Mom to three angels:
Miscarriage #1 October 28, 2011 at 11 weeks 2 days,
Miscarriage #2 June 25, 2012 at 4 weeks 3 days
Miscarriage #3 August 24, 2012 at 7 weeks 3 days
Rives Junction, Michigan
It was September 7, 2011 and I remember feeling sick, tired, and emotional. I told my husband I knew I was pregnant, so when I took the test the next morning I was not shocked to see two pink lines staring back at me. I tested the next several days and watched the line darken, which was very reassuring. At the time I was 21 years old, a newlywed, and my first pregnancy had gone so smoothly. I was on Cloud 9, and seeing those two beautiful pink lines meant nothing less to me than bringing a baby home from the hospital in eight or nine months.
I had an appointment with my doctor on September 19 and everything seemed to be going great. I had horrible morning sickness from weeks five through nine. At about nine and half weeks, I lost all my symptoms, which was my first indication that something was wrong. I should have called my doctor, but I brushed it off, thinking that everything was still going well. The night of October 23, I saw the faintest spot of light pink on the toilet paper (at 10 weeks 5 days.) I freaked out and almost rushed to the emergency room right then. I didn’t because I did not see any other bleeding and thought it could have been my imagination.
I woke up the next morning and there was no bleeding when I went to the bathroom for the first time, but as soon as I got to work I could tell something was wrong. I went to the bathroom and realized I had started bleeding bright red, with some small clots in it. I immediately called my doctor, but they brushed it off like it was nothing. I called back when the bleeding picked up a little bit and they said I could come in the next day and get my beta hCG levels checked. I wish at this point that I had demanded an ultrasound, but I was scared and they seemed so reassuring that this could be nothing. I went in the next day, still with the bright red bleeding, and got my blood drawn. I anxiously awaited the results the next day. When I got the call they said they were at 10,000, which is within the “normal” range for 11 weeks. That was all that was said, nothing about coming back or why I was bleeding. I continued to call every couple hours when the bleeding would pick up or something would change. They had me come back Friday for another beta (after I had been bleeding for 5 days now.) And I mentioned that I had started having some cramps, which the nurse again said could be normal and just to rest and drink lots of fluids–she also said I would get my results on Monday from the blood draw. I didn’t want to wait; I was cramping and scared so I left the doctor and went to the emergency room.
I will never forget what happened on October 28, 2011 while in the ER. It is easily one of the worst days of my life. They drew a bunch of blood, did an ultrasound, and gave me the bad news: there was no heartbeat on the ultrasound and my beta levels were now at 4,400. It was confirmed at 11 weeks 2 days pregnant that I was indeed miscarrying my second child. I went home and was told to call my doctor the following day. I called and was told to come in on Wednesday to get another blood draw. The whole process of miscarrying naturally was absolutely horrible. Aside from the physical pain, which at times was excruciating, I had to figure out how to deal with the emotional pain. I bled for another three weeks and it took at total of eight weeks for my levels to drop down to zero.
My husband and I began to try again after I had healed (physically), but ran into some issues, so I had to have a D&C in April to remove either left over tissue from the miscarriage or a polyp. It ended up being a non-cancerous polyp, which was a relief. My angel’s due date (May 16) came and went and I was still not pregnant again. On June 23, I took a test thinking there was no way I could be pregnant because I didn’t feel it. Much to my surprise, I got a very faint positive test (on several tests, actually). The line was not darkening like I expected it to, so I called my new doctor (I switched after my first miscarriage) to start beta hCG draws to monitor the levels. They said that was fine and I went in that day to get my blood drawn. When I got to the lab, I went to the bathroom and had already started bleeding. This pregnancy was over before I even had a chance to get excited. I would have been 4 weeks 1 day, so it was considered a chemical pregnancy (I hate that this is what they are called.) They said to just consider it a period, and we could continue trying. They did not even count it as a miscarriage, although I do since I know was pregnant and I had all the positive tests to prove it. It was nothing like a period. It was more painful than any period I had ever experienced.
