called my sisters; but told them I wanted to go to the hospital by myself and I just wanted to be alone. When I arrived the doctor was very sympathetic and confirmed my worst fears. I never took the pain medicine prescribed because it made me feel guilty for some reason. I never had to have a D&C; I was able to labor it out naturally over the next few weeks. I have never felt so much physical and emotional pain before. It’s indescribable how connected you feel to someone you never got to touch, or hold, or see. The next day I didn’t want to see anyone or talk, I just needed a minute before I started putting myself back together. Luckily for me my Dad didn’t like that idea much; my dad is a man of very few words. He showed up at my doorstep with flowers and chocolates and a shoulder to cry on. He lost a child, my sister who only lived for a few weeks; after he related my pain of losing the pregnancy to his loss of a daughter I realized that it could always be worse. It’s like I was able to put the miscarriage in a medical file in my brain; it happens to most woman, usually on their first pregnancy, so why not me too?
I have four sisters, including the one who passed away. One of my sisters has 4 children, one has 2, my grandmother had 15 children of her own, the women in my family are like baby-making machines, so I knew everything would be A-OK next time. I did everything perfectl6, exactly what you’re supposed to do and we got pregnant just a few months later. What a relief…we could move past a miscarriage and celebrate a new life! My husband and I had settled in Georgia and I found out while he was at work. I surprised him with a gift, a baby boy outfit and a baby girl one right next to a VERY positive pregnancy test! We were both so happy. We felt like the first miscarriage was just a fluke and we would never go through that pain again. Sadly, we were very wrong. At nearly 7 weeks I started having the same symptoms as before…it was like I knew something was wrong that day and within a few hours we were losing the baby. My heart sunk into my feet, I told my husband and we headed for the E.R., where they confirmed again our biggest fears. It almost drives you crazy one moment your thinking of baby names and what he or she will look like, will it be a boy? Or a girl? Twins maybe?? And the next you’re going home with a million unanswered questions and a broken heart. I never imagined my life with miscarriages, or struggles anywhere along these lines. I was healthy an Army SGT, I never did a drug a day in my life, took my vitamins, only drank water, didn’t party, I didn’t do anything, so why was this happening to me? I immediately went to the OB and was floored when they said they wouldn’t do a workup until I had three or more miscarriages and that 2 just “sometimes happens”. I argued with them…why I would need to test this theory on a third pregnancy just to finally get some answers?!
Luckily for Gabe and I, there was one trait that I had clearly inherited…the ability to get pregnant quickly. Just a few months later we were pregnant again! I had a hot flash, which had been my indicator in both the previous pregnancies, and just knew! This time there were no surprises or gifts to open for Gabe, just a simple texted picture of my positive pregnancy test. Neither one of us wanted to get overly excited. We have such incredibly supportive close friends and family; we always kept them in the loop. We all felt the same way: the 3rd time’s the charm, this was “it”, the pregnancy that we would get to keep. I talked my friend Shamelle into going to the Emergency department just to get them to confirm the pregnancy I just wanted to know it was real, and it was! For a couple of weeks I just enjoyed knowing I was pregnant, like God was blessing me with this incredible gift. My mind never stopped, I would browse everything baby just to see what I would be looking at in the months to come. I didn’t have months with this baby, though, just a couple of weeks, and at 6 weeks pregnant it started happening again: spotting, cramping, bleeding, I knew what was happening. I told my husband, but he was in denial; this couldn’t happen a 3rd time to us. It was late at night when it all started so we curled into bed and prayed while I cried. The next morning, though, it was all going downhill quickly, so we headed to the E.R. Same as before, just the confirmation of what I already knew in my heart. You pray for miracles, but you know it’s like an alarm is going off deep down in your soul, the day before I was filled with this joyous feeling and incredible love and that night it was like I was empty again. I kept telling myself at least now we will get answers and finally fix the “problem”. Luckily for us (insert sarcasm) the vast majority of friends and family who knew about the pregnancies all had advice and personal opinions to share. I could handle most but a select few made my personal favorites list of the least helpful advice woman get after a miscarriage: “Everything’s fine,” “Well, at least you weren’t further along,” “There is a plan,” “These things just happen,” or the barrage of questions that you obviously have no answer for.
