Mom to John Dillan, Miscarried at 14 weeks on July 7th, 2009 
Fish, Miscarried at 10 weeks on March 1st, 2010
Baby #5, Miscarried in May 2010
and Hope, Miscarried on August 24th, 2010
Brown Mills, New Jersey

My name is Sara and I am the mother of two living, healthy and very rambunctious kids – Noah and Layla. I am also the mother of 4 Angels – John Dillan, Fish, Baby # 5 and Hope. This is my story.

My husband and I were married and we had no problem conceiving Noah. It happened quickly, unexpectedly and it was a long 9 months accompanied with UTI’s and early labor several times. Birthing Noah was hard but it was a beautiful thing and I knew from that moment on I was meant to be a mother. Fast forward 3 years later and we were ready to try again this time overseas and away from our support network that we’d had with Noah. Trying for another baby was harder, I was irregular from month to month but I didn’t know much more than that about my body and chalked it up as stress from our recent move out of the country. It took us 9 months to get pregnant with Layla but it happened and we were blessed. My pregnancy was very much like Noah’s. I had several yeast infections and UTI’s and early labor at 24 weeks because of a shortening cervix. My husband deployed during this time and it was chaotic trying to get news to him and keep up with a 4 year old in school. My husband returned at 38 weeks and I gave birth to a 9 lb baby a week later.

Because it took us so long to get pregnant with Layla we decided to start trying for our 3rd baby in March of 2009. Our family thought we were nuts and with an impending move back to the states that Fall it was really poor timing but I’m a stay at home Mom and I knew I could handle it. I had confidence in myself and my husband is as strong as a rock – I knew we were on the same page and that this was our family. We could do anything as long as we had each other. It didn’t take us long at all to get pregnant in fact we got pregnant immediately. We were surprised, shocked really – but when my first beta results came back we were beyond thrilled. The first time I saw John’s heartbeat on the screen I fell in love just as I had every time before. There is something just so beautiful about the love between a man and a woman and coming together to create an even more beautiful thing. Life. My pregnancy cravings were very much like my pregnancy with Noah and I had bet my husband that we were having a boy. We started picking out names and my husband and I would spend evenings after getting the kids to bed whispering to my growing belly. Then one morning I just felt off. I had pain in my back before I even got out of bed, so much so that I needed help from my husband before he went to work. I figured I’d just slept wrong and took the kids for a walk after breakfast. When we returned I was spotting. I panicked, I remember my stomach just dropping and knowing there was something wrong. I was 11 weeks and I kept thinking, it’s too late to miscarry – I was just so naive then to everything that I know now. I remember calling my husband and telling him that we needed to go up to the hospital and when we arrived they checked me in and set me up to a monitor. John’s heartbeat was still there but very faint so we had an ultrasound done a couple of hours later. By then I was no longer spotting but really bleeding, like a period. I had no cramping but constant pain in my back. My OB told me it was common to bleed in early pregnancy but that otherwise, everything looked good. My fluid was low but that it was nothing to worry about. They couldn’t find the source of bleeding but assured me that I’d be OK and that baby was alright.

I went home and continued to bleed for several days, no clots, no pain other than in my back but I followed up with my OB a few days later as instructed. John’s heartbeat had slowed. They told me that my fluid was still about the same and because the bleeding had continued without lessening they needed to see me again a few days later. It continued like this for 2 weeks, every 3 days I went to the hospital and was hooked up to a monitor and examined and able to see John on the screen. Finally, at one of the last appointments the head of the department that had delivered Layla only a few months earlier came in and told me that in his honest opinion he couldn’t see the baby coming back from this. I was devastated and I know that my husband was too. It’s rare to see him upset, especially to cry – and he cried on this day with me. The DR told me basically if I continued to bleed I was putting myself at risk for infection or something greater and that if it was still like this in a week, I would need a medically prescribed abortion. If we were still pregnant in a week. I remember going home that day and just crying and crying and crying. I had basically gone home to wait for the baby inside of me, for this baby’s heart to stop. I prayed for hope and strength to get through this. I also prayed, if this baby was going to be taken from me, if this baby had to be else where – anywhere but here with me – that he would go now… because I didn’t want to go back into that hospital and have a doctor touch me and take my baby alive. I couldn’t stand the thought of a DR taking this life from me, something my husband and I had made together and the possibility of this baby turning around – to be gone because some DR jumped to conclusions too soon. I went to the DR again the next day and the heartbeat had slowed to the point where he could barely pick it up. He told me it was possible if we came in the next day we could do a d&e the next afternoon. I was ready for this emotional roller coaster to be finished. I was ready to put this behind me and move on. I was ready to say goodbye. The next afternoon John was gone and a d&e was done. I was just over 14 weeks. They told me later they didn’t have the capabilities to test the baby we’d lost so therefore, we would never know what the sex was or what happened. It’s something I’ve struggled with for a long time because losing John has marked a whole new chapter of my life that I don’t yet have an explanation for.

