It's a club no one wants to join. I've just become a member. Many of you, my friends, are members. And too many woman across the globe join the club silent and alone.
The miscarriage club.
It sucks. And it's still raw. And new. I prob shouldn't be writing about it so soon, but there is so much in my head.
Through all of our years of infertility, I considered myself blessed that my only pregnancy resulted in the birth of our Finleigh Grace. We were spared the heartbreak of losing a child year after year. If you remember the last blog was about the 3 embryos we have lost when IVF didn't work. Although it's similar & many of the feelings are similar...it's different. It just is.
Let me back up.
We found out in Florida, on Halloween, that we were pregnant. We had sent Finn to my parents for a week, had an embryo transfer where we transferred two embryos and spent a week resting and focusing on these new lives inside of me.
We left for FL for a week long family vacation with more time to relax and grow babies!!
Our first blood test should have been the Monday that we were there, and we could have gone to a local lab, but we chose to forgo this and just wait a week. We wanted to enjoy our time in FL and relax on the beach without the stress of the blood test. HOWEVER, I was having crazy symptoms, so when we went to the store for groceries on Sat we also picked up a pregnancy test. I took it right away and it was quickly positive!! This vacation was just pure perfection!!!
We got back to town and had blood work the following Monday. I was indeed pregnant. Blood work continued every 2 days...and this started a few weeks of crazy ups and downs. My numbers from the second test were "off" so I continued to have blood work done every 2-3 days. Every time the doctor would seem like bad news was inevitable, we would get our tests back and the drs would be shocked...we were always still pregnant...and each time granted enough hope to get through the coming days.
It got to a point where they were almost sure that it was an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy based on my HCG numbers. A dangerous situation for anyone...for someone on blood thinners, even scarier! Super rare for IVF, but possible. I was asked to come in the following day for a sonogram to see if they could tell anything. Dr Selah felt sure the following day that there was no tubal pregnancy and he was able to find a tiny sack. More blood work. More sonograms the next week. The sonogram the next week showed the sack...and we saw a very faint and very slow heartbeat. This was a Friday. The doctor thought that there was still a chance of miscarriage and was sure that my HCG numbers would have flattened out or gone down. However, that afternoon they called that they had risen significantly...and were JUST at the point where a heartbeat could have been detected. Hope. Once again. Our next appt was the following Tuesday. The Tuesday before Thanksgiving.
The sonogram started and Dr Selah was unable to find anything in my uterus. He stated that he thought a miscarriage had already happened, but decided to give it "one last look" before we made any decisions. That one last look found TWO sacks. Two. One, however, was empty & we had already lost that baby.
The 2nd one though...he started playing the heartbeat and it was strong and regular...and I about flew off the table!! I sat up as much as I could and made eye contact and said "yes?" And he said "Yes! it's a strong heartbeat!" We have a sweet sweet video where he says that we have a "miracle pregnancy!"
BUT there were still some concerns. He had trouble figuring out exactly where the sacks were located in relation to the borders of the uterus. The fibroids that I have were making it hard for him to be certain that everything was ok. He sent us right over to radiology at the hospital for a high tech sonogram to, once again, be sure that it wasn't ectopic/tubal or something strange like outside of the uterus. He told us that by the end of the day, we would know 100% if it was a healthy pregnancy or if I'd be headed into emergency surgery.
There was a ton of drama involved with this appt...including me having a major pregnancy meltdown in the waiting room when they told us we were late for our appt and it would be another 2 hours before we could be seen (we were there at the time my nurse told me to be there)(Finn was already melting down & Ben was stressed about missing work)...but we got to have the appointment right away (thank you tears). I wasn't able to see the screen for this one, but Ben watched and we saw the shots after that he took. Based on things he said, we felt certain that everything was ok.
The rest of that day was crazy. Baking, cooking, peeling potatoes, packing, and getting ready to head to AR...since we weren't sure if we would be able to go or not until this point & there was a LOT to do. The doctor called and said that it was indeed a healthy pregnancy and that the sonographer had seen the same thing he had. Two sacks, one with a healthy heartbeat & they were indeed inside of the uterus. The only issue was that the baby measured smaller than it should have been. I was in my 7th week and it measured in the 6th. But the heartbeat was a strong 136 BPM.
We were elated. Still cautious, but elated. Once a heartbeat is detected, chance of miscarriage goes down to 7%. At this point, we hadn't even processed the twin we had already lost early on, we were just thrilled to be pregnant. We headed to Thanksgiving and decided to go ahead and tell my extended family. We still needed prayers and figured they would be told later if we did indeed miscarry...so we might as well share & not have to hide it for 4 days.
