Heather

Heather 

Mom to Angel Baby and Angel Girl Baby

April 8, 2015 and August 6, 2015

Oconomowoc, Wisconsin

On March 7th, I took a home pregnancy test. This wasn’t my first test ever, but it was the first one that was positive. Scott and I had decided in December, when my birth control pills ran out that I wouldn’t renew them, however, we weren’t “trying.” We figured since I had been on the pill since my freshman year of high school it was going to take a while. Like a year. Well, we were wrong.

I had taken the test while Scott was in the shower. I stared at it until he got out of the shower. Then I raced up to him and shoved it in his face. Probably not the nicest thing I’ve ever done. We sat there, a bit awestruck, and then over the following days, realized we were extremely excited. We were just finishing buying a house, so the timing couldn’t be more perfect!

I had the normal symptoms — vertigo, extreme heartburn and tender breasts were the most noticeable. We were excited, and decided to not purposefully hide it from anyone that asked why I wasn’t drinking. So our families knew almost immediately and friends we saw figured it out.

When I was about six weeks pregnant, I was having some bleeding. Nothing major, but being my first pregnancy, I wanted to be reassured so I called my doctor and she was willing to get me in that afternoon for an ultrasound. We saw the heartbeat and it was amazing. That little thing was in there! I just smiled and looked at that little black and white spot flickering on the screen! I was so excited to get the picture and show Scott when we got home.

The doctor noted she thought there was a small subchronic hemmorhage that was likely causing my bleeding. She wasn’t overly concerned, but wanted to note it as it can sometimes cause a miscarriage. She told me to come back for my previously scheduled appointment in two weeks.

Our doctor’s appointment was April 6, 2015, the opening day of the 2015 Milwaukee Brewers season. Scott and I both had off work. We were having friends over for the game instead of going there. At 10am that morning was the doctor’s appointment where Scott would see our baby for the first time.

As soon as the doctor started the ultrasound, I knew something was wrong. It didn’t look the same as last time – there was no obvious place that the baby was “living.” The doctor was very quiet. She kept moving the ultrasound around a lot. Eventually, she just looked at us and said “I’m so sorry. There’s no heartbeat.”

I honestly just sat there while she was telling me to get dressed then she would come in to talk about options. I really didn’t want to cry in front of her. The doctor came back in and gave us our options – wait it out, take a pill to make me miscarry, or have surgery. The first two options sounded terrifying to do at home so we opted for the surgery.

As we were leaving the doctor’s office, I told Scott I still wanted our friends to come over. I wanted to take my mind off of it. I wanted to be distracted. I cooked and I watched baseball. I texted everyone who we had told, “had the doctor’s appointment today and there was no heartbeat.” Sympathies came in via text messages and I appreciated every. single. one. Two days later, I had the surgery. After my follow up appointment a month later, we decided to start trying again. And this time we knew we were trying.

On July 12th, I took what would turn out to be my second positive pregnancy test. I was over the moon excited. I bought a “Daddy’s Rookie” onesie that I wrapped up and gave to Scott to tell him. I figured that miscarriages were common, but having two in a row would be unlikely. We were thrilled! Still told our parents right away. Still didn’t lie to anyone that asked.

Everything was going about the same. I had the same symptoms. I was reading the baby books. I was eating right, not drinking, going on walks with our new puppy. Just after I hit the 6-week mark of my pregnancy, on July 27th, I had bleeding again. First thing in the morning, I called my doctor as it was extremely reminiscent of the last time two months prior. I kept trying to tell myself in the car things were fine at 6 weeks last time. They’d be fine now and then I’d get past week 8, then 9, then 10. Take it just one week at a time.

Once again, the doctor did the ultrasound. We both initially thought we saw the little flicker of a heartbeat, however, it quickly disappeared and was not to be seen again. I got a second opinion from the ultrasound department in the hospital connected to my clinic. She saw the same thing. I was measuring at six-and-a-half weeks and there was no heartbeat.

Once again, Scott and I decided to have the surgery. This time, we decided to send the embryo out for genetic testing to see if something chromosomal was causing the miscarriage that would cause this to keep happening. I recently received the results – the embryo was normal. The embryo was a girl.

