Trigger warning: Miscarriage, Long story
I had vague symptoms of nausea (dry heaving) and fatigue (I needed 2 naps a day) that made me wonder if I was pregnant. I thought the chances were low since I had recently stopped nursing after a month or two of weaning from nursing down to 1 session a day. Oh yes, and the intercourse was not frequent- how can it be? With a little one in our room who kept waking up a few times during the night?
Thanks to Amazon., I bought a multi-pack of pregnancy tests from Amazon because let me tell you, a 1- or 2-pack brandname test from the grocery or local pharmacy will cost you a $20 or so. I checked a few weeks ago and it was negative. I was checking also because I wanted to make sure I wasn’t pregnant before I started the NuvaRing.
A few weeks ago, I went to a medspa for a skincare consultation. I was planning to start Retinol products so for shits and giggles, I took a pregnancy test, and was crazy shocked to see it was positive. My face was millimeters away from the test strip because I could not believe what I was seeing. I peed on another one and it lit up too. Jeff was still at work and was going to be there until 10pm at least. In the past, I have had him come home to look at the positive pregnancy tests at home but this time, it was too juicy to wait so I just texted him and talked to him.
My thoughts in the first 24 hours were the following:
(1) Holy shit, how did this happen?
(2) OMG, this can’t be real?
(3) OMG, Life is over
(4) OMG, we’ll have 2 under 2!
(5) OMG, maybe this will be a girl?!!!
(6) OMG, our family will be complete!
(7) OMG, we need an even bigger house and bigger car!
(8) OMG, how am I going to take 3 kids out at once?
(9) Poor Cam, he’s going to be the middle child and didn’t get a lot of time with Mommy!
(10) Poor Jacob, he’s going to hate me!
Can you see a theme in my stream of consciousness?
I knew the pregnancy must’ve been super early because of my serial urine pregnancy tests. The timing was uncertain because the last period I had was pre-Cameron which was November 2017. I called my OB who wanted to check my blood levels of HCG. The numbers looked good (supposed to double after 48 hours or so). So then we scheduled for an ultrasound to see how if we could see anything and get a better estimate of how far along I was.
I had to wait 1.5 weeks to get in for an ultrasound and appointment with my OB. It was an emotional 1.5 weeks. At first, I had a repeat of the above 10 thoughts over and over again… But then, I started to get excited that God had a plan for us to complete our family. Previously to this positive pregnancy test, I had hemmed and hawed about having a 3rd kid- I loved this baby age. ANd when it was time to find a new home for my maternity pillow and pump parts, I was saddened knowing this was going to be it.
Wednesday, I got an abdominal and transvaginal ultrasound. It showed a very small/little something that looked like a sac of some kind, estimated age of 5 weeks/3 days but too small/early to see anything really else. I went into the OB office to chat and I was in a good mood, telling him how surprised I was seeing apositive pregnancy test after I had just seen him the Friday before at the hospital. I also said that I knew it was early and that no matter what happens, we will be okay with it. The OB also reassured me that I had 2 previous uneventful/healthy pregnancies so there was no reason to believe this one would be different.
I hesitated to ask for a picture of the little sac and didn’t ask (also knew the images would be in my chart). When I went home, I was curious what the due date would be so I googled how to calculate it based on gestational age and saw that he/she would be due 12/29/2019 +/- 4 days. A Christmas baby!!
Thursday afternoon, I started to notice some red/brown tinge on the toilet paper. It was not constant and I took notes about what I saw. I called the OB office and emailed my OB to ask him if this was normal (also after consulting google). It was normal to spot after transvaginal ultrasounds (I did feel like the ultrasonographer was a little rough as I was uncomfortable (he got up to readjust his stool and took the ultrasound probe with him as he moved). OB said to call him if I noticed anything different, had cramps, etc.
Friday, the discharge started to become a little redder and I had a sinking feeling. Saturday, bleeding became more consistent and I had to change from a pantiliner to a regular pad. That night was Jacob’s school’s fundraiser gala- I was hesitant to wear a tampon in case there was any chance this nugget had a fighting chance. Luckily, the pad didn’t show through the dress so I wore a pad. I did also have a few drinks at the gala because (1) I had a feeling this wasn’t going to go in a positive direction, (2) I’ve had way more drinks with Jacob and Cameron before knowing I was pregnant with them and they turned out okay, (3) I needed a little relaxation.
Meanwhile over the course of the days, I’m hugging the little nugget and praying to God to please keep this nugget safe and in my belly. And I’m also praying to give me the strength in case He decides to have other plans for us.
Sunday, the bleeding is more red and like a period. In my head, I’m going through a cycle of emotions:
(1) Please keep this nugget safe in my belly,
(2) Maybe there is a teeny sliver of hope that this nugget is okay,
(3) I need to prepare myself for the very likely possibility that the nugget is not there
(4) God has a plan for us, Believe in Him, it’s already in the works
(5) One step a time.
(6) WHY did I have to take a pregnancy test at home? Had I not done anything, I would’ve thought this was my period
(7) WHY did I have to go in for an appointment so early to get a transvaginal ultrasound when I didnt’ with the last 2- maybe the TVUS did it!!
(8) I had two very healthy pregnancies and having 2 amazing healthy boys, I was lucky enough with the 2. I can’t have it all.
As I drove to work Monday AM, I saw a rainbow… I thought, wow, this is so beautiful. And a sign of somethin
g overall positive and hopeful. I called the OB office as soon as the office opened and I got a
phone call back to come in that day for another ultrasound and appointment with him.
