Amy's Story - Multiple Miscarriages

So here I am... I'm finally going to put to paper all of my heart ache I've experienced these last six years.  Numerous people have been telling me to write about it and that maybe I'll feel better afterwards, but the thought of reliving it all on paper scared me until now.  

After my husband and I had been married almost three years, we decided we were finally ready to have a baby.  I'd known since I was little that I wanted kids.  All my working experience was in preschools, day cares and then I ended up teaching.  Starting a family was the obvious next step in our life. Literally after our first "try" we got pregnant.  I couldn't believe it!  We were thrilled it happened so quickly.  

I have such vivid memories of those early moments in my first pregnancy. We bought a frame for our parents to unwrap and it said "Baby coming soon!"  They were so excited for us (and themselves)! I remember that I had so many symptoms from the get go, but the one I remember the most is that I had a super human sense of smell. These memories could be ones that I would share with this child someday, but sadly I would never get the chance.  

The day of our first appointment, we had crazy weather and we showed up late.  We were so disappointed to hear that the doctor couldn't see us.  Then, our next appointment was cancelled because of snow.  Finally, by the time we got to see the doctor, I was almost 11 weeks pregnant.  We were scheduled for a sonogram and were beyond excited to see our baby for the first time.  That was the day I first heard of a Blighted Ovum.  For those who don't know, that is a sac without an embryo growing inside it.  It happens in about 20% of all pregnancies and I learned that we were that 1 in 5.  We were heartbroken.  I'm crying right now just thinking about that day.  I didn't know my heart could feel such pain.   

Our doctor gave us hope that this didn't mean anything bad would happen next time.  I was told I needed a D&C and then would need to wait three months before trying again.  After three months, we started trying and within two months I was pregnant again.  I'm not someone who has routinely suffered from anxiety, but boy did I have it throughout the first trimester.  I had a few hiccups throughout my second pregnancy such as gestational diabetes and my baby was breech, but overall I loved every second of being pregnant. On March 20, 2012, I gave birth to a beautiful boy named Hayden.  It was the most amazing moment of my life! I thank God every day for our son. 

We decided to wait a little while until we gave Hayden a brother or sister.  I was ready (clock ticking), but my husband wanted to be more established in his career.  After we made a move from Frisco, TX to Weatherford, TX and got settled, we were finally both on the same page.  I stopped taking birth control in June, waited a couple of months to get it out of my system and we started trying in August.  In October I started having odd stomach pains off and on.  It eventually began to bother me so much that it put our baby making to a halt.  I guess I was stubborn or naive, but I just lived with the pain for almost a month.  One day, I experienced about ten minutes of excruciating pain. I thought I was about to start the worst period of my life, but I never did.  I went to a random doctor in town since I was new to the area.  They said it was probably a bladder infection and gave me a prescription. As the pharmacist at Walgreens was handing me my medicine he asked me if I could be pregnant.  I said it was very unlikely (I hadn't had sex in a month and I'd had a period), but I went ahead and took a test to be on the safe side.   It was positive!  What?!?  I immediately called my OB-GYN from Plano (since I hadn't gotten a new one yet) and told her what was going on. I had a feeling something wasn't right.  They got me in the next day for a sonogram and that is when I found out I was 8 weeks pregnant with a  tubal pregnancy.  Apparently, I had been bleeding internally for weeks. This explained why I was light headed so often and the stomach pains I'd been experiencing for a month. Luckily, my sister was with me at my appointment and she contacted my family to let them know about the emergency surgery I would be having in less than an hour.  The surgery went fine, but one of my tubes was too damaged to repair so my doctor had to remove it.  It was a sad and scary day for me, but I think it scared my husband even more.  To hear that I could have died if I continued to bleed internally messed with him.  He had no interest in trying again for a long time.  

After what felt like an eternity (really it was 11 months), he said he was ready to try again. We literally got pregnant that night. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the positive pregnancy test.  I just knew this pregnancy would be a success.  Surely I wouldn't have three miscarriages.  I was very anxious to see my new OB-GYN.  I explained my history over the phone and got an appointment while I was almost 7 weeks along.  I had been having very bad anxiety (breathing issues) and terrible headaches. What a relief it was to see a heartbeat!  The doctor said the baby was measuring a week earlier than I thought, but to not be alarmed.  Of course, that was easier said than done given the anxiety I'd been suffering from since my positive pregnancy test. I had another appointment scheduled for the next week, on my husband's birthday. In hindsight, I wish I hadn't scheduled it for that day.  

My ecstatic husband met me at the doctor's office, but the excitement didn't last long.  We had our sonogram before we were set to see the doctor.  The sonographer came in and started the searching for our baby on the screen. I immediately knew something was wrong.  After all the issues I've had, I never looked at the actual sonogram first.  Instead I'd study the sonographer or doctor's face searching for clues as to whether or not my baby was okay.  

She told us she was having trouble finding a heartbeat and was going to get my doctor.  I knew it was not going to be good news and I was right.  The OB-GYN came in soon after and confirmed that our baby had died.  I lost it.  I was crying uncontrollably into my husband's arms.  Not only was I devastated about losing our baby, I was devastated we found out on my husband's birthday.  I miscarried exactly one year after my emergency surgery. 

