I couldn’t help myself; I called my mom and told her. We actually told a lot of people. At this point, we were very blasé about the whole thing. We weren’t exactly announcing “Hey we’re pregnant!!” It was more of a “please say a prayer and cross your fingers” announcement. Our families and close friends knew the journey we were on. That’s another character flaw of mine – or maybe an advantage? I am inappropriately transparent. I don’t understand secrets or privacy. And talking about my losses was therapeutic for me. I was ashamed of it, yes. I felt inadequate, a failure as a woman like many women who go through infertility or pregnancy loss feel, but it went against my pure nature not to talk about it.
My first blood draw- HCG and progesterone look good! Second blood draw- progesterone has dropped to 8.3 (very low). Here started the paranoia. Like many things with Recurrent Miscarriage, progesterone isn’t that well understood yet. Different doctors have different opinions and it isn’t known if an unhealthy pregnancy causes low progesterone by signaling to your body “Hey something’s not right here” or if you lose healthy pregnancies because your progesterone levels aren’t sufficient. You need progesterone to maintain the lining of your womb and therefore the pregnancy. There is research to back up both cases and doctors have seen both scenarios many times.
The doctor told me not to worry, but I remember when I handed in my paperwork to the nurse at check-out, he had written “Threatened miscarriage” in the diagnosis section. I felt I was doomed; I spent that whole day in sporadic fits of hysterics. How could this happen, again?! I waited to miscarry.
Except the days continued, and at 6 weeks 4 days, the day I had miscarried two times before… I saw a healthy strong heartbeat on the ultrasound monitor. This was my daughter on the screen. Barely a quarter inch- but a miracle so massive I could only begin to fathom.
The first trimester was something I had to endure, full of excitement and worry. Every time I would start to feel excited, I would remind myself of the reality. I was protecting myself. I told myself, “I just have to make it to the second trimester, and then I will relax”. The truth was, I never relaxed… even at 41 weeks pregnant with a baby kicking inside of me, I was still scared. Pregnancy loss will do that to you, it will deprive you of your innocence and pregnancy will never be the same.
But the reality is, things DO happen, miscarriages, second trimester losses, still-births, they DO happen. Maybe not as often thanks to modern medicine and better prenatal care today, but pregnancy does not always equal a baby… and this is a scary, scary reality for any woman who is expecting.
If I didn’t get excited, I wouldn’t get letdown.
I will never forget the first time I threw up. I was ecstatic! Morning Sickness for someone who has suffered loss was a blessing. It meant things were going well; my hormones were rising appropriately and sickness usually signals a healthy pregnancy.
I was afraid to do anything, to lift the laundry basket even. This was a new feeling for me, I didn’t like it. I was a “doer”, and I felt in some way handicapped. I had to sit still?! What was that?! But I was so terrified of doing something to remotely influence whether I miscarried or not. My husband was supportive, he picked up the slack and empathized for me.
I went back and forth from being so happy that I was even pregnant to resenting the fact that I had to live in such an anxious state. I felt like I was walking on pins and needles for weeks on end. It was exhausting. I had weekly ultrasounds and before every one my palms would sweat, my heart would race. It took willpower to not have a full on panic attack. I was just waiting for the ball to drop. But as each ultrasound showed a healthy little baby, my heart would sing a little louder.
My pregnancy was a very physically demanding one; a healthy pregnancy as a whole, but “easy” is not what I would call it. I probably had every symptom listed in What to Expect When Expecting. Heartburn, back pain, a ravenous appetite; the darker, grosser symptoms that I won’t go into detail about… yup, had those too. I would just burst into tears sometimes because I was stuck in this body that wasn’t mine and there was absolutely no escape. I would feel guilty every time I felt sorry for myself or heard myself complaining. I wanted this! This was my miracle! How dare I complain? But the truth is, for some women- pregnancy is hard. No matter how bad you want to be pregnant and want that child that you are nourishing and growing from your own body, it is hard.
I still tried my best to marvel at the beauty of it all. I remember looking over at my husband on a warm sunny day and telling him “I’m the happiest I’ve ever been”… and I meant it. Some of us just have to work really hard for that little miracle and even at times when I felt I was the least attractive woman on earth, I would look down at my baby bump and only see complete wonder.