I did not expect much out of the cycle, since I didn’t think it could happen two cycles in a row, but it did. On July 27 I got another faint test. The next morning I used a digital test and started to cry when I saw the word “Pregnant” on the test. I again started my beta draws that day, repeated them on Sunday and Tuesday. My levels went from 10.4 (no clue how I got a positive on the digital with levels that low) to 29.8 to 79.8, so they were doubling like they should. I was so relieved. I started having cramping a week later, and given my history, I freaked out, so they let me do one more blood draw. This time they were at 2,223. I thought this is it- I will finally have a pregnancy stick. I had an ultrasound on August 14; I was 6 weeks, so I was expecting to see a heartbeat or at least a fetal pole. We saw a gestational sac, measuring right where it should have been, a yolk sac, and we thought we saw a heartbeat, but it was so small and faint, she couldn’t even get a heart rate. I was sent home to come back in a week and told we HAD to see a heartbeat or fetal pole since I would be 7 weeks.
I started spotting the next morning and was told to go right to the ER given my history. In the ER, they did another ultrasound, where we saw even less than the day before, there was a sac that was now measuring half a week ahead of where it was the day before, and a yolk sac, no hint of a fetal pole or a heartbeat. Again, I was sent home after doing another beta draw and being given the diagnosis of a “threatened miscarriage.” I repeated my betas 48 hours later and knew when I got those results that it was over— my beta levels were starting to drop. Everyone kept telling me to not give up (which I didn’t), but I started to prepare myself for what I thought was coming. I had an ultrasound the following week which confirmed what I already knew in my heart–this was not a viable pregnancy. The gestational sac had grown and was still measuring right where it should be, but there was no heartbeat.
My doctor gave me two options: I could either wait it out and let my body miscarry on its own, or I could have a D&C, which would also allow them to do a karyotype on the tissue to see if there was a genetic/chromosome issue. I chose this option because I needed answers. The surgery was scheduled for three days later, August 24, 2012. Those three days seemed to take forever and I was miserable. I knew that I was carrying something in me that was not going to last and would be taken from me in just a few days. Things were rough the day of my D&C; my surgery was delayed by 4 hours for an emergency C-section my doctor had to perform. The surgery went well, but I woke up crying hysterically. They could not figure out what was wrong until I finally managed to get out that I was just sad. I was miserable, the cramping was horrible and I was given a lot of pain meds just to make me feel better and relax. Once I was discharged, I began to feel better fairly quickly from the physical aspect, but emotionally I still felt empty.
They were able to save enough tissue to send to the lab to do the karyotyping and my doctor said once my hCG levels were negative he would do clotting disorder testing. My levels dropped very quickly, and were at 16 within three weeks of the D&C, so I did my clotting disorder tests. Nine tubes of blood later I was really hoping we would get some answers. My clotting disorder testing came back completely normal, which is both good and in a way hard for me. I was hoping to have something to “blame” all of this on; something that could be fixed for next time. A day later I got the results back from the karyotype as well, again completely normal. So now I have three unexplained losses in less than ten months. The nurse said the geneticist said after two or more unexplained losses they think it is best to be seen, so this is the next step in our journey, which I never would have guessed would take this path.
The hardest part of this entire process is the “should be’s.” Every week I would think I should be another week pregnant, I should be finding out the gender, I should be having my baby, etc. I never expected to go down this road. I have found some amazing support systems through this process and have been so grateful for each of them. I never thought I would have one miscarriage, let alone three. And I never knew how painful all of this would be. Before a loss, you never realize how many triggers there are in everyday life. Little things can make me upset or sad, things that prior to my loss I never would have given a second thought. I have also learned how strong I can be, and will continue to fight until I am holding my rainbow baby in my arms!
You can contact Nicole at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also find her through the Face2Face friendship group on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/FacesOfLossMidMichigan.