I had to ask a colleague/friend for help with finishing my afternoon of cases. As I asked for help, I started to cry. I hadn’t said it outloud to anyone except Jeff and then it hit me that I was likely having an abortion, a spontaneous abortion.
Initially I thought I could handle going to the appointment by myself but then Jeff realized I probably wouldn’t be okay so he met me there. I called one of my girlfriends on the way there and her kind words and voice made me bawl bawl bawl. I had to try to gather myself before going into the office – I’m not a pretty crier and you could totally tell I had been crying based on the red and puffiness of my eyes.
The female ultrasonographer this time also started with the abdominal ultrasound. I wasnt’ sure what was what but I did know that it looked different than last week’s and I started to realize what was happening. Then she did the transvaginal ultrasound, I asked her where the uterus was, and then I realized again that it looked different and said outloud to Jeff, there’s nothing there, and then I started to cry.
After the TVUS, the chux I was sitting on was soaked with blood. And when went to pee afterwards, it was a bloodbath. We met with the OB afterwards and I cried in his office.He reminded me of all the medical things I knew- it wasn’t my fault; there was nothing I did or could’ve done; Usually with a serum HCG>1000, he can usually see something; this doesn’t mean I can’t/won’t have a normal pregnancy afterwards.
I left the office avoiding eye contact with the other pregnant ladies and the front desk receptionists who knew me and had congratulated me just a week ago…
I made the smart decision to stop by the bank on the way home to get money. I felt a strong urge to pee and thought, maybe I can hold it. But I said, I’m probably bleeding so let me assess the situation. AFter I peed, I felt a few clots come out. I looked into the toiletand saw something that looked like a BIG clot. I looked closer and saw something that looked like a ball with a long vascular cord attached to it. I thought, is that the baby (I call it baby but I know it as products of conception or something)? I thought, how sad I have to flush it down the toilet at a friggin bank. Should I try to scoop it out of the toilet? Do I want to do that to myself? I did take some pictures though the lighting was awful. It took me a little time to clean myself up as other clots had fallen into my underwear and pants too- typical Frances Kim hotmess style.
I went home hoping one of my kids would be awake so I could give him an extra hug. Cameron was awake. As the nanny was getting ready to leave, she asked me if I was okay because I looked really tired. I told her what happened and she gave me a big hug. She told me she had 3 miscarriages before having her first child.
A handful of close friends/women have struggled/survived miscarriage. I realize how blessed I am to have 2 healthy children and to have not had to deal with the pain and struggle of a miscarriage utnil now. There is so much to be grateful for- I have 2 healthy kids, a loving husband and family. I am ‘lucky’ that this was early enough where there was no heartbeat. If this happened later after a heartbeat, it would’ve hurt so much more.
Jeff was trying to be helpful but I felt like everything he was saying/doing was not what I needed/wanted to hear. What could anyone say/do in this kind of situation? I wanted to wallow in my own sadness and self-pity for a little bit mourning my little nugget and all the what ifs, could/should/wouldves, and the potential missed events of this nugget’s life. I apologized to Cameron for the missed opportunity to be a big brother but also congratulated him on remaining the baby of the family. I apologized to Jeff that we couldn’t get a 3rd baby this year. I felt like apologizing to myself for all the negative emotions/thoughts that came through my mind, however, fleeting they were.
I had to pray to God for strength and courage and to help me learn His lessons. I had/have to remind myself there was nothing I could’ve done differently. Or was there? that are my thoughts. Several weeks ago, I had chills at night and used an electric heating pad to keep myself warm. I was febrile, sweating, myalgic/malaise-ic, taking Tylenol and Advil for my symptoms- did that cause this? This was way before the test was positive though but my mind goes way back to what could’ve started this downward spiral.
Perhaps this was one of God’s many plans for me- to be able to really empathize with my patients (I work mainly in a women and newborns hospital these days) and friends who have had to survive miscarriages. There are no words to share with someone- to all the I’m sorry/my heart goes out to you- there is not enough anything to bring this baby back. I know it’s for the better (probably?) that this is happening and that everything happens for a reason but it doesn’t alleviate any of the heartache and pain.
Ignorance would’ve been bliss. Or would it have? The clot in the bathroom probably would’ve made me wonder what that was since it’d be hard to pass off as a regular clot. I wish I had not seen it. Or do I? I truly believe transvaginal ultrasounds are not good for me (this is not based on any medical evidence, obviously).
My heart, emotions and mind are exhausted. Well, I wanted answers and I got the answers. Sure, this was not the answer I was hoping for but I knew deep down that this was the path I was entering when I started to bleed more consistently.
I feel/felt alone although I know I am not alone- I have close friends and colleagues who have experienced much worse than I have. I know it will get better, I know I will be okay. I want to clear the house now of all the things we were keeping for #3 (baby bathtub, maternity pillow, Clothes too small for Cameron, maternity wear, pump parts). It just sucks. I want to lay down, stare at pics of my kiddos, hug them… I would not wish this kind of sadness on my worst enemy. Even though I was preparing myself for it, it felt a lot more painful when it was actually confirmed.
So, there is what has been happening these last few weeks. Thank you for sharing in this journey with me. I apologize for the detail but it is more of a catharsis for me. Who knows what the future will bring. I can’t help but wonder if I want to try for a third baby in the future. All I know is, Heaven gained a little angel nugget yesterday. I know my Grandmother will take good care of him/her.
It’s weird to ‘talk’ about. I don’t want to say it out loud but sometimes I want a big hug from any and everyone. My eyes are finally deswelling and I’m trying to give myself some love and give my kiddos some extra TLC as well.
Have you ever experienced a pregnancy loss? My heart goes out to you if it does.