Monday, August 27, 2007

The Beginning

First off, thank you SO much to those that left me my first comments. It made me feel good to know there are others out there. I am sorry that you have known the pain of miscarriage. It is an awful thing to go through and I wish that you hadn't had a reason to be reading my blog. But since we share this common misfortune, I am at least thankful for the company.

Secondly, my fertility update for today: Nothing. We did our thing last night and will tonight as well, but even for a crazy POAS-aholic like me, it is way too early to be imagining phantom pregnancy symptoms. All of that will come later, trust me.

I didn't used to be crazy, I promise. The loss of my first pregnancy kind of changed that. I sometimes wish that I could go back to the person that I was before all of this craziness started, but my first miscarriage was a defining point in my life. Kind of like BC/AC on the calendar, I kind of feel like my life is BM/AM.

BM my husband and I had definitely discussed having children. On our first date, I told him that I wanted to be a stay at home mom and realized that he was the man for me when he didn't run screaming from the room. When we got engaged, I threw my arms around him and said, "Yay! Now we can have babies together!" We were practical enough to know that in this day and age, a single income family is a challenge. So, I knew that I would have to work for a few years and we would have to save our money so that I could stay at home. We had set a target of our third wedding anniversary (May 2006) to start trying for a baby. I was philosophical and knew that it could take awhile. I had no idea. BM, I had no idea when I ovulated. I didn't know what EWCM was. I didn't obsessively POAS. I didn't know what any of those acronyms were, that they even existed.

On January 21, 2006, all of that changed. I had started feeling "funny" earlier in the week, I was exhausted and my breasts were sore, sore, sore. I started counting the days since my last period and realized that I was late. Since I was on birth control pills, I didn't really think too much of it, and decided to take a pregnancy test just to get it off of my mind. I was shocked and thrilled when the test came back positive. I went back to the store for three more tests, all of which also came back positive.

Despite the fact that it was earlier than planned, my husband and I were thrilled. We laid on our bed, hugging, laughing, even crying a bit, but they were happy tears. We went out that day and bought a pile of pregnancy books and magazines, which I proudly put on the coffee table. I walked around in a sort of happy daze. All of my life, I had wanted to be a mommy and now it was happening. My husband ran the numbers and decided that it would be tight, but we could make it on his salary. I just couldn't believe how lucky we were.

Monday morning, I called my doctor's office and got a referral for an OB/GYN. I called and was able to make an initial consult appointment for later that week as well as our first "real" appointment at the 10 week mark for an ultrasound. I penned those dates carefully in my datebook and also the due date, of course! October 2 became emblazoned in my mind. I started a journal for our baby, writing of my happiness and hopes for our future together.

My husband went with me to the first appointment and carefully put the doctor's card in his wallet. He held my hand while they took vials of blood. He asked all sorts of questions to the nurse and she patiently answered them all. We went to the pharmacy right afterward and filled my prenatal vitamin prescription. I can't even begin to describe how happy I was. It didn't seem to matter what I was doing, I felt as if this big balloon of happiness was expanding inside of me. My heart felt full of love, for my husband, my baby, the stranger on the street. I had never been so happy. My husband said that it was a wonder that everyone couldn't figure out that I was pregnant, because I was literally glowing. But we were cautious and didn't tell anyone other than our closest two friends. I knew miscarriage could happen, I had read about it in one of the many pregnancy books I was devouring, but I didn't really think that it could ever happen to me.

That Sunday, we had lunch plans with close friends. They were the only people that we had told about the baby. That morning, I went to the bathroom and found with mild concern a faint swipe of pink blood. I read one of my trusty pregnancy guides and found that pink spotting is common and not a cause for concern. The book told me to lay down on my left side and it should subside. I did and it did. At lunch, I asked my friend about the spotting and she said that it had happened to her during both of her pregnancies and not to be alarmed unless it was red. Her sweet nine month old son, who I was holding on my lap, and her rowdy two year old that my husband was playing with, were the shining examples that a little bit of spotting were nothing to be concerned with.

During lunch, I started to feel a little sick. I had been off and on nauseous the past week, but this was different, definitely stronger. I figured that it was morning sickness kicking in. I picked at my food and felt very tired. After we finished eating, our friends wanted to go to Baby's R Us, but I didn't feel well, and we decided to go home instead.

We made it about five minutes from the restaurant when I felt that I was going to be sick. I made my husband pull over at another restaurant and ran to the bathroom. I barely made it to the stall when I felt the biggest cramp I had ever experienced. Just one sharp cramp that made me literally stand up off the toilet. Out of instinct, I looked for blood, but there wasn't any. Just a tiny, gray clump floating in the toilet. I am not sure why I didn't figure it out then, but I had never been pregnant before, didn't know about miscarrying, didn't know that a tiny gray clump could be anything to worry over. It breaks my heart now that I just flushed it away and didn't even think twice. But I just didn't know.

After that, I felt better. We got home and I was exhausted and took a nap. When I woke up from my nap, I went to the bathroom and saw the dreaded red blood. I called my doctor, who happened to be on call. When I told him everything, he said that I was probably miscarrying and instructed me to come in to his office for bloodwork the next day. By the next morning, the bleeding had increased and even had some clots in it. I fell to my knees by the toilet and sobbed for the baby that I knew wasn't going to be. I felt so awful, as if I had betrayed my child. I ran to the living room and grabbed all of the pregnancy books and calendars and information from the doctor. I wrapped it all in a beach towel and shoved it in the back of my linen closet. It was as if I wanted to erase the happiness of the past week, so that it wouldn't hurt so much, but that was impossible.

In my heart, I knew I had miscarried, but I still went in for the bloodwork. It was such a sharp contrast to when they had drawn the blood before and my husband and I had shared secret smiles over the syringes. This time, I was crying so hard, the technician had to get her supervisor to draw my blood, because she kept missing the vein. The nurse called less than a half hour later to tell me that my HCG level was only 26. I asked her what that meant and she said, "It means that you weren't really pregnant."

I was so confused. How could I never have been pregnant? The tests came back positive and I had felt so different. I learned then the definition of a chemical pregnancy, which seemed to demean everything that my husband and I had felt for this baby we were already dreaming about. I was six weeks pregnant at that time according to my LMP, but my hormone levels were barely what you would expect for just a few days past ovulation. I asked the nurse for resources for women who have miscarried and she told me that those resources were meant for women who had miscarriages later on. She said that my husband and I should just try again the next month for a pregnancy and forget about this one. I would never go back to that doctor, even though he had never said anything that offended me, I couldn't stand the nurse and her comments. I had a lot to learn about the medical community and its attitude toward miscarriage.

The days that followed were bleak. My husband didn't really know what to do or say. I was so sad and had horrible dreams. We decided to try right away for another baby, allowing ourselves to be lulled into a sense of cautious optimism. We were told that upwards of 50% of first time pregnancies end in miscarriage because the body just doesn't quite know what to do. We thought if we could just get pregnant again, this time it would be different.

It wasn't.

1 comment:

Polka Dot said...

I'm so sorry. I know there aren't any words that can make it better, but I'm so sorry you've had to go through this.

When we m/c in March, the doc told me to bring in any tissue that I could when the office opened that morning. When I sat on the toilet and heard the loud plop, I thought - oh, large clot - and dove in without even thinking. Only to come up with the full amniotic sac and our tiny bean of a baby still in it. It's an image I wish to God I could get out of my head.

And you're not crazy. Maybe to someone who's never been there, but to those of us who have you're absolutely not crazy.