Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Special Valentine's Day

The following story ends at Valentine's Day but it actually started January 17th. I actually wrote this blog last week but pondered over posting such a personal journey. I decided that maybe it might help someone if they are going through a similar situation. You aren't alone!

It was 6 AM on a Tuesday morning in January and I was getting ready for work. I realized that even though I'd had cramps for four days, I still hadn't gotten my period. On a whim I took a pregnancy test. Sure enough, there was a faint pink line. I thought that the line had to be dark pink to indicate pregnancy so I texted my best friend a picture of the test with the line "does this mean I'm pregnant?! Lol!" She called me back and said YES!

I started to panic and I woke Scott up by saying that I was having a heart attack. He quickly woke up and then I told him it was a metaphorical heart attack - I just took a pregnancy test and it was positive. He told me that was ok and calmly laid back down. He's always good in a crisis! We hadn't planned on having kids this soon in our marriage but we trusted that God had a plan for us and if it included a baby we were happy about that.

Over the next several weeks we started to tell family and close friends. We asked everyone to pray for us; for my health and the health of the baby. We really started to get excited about what a child meant for us and how it would add to our family!

According to my calendar, my due date was September 17th, which put me around 9 weeks at my first ultrasound. Because I have a condition called polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), I don't ovulate regularly. According to my last positive ovulation test, I was probably more like 6-8 weeks along. Also, I'd been having lots of symptoms of pregnancy. No morning sickness, thank goodness, but I'd been tired, having implantation cramps, hungry, and going to the restroom all the time.

On Monday, February 13th I had my first ultrasound. The OB/Gyn was delivering a baby so we waited anxiously in her office for our appointment. We went into the exam room and they got me up on the table for the ultrasound. As we watched on the monitor, we saw the sack where the baby was supposed to be. But ... no baby. She said they would draw blood to see what my hormone levels were but it looked like I'd had a miscarriage and my body hadn't caught up to it yet, since I'd had no signs of a miscarriage.

To be honest, my first reaction was relief. Since this pregnancy was unplanned, we hadn't prepared completely for adding a baby to our house/life. Later it hit me that we'd really started to look forward to becoming parents and now we wouldn't become mommy and daddy this fall. It only got worse as we told people we had miscarried and the logistical and practical silver lining of the miscarriage slipped away as the sadness crept in.

The doctor's office informed me that my HCG was 16000 - still high and indicates a healthy pregnancy. My progesterone was 7.2, which is low. They like it to be around 10 or higher. Although, because of the PCOS, I might have lower progesterone to begin with. I went to have more blood drawn to see how my HCG level has changed, they like to see it double every 48 hours. The HCG level went up but only by 1000 points. A few days later the doctor took it again and it had started to come down - definitely a sign of a failing pregnancy.

There was a lot of back and forth between me and my doctor as to how to proceed. Basically you can either wait for everything to miscarry naturally or speed up the process by having a D&C. I opted for the D&C since that can help my body get back to normal quicker. There are some things we discovered about my health through this difficult time that are beneficial for me to know that I wouldn't have learned otherwise.

Valentine's Day was a special day for Scott and me, our first as a married couple. We went to one of our favorite Mexican restaurants - La Sandia. We enjoyed some mojitos and good food and talked about our future. Scott let me talk about the baby and be sad about the lost possibilities. He was sad too, but miscarriage affects men differently and I think he was being strong so I could have my moment of weakness. He held my hand and told me God has a plan and every life, however brief, has a purpose.

Even though up to 40% of first pregnancies end in miscarriage, it affects each woman and couple differently. There is an unavoidable sense of guilt, like maybe I did something wrong. There's fear that we might have trouble getting pregnant when we want to start a family. Scott and I already discussed how we would handle not being able to conceive on our own and it's awesome to be on the same page with such a heavy topic.

If any of you readers have been through this heartbreaking circumstance, my heart goes out to you. It is always sad when a child dies, no matter what age. I encourage you to talk about it and seek help if you feel yourself not being able to come out of the grief. You aren't alone! It's ok to cry! Don't let anyone tell you how to get over it - but also don't expect everyone to understand. It might sound corny but there's a lot of online forums that can help with the grief process anonymously. Acknowledge it, go through it, and hope in the future.

Keep on and carry on.


Clare said...

Shani, I was there this time last year. I had a positive test in January and we told Mat's family and mine. A few weeks later I had an ultrasound and there was no baby. 4 weeks later still no miscarriage so I had a D&C. mat and I had been trying for a few months when it happened. After we decided to stop trying for a bit. I got pregnant before I had another cycle and now have a wonderful baby boy. God has everything in his hands and when we submitted to his plan it was amazing. It was a hard time for me but I know you'll get through it and one day you and Scott will be amazing parents.

Annalise said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Annalise said...

Shani, I'm so sorry to hear about this. I wish we lived closer together so we could cry together. My miscarriage affected me in so many ways, and for so long. Sure, it's common, but that doesn't make it any less hurtful when it happens to you. I'm still not "over it", though finally achieving pregnancy again has definitely helped. My heart goes out to you and I hope that when you and Scott are ready to try, your body will be ready too. Hugs!!

Rachel said...

I love you! <3

cwilems said...

(This is Cindy)
Shani I am sooo sorry!!! We are sending you all of our love!! Your experience is so similar to my first pregnancy/first miscarriage. I could have written your post 6 years ago..although not as eloquently as you! You are very brave to post your story. So many women feel alone after they have a's that unspoken thing. I didn't feel comfortable talking about it until our 2nd miscarriage...and then I wanted to shout to everyone: "i'm in pain! i'm sad! let me grieve without telling me it's all for the best!"

I can't tell you that the pain goes away...but it does get smaller bit by bit. If you ever need to talk, I'm here!!

Shani said...

Thanks so much for all the support, y'all! It really means a lot! Especially since it seems I know a lot of women who have miscarriages then go on to have healthy pregnancies/children. It gives me a lot of hope. I have to believe that everything will work out wonderfully when the time comes for us to start our family.

Nameless said...

Shani, thank you for sharing this part of your life's journey. I've heard of a few friends in the past 2 years going through similar situations as yourself and it's never easy. Your faith in our Lord encourages many including my wife and I.

Bless you.

- Alain

The Brendel Family said...

Thank you for sharing, Shani. My first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage as well, and you described the emotions perfectly. I now have two healthy little girls and am pregnant with my third baby. Have you read Heaven Is For Real? There is a part of the book that I found incredibly comforting, especially having personally suffered a miscarriage.

Prayers to you and your family.


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