This post is very difficult for me to write.
I found out I was pregnant again! This was very much unplanned and the first full cycle after my previous miscarriage. That did not stop me from being overly enthusiastic and to start, once again, planning out the rest of my soon-to-be-a-mommy life.
I had previously booked appointments with two different fertility specialists and was in the process of doing a ton of bloodwork in order to come up with a plan for my next pregnancy. But this was even better, I was pregnant! I could skip doing all of the “work”, here was the real plan God had for me. I only thought I was going to have to follow a protocol and have a difficult pregnancy, phew! I knew that really wasn’t my story, I knew this was how it was supposed to work out. A lot of women get pregnant the first cycle after a miscarriage and go on to have healthy happy babies and nearly forget they ever even had the miscarriage. I was going to be one of those women. This was my story!
Already knowing that my Antiphospholipid Syndrome needed to be controlled, I started right away with the Lovanox & baby aspirin and had set up a supplement plan with my new naturopath so also implemented that as well.
My husband was out of the country when I found out, so I waited until he got back to share the news. When I handed over the positive pregnancy test he was confused at what I was trying to tell him- we were pregnant!
I had an existing appointment with a doctor at a fertility center so I went in to see her. The conversation was strange because instead of her explaining the process of IVF or any other fertility treatments or plans, we instead talked bloodwork and a plan for keeping this existing pregnancy in place. I loved feeling like I didn’t quite belong in that office.
The doctor also had me run some bloodwork to check the status of my current pregnancy and the next day my numbers came back… an HCG of 56 and a Progesterone of 3.
If you know anything about HCG & Progesterone in pregnancy, you know those are not promising numbers for what should have been week 5 of pregnancy. Maybe I had ovulated later than I thought and miscalculated my days? We had not been trying this cycle so I was unsure about when I ovulated. Maybe the pregnancy was just way earlier than I had calculated? My doctor suggested re-running the tests to confirm whether or not this pregnancy was progressing.
When we re-ran the numbers two days later, they had only decreased. I was devastated. Like crushed. This is my fourth miscarriage and the earliest (I was only about 5 weeks when the miscarriage was confirmed and started bleeding a few days later), but in some ways it was/is the most devastating. Maybe it’s because as I’m writing this, I’m still “in it” and don’t yet have the gift of hindsight. Or maybe it’s because I’m tired and exhausted. I’m tired of being positive. I’m tired of being optimistic. I’m tired of having faith. I’m tired of feeling sick and broken and alone.
All of the previous miscarriages seemed to bring me and my husband closer together, especially the third time where we were able to re-connect on a trip to Europe! But after this one, I started pushing him away. My emotions were out of control (I blamed the progesterone I took for the first time this pregnancy, my husband insisted it was my lack of self-control). We are now a few more weeks out and are in a much better place as a couple, but I came out of things feeling very defeated and unsure I am capable of continuing down this path. Do I want this badly enough? Am I strong enough? Is our marriage strong enough? Would we be better off adopting? These are all questions I am grappling with.
What Helped Me
I hate being so negative, but initially, nothing helped. Again, maybe it’s because I am writing this post so close to the time in which this happened and the others were really this bad too, but over time, I forget those raw, painful emotions. But I do feel like there was more hopelessness with this one compared to the previous three. Sidenote: “nothing” could be replaced with “time” but I feel like it’s important to capture the initial feeling here as I’m sure others can relate.
A friend recommended the book When Bad Things Happen to Good People and it came at just the right time. It was the reminder I needed that this wasn’t all my fault (although to be honest, the guilt is still something I grapple with daily). It also helped me keep things in perspective, there are people out there going through immense amounts of pain. I hesitate to say this, because if you are struggling, I do not want to diminish your hurt as it is real. But for me, the book helped me regain perspective.
Writing Out Our Options
One thing my husband and I have never disagreed on is that we want a family. How we get to that family has now become more of an unknown. About 2 weeks out I was really struggling and needed a plan or a timeline to stop my head from spinning. We spent a Saturday afternoon writing out all of our options and then we each wrote down how we felt about that option, yes/no/maybe. From there we listed pros and cons for each option. The decision making process cannot be finalized in one afternoon, but it was enough to give me some hope. To be honest, this process also triggered a lot of grief. Having to admit to myself that having a baby the old fashioned way is not likely not going to happen (a 10% chance to quote one of our doctors) is something that I am still coming to terms with.
Two weeks after a miscarriage may not be the best time to make a master family building plan, but it allowed me to see that we had lots of options and time to build out our family. How we get there does not have to be decided today, but just knowing that there are options there waiting for us when we are ready is comforting.
Another friend that is going through similar struggles suggested we watch the movie One More Shot, which follows one couple’s journey with IVF. Spoiler Alert: The movie does have a happy ending, but the steps needed to reach that happy ending were very triggering for me to watch. Personally, I like the reality check of knowing how things could play out so that we can plan accordingly. But depending on where you are at in your fertility journey, you may want to skip this movie. The movie is available for free on Netflix and for purchase on a few other platforms.
Note: I know this post is quite raw and sounds very rough. I am overall in a good place and have the support I need to get through this. I tried to capture my real feelings I experienced in hopes that it may help others going through similar struggles feel less alone. I have a spouse, family members & friends who have been there for me and helped me through this past month. If you find yourself in a similar situation I recommend reaching out for help—whether that’s friends, family and/or professional help.
A New Plan (The Part with a Happy Ending)
After my third miscarriage, I was already feeling “over” the trying to conceive game and also was unsure if I could handle more loss. And while some ways I had invested less time into my fourth pregnancy, the quick defeat was almost more than I could stand. So at this point, I was feeling very done with this process. I felt as if I was on a downward spiral and I could feel it impacting other areas of my life. I didn’t want to keep trying only to get the same result.
At multiple points along this journey, I have told my husband, “there will be a point when I’m done, when I can’t take this anymore, I don’t know when that will be (miscarriage 6 or 16?), but I’ll know when I’m there.” Well, I had reached my point.