Miscarriage - The Truth

I've had some conversations with new friends recently and read some Facebook statuses & blogs lately that got me thinking about a different time in my life.  I rarely talk or think about the past any more.  But, I think sometimes others can benefit from our experiences.  There are some things that need never be forgotten.

For generations, miscarriage was a taboo thing to discuss.  It hurts my heart to think of any woman going through such an ordeal without anyone to talk to.  Thankfully in this day and age, though it may be awkward to some, talking openly about these situations can be therapeutic.  I took comfort in hearing from others that had experienced the same as I had.  I remember after my first miscarriage, I was almost embarrassed to talk about it.  I just didn't know what to say.  It was especially awkward when someone didn't know and asked how the baby was doing.  Honestly, there's no right answer, no perfect response.  People generally offer up heart felt condolences, while others tend to brush it off with "Oh, you're young. You have plenty of time to have a baby."  It may seem insensitive, but I think this is just some people's lack of understanding. 

My first pregnancy was from my first marriage.  I had just turned 24, my father-in-law had just suddenly passed away, and I found out I was pregnant.  It was bitter sweet.  But, I was so excited.  I always wanted to be a mom.  I hadn't felt very well and was super tired.  I had no idea what doctor to go to, so I turned to a friend who had recently had a baby.  She suggested a doctor in Knoxville, who happened to be a high risk perinatal doctor.  It was no accident!  The first doctor appointment went well.  I got my "welcome bag" with all the pamphlets, magazines, samples, vitamins, etc.  The exciting stuff!  :)  After a few weeks, I started feeling a little better and my next appointment went well, but they were telling me I wasn't as far along as they originally thought.  No major concerns, but I was certain of my cycle and a little puzzled at what I considered a "set back".  Ya know, every single day and week counts to a pregnant woman, right?! 

Then came Christmas Eve.  I was about 10 weeks along and feeling "off".  I had some light spotting, so I was just taking it easy.  We had our annual Christmas Eve open house - and I remember wearing flannel pajamas the whole time.  (Funny the things we remember.)  Anyway, Christmas day (which was on a Saturday), I was feeling a little worse and bleeding a little more.  My family and I decided we should take a trip to the ER.  Not exactly how I imagined spending Christmas!  They hooked me up to an IV, filled my bladder (the worst part!), and gave me an ultrasound.  The baby had a faint heartbeat and was only measuring about 6 weeks.  They sent me home with instructions to call my OB Monday morning.  Monday, they told me there was really nothing they could do.  It was just a matter of time.  Tuesday I started having severe cramps and a lot of pain in my lower back.  A few hours later, thinking I needed to go to the bathroom, I actually had a contraction and passed the baby.

There was this brief moment of panic.  I didn't know what to do.  The next thing I'm going to say, I've never told before.  It breaks my heart to say it.  It may seem funny to some.  It may be appalling to others.  But, I truly panicked.  My first reflex was.... to flush.  There, I said it.  That is what I did.  I'm sure it happens every day to women who do not even know they are pregnant.  But, I did.  For a brief moment, I saw this tiny being, about the size of my thumb nail.  And, in my moment of panic, it was gone.  Tears are streaming down my face as I write this.  I have never told anyone - except the nurse when I called her on the phone.  I have always felt so guilty.  I know there is nothing that could have been done.  The doctors office would have done the same.  I've always thought, if I could have taken the baby to the office with me, they could have run tests on him (I was convinced it was a boy) to see what was wrong.  We never got that chance.

One of the hardest parts was sitting in the waiting room of the OB's office for my follow up appointment.  Sitting there in a room full of pregnant ladies with an empty belly, was excruciating.  I was very sad, for a long time.

About a year and a half later, I found out I was pregnant again.  And, boy was I sick!  I was nauseous - a lot.  I had to pull over on the side of the road more than once!  I definitely thought this was a good thing!  The first appointment went well, but my "keeping it real" doctor always reminded me how high my chances of miscarrying again were.  I was pregnant for several weeks.  I even moved into some maternity clothes.  I had a couple of ultrasounds that helped ease the nerves a bit, though once again the baby was measuring behind what it should have been.  I went in for a regular check up.  They were having a hard time finding the heartbeat, so they said I could get an ultrasound.  We were in there for a while and the ultrasound tech left.  I knew something was wrong.  When the doctor came in, my heart sank.  He reviewed the u/s and then delivered the news.  There was no heartbeat and the baby had stopped growing.  Although I should have been at least 12 weeks, the baby was only measuring about 9.  Since the baby was too big to pass on its own, I had to schedule a D&C.  This was on a Friday and they couldn't get me in until Tuesday. 