We moved back to the states that fall and I felt in some ways, I was leaving John behind. I cried on the plane and my heart hurt for a long time after. My DR in Germany had told me we could wait until we had at least one cycle before we could start trying again. We waited 2 and until we had our new house set up here in NJ at this new base. It actually took us 4 cycles to get pregnant total and when I saw the double line on the EPT I didn’t feel anything. It’s been confusing for me. I want to hope and I want to feel elated and joyous but I don’t. I feel scared and nervous and anxious. Especially anxious. Like I’m just waiting for the shoe to drop and for it to all end. My HCG level’s did well the first 2 weeks, I had beta draws every 3 days. I was happy to have found such a proactive DR here in the states that took my concerns seriously. However, at 6 weeks pregnant when we should’ve seen a heartbeat we didn’t and my HCG levels struggled to double. At 8 weeks we finally got to a point where the DR was happy. I had started Prometrium, my progesterone at it’s highest was 11. At 9 weeks pregnant we took Noah to an ultrasound, he had been very curious what the baby looked like – so we brought him. The first time Noah saw the baby he said it looks like a Fish. Hence the name, Fish. I’m so grateful for Noah at that appointment, looking back – it makes me smile and I need to smile. My babies have always been wanted, always been loved, even the ones I have lost.

At 10 weeks, my husband and I took the kid’s sledding. I sat at the top of the hill, freezing my behind off in the wet snow while the kid’s took turns going up and down. I’m glad we had that day together, I’d like to think that my babies were all there, together – all of us, laughing and smiling, together. I only say this because, the DR later told us that Fish had literally stopped growing the day we were on the top of that hill. Maybe it’s possible Fish joined Heaven right there at the top of the hill, all of us looking on. I only hope so. The day I was told I miscarried him I was alone. My husband couldn’t leave work and so I had the kid’s with me. What a nightmare. It took so long that Layla was screaming in her stroller and Noah was shouting into his DS because the charge wasn’t holding. And there I was, laying on the table, legs spread, trying not to cry out loud and scare the kids. It was the day before my husbands birthday and I was trying to figure out how I would tell him that I’d lost yet another baby. My d&c was scheduled for 3 days later but I never made it. I was bleeding so much the next day that I passed out and my Noah, my hero, was able to call 911. I bled so much that I bled into the carpet. Little did I know that I had begun to hemorrhage. The pain was incredible, it felt like fire in my back and into my legs. My belly was hard and I could barely move but I wasn’t passing anything on my own. I only came to when the ambulance showed up. My neighbors seeing all the commotion were able to call my husband’s shop on the base to let him know where I was being sent via ambulance. The kids stayed with the neighbors for 2 days while Adam was able to be with me at the hospital. I’ve never felt pain like that before. Pain watching my kid’s cry from the doorway and the pain I felt in the ER. I’m allergic to Morphine and nothing they were giving me was touching the pain I was feeling. I had a natural birth, no drug intervention with Noah and this miscarriage was far more painful then that birth. They finally gave me Morphine and were prepared for the allergic reaction that I did have. There in the ER, in the midst of my screams and the people on either side of the walls complaining about my screaming – I passed Fish. I didn’t pass all the tissue though and I continued to bleed quite a bit. At 2 in the morning I finally went to the OR. Because of my reaction to the drugs I had to be admitted afterward. Fish was packaged but 7 weeks after I lost him I got a letter in the mail explaining that due to poor preparation the tissue of our baby was not testable. I was devastated, again. I’ll never know the reason we lost this baby or the gender.

Since Fish, I’ve had every possibly test done and no explanation has been given. I was told I had PCOS and was put on 1000mg of Metformin but nothing that would explain my losses. In May, I had yet another nasty yeast infection… something I only get when I’m pregnant. I took another pregnancy test, more or less just to see and I got a positive. The only person that knew was my husband but again, I never made it to my first OB appointment. I miscarried again. It was so quick, I sometimes wonder if it even happened. I didn’t let myself connect, I didn’t let myself feel anything but I know I was pregnant. Maybe three or four weeks at most. It was so brief, sometimes I don’t even mention to people that we had gotten pregnant during that time. What is there to tell?

