I started off writing a (more detailed) post about the medical process of my experience with infertility and miscarriage but changed direction. I may one day add a post with more details (if there is interest) but for now I’ll try to be a bit more concise and comment more on my feelings. Before my daughter arrived I suffered through three losses, one more significant than the other two but still three losses.
In honour of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month I thought I would (try) to put my experience of attempting to become a mother into words.
With my first loss I didn’t even realize I was pregnant. I had recently started seeing a doctor at a fertility clinic, just completed the testing phase and was about to start what I refer to as “the plan”. On Christmas Day I started what I thought was day one of my cycle but turned out to be the first day of a week of heavy painful bleeding.
Although at the time of the loss I may have been about five weeks along I never felt pregnant. This loss didn’t feel like a real pregnancy to me since I found out I was pregnant and miscarrying on the same day. I never had a chance to even think of it as a baby (at the time).
My second loss happened about five months later. I had a positive pregnancy test but the technician was unable to locate the pregnancy on an ultrasound and my hormone levels were measuring too low. At the time the doctor feared it may be an ectopic pregnancy but luckily no intervention was necessary since my body resolved the pregnancy and my hormone levels returned to 0 on their own.
This pregnancy loss was a little harder. I had already suffered one loss and in this case I had about ten days between finding out I was pregnant and being told it was not a normal pregnancy. I was just starting to get into the idea that I was having a baby.
The third loss was the hardest. Before it was time for the pregnancy test at the clinic I suspected I was pregnant, I just felt pregnant. I took a home pregnancy test which confirmed my suspicion. An ultrasound showed I was carrying twins and based on day one of my cycle they were due approximately July 27th, 2013.
About two months into the pregnancy the babies were measuring small but I was told not to worry about it they were still growing. A few weeks later I had some bleeding on and off for a couple of days. I sensed something was wrong and I no longer felt pregnant.
On my husband’s birthday an ultrasound confirmed the loss. There was no heartbeat and the twins were too small for the timing. I was almost eleven weeks along. The next day I passed one of the twins.
I was given medication to pass the second twin. The option of having a D&C was given to me but because there is a small risk of damaging the uterus I opted for the more painful medication route. I only took two of the four doses of medication I was prescribed before the pain was almost unbearable. That day was spent on the floor writhing in pain from what at the time I could only assume were contractions until finally the second twin was passed.
This loss took much longer to “get over”. With the two previous losses within about a month I felt emotionally back to normal. This time it wasn’t so easy. I really started to feel like this wasn’t going to happen for me (for us). Like I wasn’t meant to be a mother and maybe I’m asking for trouble by using the fertility clinic to make something happen that appears to not be meant to be. I don’t remember what got me out of my funk. I guess just time. Maybe I just accepted that the twins were not meant to be. Although I don’t do anything to commemorate their loss or their possible birthdate I do think of them often.
Each loss was considered an unexplained miscarriage. There was no clear issue ever found, not that that made it any easier. The doctor tried to make it very clear that they were not caused by anything that I had done although that didn’t keep me from feeling like there was something wrong with me. I shared my experience with very few people. I tend not to talk about feelings easily. But I did find the more people I spoke to the more I realized how common miscarriage really is.
I have read that most miscarriages happen before a woman even realizes she’s pregnant. And that once there has been a positive pregnancy test there is a one in five chance of having an early miscarriage. I guess based on this my first two loses may have gone unnoticed if I was not seeing a doctor at a fertility clinic.
About four months later we started trying again. The first attempt was unsuccessful and I really contemplated giving up. I was very bruised from all the blood tests, feeling pretty off from the meds and worn down because of the losses. We decided to try one last time (it was our fifth of six possible rounds of this medication). I’m very glad we did.
All the bruising from the blood tests and all the ultrasounds and painful tests were worth it when in the spring of 2014 my perfect baby girl was born. Maybe all the heartache and physical pain will help make me never take her place in my life for granted.
I haven’t decided either way whether or not we should try to have more children (I say “I” because I know my husband is happy with the one child but would go along if I wanted more). I have a fear of trying to get pregnant again. The losses were so hard to bear before having a child I can’t imagine having a miscarriage now knowing the joy I felt being pregnant and the disappointment I would feel if I was unable to provide her with a sibling.