I found out I was pregnant on Dec 3rd. It was the happiest day of my life! My husband and I actually had an appointment to see a RHS that day – I called to cancel. For about a week I felt like the luckiest woman on earth.
Then, on Dec 9th I had started to have some light bleeding. Since my first visit to confirm pregnancy was on the 10th I tried to remain calm. At our visit, the doctor confirmed what I already knew – “Congratulations, you are pregnant!” I let the doctor know that I was spotting and that I was not having any morning sickness. He said it was completely normal, every pregnancy is different and not to worry. Ok, I thought. But that is easier said than done!
By Dec 13th my bleeding had gotten heavier, was bright red and accompanied by abdominal pain on my right side. I called my doctor from work and was sent for a transvaginal ultrasound that day. Before I left the office, I googled “early ultrasound” so I knew what to look for and what should be visible at 5 weeks. When we got to the office and started the ultrasound a huge smile spread across my face; my husband looked over at me with a puzzled expression. I could see the sac, I could see our baby! The tech confirmed “There’s the sac. And the yolk sac.” I tried to show him and explain, but the tech switched the image and became very quiet. She remained that way through the rest of testing. After she finished, she told me to get dressed and she would be back in to talk to us. My stomach dropped a little. I had a feeling that something wasn’t right, but I knew that she wouldn’t be able to give me any answers.
When she came back in she said that my docs should have access to the results and they would probably call me first thing tomorrow morning. I was scared and the look on the ultrasound tech’s face told me that my gut was right. Something was wrong. She quickly adjusted her facial expression and told me that she spoke to the ultrasound doctor; I would need to wait 7 days and go to the hospital to have a follow-up ultrasound done. Not what I wanted to hear, but I knew she couldn’t really give me any other information. My husband, impatient and worried, said I know you can’t really tell us anything, but my wife is scared and I need to know what’s going on.”I need answers!” She looked at me without hesitation and explained that the sac was visible, but that I had large subchorionic hematoma which was causing the bleeding. And there was also a large cyst on my right ovary. I would have to go to the hospital for my follow-up because there was a doctor on staff there who would be able to read the test results and speak to us right away.
We thanked her and as we were getting ready to leave the office, the ultrasound tech handed me a pamphlet with the hospital’s phone number for scheduling. She told me to call right away to get in for an appt and to make sure I told them I needed to schedule a “follow up ultrasound for viability” as she wrote those words down on the paper. I thanked her, and I remember turning to her as we were walking out the door. She weakly smiled and said “Congratulations” as we walked out the door. Something was not sitting right with me. That is not the way you congratulate someone with news of their first pregnancy.
I ended up at the ER a few days later, my bleeding had not stopped and I was beginning to have sharp abdominal pains. I was scared. And worried. I am a knowledge junkie. I had googled and read every article and forum I could find on early pregnancy bleeding after my first sonogram. None of it was good. It seemed that most women diagnosed with subchorionic hemorrhages were placed on pelvic rest. I had asked my doctor if I should stop exercising and change my routine. No, he said. A normal pregnancy would naturally progress and if something is going to happen, i’s going to happen, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. But my pregnancy was obviously not normal! I placed myself on bed rest. I kept my feet up. I did not have sex. I went to work. I came home. I moved as little as possible. I prayed. I begged. I pleaded. I cried. I became overwhelmed. I had a bad feeling that I could not shake. I did not want to feel this way, but I could not help it – it was a mother’s intuition – something was not right with my baby. Everyone told me not to worry. I hated when people said this – I’m a mother! Mothers worry! The ER doctor ordered blood work and did an exam. My cervix was closed and my pregnancy hormones were still high. They sent me home with the standard “Don’t worry”.
I felt like I could not breathe. It felt so unfair. Why didn’t I have morning sickness? As irrational as it may sound, I just wanted to throw up. I wanted to get nauseous – severely nauseous. I wanted all of those symptoms that I had heard other pregnant women complaining about, that I had just seen my little sister go through. I wouldn’t complain! I promised I wouldn’t complain! I would be happy to throw up all day long; I was desperate for a sign that my pregnancy was ok. I just wanted my baby to be ok. I had wanted this for so long.
