I feel like this part of my story is well overdue. I know I don’t have avid readers that are waiting on the edge of their seat for part two of my story but when I started this journey, I told myself I would use it as a platform to share my full story in hopes that I can reach as many people that need support during an extremely difficult time. One thing I have learned, as a mom that has experienced loss, is that some miscarriage experiences are more difficult to write about than others. With my first miscarriage, while extremely devastating, it was more straight forward. After finding out my baby had passed things progressed as they should, so it wasn’t a long, drawn-out experience. With my second miscarriage, not so much. So here we go…
About a year after welcoming our rainbow baby to the world my husband and I were overjoyed and thrilled to have been given the opportunity to experience parenthood. We knew our little girl was a pure miracle because she was the strong little baby that pushed through when everything felt so hopeless. She showed us that there are rainbows after the storm and that dreams do come true. We so desperately wanted to give her a sibling and thought that maybe it was time. After just a short few months of trying we saw those two pink lines – positive! We were thrilled, excited, but obviously nervous. This go round I was much more aware of the fact that I could miscarry again but tried to suppress those feelings because my body had carried a full term, healthy baby so why couldn’t it do it again? I remember saying everyday to myself “the outcome of this baby has already been determined. Nothing you do will change that outcome.” It helped me to not dwell on whether or not this baby had already passed because I didn’t have the ability to change what was meant to be. I also had continued morning sickness which to most is super annoying, but to someone who has experienced loss it can be a positive sign of a healthy pregnancy. So, I welcomed it.
At 9 weeks I decided it was safe enough to schedule a peace of mind ultrasound with a private ultrasound place. We had seen this lady before for my previous miscarriage and my full-term pregnancy. She knew our history and was happy to see us for this pregnancy. We went into the ultrasound with hesitation but excitement. Just a few short minutes after she put the probe on my belly, I just knew. The baby did not look like a healthy 9-week baby. The ultrasound technician kept trying to find a better view of the baby to see if we could see a heartbeat. She kept asking me when my last menstrual cycle was so that just maybe I was off on my dates and earlier in the pregnancy than I thought. I wasn’t – you see, I invested in a band that I wore that was 90% accurate in determining my ovulation dates. I knew exactly when that baby was conceived and how far along I should have been.
After 45 minutes of the sweet technician trying to justify the look of the baby we left, and I looked at my husband and said I just knew it. The tears started to flow down my face as I thought “how could this happen to us again??” Later that evening I had to make the dreaded call to my parents – a call that no daughter wants to make, and no parent wants to hear. I said to my mom, “So I have some news to share with you. I am pregnant but don’t get excited. We went to an ultrasound today and things did not look good. I’m pretty sure the baby has passed but we will go to the OB to confirm.” My mom didn’t know what to say. I mean what do you say? She told me she was sorry and that she was sad. She told me that she was there for us and that she would do what we needed to help. I told her I couldn’t talk long because I was still going through the motions but that I would keep her updated. Ugh, so very heartbreaking.
I called my OB on Monday morning and told the individual on the phone that I was pretty sure my baby had already passed and that I needed to be seen earlier to confirm this information. I don’t think the scheduling lady on the phone knew what to say. It’s not every day you pick up the phone to schedule an appointment and hear from the individual that they needed an appointment only to confirm that their baby was in fact dead. She put me on hold and asked someone what exactly she should do. They brought me in later that day for a confirmation of pregnancy. For some reason this time I was so numb to the experience that I just didn’t feel as shocked or initially devastated. I felt like I had been there before and that I was just going through the motions of doing what I needed to do to move past this. In hindsight this was probably just a coping mechanism because I had no idea what was to come.
When I walked into the OB office, I wasn’t excited. I kept my head down so I didn’t have to look around at the excited women who would walk away with pictures of their growing babies. I checked in and waited with my husband to be called back so we could receive bad news again. It felt like forever but about 5 minutes after checking in they brought us back and performed all the normal check in items – weight check, blood pressure, etc. She asked why we were there, and I informed her that I had gone to a private ultrasound the other day and was pretty sure my baby had already passed but I needed confirmation. She apologized, gave me the gown and told me the doctor would be in soon. My husband and I didn’t talk – we just stared at the ground and waited. The doctor came in and asked the same questions – this was the third time I had to tell my story. It was so difficult. He told me to lay back so we could take a look. After a few short minutes he looked up at me and said “Okay, it does look like the baby has passed. I cannot find a heartbeat.” I looked down, held back my tears and said okay. What next?
Just like before he gave me the same three options – wait for it to pass naturally, take Cytotec to induce the miscarriage, or schedule a D&C. Because the Cytotec option worked for me in the past I decided to go with that option again. He told me to schedule an appointment in a week to make sure everything was okay and that he was sorry. I am sure he said more but I was ready to leave. I was over the small talk at this point and just wanted to cry in my car.
We were in the middle of COVID, so my husband had to rush back to work. We are a military family, so the pharmacy is on base and full of many different people. I had to wait a long time to get my prescription and when I finally walked up to the window to pick it up the lady promptly asked me “Are you pregnant or breastfeeding?” I looked at her with tears in my eyes and said, “well I am pregnant, but my baby has died so I guess I’m not anymore.” She looked at me, apologized and handed me my prescription. I walked out, drove home, cried, and after an hour of being home took my first dose of Cytotec. With my first miscarriage I took the pill orally and it worked just as it should. This time I was told to take it vaginally which was weird to me, but I did it. I followed the instructions and waited. While things started to work, and I started to pass things I also passed the Cytotec pill. Because I hadn’t taken it vaginally before I didn’t know if that was normal or not. I waited and proceeded with my next dose. The same thing happened – things started to pass but I also saw the Cytotec pill in the toilet.
