Mom to Wesley, ectopic pregnancy, April 13, 2010

Mom to Bentley, missed miscarriage, August 13, 2014

Lubbock, Texas

We began trying for a baby starting the summer of 2009.  We had been married about 4 1/2 years and I had been on birth control pills our whole marriage.  We were not actively trying at first, mostly just preventing.  I really thought that we would get pregnant right away.  I have never had any problems with my cycle and it has always been very regular and predictable.  Well, month after month went by with no pregnancy.  Most months I would get my hopes and then my period would start.  I could probably name off everyone who got pregnant while we were trying.  It was very hard to hear people say that they got pregnant their first month trying.  March of 2010 my period was late.  I took several pregnancy tests and they were all negative.  I was also having some pains in my ovary.  I looked some stuff up online and got freaked out!  Then my period started, so everything was fine.  I had decided not to stress about getting pregnant and just leave it all in God’s hands.

DH’s birthday is in April.  I remember having a dream that I was pregnant, so I thought I might as well take a pregnancy test.  I thought if I WAS pregnant, it would be cool to tell him on his birthday.  I took a pregnancy test (not expecting it to be positive) and there come two lines!  I was pregnant!  I remember freaking out!  I was off work that day and DH was sleeping in.  I was walking around our house saying, “Oh my goodness!  Oh my goodness!”  I eventually woke him up because I couldn’t stand it anymore!  I had the book “What to Expect When Your Wife is Expanding” and put that in a box along with the pregnancy test.  I videotaped him opening it.  It was precious.  He didn’t realize at first that I had already taken the pregnancy test.  You can see on the video when it finally hits him :)  This was Wednesday.

I had to get a new doctor, because my gynecologist did not do obstetrics as well.  I called the doctor I was wanting to use and they were taking new patients (yay!). I was to go in that Friday for blood work and then they would schedule a nurse visit and the first doctor visit.  I still was not sure I was really pregnant.  I was really in shock!  I had the blood drawn and my hCG was around 500.  I was really pregnant!!  We decided to tell our family.  Our parents were so excited to be having another grandbaby (we both have older brothers who already have kids).  According to my LMP, my due date would be December 10, 2010…our 5th wedding anniversary!  How perfect.  This was Friday.

Sunday morning I woke up to use the bathroom.  I didn’t turn the light on, or have my glasses on, but I noticed when I wiped it was dark.  I quickly turned the light on and saw blood.  I told DH that I was bleeding and we were losing the baby.  I was so sad and scared.  I tried going back to sleep but couldn’t.  I was also having a pain on my left side/leg and my back.  We went to church.  We still didn’t know if we should tell people that we were pregnant, but I didn’t want to.  After church we talked to our preacher and told him what was going on.  I was crying a lot.  This was Sunday.

Monday I went to work.  No one knew I was pregnant.  My back was hurting really bad.  On my morning break I called the doctor’s office.  They said bleeding can be normal in a pregnancy, but that since I was having pain I should get checked out at the ER.  I got my work finished and left early.  DH went with me to the ER.  I was concerned about an ectopic pregnancy because of the stuff I had read online the month before.  We went to the ER and they got us back fairly quickly.  I had a really nice nurse.  They took my blood and then sent me for an ultrasound.  I also had to have a catheter put in.  Not fun.  The ultrasound tech was obviously pregnant.  They did an abdominal ultrasound and didn’t see anything.  The tech said they might to a transvaginal ultrasound.  They took me back to the ER room; they did not do the transvag ultrasound.  The doctor performed a very painful pelvic exam and said that my cervix was closed, which was good.  They said my hCG came back but we would need to see how it rose.  I told them I just had blood work at my doctor’s office on Friday.  They asked if I remembered what the number was.  I told them 500 or something.  My hCG at the ER was around 550.  They discharged me from the ER and told me to go back on Wednesday to have another hCG check and to follow-up with my doctor.  The ER doctor said I might be having a miscarriage, but I was young…I could have more.  I didn’t want more…I wanted that baby.  DH called my doctor and we were to go in Tuesday morning.  I called work and told them I’d be out for 3 days (I had a note from the ER).  This was Monday.