I’ve also had some additional blood tests done. Everything has so far come back normal. This should be reassuring – there is no reason we cannot get pregnant. Everything seems to say we can. The next time I get pregnant, my doctor will just have me come in a bit sooner to receive some progesterone to hopefully help with the pregnancy. However, I’m still scared.

And through all I’ve just told the world, something else has been nagging at me the entire time — I want to share my story. I want to share what I’ve learned. I want to do my part to make pregnancy loss and infertility not a taboo topic. I want to help others to understand. Here are some things I’ve learned through this experience:

  • I will never again ask someone, “So when are you going to have kids?”. This is honestly one of the big reasons I wanted to write this post. When there’s a lull in conversation, this almost always comes up. I’m not offended by the question as I know it is well intentioned, but it does often hit me the wrong way. I have seen many other postslately that show others feel the same. Also, I am a very open person, so when this is asked, I tell them “Let’s be weird for 2 minutes, but we don’t need to dwell on it. I’ve now had two miscarriages, and I can’t wait to start a family.” It’s totally weird, but I’m not one to lie. Starting a family is a personal choice. You don’t know what your friends, family or coworkers are going through. Even if you do, let them tell you what their plans are – IF they want to discuss it. I just admitted I’ll usually tell people about it, but this is something that not everyone feels the same way about.
  • I wish someone would’ve told me how different starting a family can be for everyone. Of course I did know this, but it didn’t really hit me until now. Each family is different. We have friends that don’t want kids at all. We know couples that have been trying and praying to get pregnant for over a year and nothing has happened yet. Miscarriages – both early and late term – have happened to many people we know. Even more have shared since we have started talking about our experiences. We know women who have given birth to stillborns. We know families who have lost an infant. NOTHING about starting a family is normal. Miscarriages happen in an estimated 1 out of 5 pregnancies. Even though people don’t talk about it much, you absolutely, 100% know someone who has experienced a pregnancy or infant loss.
  • Everyone handles life’s challenges differently. Scott and I are two very different people. We’ve (thankfully) never had to deal with something as terrible as this before. I’ve learned that when I grieve, I cry for a day or two and then want to dive back into a routine and being busy. Both times, I went back to work the day after surgery. Scott has been wonderful to me through all this, but he is grieving as well. He tends to be more reserved and not outwardly show his emotions. I’m fine with that. However, the second time we were pregnant, he was more tentative about letting anyone know. He was so excited the first time around, and didn’t want to jinx it the second time around.
  • Grief can hit at any time. As I just mentioned, I tend to grieve immediately and then move on. However, I also have bad days related to losing these pregnancies. The very first baby shower I went to after my first miscarriage, I had to hide for five minutes in the bathroom. I couldn’t stop crying. She was being asked about her symptoms and all I could think was that I should be answering the same questions. I am incredibly happy for my friends that are expecting, just sometimes I need to get away from it all.
  • Do what works best for you. Some people say you shouldn’t tell anyone about a pregnancy until you are into your second trimester as each week means there is a less likely risk of miscarriage. Even though I can’t say we will be as forth coming the next time we are pregnant, it has been wonderful to have a support group of our friends and family. Do what works for you and your family—whether that’s shouting it from the mountains immediately, or being more reserved in your announcement. This pregnancy news is yours and you can make the choice that is best for you and your partner.
  • There is absolutely no shame in losing a pregnancy. I wish people would talk about it openly. It happens so often, and many people don’t even understand it. There is nothing Scott nor I did to cause this pain. We’re good, healthy people who have had some unfortunate circumstances lately. We don’t hide behind this or consider it a label. We would do anything to help others who have experienced the same thing.

Scott and I still want to have our own family in the near future. We’ll take whatever life throws at us as it comes. Thank you so much for your love and support. We love you all.

 You can email Heather at: heatskitchen@gmail.com

 

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Comments

  1. Sunflowerhappy says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. You offer some really sound advice for those who haven’t suffered losing a child. I have two angel babies myself and understand your loss, pain and determination. Best of luck.

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