After the 3rd or 4th day I still hadn’t passed the baby. I had a feeling things weren’t right so I called the nurse on call at the OB and explained the situation. They prescribed me another dose of Cytotec pills. I had to pick them up in the pharmacy again and again the lady asked if I was pregnant or breastfeeding. I cried again – this time more and for longer. My first miscarriage wasn’t so drawn out. I didn’t have to tell random people my situation multiple times. I didn’t have to relive the devastation over and over again. After two doses of Cytotec I went back into the OB office a week later. They checked me to see if I had passed everything – I didn’t. The baby was still there. Still dead and in my body. I went home and that night I had a melt down to my husband. I was devastated. I was angry. I kept telling him that he had no idea what it was like to carry a dead baby around in your body for weeks and not have any control over it. I told him that I didn’t understand why my body didn’t know what to do. Every time I miscarried it would hold onto the baby for weeks while it had already passed. How could you not be angry at that? I felt like my body had failed me once again. And this time it failed me in such a huge way. I was so very angry. I just wanted it to be over, but my body wasn’t doing what it needed to do to make that happen and I just couldn’t understand that. I kept telling my husband that my daughter would be an only child because my body was broken and could never carry a baby again. I…was…angry.
They prescribed me another dose of Cytotec – this time orally and things started to happen. While absolutely devastating, I was so happy to see things were progressing the way they should, the way I remembered. I went back to the OB a week later and he confirmed that the miscarriage had completed and that I should wait for my period to come in a few weeks. I left that day relieved but still angry, confused, and hopeless. Four weeks passed and shortly after my first period came. It was light and only lasted a few days, but it came. While I was thankful I finally got my period I also noticed some other symptoms I was having that were not normal for me.
After a few weeks of feeling off with my body I called my OB to be seen again. Thankfully the OB I was seeing was super responsive and agreed to see me throughout my journey. I was grateful for this OB – he listened to me. He let me advocate for myself. And he never gave up. I went into the OB and informed him that I was having vaginal itchiness that I felt was uncommon for me. I was also having weird vaginal discharge that I had never had before. I felt off and that something was wrong. He performed a vaginal ultrasound, took swabs of different areas and did a urine collection. I went home with no answers but felt hopeful that I had found a doctor that was willing to listen to me. Two days later (and a week and a half after finishing my period) I woke up and noticed some bleeding. I thought nothing of it because my body was all messed up with hormones and periods and I had just had a vaginal ultrasound. I brushed things off and went through the day. As the day went on the bleeding continued to get super heavy, the blood was bright red, and it was painful. I was going through pads very quickly and things just didn’t seem right.
After talking with my husband, we thought it was best for me to head to the ER just in case. I was seen by a military provider that was the most unhelpful person ever. She downplayed my issue, my miscarriage experience and told me that it was normal to bleed like that after a miscarriage. She told me to follow up with my OB and sent me on my way. I was frustrated. I knew in my mind that something was wrong but had no idea what it was, so I went home and waited to call my OB. After a week of heavy bleeding, I finally got an appointment with my OB and explained to him what had happened. He was open to finding answers and told me the best course of action would be to take a biopsy of my uterus to see if they could get some answers. He also scheduled me for a pelvic sonogram with radiology to get more detailed sonogram pictures and hopefully figure things out. I got both procedures done and waited. And waited some more. It took almost a week to finally get all the results and hear back from my doctor. I had retained tissue from the miscarriage, and it was making my body sick. All the symptoms I was having were fully explained by the retained tissue.
My D&C was scheduled for four days later and pre-op started with blood work and paperwork. Thankfully even with COVID running rampant my husband was still able to accompany me to the surgery. We walked into the hospital, they set me up in a room and got me prepared for surgery. It took a few hours to go back and go through the surgery but thankfully we got the good news that everything was removed and that it all looked okay. After four months of going through my miscarriage, I had finally reached the end. It felt like a lifetime, like I had been dealing with this for so long. I didn’t think I would ever reach the end and be able to start the grieving process.
Throughout this entire process I can remember many nights where I would just cry, randomly. My husband would remind me that it was all going to be okay, but I didn’t think it would. I never thought I would be okay again – I felt like I had given up on my body and the dream of having a second baby. I didn’t trust my body anymore and it would take a while for me to be ready to try again. After 2 weeks I went into the OB for a follow up and got the green light to try again, when I was ready. They confirmed that everything in my uterus looked good – no more left-over tissue, no fibroids, cysts, or anything abnormal.
I took a month to mourn the whole experience, and decided I was ready to try one more time. On our first try we got pregnant and in April 2021 we welcomed our second rainbow baby. While I am thankful that I was given my two rainbow babies, they do not replace my two angel babies. I often think about what life would be like with those two babies. I think about what they would look like, what their personalities would be. One day I will meet my babies and will get the gender reveal of a lifetime! I named our two babies because they were real, they were alive, and I will always say their names so that they are never forgotten. Baby Hope (5.7.2018) and Baby Gold (3.9.2020).