Mom to Six Angels
April 1997, December 1997, August 2000, March 2001, November 2001, April 2003
My name is Melissa and I have six beautiful angels in Heaven. I never dreamed I would suffer so much heartache. When you suffer a miscarriage during your first pregnancy you hear, “It’s common, try again. It just wasn’t meant to be.” You really don’t think much about it. Yes, it was heartbreaking but knowing it was so common, I still felt positive and hopeful. Then when I got pregnant a second time and miscarried again, we were told we could send it off for testing to see if there was a reason. So we did. When we received the results back, they stressed nothing was definite without further genetic testing; it could have been a fluke so don’t stress.
My first pregnancy, I lost the baby naturally. I started spotting at 8 weeks. When we went to the ER, there was no heartbeat, so I was sent home to let nature takes its course and miscarry. Our second pregnancy, I was 10-11 weeks when we had an ultrasound and saw that the embryo stopped developing at 7 weeks but my body did not miscarry it. So, I was wheeled into the OR for my first D&C. We know from the testing that we lost a little girl.
When we decided to try a third time, my doctor scheduled my ultrasound as soon as we had a positive result. She was wonderful during my entire pregnancy. We saw a heartbeat but we knew not to get attached. We went back 2 weeks later and still had a heartbeat but we were right around the 8-9 week mark so I still did not allow myself to get attached. We kept praying and monitoring my pregnancy. Finally, when I found out I was far enough along to find out the sex, we allowed ourselves to become so attached to our little miracle. We continued with the ultrasounds to make sure she was still developing until I developed pre-eclampsia and had to be induced. Our daughter was born at 34 weeks, she was life flighted to Children’s Hospital and she spent the first 10 days in Children’s Hospital NICU. Here we are, almost 17 years later.
We thought since we had a successful pregnancy that our miscarriage was just indeed a fluke and not due to a genetic disorder. We tried again. At our ultrasound, we once again saw that the embryo stopped developing at 7 weeks and I was 10-11 weeks along. Another trip to the OR for another D&C. The embryo was sent out for testing and we prayed it would not be the same genetic disorder. Sadly it was and sadly the sex of the embryo was not able to be determined. We were referred to a genetic specialist who did blood work on both my husband and I to determine who had the disorder and exactly what disorder we had. We were told it was a Translocation Chromosome Disorder and there was nothing that we could do. The chromosomes on certain markers do not divide evenly and that it would cause the embryos to stop developing early in a pregnancy. Since we had one healthy pregnancy, we were told it was possible to have another successful one where the chromosomes divided correctly, but she could not say how many more miscarriages I would suffer. We still had hope. We tried three more times. My fifth pregnancy ended just like the others; the fetus stopped developing at 7 weeks. My sixth pregnancy, we went in for the ultrasound and saw a heartbeat but it was so slow you could tell something was not right. A week later I was back in the OR for another D&C.
Our seventh pregnancy, we saw a heartbeat when we had our ultrasound. We knew not to get excited but we did because it was past the 7 week mark and I was 9 weeks along and had a strong heartbeat. I was so excited. We told our family because only with our [living] daughter did we make it this far. When we went back in at 12 weeks for another ultrasound to monitor the development, we sat in the waiting room listening to the heartbeats of the ultrasounds before me. This office broadcasted the heartbeat throughout the office. So when it was my turn, they called me back and told my husband they would bring him back shortly. The ultrasound started off perfect; I saw the heartbeat and all was good. I cried and thanked God. Moments later I watched the fluttering heartbeat as it went slower and slower until it stopped all together. My husband never heard the heartbeat in the waiting room. He knew as soon as the lady came to get him we lost the baby. We lost our will to keep trying that day. The doctor sent it off for testing. Once again the disorder took another baby from us, but just not any baby, our son. We never tried again. We accepted we were to be a family of three.
I went through bouts of depression over the last 17 years. Still to this day I cannot attend baby showers. I was diagnosed with PTSD after my last miscarriage. Being around pregnant woman on a regular basis and baby showers cause so much anxiety and panic attacks. The closer the date gets to a baby shower, I wake up in the middle of the night from having dreams and nightmares in a panic attack. One day I WILL be able to attend baby showers and be around pregnant women and not suffer from anxiety.
We know which one of us has the disorder, but we are not sure which side of that family it came from. Nobody else has ever had trouble carrying a baby to full term. Almost all have 2-3 kids on both sides of the family. So it’s hard to understand, why us? We were so angry with God for so long. I am thankful we have a healthy child and we have given her the best life we can. We can only pray the same disorder was not passed down to our daughter. When she is older, she will see the genetic specialist and be tested. Until then, we remain hopeful she will be blessed with her own little family.