The next nine weeks were the hardest weeks of my life mentally and physically.  I decided I would try to miscarry without surgery and it took FOREVER.  The doctor had me come in weekly to test my urine for HCG levels.  Once my levels were below five, I would be considered past the miscarriage.  After about five weeks of heavy bleeding and feeling like I was losing my mind, I decided I couldn't take it any longer and decided to move forward with the D&C.  While at the hospital waiting to register for my surgery, which was scheduled for the next day, I got a phone call saying the cost was estimated to be over $4,000 for just the hospital portion.  Within five minutes of that call, as I was still waiting for my name to be called, I felt a terrible stabbing pain and I rushed to the bathroom. Without getting into too much detail, I decided after what I just experienced in the restroom I would wait to get my HCG levels tested one more time again before deciding what to do about surgery.  I was sure my levels had significantly gone down.  Unfortunately, it took another four long, excruciating weeks to drop below 5.  

Luckily, during this nine weeks my pastor connected me with Carol, who went to our church. She could relate and not say stupid or insensitive comments.  She too, had walked this sad, lonely path of pregnancy loss and could understand my feelings, feelings I wasn't sure I fully understood. Don't get me wrong, my other friends and family were amazing but only one friend I knew had gone through this and could relate.  Without the support I got from Carol and from God, I would have totally gone off the deep end.  

Throughout this loss, I had friends having babies left and right.  Man, that was HARD.  I wanted to be a good friend and share in their excitement, but my heart was still so raw.  My advice to anyone going through this is to not do it alone. Seek the support of women who understand this journey and will commit to walk it with you. Be kind to yourself. Try not to feel bad about skipping baby showers or similar events that will make you sad. If they are your true friends they will understand. 

It's been about eight months since I started my third miscarriage and I'm finally ready to start trying again.  Mentally, I was extremely messed up and scared to death of trying, but here I am now, about to give it another go.  I'm not sure why I finally decided to write about my journey.  Maybe I thought it would be therapeutic before we start trying again.  Maybe I want women to know the struggle is real and they are not alone.  Maybe it's a combination of many things. I would be thankful to take good thoughts and prayers from anyone who wants to give them to us on this upcoming, scary journey.  Thanks for reading my story.

Rachel's Story - Watching Loved Ones Suffer

This is a story told from a different perspective that I thought I would share because it might be helpful to someone in a similar situation, someone walking beside a friend or family member, but not knowing exactly what to say or do...

There came a time in my life that life itself became very precious. I know it sounds stupid, but I did take certain things in life for granted. I was 24 and a new mother, when my youngest brother died tragically at the age of 18 and then my maternal grandmother followed him 4 months later. These events occurring so close together, and the fact that my mother was so deeply grieving shaped the next few years for me as a young adult. 

We had been attending Couts Methodist Church for a year, and met many supportive, wonderful people there. The Vantines were among the group that we found there. I had known Carol previously and it helped immensely that she is one of sweetest, most genuine people on Earth. The Vantines had a really rough year of deaths, to say the least, and it kind of bonded us to them. Their girls straddled my son in age so we were together a lot for children's events. 

Carol became pregnant with Matthew around the time my husband and I decided to just 'see what will happen' and try for a 2nd baby. I was jealous of her and her ease at pregnancy, but also happy for her as a friend. Then, tragedy struck again for the Vantines when she lost Matthew, and I was at a loss as a friend. I remember my sister and I taking a Scentsy warmer to her because that is what she wanted. She wanted her house to smell good when people stopped by. When we brought our seemingly pitiful gift of comfort to her, I just couldn't find the right words to say. I now know that just following her request without question was enough at the time. 

As time went on, my husband and I became more adamant about having another baby. Our son was six and he needed a sibling! It was urgent in my mind. I was volunteering as a Sunday School teacher for Carol who was the Children's Ministry director and she and I again bonded in our quest. I had no one else that I could verbalize how badly I wanted this next baby and not sound completely insane to. She was able to start trying, as well, and it shaped our friendship. I trusted her to know the depth of my disparity every month because it was not even comparable to hers. To make matters worse and better, my sister was able to conceive without even really thinking about it. Our two older children were 7 months apart and had been only children together. I say worse and better because I would at least have an infant niece to hold and love. My brother and his wife also conceived at that time, and that just about threw me over the edge for unmentioned reasons. I was not thinking very Christian-like thoughts about them.

It finally happened, and I will never forget the morning we found out. It was a Sunday and my husband and sister were the only people who knew before I called Carol. She was overjoyed for me. I can't believe she was able to celebrate this with me. In hindsight, it must've been killing her. I was on the roller coaster ride with her, and then I exited the ride. Unbeknownst to me, the roller coaster ride would continue.

My brother found out that their baby had serious complications early in the pregnancy. Down's syndrome was one of the many diagnoses. The baby boy's heart would never be strong enough to support him. I felt horrible because I had not been happy when hearing that she was pregnant and now this baby was going to die, or live only a short while. I was carrying my precious cargo and driving back and forth to the hospital to see my newborn nephew fight for his life. It was so confusing. How can these terrible things happen!? He had a heart surgery which did prolong his short little life, but he passed away with just having 2 months of life full of fighting, pain, and suffering. His poor parents were so angry and hard to comfort. Carol was a HUGE help in the whole process. She gave me words of wisdom to speak and hold on to as comfort. Going to an infant's funeral while visibly showing in my own pregnancy was just awful. 

I know deep in my heart that horrible things like this DON'T happen for a reason and I absolutely detest when people say that. There was no reason for my brother and his wife, or the Vantines, or anyone else who has lost a child at any age to have to go through that. There are times, however, that I believe we go through horrendous pain and grief and then, one day, look up and realize that things have clicked back into place and again we REJOICE! We had a flood of babies that year at our church that were happy, beautiful, bouncing boys and girls. It was our happy beginning and healing from the times that can literally tear us apart. I also feel like certain people are put together for reasons that are unknown to us. These people link arms and walk together through the darkest storms and help each other find Christ over and over again.