I think that weekend messed with me the most.  I just kept thinking about the life inside me that no longer lived.  It was such a difficult time.  But, I will say that my doctor was so wonderful.  I didn't realize how big of a deal a D&C was.  I just thought you went to the doctor's office and it was a simple procedure.  I was wrong!  It was an outpatient procedure in the hospital.  I was under full anesthesia.  I remember lying on the table and my doctor came in.  He hugged me, told me how sorry he was that he had to do this, and he rubbed my face until I went to sleep.  When I woke up, it was over.  There was no more baby... again.  I felt so empty.

A few weeks later we received the test results from the baby.  The baby had a chromosome disorder called Trisomy 18 or Edward Syndrome.  The baby would not have survived long.  Additionally, it was discovered that I had an autoimmune disease called Antiphospholipid Syndrome (say that fast 4 times).  What exactly does that mean, you ask?  That my body reacts to a baby as if it were bacteria.  It forms blood clots in the placenta as a defense mechanism to keep any nutrients from getting to the baby.  (This is why the babies always measured smaller than they should have.)  The good news?  It was treatable.  I would have to take daily injections of a blood thinner called Lovenox when I got pregnant again.  That was promising.  But, it would be 3 more years and a new husband before I'd get the chance to find out.  ;)

Honestly, I had a more difficult time with the second loss than the first.  I don't know if it was because I was further along.  Or, just a combination of two losses.  I was depressed.  I had lost two babies... and was also losing my husband.

Fast forward about 3 years....

Baby #3.... a little different.  No real closure.  I was newly remarried - about 5 months.  I took a couple of tests - they were positive.  By this time, I really knew my body.  I knew what it felt like to be pregnant.  The tests were all positive, but by the time I got to the doctor I was no longer pregnant.  I never knew exactly when it happened.  The doctor couldn't 100% confirm it, but agreed he thought it was another miscarriage and added it to my ever growing file.

I got pregnant (#4) the very next cycle.  It's hard to get excited after so many losses.  At one of my early visits, my doctor thought I would miscarry again.  I loved the man, but he was, by nature, a pessimist.  The three doctors at this practice were very different.  Dr. Roussis was the straight to the point, keeping it real, worse case scenario guy.  Dr. Stephens was the sweet, nurturing, we're going to make this work kinda guy.  And, Dr. Bruner, was the laid back, no big deal man.  Anyway, Derek & I cried the whole way home because we thought this was the beginning of the end, again.  We prayed.  We cried.  We prayed.  What could we do?  I took my shots.  Tried to keep my vitamins down.  And, waited.  Week after week we took as one step closer.  The journey wasn't always easy.  There was about 20 weeks of 24/7 morning sickness, high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, daily injections, sleep apnea, and loss of amniotic fluid.  I had plenty of "woe is me" moments as I stood there some mornings unable to find an unbruised belly to poke another needle in.  But, I was truly grateful for every single day.

At my 34 week appointment, I was told "you're having your baby today"!!  I freaked out.  This was 6 weeks too early!  Somehow, all of my amniotic fluid was absorbed and GONE.  Not only that, she was breach and they could not try to turn her without fluid.  Since I had just given myself the blood thinner, we had to wait 12 hours for it to leave my system so they could operate.  (I'll share the whole birth story another day.)   The end resulted in a beautiful, healthy 5.8 pound baby girl... that the doctors tell me will be about 5 ft 10 in when she stops growing!  And, a remarkable 2 years and 5 months later, another beautiful 7 lb 10 oz baby girl was born by scheduled c-section at 38 weeks.

I am grateful for every baby, both born and unborn.  I don't know why God chose me to carry those babies for a short time.  I don't know why He gave me Audrey & Maddie.  But, He did.  I truly believe that I will one day meet my angels face to face.  Until then, I will cherish every day with my girls on this earth.  They are a true gift from God.

Thanks for allowing me to share my story with you.

5 comments:

  1. This is so beautiful and yes, it makes me cry. I have to tell you that in that first situation, I would have not known what to do either and would have done the exact same thing.

  1. Candace said...:

    Oh Kim, I remember hearing about those days in your life. I am so sorry for your losses, and am so thankful with you for your precious 2 girls!!! I am glad you shared, you will encourage someone who has been there before.

  1. That does seem like a lifetime ago. What an amazing story you have recounted for us all. I can assure you that there will be others to benefit from your testimony. I hold fast to the belief that the storms we face are to prepare us for what God has in store. We may never know in this life why we face the trials we do but one day we will have our answers.

    Love you guys!

  1. C Smith said...:

    Been there. It is awful and people really dont know what to say and they don't know how you feel. I had a miscarriage at 10 weeks baby had only grown to about 7 weeks. It was very hard. However, one month later I had a successful pregnancy. My miscarriage story is a very interesting one...I'll have to share sometime.

  1. Kim said...:

    Thank you, sweet friends! Glad I have this great outlet to share. It's just been on my heart quite a bit lately. Anything God can use, I'm open to sharing. =)

 
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