I like to think I'm pretty tough. It takes a lot to really get to me. But I've had to face the fact that maybe this isn't always such a good thing. When you put on a tough exterior, other people might think that you don't need extra help or attention because you seem to have it all together. Anything life throws at you, you can handle it without coddling or an arm around your shoulder. So when you really could use the extra attention or consoling, you're not sure how to ask for it. Or other people aren't sure how to give it. Especially when it's not something they've personally experienced.
I generally pride myself on writing well thought-out posts that are clean and clear and have direction. This post might be a little less that way, but I hope you'll forgive me because I'm still working through things. For most of you reading this, if not all of you, this is the first you've heard about my miscarriages. Don't feel bad if you didn't know or suspect that something was wrong. Like I said, it's hard for me to share my trials with others.
This is my story about my miscarriages:
About a year and a half after my husband were married, we both felt that we needed to start trying to have a baby. After another year and a half, we found out we were pregnant. Everything was completely textbook, with the exception of having a c-section due to my daughter turning breech. But even the c-section happened textbook. When our daughter was 17 months, we felt like we should start trying again. We assumed it might take a little longer since it had with our daughter, but after our first month of trying we found out that baby #2 was on the way. My pregnancy was identical to the first except this time it was a little boy and I was able to have a successful V-BAC. Once again, when our little boy was about 16 months, we felt the familiar feeling to start trying again.
It took 3 months before I got a positive test (November 2015). I should have felt happy, but something just didn't feel right to me. At 5 1/2 weeks, I started bleeding. I sat there on the toilet with tears streaming down my face and begging it to stop and trying to convince myself that it was implantation bleeding but knowing deep down that it wasn't. I called my doctor's office and talked to a nurse who left a message for the doctor to call me back. He called me a couple of hours later and by then I knew without a doubt what was happening to me. I was losing my baby. The doctor had me go to a lab for a blood draw to measure the HCG levels that day and then again 48 hours later. I continued to miscarry and when he called me with the results, I wasn't surprised. My sister called me that day not knowing what was happening and I broke down on the phone. She came over and I just cried the entire time she was here.
Since I wasn't very far along, the miscarriage wasn't very painful physically, but was really hard on me emotionally. My poor kids didn't know why I was crying and all I could tell them is that I was sad and didn't feel good. In our nightly prayers, my sweet daughter prayed I would feel better. I strongly believe the prayers of children carry a special kind of power to heaven.
About a week later, my doctor called to check on me. By this time, the bleeding had tapered off and I was feeling better in general. I asked when my husband and I could start trying again and he told me to wait for a couple of cycles. I'd heard many couples have a good success rate trying within 3 months of a miscarriage and my husband and I were still feeling like there was another baby to add to our family.
We got a positive test in January 2016. I was feeling more hopeful by this time. All the usual pregnancy symptoms were present and I called the doctor's office and made an 8 week appointment. About a week before my appointment, I started feeling less nausea and fatigue. I thought that maybe it was just lucky that I wasn't because I was chasing two kids around and feeling less sick was nice. I went in for my 8 week appointment and everything appeared fine, but considering my miscarriage a few months earlier, the doctor had me schedule an ultrasound to make sure everything was ok.
I went in later that week for the ultrasound (February 2016). The sonographer found a sac and something he thought could be a baby inside but was difficult to tell. He told me that based on the size, I was only measuring 6 weeks and 1 day. He asked if I had given him the correct date for the first day of my last cycle and I assured him I had. By this time, I was starting to get scared and asked him some basic questions: "Could the baby just be measuring small?" "What do we do now?" I could tell he was trying to be optimistic about the situation but he's been doing ultrasounds for a long time and I think he suspected what I was dreading to hear. He called the doctor who wanted me to go in for a follow-up ultrasound the next week to see if anything had changed.
Driving home, I felt sick. Not pregnancy sick. But my heart hurt and I'm surprised I made it home through the tears. I told my husband what the sonographer and the doctor had said, but I couldn't shake the anxious feeling inside that, again, something was wrong. At my follow-up ultrasound the next week, nothing had changed. The baby, for whatever reason, had stopped growing and was no longer "viable", as he put it. I sat in the car for a long time after my appointment, praying and crying and just so full of emotion that I felt like I was going to burst. Before driving home, I called my husband, who I'd insisted stay home with the kids due to him getting home late from work right as I needed to be leaving, and told him the news. I know he did his best to console me over the phone until I got home that night. Thankfully, the kids were in bed when I came back and I was able to just stand there and cry into my husband's shoulder.
About 5 days after my ultrasound, my body started to go through another miscarriage. This time, it was worse because it had been longer. I would have been 9 weeks if my baby were still alive and growing. I felt pain in my lower back as my uterus contracted and much of my time was spent between the couch or my bed and the bathroom. Thankfully, my husband was home during the hardest part and could watch the kids. I cried a lot and had to try again to explain to my sweet kids that I felt sick and that's why I was sad.