Tuesday I went to my doctor.  I had never met her before.  I thought she was really nice, though.  She seemed very compassionate and concerned.  DH said we were worried about an ectopic.  She asked questions and we gave her the lab work from the ER.  She said she did not think the pregnancy was viable with my hCG barely rising over 3 days.  We already knew that.  We had already accepted that we would never meet this baby this side of Heaven.  She said she didn’t want to just give me Methotrexate in case it wasn’t an ectopic.  It’s a pretty powerful drug that you don’t want to have to take for no reason.  We could do a D&C, where they could check for fetal cells to see if the pregnancy was in my uterus (if not, we could have the Methotrexate).  We could wait and have blood draws to see if my numbers go down (indicating a miscarriage that was being passed).  She didn’t want to do surgery on my tube because it’s so small and could just cause more problems.  She left us to talk about it.  We decided to do the D&C.  I really just wanted to get everything over with.  I did not know much about a D&C.  My SIL had one when she had a miscarriage.  I thought maybe they just do them in the office.  We were to go to the hospital around 11.  We still had a couple of hours, so we went home.  I took my contacts out and wore my glasses.  We went to the library to check out some movies.  I still remember what shirt I was wearing.  We went to the Admitting Dept. at the hospital.  I just kept thinking, “I want to run away.”  I even told DH that.  We got all the billing stuff taken care of, then we went to the short-stay floor of the hospital.  They started an IV (once they could actually get it in).  My doctor came by, because she’s awesome :)  They told us that they do the D&C’s on the labor and delivery floor because that is where all the equipment is.  I had a really good nurse.  She said they would put something in my IV to make me groggy.  I remember feeling really fuzzy in my head and I said, “I guess I’m supposed to feel weird?”  Then they wheeled me back.  I vaguely remember them transferring me to the operating table.  The next thing I remember is being wheeled into the recovery room.  I asked my nurse if I said anything funny.  She said I kept telling them not to forget to give me oxygen.  I met back up with DH in the short-stay surgery room (He had to wait in the L&D waiting room all that time…).  A nurse came and said that the results came back negative so I would be getting the shot.  My doctor came by to talk to us.  She said we could try again in a month.  I asked if having one ectopic made it a higher risk to have another.  She said yes, but it’s not definite.  If I got pregnant again we would need to go in right away and monitor my hCG levels.  We went home that evening.  I started feeling really sick.  I was shaking and throwing up.  I’ve never felt so nauseous.  DH called the nurse on-call and they got my some nausea meds.  I don’t know if it was the anesthesia that made me sick or the Methotrexate.  This was Tuesday.

Wednesday again.  Within one week, I had gone from being super excited about finally being pregnant after 9 months of trying, to completely devastated and grieving the loss of our first pregnancy.  I cried a lot.  Every day.  On Sunday a couple announced that they were expecting their 1st baby.  That was hard.  Our babies would have been a few weeks apart.  I had to have my hCG checked every week till it went close to 0.  It took about 6 weeks.  It was terrifying knowing that my tube could burst.  It was a relief for my hCG to be down, but also sad to know it was all over.  I didn’t know if I would ever want to try again.  I could have died.  I did not want to ever go through another ectopic again.  DH and I took a road trip to California.  He has family out there and I had never been.  It was good to just get away.  I did eventually stop crying every day.  We now have a healthy baby girl, but I still think of my ectopic baby a lot.

[unfortunately Amber had an additional loss to add to her story]

When my daughter was 3, we decided to try for another baby. I weaned off my anxiety medicine in June, the same month I got off my birth control, in hopes of getting pregnant quickly. My daughter’s birthday is in March & I really wanted another March baby. At the end of June, we had some family visiting and were out of town for the weekend. I just felt like I was pregnant. I can’t really explain it, I just KNEW. I was afraid that my period would start. I ended up taking a pregnancy test on a Wednesday afternoon & it was positive. I was so excited! I just knew that it would be positive! I told my husband & he was surprised & excited. This was our 3rd pregnancy & was to be our last, as we wanted to have 2 children. My first pregnancy was an early ectopic loss, my second was a healthy baby girl. We told our family right away. We knew from experience that we couldn’t keep it to ourselves…no matter what the outcome was. DH was always wanting to tell people but I was always so nervous. I wasn’t worried about another ectopic. For some reason I was worried about a blighted ovum. My 1st u/s was scheduled for the end of July, when I would be 8 weeks. They couldn’t get me in with the u/s doctor so it was scheduled with my doctor. My blood work was fine. My progesterone was just above the level they liked it, but since I wasn’t spotting or anything they said it was fine.
Pregnancy is a very stressful time for me. I’m a worrier & I have anxiety that is well-controlled with medication. Since I got off my meds for the pregnancy my anxiety was a lot harder to control. I did though. I thanked God for my growing baby & prayed for health and that we would see a heartbeat. I constantly took captive anxious thoughts & gave them to God. I didn’t have morning sickness with this pregnancy, which I attributed to it not being my first pregnancy. I would feel nauseous off & on but not that bad. My pregnancy symptoms always seemed to come & go, but they did with my daughter’s pregnancy as well, so I just tried not to dwell on it. We told my coworkers when I was 6 weeks pregnant. We decided to tell people, because we believe that God is good and we thought that no matter the outcome, maybe people would see Him through us.

The time finally came for our first u/s. I was so nervous!! They did the ultrasound & we saw the little blob in my uterus (yay for it not being ectopic!) And then my doctor said “and there’s the heartbeat!” I got so excited! I didn’t know if we’d be able to see it and I was worried that maybe this wasn’t a viable pregnancy. The doctor took measurements & the baby was measuring about 7 weeks 1 day. I was pretty sure of my dates, and knew that I should be 8 weeks, maybe even a few more days past. She didn’t seem concerned & said that we would do another u/s in 3 weeks. My due date was either March 4 (this is the date I keep) or March 10 (my daughter’s birthday). At my next appointment, I would be either 10 weeks or 11 weeks & we could also do blood work which would determine the gender. How cool! The following week we were supposed to go on a big road-trip from Texas to Pennsylvania to visit family & for DH’s grandfather’s memorial service. My doctor said it was fine to go. I was glad to have something to distract me from worrying about our baby measuring small. I kept looking at my daughter’s u/s to see if this baby was measuring right.

