Tuesday, October 15, 2013

In honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month...my miscarriage story

This is a post about a month ago that I wrote as a guest post for a blogger friend (Risa @ Who Shot Down My Stork).  It's my miscarriage story:

When I saw that Risa was looking for guest bloggers I jumped at the chance for two reasons. The first reason is that, though she already knows, I wanted to remind Risa that she is not alone in this.  The second reason is that I am passionate about infertility.  It's more enjoyable to talk to others who will listen than it is to talk to myself.

Let me share with you my story.  My husband and I met on a float trip back in 2007.  As I got to know him I knew this was someone special.  I'm lucky he felt the same way, and in June 2011 we were married.  In August of that year we decided to try having a baby.  I had a feeling the job might not be too easy. What I didn't know was how immensely hard the job would be.  I have PCOS, which is an endocrine disorder that interferes with insulin and hormone levels causing all kinds of fun issues in a woman's body, including being overweight, acne, unwanted hair, and infertility due to anovulation.  

I started off with my OBGYN, who prescribed Clomid and timed intercourse. When after two months on Clomid 50mg I did not ovulate, my doctor referred me to a reproductive endocrinologist, who is a doctor specializing in infertility.  It took going to an RE to get the PCOS diagnosed officially, even though the signs were obvious.  I was referred to one RE, but was not satisfied with that office, so eventually we switched to the clinic I am at now.  So far we have tried a total of 7 cycles of Clomid.  I do ovulate on 150mg.  I also found out in December that not only can I ovulate, I can get pregnant. We had our first BFP (big fat positive in infertility language).

Sitting here typing this, I'm feeling this flood of emotions.  Seven months later and, though I am past the tough grieving stages, I'm still deeply affected.  I was supposed to wait until 14DPO to take a pregnancy test but I knew something was different.  I can't totally place why, but I just knew, so on 13DPO I took a test and sure enough I saw my first ever positive pregnancy test.  I was in shock.  I happened to be off work that week so the first thing I did was go to the store and buy something to use to tell my husband our news. I had thought about this before, how I would tell him he was going to be a daddy.  But, suddenly nothing seemed good enough.  It had to be special.  It had to be just right.  Walking down the aisles of Target, it came to me.

You see, something about me that you wouldn't know if you don't know me is that I love shoes.  And I have a lot.  And my husband picks on me for this.  So when I passed the women's shoes I saw a pair of cute leopard print flats. I bought those, a pair of newborn boots, and pink and blue tissue paper. I came home and took the women's shoes out of the box and put the tissue paper in first, then the two little bitty boots that our sweet little one would wear. I was so anxious for him to get home and when he did I casually gave him the box to show him the new shoes I bought.  When he rolled his eyes I promised him he would like them and that they were worth the purchase.  He opened the box while I was anxiously smiling and giddy standing next to him.  It took him a minute to catch on to the message, but I'll never forget the look on his face when he did.  He had the biggest eyes, a giant smile, and he said, 'We did it?!"  Yes, my love, we did it.  We sat on the couch curled up in each other and we talked about everything husbands and wives talk about when the are expecting.  Yes, we even talked about names.  We had our little piece of heaven.

That was a Monday.  I called the RE's office the next day and we scheduled my first beta for Wednesday.  When we got those results back, we were told the number was low (15), but that it could just be a "late implanter."  They had me go back in 48 hours wanting to see that number double, which it did, but barely.  The next beta stayed the same.  That's when we were told it was over.  I had started bleeding around that time so I wasn't surprised.  I had to do about 7-8 betas because my hcg was not going down.  Eventually I had to go for an ultrasound.  At this point I would have been about 7 weeks pregnant.  At the ultrasound they found a small empty sac measuring about 4 weeks.  Since there was still a sac I had to take a medication that the doctor inserted to complete the miscarriage. The whole process from start to finish took about a month for the beta to come back down to zero.  I now have a permanent note in my file that I see every time I go to the RE office.  The note says, "Abnormal product of conception".  How's that for a punch in the gut.

What I've learned is that all women experience different feelings about miscarriage and different ways to deal with it.  Our loss was very early. We didn't even get to the first ultrasound.  We didn't get to hear the heartbeat.  We never gave that baby a name.  Heck we didn't even get to tell our families before it was over.  I never felt attached to our baby.  I guess I was still in shock and went straight from that to sadness.  Sometimes I feel guilty that I was detached from the pregnancy itself.  Like I was never pregnant at all.  But that's the funny thing about grief.  When I think about that time in our lives I think less about the pregnancy and more about the process I had to go through to completely miscarry.  In all honesty, I just wanted it to be over so we could start trying again.  At that point we had been trying to have a baby for a year and a half and I didn't want to waste anymore time.  It took us three months for my body to recover so we could try again.  If I'm not reliving that process, I'm reliving the moment that I told my husband about the pregnancy and then about the miscarriage.

For myself to be in this emotional pain is one thing, but to see the tears in my husband's eyes is gut wrenching.  Sometimes I feel like I did something wrong.  How could I build him up and then tear him back down like that??  Yes, I know it's not my fault, but the mind makes us think irrationally sometimes.  But my husband, you see, he is the best person I know.  Our infertility is because of me, but it's ours to deal with together.  Yet on the days that I am weak, he stands tall and strong. One day I just want to switch places with him so I can stand tall and strong for him.  Husbands hurt though this too and I want everyone to know this.

I wonder at times if I did something to cause the miscarriage.  Do I need to lose more weight?  Did I inhale too many fumes when I painted the living room?  Should I have stopped running?  Did the day I forgot take my medication make this happen?  When I have these thoughts I have to remind myself that I am not to blame.  I believe in God.  I have faith in His plan for us.  This was not our time.  

I have been thinking the last two years of what God's purpose for all of this is.  I know now that there is at least one reason why this is our story.  Infertility has enlightened me and answered what I have been trying to answer for some time.  What am I destined to do as a career?  As I said before, I'm passionate about infertility.  I understand the emotions behind it and what it can do to a marriage (ours has been strengthened but others are not so lucky).  I'm also passionate about mental health.  I'm halfway done with supervision to become a licensed clinical social worker.  Currently, I do crisis counseling but my goal is to move towards having a practice for infertility therapy.  I have a ways to go to achieve this, but I am excited because for the first time in my life I know what I am going to do. And I owe that to this story.

So fast forward to where we are now.  It has been two years and two months since we started trying to have a baby.  I have done a total of 7 cycles of Clomid and 2 cycles of Femara with timed intercourse.  The miscarriage was our only pregnancy.  We're currently taking a break and then moving onto IUI.

If you are still with me, thank you for connecting with me through my story.  If you, yourself, are in the trenches of infertility or loss, please know you are not alone. Remember that you are more than just infertility/loss. Don't let that one thing define you.  You are strong. You got this.

Hakuna Matata,


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