Finn showed up in this (it's the best pic I got) awesome shirt made by my friend, Whitney:
It was a good week!
We came back to town and Dr Selah had wanted me to continue my meds/shots and follow up with my OBGYN the following week. My OB didn't have an appt available and the nurse didn't see a reason to rush me in...so Dr Selah wanted to continue to monitor me until I could see the OB.
My appt with him was this past Wednesday morning. My 8th week. Finn was at daycare and I had clients starting after lunch. As soon as he found the sacks and focused on the one with a baby in it, I knew. I didn't see the heartbeat. He looked around a little and then started talking. He was so nice and kind...but the baby had died sometime around Thanksgiving. And the other sack was still empty. We kept our composure to talk to the nurse and then hightailed it to the car where we broke down. I drove ben back to work...dropped him off in silence...and drove home where I was able to be alone for a few hours. I had to go to work. Maybe not smart & not a choice I would have made, except I hadn't seen my Wed clients the week before due to the holiday.
I had a play therapy client do this activity & I did one later. Maybe i should see someone? An honest look at my feelings:
I'm glad I went to work, though. It forced me back into reality. Maybe it's an unhealthy "ignore the problem" reality...but it's how we are surviving at the moment. Focusing on our daily tasks...loving our daughter (and letting her stay up way too late while we cuddle and watch movies)...and just waiting. Waiting on nature to take its course and for my body to naturally "abort" these two babies. Two. It seems so cruel.
So many thoughts and feelings are running through my head. This may be jumbled, and not make much since...but here are some things that I can't turn off:
There is so much guilt surrounding miscarriage. My body couldn't handle it. What could I have done different? (And so much more!) Add to that the IVF guilt of the thousands of dollars wasted and it's pretty miserable in my head right now.
Every time I roll over in bed and cry out in pain as I roll over the cantaloupe sized knots on my hips from the nightly progesterone in oil shots, I'm reminded of the misery that we put my body through to be able to carry these babies. Two to three shots a night plus other meds. Not easy shots. Painful ones. That leave cantaloupes on my hips. Forget rolling over in bed, it's anytime I move. Every movement brings pain in my hips. Bruises on my belly. Cruel. Cruel. Cruel. It's all worth it for the joy that comes in 9 months...but the reality of what we've been through to lose the baby/babies...it's too much. My heart and my brain can't handle it.
Seeing the baby's heartbeat was such a blessing. So much hope...but also still so hard. Until the heartbeat, it seemed strange to call it a "baby." We said "the pregnancy" or "the sack" and I still find myself referring to the first one we lost that way. It seems strange to say "baby" for it, but it is the same as most early miscarriages. An embryo attached and began to grow...it just stopped sooner than the other. The heartbeat, though. That was the fighter. Our little Leo the late bloomer. Our miracle. That heartbeat made this pregnancy viable. Real. And so much more painful at the same time. I am so very thankful that we got to see & hear it. So blessed. But it just hurts, too. Many early miscarriages don't get that chance. We were blessed...but when it wasn't there, we were devastated. And still are.
It hurts to tell people. But it hurts not to. To ignore this baby and the month we've had seems wrong. But to open ourselves doesn't feel right, either. We won't want to talk about it, we just aren't ready. We don't want stupid advice & cliche answers. I don't want to cry in public...so laugh with us, pray with us, and and please continue to keep us in your thoughts.
We feel loved already. We have a handful of friends who have been with us daily through these ups and downs, every step of the way. Someone has contacted me daily. Meals have been offered. We can't even begin to explain what this means to us. We are being held by those who love us & we can't thank them enough.
Right now, we are "ok" relatively speaking. We don't know what we need. We are still processing. Still waiting for "it" to happen. Thoughts of "I have two dead babies inside of me" replay in my head. Thoughts of our anniversary this summer, which would have been our due date slay me. BUT, we are focusing on Finn and finding joy in the daily tasks. And meltdowns. Silently crying through the belly laughs at tickle wars and giving too many kisses until she says "no more, mom!" (Yes, she calls me "mom") Relishing in this sweet sweet miracle that brings us more joy than we know what to do with.
Taking her to see Santa:
Picnics at daddy's office:
And playing until the house is a wreck and totally ignore the "real" cooking and cleaning that should be happening:
This weekend will consist of parades, Christmas decorating, joy, heartbreak, waiting, laughter, tears, ignoring the cooking & cleaning some more, and who knows what else. We by no means have it all together...we're probably one small step away from losing it all, but we have people who love us and a God who will never leave us. Holding us up. Carrying us through...even when we feel like He's so very far away.
We'll be ok. And we won't. We will never be the same. BUT, we know who holds our future & for now that is all we have to cling to.