We hadn’t been trying really. Sure I was tracking my cycles but I had been doing that since I went off the pill a year and a half ago. I wanted to make sure that I knew when my periods were happening and with what frequency because doctors tend to want to know those things. I figured with the move and everything we’d probably miss any kind of window there was or more likely my ovaries wouldn’t even bother to release anything. I mean how was I supposed to know that they were this diligent, I hadn’t given them anything to do in 32 years.
On Father’s Day, I woke up feeling strange. My boobs had been sore for days but it wasn’t like any kind of typical premenstrual soreness. I couldn’t fit into a single bra I owned and was so bloated that I could barely breathe. I snuck out of bed before Isaac could wake up and I took one of the Dollar Tree pregnancy tests that I had stocked up on…you know for emergencies! It took about a minute for a faint line to appear. I knew it! I ran back to the bedroom to show Isaac the test but he wasn’t convinced he could see anything. I think he didn’t want to see it.
The next day I went out and bought myself a 3-pack of First Response pregnancy tests. Isaac would have to believe what a First Response pregnancy test said. Sure enough, within a minute that positive line showed up. Oh my gosh, I’m having a baby! I was so happy! I showed Isaac that test and he conceded, I was indeed pregnant. He immediately went about giving me all the guidelines about what I should and shouldn’t consume. The next day I made my first prenatal appointment with a well-respected ob/gyn practice here in Charleston. Since we only just moved a month and a half ago I hadn’t found an ob/gyn yet and because I was going to be a new patient they scheduled to see me when I’d be about nine weeks, the receptionist said the doctor liked seeing patients when they were about 8 weeks along anyway.
Now going off my calculations based on my last menstrual period, I was four weeks along when I realized I was pregnant. Aside from sore breasts, being more tired than usual, and being hungry all the time, I didn’t have too many other pregnancy symptoms. I figured since I have a pretty resilient stomach I just wasn’t going to get any morning sickness. I had a couple bouts of nausea when I waited too long to eat but otherwise, I was feeling pretty good.
Even though I knew continuing to work out while pregnant would be good for me and Sprout (that’s what I nicknamed the little guy) I was having the toughest time with delayed onset muscle soreness. I had the worst muscle soreness I had ever experienced in my life. I figured it was because of the hormones and all the new blood starting to circulate through my body. So apologies if you were missing my workout posts, it was just really hard to not take a bunch of rest days.
By Week 5 Isaac and I had taken to talking to Sprout. Isaac would play classical music in the car and I would often pat my tummy and let Sprout know about the activities we were going to do before we started. We’d agreed that we were going to wait to tell everyone until we got our first ultrasound picture because then we would know everything was fine and it would just be more real for everyone.
Of course, by Week 6 my mother, who knows me far too well caught on to what was going on and I was forced to spill the beans to her. After all the loss she had suffered in the last month she was really happy about the idea of new life coming into this world.
I started having pink spotting in Week 7. As someone who had downloaded all the pregnancy apps already, I did some research. All the research said that as long as it’s not a heavy flow, some pink spotting can be totally normal during pregnancy. The 4th of July rolled around and I tried to enjoy myself but the spotting continued. I became more anxious as the days wore on. Matters were made worse when I started to feel like my pregnancy symptoms, however, few of them I had were starting to go away. I prayed like I’d never prayed before. And I cried a lot. My first prenatal appointment was still almost two weeks away. I told myself that if I was still spotting on Monday I’d call the doctor’s office and let them know what was going on.
Before I could make that phone call though on Sunday night I started experiencing some bad cramps and the bleeding increased. I made Isaac take me to the emergency room. They sent me up to labor and delivery after they confirmed I was pregnant. After a blood draw, they finally did an ultrasound. There was no heartbeat, no fetal pole, just an empty gestational sac. The doctor on call that night told me that it appeared like a blighted ovum. A blighted ovum is when the development of the fertilized egg stops, usually at about Week 5 but the gestational sac keeps growing. She said they would need to do a follow-up blood test to see if my beta hcg levels increased. HCG is the pregnancy hormone that pregnancy tests test for in your urine.