I felt so lost. So confused. I wondered if maybe I just wasn't living righteously enough. I should be reading my scriptures more, saying more meaningful prayers, giving more service. Maybe I just hadn't earned a baby yet. At the time, all of these feelings felt so real. I tried my best to be happy and live in the moment with my kids that I'd been blessed with but in the back of my mind, I was thinking about my miscarriages and wondering if I actually would be able to have any more kids.
At the end of November 2016, 8 months after my last miscarriage, I suspected I could be pregnant again, but waited another 5 days past my missed period to take a test. The first week of December, I got a positive test. I showed my husband that night as we got ready for his work party and we both felt happy and optimistic. I had been holding my breath during the last week, waiting for some sign of miscarriage but seeing that positive filled me with hope. I had gotten a cough earlier in the week, but because I was pregnant, I wasn't able to take much to get rid of it faster. I felt horrible due to lack of sleep, constant coughing, holiday activities, taking care of my kids and so on. I started taking naps in the middle of the day because I was so exhausted. Normal pregnancy symptoms appeared right on schedule and I began planning and hoping for the future. I stayed sick for a while and it turned into acute bronchitis. I didn't have a big appetite even though I was hungry and I lived off of saltines, toast and fresh veggies. I told a couple of people that I was pregnant (who had known about the previous miscarriages) and they congratulated me and told me they hoped for the best.
I made an 8 week appointment with my doctor's office. While I was hopeful, I still felt anxious, so I called and requested a blood test to check my HCG levels. I went in that day and then 48 hours later. The levels went up, so I felt good and looked forward to my appointment. Early the next morning, I woke up with a horrible feeling. I knew something was wrong. I tried to deny it and fell back into an uneasy sleep. Later that same morning, I got a call from my doctor's office. He told me that while my levels had increased, they weren't increasing at the rate they should for a normal pregnancy and told me I could have an ectopic pregnancy (one where the egg implants in the tubes rather than the uterus). He scheduled an appointment for an ultrasound later that day to see if the sonographer could pinpoint the pregnancy's location.
When I got off the phone, I curled up into a ball on my bed and sobbed. My husband and kids were gone at the gym and I was by myself. I prayed so hard to my Heavenly Father. Why? Why is this happening again? Why can't I keep my babies? I called my husband and told him what the doctor said. When he got home, both my kids came into my room and gave me the biggest hugs and kisses and told me they loved me. My husband did the same and then took the kids and let me have my space to try and process what was happening.
By the time the ultrasound came around, I knew what I was going to see. It wasn't ectopic but the sac in the uterus was only measuring 5 weeks and 4 days. I knew the question before he asked it: did I give the right date for the first day of my last period? I knew I had. Just as I had known when I woke up suddenly that morning that things were not going to turn out the way my husband and I had hoped and prayed for.
Over the next 4 weeks, I continued to go in for ultrasounds. I still hadn't miscarried but the doctor wanted to wait and see what happened. Oddly enough, the baby continued to grow but it still wasn't measuring within the normal parameters and finally, the sonographer was able to confirm what I had known for the last 5 weeks: my baby wasn't growing and was no longer "viable".
That weekend, I would have been 11 weeks along. Almost done with my first trimester. It all seemed so strange and surreal. A few days later, my body began the miscarriage process for the third time. I'd had a few weeks to mentally prepare for it, as much as you can prepare for something like this, but it was still hard. My sweet, sweet kids were perfect angels that first day. They just wanted me to sit on the couch and read them books for an hour or they played nicely together with their toys. It was a true blessing.
It's been a week and a half since my most recent miscarriage. I still cry about it. I'm still trying to come to grips with the fact that, had my first or even my second miscarriage ended differently, I'd be holding my baby. A part of me wants to be angry and shake my fist at the heavens and ask why not me? I don't know the answer. I don't know why I've had to face this particular trial multiple times.
But one thing that I've been comforted by, amid the pain and sadness and frustration, is a feeling of hope. A feeling that things will work out. The love of my Savior. I know our rainbow baby is coming one day. And when that day comes, my family and I will rejoice. In the meantime, I pray for patience and strength. I feel comforted in the knowledge that I am not alone. I am joined by other women who have faced this challenge. By my family and friends.
And now, by you. Thank you for taking the time to read through this post. I know it was long and not a happy topic, but one I felt I needed to share. So I thank you for sticking with me. This blog is more than just a place for me to share my recipes or crafts or organization hacks. Through this blog, one of my greatest hopes is that I've been able to reach at least one person who just happened to need to hear/read what it is that I put out into the "blog-osphere".
And if you are struggling and need someone to talk to about this, please feel free to email me. I will be a listening ear. Or if you are looking for some resources to help you work through your own miscarriage or know how to help someone dealing with one, you can check out a really helpful list my friend Natashia put together when she went through a miscarriage at the end of last year.
Again, thank you for reading and allowing me to share my experience with you.