My Personal Story of Miscarriage and Triumph
It was my regular 12-week pregnancy checkup. Nothing out of the ordinary, just the usual visit when the doctor starts putting the heartbeat monitor to your belly to check the baby’s heartbeat. We had already seen the baby’s heartbeat on the ultrasound at 9 weeks, so this visit is just the normal weigh-in and blood pressure, chitty chat, hear the heartbeat, go home. Hormones and bloodwork are great, and everything looks normal as usual. I’ve done this whole nine-month-pregnancy-thing twice already, so there was really nothing to worry about.
As the doctor looks a little worried, she says she can’t hear the heartbeat and that I’m just at the verge of being able to hear it through the monitor at 12 weeks. She brought me to the ultrasound room for another ultrasound to double-check. She still couldn’t hear or see the heartbeat, so she performed a vaginal ultrasound to be even more accurate. After many types at the keyboard, the doctor was starting to take on a facial expression I didn’t want to comprehend. My mind began to really wonder if my baby was okay now. Never have I ever imagined this, ever. This has never crossed my mind before. Is this really happening to me?
It may all be somewhat a blur, but I do remember her next words, “Is anyone here with you?”
I knew something was wrong, and I felt like the ceiling above me was spinning as I couldn’t even begin to calculate this tragedy that was really taking place.
“I’m really sorry, but there is no heartbeat.”
After asking a few questions, she goes on to explain that this is actually very common, and we don’t know why these things happen. She mentions the fact that there is so much that must go perfectly right in order to have a healthy pregnancy.
“You have three choices now, and I’ll give you some time to think about it….” Blah, blah, blah. It was something like that.
Tears were pouring from my face and I was just trying to breathe. My brain was immediately fogged at this point, trying to figure out how in the world I have two healthy boys, yet this baby’s heartbeat was gone. Having no signs of miscarriage was so alarming, since I had heard stories before of all the signs. Little did I know, this was only the beginning of something very complex.
I chose to let the miscarriage complete on its own.
I was distraught and completely beside myself. I’ve lost a part of me, a growing baby, yet I still felt pregnant. How? One week later at 13 weeks, there were still no signs of miscarriage. It was a few days later when I began to fully miscarry. I won’t go into too much graphic detail here, but let’s just say it’s the worst thing I’ve been through physically and emotionally. I eventually went into full blown labor pains. Because of the severity, I called in to my doctor’s office, and my husband brought me to the ER. After a painful examination, things worsened after leaving the hospital. I ended up seeing the doctor the next day. I’ve never seen so much blood in my life, especially coming out of my body. Something just wasn’t right.
Turns out, there were still “products of conception” still lurking inside of my body, and my body was trying to eliminate. Therefore, I had been in labor and dilating for nearly 48 hours. I was sensitive and in pain, so any examination was really painful. I gripped the exam chair and tried not to scream my head off as the doctor gave me a look of confusion as to why I might be in so much pain. I have no idea. Is there not supposed to be so much pain associated with this exam???
My doctor once again explained to me that these things happen, and it’s just a “fluke.” A fluke? I had a gut feeling it wasn’t, but what do I know? Off I go, to recover and deal with this wild emotional ride of miscarriage. I think my first thought was, “Wow, so this is what it feels like for someone to miscarry.”
This was probably the lowest I’ve ever felt in my entire life. What in the world just happened and why? I’ve lost loved ones before, but this seemed way worse of a feeling for me. It was personal. So personal, as if no one else is going through the same pain as you. Other members of my family have lost a baby just as much as I did, but this baby was a part of me. This baby and I were sharing the same body, blood, nutrition, etc. It’s sort of a lonely agony, although I had a lot of support. A few of my close friends and family came visit me during this time, and it meant a lot to me. Even so, it still takes time to heal the heartache.
One night, as my husband came to peel me off of the laundry room floor, I just couldn’t move, walk, or want to deal with this agony. I couldn’t breathe, much less think straight enough to even have a conversation. He told me to just come to bed. But I couldn’t.
I wanted to sit on the laundry room floor and cry. That’s all I felt I could do at that moment. Later, as I finally made my way to my bed, I asked him a serious question.
“I know you said you didn’t want any more kids, but after this, I need to know one thing…?”
He smiled, “I knew you were going to ask that. Yes.”
Before this pregnancy, my husband gloated about not having another baby, since we had two boys. He would smile, and say he did not want a girl – over and over. Don’t get the wrong idea. It’s not like he wouldn’t “want” a girl. I think he was just scared and nervous because of what everyone else has told him about having “girls.” This pregnancy was unplanned. But during the pregnancy, I was dreaming of a little girl. I had never before imagined having a boy or a girl for my other pregnancies; I was just happy to have a healthy baby. This time was a little different. We already had two boys, so I was hoping for a girl this time around, and I felt like she would complete our little family.
So a few months after this miscarriage, we were so excited to announce that we were pregnant again! We invited family over, announced our surprise, and even had some special t-shirts made for the boys with “Big brother” and “Biggest Brother” to aid in the announcement. So long with that first “fluke” pregnancy, and here we are with a new start!
But it wasn’t.
As I was having the normal new pregnancy pains and nausea like normal, my first 8 week ultrasound was anything but. This time, there was no complete formation of the baby and no heartbeat. It was like the baby stopped developing right after conception. You could see the development had taken place, and there was a place for a heart, but it wasn’t beating.
I just kept thinking of my two healthy boys. How could this be?! How could I not so easily have another child?! What is happening?
I was sent for a “special” ultrasound at the hospital to determine if the baby is truly undeveloped and ceased to stop growing. Once again, the doctor said that this wasn’t uncommon.