In July, my husband got orders to deploy in September and we gave it one last shot before he left. We knew if we didn’t get pregnant now it would have to wait until next Spring after he got back. Sure enough, we got a positive pregnancy test on July 17th. I ovulated the day I had my d&e with John. It seemed pretty incredible but at the time, I told my husband – it was a sign. This was going to mark the end of our pain, the end of our losses, we were going to bring this baby home. John wanted us to. My RE was very good with us, had us come in every 2 days for beta draws. I’ve never looked forward to blood tests so much before and I would sit on pins and needles every morning until I got the phone call to hear the results. At 6 weeks my HCG levels stopped going up and my progesterone level dropped to 5. I had been taking Endometrium suppositories since the day of our first appointment, roughly at 4 weeks along so the DR assured me what progesterone wasn’t in my blood I was still giving my baby everything it needed via supplements. I walked every day, I ate salads and drank plenty of water and napped and slept the 8 hours my DR told me to. I handed the housework over to my husband and let him cook. I always felt bad because he’d come home from 12 hour shifts and have to take care of us but he assured me, if it meant we were bringing home a baby, he’d do it every day until I gave birth. My husband made preparations in the meantime, because he still had to deploy, through work who would help us out while he was gone. We had our support network in place and we were so ready. This was what I needed and I felt confident we’d be OK. Two weeks before my husband was due to leave, I had yet another UTI. It was then we started to question the trend of these infections. I’m a healthy 24 year old, I’m active and though a little overweight its nothing serious. I’m a clean person, I shower once, sometimes twice a day and I drink plenty of water. How could I be coming down with these nasty infections? I felt like I had to always explain to my husband that it wasn’t something I could control. It was the hormones raging inside of me. Following antibiotics, we had an ultrasound that showed us no heartbeat. Though the baby had grown, the DR wasn’t convinced. He told us, come back in a few days and we’ll take another look to declare it a miscarriage. We returned again and there was a heartbeat. A beautiful, strong one that measured right along to 8 weeks. We named our baby Hope. I felt it was well deserved, though another roller coaster – I was still convinced this baby was coming home. A few days after that, I started to bleed and I just knew, our baby was gone. Because I was on Aspirin the DR was concerned I’d hemorrhage again so we had a d&c the next day. My RE told me he’d gotten all the tissue, he knew exactly what was what and was sure we’d get the results we needed.

My husband left, 3 weeks ago tomorrow. It was bad timing. I blame myself for getting pregnant again. We were both tired when he left. It’d been a long week leading up to his departure. We prayed together before he left, I told him how much I loved him and that I would do everything within my power while he was gone to find out why we kept losing our babies. Again, he told me everything I needed to hear. It doesn’t matter if we don’t get pregnant again, I’ll always love you, as long as we have our first two, we’ll be OK.

I got the results in the mail the other day from Hope. Hope was a boy, a healthy boy, there was no genetic abnormalities, no chromosome missing. My baby was healthy and was taken from me. I believe in God, I pray daily, I consider myself a Christian. I will never question God, He knows me, He loves me and obviously, He thinks I’m strong enough to handle these losses. I, however, doubt myself. Doubt my strength. Never, in a million years did I think I’d ever be pregnant 6 times, only to have 2 living children with me. I can’t believe I’ll never hold the babies I lost. Never see they’re faces, see they’re smiles or hear they’re giggles and voices. It breaks my heart. I don’t know what I did or said, I don’t know how I could deserve this. This is something, I wouldn’t even wish upon my worst enemy. My family says, oh, I’m so sorry – but at least you have Noah and Layla. You’ll have more, you’ll find a way through this. Though this may be true, I still think about the babies I lost. The heartbeats I saw on the screen that I’ll never be able to feel with my own hand. I can’t ever get that time back and no one else seems to understand this. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, life is precious and it can be gone in an instant. I look at my children with a new light. I am blessed to have them because I know other women who don’t have children and struggle with they’re own losses or the inability to even get pregnant.

My RE says when my husband gets home we can try increasing the Metformin, try Lovenox injections and steroids on top of Clomid and progesterone. I hate needles but I’d do anything for a baby. I may never have an answer but as long as we don’t have a reason, there’s no reason for us not to try and get pregnant again. I know the next time I hold a baby in my arms, it’ll be very emotional. I see strangers walking with babies and it’s all I can do to turn away instead of asking them to hold their baby. Can you imagine? I must be crazy. But this feeling I have, this desire to hold a baby, it’s still there – and as long as I have it, I’ll continue to try.  

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