Two days later I went to the Women’s Clinic and had another blood draw. A few hours later the doctor called me and told me that my hcg levels had not doubled like they should. In fact, they didn’t increase at all. I went back to the clinic the next day, this time with Isaac. They did another ultrasound and confirmed the diagnosis. Sprout had never sprouted. They gave us some options. I could wait to pass the sac naturally, take some pills to force my uterus to contract, or I could have a procedure done to manually remove the sac. I chose to take the pills since I had been spotting for so many days.
We got the pills filled that same day. The doctor also prescribed some 800mg ibuprofen, and 5 tablets of hydrocodone…you know in case the pain became unbearable. Seemed strange to prescribe that for something that the doctor described as feeling like a heavy period. I took the Cytotec pills that would make my uterus contract and the ordeal began. It was not like a heavy period. It was like early labor. I had opted not to take anything for the pain because I wanted to see how much discomfort I could handle. Secretly though I think I was punishing myself for my perceived failure.
It’s estimated that 1 in 5 pregnancies end in miscarriage. Miscarriage is defined as any pregnancy that ends or fails to continue developing before the 20th week of gestation. About 80 percent of miscarriages occur in the first trimester and most of those miscarriages are likely the result of genetic errors that occur when the egg and sperm meet. It’s not considered a miracle for nothing! And the body is very good at detecting when things aren’t being produced quite right. I like to think that I have a foreman in my uterus that is just as much of a perfectionist as I am. The point is, a miscarriage is likely no one’s fault and there’s likely nothing that could have ever been done to prevent it, they’re just a part of the miracle of life.
The really awful pain started about three hours after taking the Cytotec pills I was prescribed. It was like I was going to split down the middle at times. I did all kinds of breathing exercises to manage it. They seemed to work, so ladies learn the breathing exercises! About 8 hours in I passed a very large clot and more blood than I had ever seen barring a traumatic injury.
I managed to go to sleep that night. For the next several days I cramped and bled and all kinds of things left my body. I was shocked to see how much blood my body could actually produce. Isaac told me that the uterus actually has its own blood supply, isn’t that just super convenient. Eventually, things started to just look like a regular period.
Miscarrying has made me know a sadness that I had never known before. I have cried and wailed. I can’t go into our middle bedroom because we had designated that room as the nursery. I get sad when I see babies. I cried in a Walmart baby section. It made me realize just how much I want to be a Mom. I don’t know how a whole lot else about what I’m doing but I know I want to be a Mom. I have prayed and asked God for mercy. I’ve wondered why this happened to us after everything that’s already happened. I’ve questioned God. I know I shouldn’t but I did.
Thankfully, Bible.com has these great devotional plans and I started to read one about pregnancy loss that really helped. I’m trying my best to just go with the Lord’s plan but it can be hard for me not to ask questions along the drive. Reminding myself of the Lord’s promises through studying the Bible has helped.
Today I went to the doctor for a follow-up to see if the medicine they gave me had cleared everything out of my uterus. But those of you who know me, also know how stubborn I am, and you can expect that any offspring of mine, no matter the stage of development would be equally as stubborn. When they did the ultrasound they still saw the remnants of a misshapen sac, so here I am cramping again after taking another dose of that awful medicine. Wondering when this will be over but at times sad thinking about Sprout.
I know I’ll get another chance very soon, I just never considered this would happen to me. I thought at worst we would try and have no luck getting pregnant at all. But I guess this is good in a way. We made a prototype and know that the equipment in the factory works. It’s just a matter of refining the design and trying again. But man it hurts! I wish I could have shared with you guys better news. And I debated writing about this at all but it seemed like not much was out there about this kind of experience so I felt compelled to share.
I know a lot of the ladies who read me are about my age and starting to think about starting their own families. Know that the act of starting a family is not linear and that we can’t plan it the way we do other things in life. Creating a person is messy and difficult and things may happen. It may take longer to conceive than you expect and things may happen that are totally out of your control. Know that other women have been through it and we’re all here for you. I’m here for you.
I have another appointment next week to see if this last dose finally resolves the remaining sac. I’ll post an update on this post once I go through that. Thanks for reading. If you have any questions for me, don’t hesitate to ask.
Sending You Baby Dust,