With a broken confidence in my voice and tears in my eyes, I asked if there was testing that could be done to see what the problem may be. She concluded that I had to check with my insurance to see if it would cover testing before a third miscarriage. Translation: she was only going to suggest testing if I had another miscarriage. I just couldn’t have another miscarriage. This is not a game to me.
This was such a difficult time for me. Like I said before, some of it is such a blur. Sometimes I cannot remember some of the experiences from the first or second miscarriage and I get them confused. During the waiting period between finding out the baby was dead to actually physically miscarrying, I even tried believing that it wasn’t going to happen and the doctor’s report was wrong. It’s just what I was taught. Faith can move mountains, right? Can’t we just pray and miracles happen? Can’t we just pray and be healed if we believe enough? This could bring up much controversy, so I won’t start a new discussion.
I’ll just leave it at this: Chonda Pierce told a story of her long battle with depression while I was in attendance at a women’s event in Atlanta. She told of a time when she was down in the dumps, and someone was criticizing her faith, saying that she would be healed only if she would just believe enough. The person she was talking to was wearing glasses. Chonda, the comedian that she is, responded, “If you have SO much faith, then take off your glasses and drive home!”
How about that perspective? That is so true.
I just kept remembering Psalm 121.
“I lift my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.”
Where does my strength come from? Not from me. Not from myself, for I am not strong enough alone.
During this time, I had also gotten the weirdest comments from some well-meaning people.
“At least you have two healthy children already… Some people can’t have any kids, at least you have two… I had a miscarriage for my first pregnancy, and having a miscarriage for your first child is worse, at least you already had kids…”
Whaaatt? Are y’all for real? That’s like telling someone who lost their father that it’s worse to lose your mother. There is no one death that is worse than the other, it’s all worse! It’s all horrible for someone to go through and feel so low and helpless, and sometimes hopeless. Yes, I have two healthy boys, and I am very aware of this fact.
This whole experience actually made me SO MUCH MORE appreciative of the kids that I did already have. It once again showed me just how much of a MIRACLE they really are. It made me hug them tighter, hold them longer, and see straight through their eyes as beautiful gifts from the Almighty Father.
So, if you’re ever faced with someone you love who goes through a miscarriage, the best thing you can do is be there for them if they need some physical help, give an ear to listen, and keep your words to a minimum. Make them some dinner, bring them for a walk, or go watch a movie. If they already have kids, trust me, they are very aware of that. If they have their faith in God, they will eventually become stronger each day, whether they realize it or not at the time.
I wanted answers. I have two healthy boys, and now two miscarriages? Something doesn’t sound right. Something can’t be right. This doesn’t make any sense to me.
After checking with my insurance, I requested testing and switched doctors. My current doctor didn’t seem too concerned about the miscarriages, and I felt as though she would let me have another miscarriage before taking steps to help the situation. Also by recommendations, I chose the doctor that delivered my second boy when my doctor was unavailable. I had such a great experience for that delivery. This would be my first male gynecologist since I’ve been seeing one. It was different and a little uncomfortable for me at first, but I had to do what I had to do.
The test results came back.
I tested positive for a Lupus Antibody Coagulant (antiphospholipid). This is an auto-immune disorder that causes blood clots during pregnancy and completely cuts off blood supply to the baby. You cannot have a healthy pregnancy with this disorder unless drug intervention works in your favor. So how is it that I have two healthy children, and suddenly have this auto-immune disorder?
As I’ve learned a lot about nutrition and health in these past few years, it could be due to many things – including harm to my immune system from environmental and nutritional deficiencies over time. From what I understand, people are usually born with auto-immune disorders, especially this one. So that means I have no idea how my boys got into this world without God doing His thing. But what we don’t realize is that God does His thing with every baby – complications or not. That’s why conception and childbirth are miracles all on their own. My doctor was right about one thing – there really are SO many things that must go right in order to have a healthy pregnancy.
I’ll never forget the feeling I had for my very first pregnancy, realizing how much God is a part of this growing being inside of my body that I have no control over.
Who knows how I’ve developed this disorder, but now what? To ensure a proper diagnosis for this disorder, I was told I must wait 3 months and then test again since there are things that can trigger a false positive result. Therefore, he told me not to get pregnant during this time so that we could be sure of a diagnosis.
Oops. What can I say in defense except that my husband can’t keep his paws off of me. Off to see the doctor to let him know I was pregnant when he told me not to. Lovely.
He assured me that a simple blood thinner, such as a baby aspirin, should give us a successful pregnancy. In extreme cases where testing showed a more severe antiphospholipid antibody problem, they would need stronger drugs such as Warfarin, etc. He also prescribed progesterone just in case that was also a factor, even though all my blood work during the other pregnancies showed normal hormone levels.
Before I knew it – success!
We had a reveal party during this pregnancy that revealed…
“GIRL!” It was the baby girl I was hoping for.
And the second she was born, she had Ernie wrapped a million times over.
I concluded that I don’t think he ever had a fear of having a girl, I think he had a fear of being wrapped.
The total time from the first miscarriage pregnancy to the birth of our healthy baby girl was about 21 months.
About a year ago, I heard the term, “Rainbow baby.” It’s the baby that you successfully have after having a miscarriage. Since a rainbow always comes after the rainstorm, they are called rainbow babies. Perfect. Because it sure was a rainstorm.
So, whatever your clouds may be in your life, you may not be able to see clearly at the moment. It may not be miscarriage, but it may be something else. Your ending may not be the same as mine. But when you are at the lowest point you feel you can possibly be, there is only one other direction things can go – and that’s up.
Where there are mountains, there are always valleys. No matter what the storm or the rain may be, if you wait and see, there is always a rainbow after the rainstorm.