We had been trying. It was an emotional roller coaster for both of us. It happened so unexpectedly. I was scared about seeing the RHS, and I woke up that morning and took the last pregnancy test in my baby-making arsenal kit. I don’t know why. I was sure it would be negative, just like the one I had taken on Friday and Saturday and all of the many others in the past few days and months. I didn’t even sit and watch it like I usually did. I peed on the stick, placed it gently on the shelf, and went back to getting ready for work. I had forgotten I had taken it until I went back in to use the restroom. I saw it there and hesitantly picked it up. Here we go again, I thought. One line – not pregnant. But to my surprise – TWO LINES! PREGNANT?! I had to dig the box out of the garbage to be sure that what my eyes were telling was right. Yes, two lines! I’m pregnant! We’re pregnant! Tears welled up in my eyes and rolled down my cheeks. Finally, happy tears! I ran downstairs with the stick in my hand screaming my husband’s name. What? What was I so worked up about he asked. I’m pregnant! We’re having a baby! I grabbed him, squeezed him, my body was shaking. I was in disbelief. He was in disbelief. He smiled.
Take another one he said. But I was out! I rushed to the store, grabbed two boxes and came home. I peed on two more sticks. This time I waited, watched, saw the lines appearing. Yes, both tests showed two lines. Three tests. Three confirmations! There is no way this is a false positive. We are definitely having a baby! This was absolutely the happiest moment of my life. I’m finally going to be a mom! God had sent me my angel!
I went for my follow up sonogram for viability on the 21st. I was still bleeding, completely freaked out and hoping for some good news. But I was left with more questions than answers. The sac was measuring 6wks but they were not able to see the embryo, a yolk sac, or fetal pole. The cyst was smaller, but the hematoma was larger. “It doesn’t look good, but it’s too early to medically determine that this is not a viable pregnancy.” That is all remember this doctor saying.
My husband and I did the best we could to smile through Christmas. I know it’s selfish, but I just didn’t want to participate this year. All I wanted to do was sit with my feet up and pray that the bleeding would go away and that I would someday be able to feel my baby kick and hold him or her in my arms; my precious little baby that I had wanted so very badly. I promised to stay strong and asked my baby to please do the same for me. “I will be such a good mommy to you. I love you very much.” I would say this every morning.
I bled through Christmas and by New Year’s Eve, when the bleeding had not stopped and the pain had worsened, I called the doctor’s office and asked the answering service to have someone call me back. It might not be, but it could be an emergency I cried.
When the doctor called me back he was very nice. I liked him right away. This was a new OBGYN group, and I didn’t know any of the doctors. My doctor stopped practicing obstetrics and I felt alone in a new giant practice with a bunch of doctors who didn’t know me or my history. They didn’t know about my endometriosis and that I was told 5 years ago that if I wanted to have a family I should start now. Who didn’t care that this pregnancy felt like a miracle to me and I had been trying so hard for this. But this doctor was different somehow. He asked if we were trying to conceive. “Yes, sorry” I answered apologizing for my tears. “It’s ok. I’m sorry, I know this is incredibly difficult,” he started, “you’re around 8 weeks now, and having briefly looked at your history and hearing about the pain and bleeding, it sounds like your body might be getting ready to naturally miscarry.”
End of sentence.
Beginning of nightmare.
My worst fear had just been spoken out loud, in a gentle way that made it seem like this was normal and happened every day. It was heartbreaking and yet at the same time an odd sense of relief washed over me. I had been bleeding for 23 consecutive days. Going to the bathroom was agony. I had been scared and consumed with fear. People kept telling me not to worry and to stay positive. No one would say that horrible “M” word. But I kept thinking it. And finally someone had told me that it was ok for me to cry. Acknowledged that this was hard. The doctor was still talking… “it’s not your fault – take it easy for the next two days. Call back if the pain worsens.” This was too much for me. He asked me to call back on Wednesday when the offices were opened to let me know him know how I was doing.