I was terrified that I would miscarry on our trip. I really wanted to go & was afraid I’d starting bleeding the weekend before or right when we left. Thankfully, that didn’t happen. I was always relieved when I went to the bathroom & didn’t see blood. We had a wonderful trip & got to do some really cool things & see a lot of family I’d never met before, and even got to see Niagara Falls. I didn’t have any pregnancy problems. There was one day when my constipation seemed to all of the sudden subside, if you know what I mean :) But then it returned. We got back home on a Saturday & my appointment was Wednesday. I was off that day because I was supposed to work the next weekend.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014. The day my heart broke…again. I woke up that day excited & surprisingly (for me) calm & not really worried. My MIL came to watch our daughter. My appointment was for 9:30. We sat in the waiting room. There were 2 very pregnant ladies. I remember thinking, “I wonder if we’ll make it that far”. They finally called me back. We waited in the u/s room. Since I was 10 or 11 weeks (depending on if you went by u/s or LMP) the doctor did an abdominal u/s. I knew based on my daughter’s u/s that they should be able to do an abdominal one at this point. The image came up on the screen & the doctor said, “aw, your baby’s still little”. NOOOO! I knew it should be bigger. Fear consumed me. She asked if we could do a transvag u/s. She left & that is the quickest I’ve ever changed. I told my husband, “I’m scared. The baby should be bigger than that.” She came back & did the u/s. There was our baby on the screen. Bigger than the last time. But this time, no flickering of a heartbeat. I just lay there looking. You could see his little head & his arms & legs had started to form. I remember thinking “He’s so precious.” and he was. I already knew he had died. I wish that I would have had her take those u/s pics. My doctor put her hand on my leg & sighed. She said she was sorry but she didn’t see a heartbeat anymore. She told me that I was okay, my body was okay, it was just my heart that was broken. She left so I could get dressed. I was bawling, telling DH “I don’t want to lose another baby. We’re not supposed to go through this again” When the doctor came back she sat down with us for a while. She said that these things are common & I didn’t do anything to cause this. Most likely there was a problem with the chromosomes & most often it is a Trisomy 16. I had a healthy pregnancy so there was no reason to think I couldn’t have another one. She gave us our options: D&C, meds to start the miscarriage, or wait & see if my body would do it on it’s own. I really didn’t want another D&C. I had a c-section with my daughter so I just wanted to give my uterus a break. I asked my doctor which was best & she said to naturally miscarry but any option was fine. It can sometimes take weeks for your body to miscarry & some people can’t emotionally handle that (I knew I couldn’t). We decided to wait 1 week. She gave me a prescription for pain meds & told me I could always decide to get the misopropal or have a D&C to just let them know. We left the appointment feeling numb. How could this be happening? I didn’t have any cramps or bleeding. We had seen the heartbeat…doesn’t that make your chance of miscarriage like less than 2%!?

We let everyone know, mostly by text which was nice to not have to keep telling the story again. Everyone was very supportive. I did some research online but still just really wanted to miscarry on my own. Couldn’t my body at least do that!? I kept telling myself that the baby had died…trying to will my body to miscarry. Two days later (Friday around 10 am) I started spotting. Thankfully my coworkers covered for me so I wasn’t scheduled to be back to work until Monday. When I saw the blood it was a mix of relief & anguish. That evening we went out to dinner with some friends. They knew about everything. After dinner I started feeling really bad. We had already made plans to go to one of those paint-your-own-pottery places & my daughter was excited. I didn’t want to disappoint her so I went. I was starting to have a lot of pain. Then I felt a big gush. The heavy bleeding was starting. I put a pad on & had to change it as soon as I got to the painting place. I have never seen so much blood. I rushed my daughter through her painting & finally made it home. I put DH in charge of DD & pretty much sat on the toilet for an hour or two. The pain pills helped some but it still was so painful. Not even comparable to my worst periods. And so much blood. Some were big clots, which I knew was a good sign (or whatever you want to call it) of passing the pregnancy. I was worried about losing too much blood or of infection or not passing everything. I took the pain pills every 4 hours and was able to sleep some. The next morning I felt like crap. I think a combination of the blood loss & taking the pain meds without food. Somehow I made it though. The next Wednesday I had my follow-up appointment. I was praying that I wouldn’t have to have a D&C on top of everything. The doctor did an u/s & there was nothing left in my uterus. So bittersweet. She followed my hcg levels down to negative. And here I am today, 5 months later. Miscarriage sucks. That’s just all there is to it. I know that God is still good. He was good when I was pregnant. He was good while we sat staring at that lifeless u/s screen. And He is good now. He is the only One who has gotten me through all of this. Some days it is hard. It feels like it takes everything in me just to breathe. Some days it’s easier. My sweet babies have changed my life, in ways that I don’t even fully understand. I am forever grateful to get to be their Mommy & I look forward to meeting them someday in Heaven!

You can contact Amber at rebma108@yahoo.com

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