Shortly after the 3rd miscarriage, we went to see the obstetric specialist who works with the fertility cases at the military hospital in Georgia. He was amazing, incredibly empathetic, and attentive. The first thing he said was “this is not normal,” which was surprisingly a huge relief for us to hear. He ran every test from my toes to the top of my head. Everything came back normal, for me and my husband. The physician was confident that early progesterone could help. We did everything he said, tracked my cycles, but for some reason we were having a tougher time getting pregnant. He prescribed Clomid to help; the first round of Clomid we were pregnant. We started progesterone immediately after we ovulated to help the uterus to be perfect for the egg to implant into. Wow, what a relief, even with the nerves of the miscarriages before, we were being monitored so closely by the doctor there was just no way we would be put through another loss. Again, we were wrong. The physician asked us to come back in and told me that my levels were not doubling. I was only 5 weeks pregnant, but it was not looking good. At the appointment he stated that my levels were declining and that I was miscarrying for a 4th time. He explained that he was “stumped” and would refer me to a specialist. I was silently crying through the entire conversation and my husband was stunned. He told us that with recurrent pregnancy loss we have a 50% chance of ever carrying having a healthy pregnancy. I was only 25, we were at our prime, I’m healthy, we’re healthy, how could this be happening to us? Why us? Why not us? What makes me so perfect that someone else deserves this pain over me, no one, right? The physician said we would need to figure out how many we could handle physically and mentally, and that we should consider other alternatives. We talked about adoption before we got married and knew that it was something both of us wanted, but I just never thought at 25 that we would have to weigh that as an alternative. We told our families what was going on, which turned out to be more frustrating than anything. This time we got the, “You should just wait a year, then try, your body is just tired.” Yes…yes, one year will magically solve our problems! We had such an amazing support system, but you want something to blame, and having nothing just made it easier to get frustrated at the people that were trying to help. I realized through most of this that when you struggle with fertility issues, everyone around you gets pregnant, EVERYONE. I had never felt that kind of jealousy towards anyone before. Why did they get this amazing gift so easily? The people we knew would be amazing parents, it never took away our excitement for them but it amplified our sadness for ourselves. I would cry and my husband would just hold me, he never had to console me with words; he was my rock, he was my safe keeping when I just needed to tag myself out for a minute. I took the fourth loss harder than any of the rest. I felt inadequate and broken. I feel inadequate and broken. I’m confused still and hurt.
We tried again before we were scheduled to meet with the Reproductive endocrinologist. We lost our 5th pregnancy at 6 weeks. Knowing it would be a long shot made it easier to cope with, but did not hinder the pain of the loss. Each time you pray for a miracle, you pray that this will be “the one”. Each time we were left heartbroken. Every test from the RE came back normal; I was told we should consider IVF or adoption.
Some days are harder than others. On the bad days I spend my time dreaming of my 5 babies, pleading with God, and praying for reprieve, on the good days I stay positive in knowing one day we will hold our child. My husband has always kept me going, he has never stifled my grief, or questioned my judgment, he is the reason I continue trying. I know one day, whether it be because we beat the 50/50 odds on our own or through IVF, surrogacy, or adoption our house will be filled with the joy of our children. I can’t explain why this is the path that’s been laid before us, and I won’t lie and say I understand why because I never will; but I know we are blessed that we have so many other doors that stay open to us. We are going to try for a 6th and final time soon, before we pursue IVF, and I’m nervous. With each loss I felt like I lost a part of my soul and a piece of my hope. I know that, like the others, even if I get to have this baby for just a day, or a week or two, it is mine. I pray that God blesses me on this 6th try, I pray for strength and guidance mostly. Through most of the past 2 years I have felt confused and partially insane, the constant question is God trying to tell me something and where do we go from here burdens me mostly. I’m tired of the heartache, the pain, the excitement and subsequent let downs; but we will not quit. There isn’t enough pain in this world to make me forget the love that you have for something so tiny even if it’s just briefly. With the always enduring support of my husband and our cheerleading section of incredibly family and friends, we will continue to strive to build our family.
You can contact Bobbie at firstname.lastname@example.org.