Wednesday, 3:45 pm and I’m back at the hospital for the sonogram the doctor had set up for me when we spoke earlier that morning. I’m still bleeding. I’m alone. My husband can’t leave work. He’s in a meeting with the regional district manager. My head is spinning. My pager starts beeping and vibrating. It’s time to go back. My third transvaginal ultrasound begins. It’s a teaching hospital; I get a student this time. It hurts. It’s never hurt before. I don’t say anything. I’ll suffer if she can get a picture of my baby and tell me everything’s ok. The teacher is talking to me. She says the previous ultrasound doctor left detailed notes from my last two sonograms and that he is not worried and does not believe I have a bicornal uterus? First time I’ve ever heard this word. I don’t know what that means, but I let it go. I’m waiting for someone to tell me that they can now see my developing baby! The teacher takes over. “See, if you do it this way” she is explaining things to the student and pushing buttons. More pictures. The monitor is awkward and I can’t see a thing. This is taking a long time! This is not a learning opportunity I keep thinking to myself. I’m a wreck. They finish, hand me a washcloth and tell me to get dressed. They’ll be back in a few minutes.
I sat patiently waiting and tried to hold back my tears. They are back in the room playing with the computer and cleaning up. They haven’t said anything about the ultrasound. They say they are waiting for my doctor to call back. This is strange. The phone rings. I cannot hold back my tears any longer. The teacher answers the phone. I can hear her talking to my doctor, but have no idea what is going on. Then she says “Oh, well she is sitting right here, would you like to talk to her now?” She calls me over and looks absolutely shocked when she sees the tears streaming down my face. The student leaves the room. I take the phone. The doctor, a new doctor, begins: I’m so sorry, but this is not your fault.
I’ve lost my baby – sadness overwhelms me.
She continues: This happens to 1 in 4 women and it does not mean that you cannot have a healthy pregnancy in the future. You have a few options and it’s completely up to you. You can decide to let the process of miscarriage happen naturally, we can give you some medication to speed up the process which induces labor, or we can do a DE&C. We can’t get that procedure set up today, but we can probably schedule it and get you in tomorrow or Friday.
I feel sick to my stomach. I’m a mess, but I have to hold it together right now. What do I do? “What do you recommend” was all I could manage to get out. This is new to me. I have no idea what any of these things mean. I know what a D&C is, I had one when my endometriosis was diagnosed and they removed some adhesions. Surgery leaves some scar tissue. I don’t want anything that will increase my chances of this happening again. This is different she explains. A natural miscarriage is a long process. It can take weeks for my body to recognize that I am no longer pregnant. I just want the bleeding to stop. I need some time to think. I drive straight to my mothe’s house – like a little girl, I need her right now – and completely fall apart in her arms. She holds me, cries with me, and comforts me until my husband gets home.
I had my DE&C on January 4, 2013. I could not mentally bear the thought of waiting for my body to naturally miscarry. I just wanted the bleeding to stop. I was a mess. I cried as they pumped me with local anesthesia and wheeled me back to the OR. The only thing I remember was the kind look on the anesthesiologist’s face as she mouthed “I’m sorry honey.”
This has been the most bittersweet experience of my life. I was as happy as I think is humanly possible – I didn’t stop smiling for a week. And then the agony began. I am still conflicted on how to feel. I felt sad because we kept it a “secret.” Because no one knew that I was pregnant and no one knew that we lost our child. I felt angry because when they found out everyone was too scared to say anything and I felt like I was grieving the loss all by myself. I still am. I felt mad because people kept telling me “at least it happened now before you were further along.” Really?! Just Really?! And “It’s part of Godâ’s plan.” NO! I felt hopeless because nothing at all seemed to comfort me. I felt shame because I could not bring my baby to term. I felt blessed, because I was a mother, even though it was just a short time. I felt angry, because my baby was taken from my life as quickly as she came into it. I felt extreme sadness because I will never feel my baby kick me. I will never hold her in my arms. I will never get to give my baby kisses. I will never hear her say “I love you too, Mommy.” I will never to get to know my child. She is gone. I miss her. My heart aches. I have never felt this kind of pain before. The pain is deep and raw and I don’t know how long it takes to heal, or if it ever will. I want to feel better, and I know it takes time. I know that I will always love my little angel. I know that I still need time to grieve. I know that even though I did not get to bring my child into the world she will always be in my heart. I am surviving the loss one day at a time. I guess that is all any of us can do.