My husband and I had spent a year trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant. A trip to the doctors confirmed one of our greatest fears, that we might never conceive. We decided that rather than give in and give up, we’d fight for the one thing we wanted most- to be parents. And so we did.
Months after that appointment, our efforts were rewarded with those beautiful words on a digital home pregnancy test- “Pregnant”. I was so elated, it seemed like fate had aligned. All odds were against that cycle working, but it did.
Of course it had to be too good to be true.
A little over a week went by, and I was so anxious. Happy. Excited. Nervous. Worried. I finally started to believe it was true, that the test hadn’t lied to me. But then it happened, in the middle of the day, while we were getting ready to leave the house to go to one of our nephew’s first birthday parties. I felt two sharp stabs of pain in my abdomen. I collapsed on the floor because it hurt so badly. I went to the bathroom, and confirmed my fear... it was the beginning of the end.
We went to the emergency room, and got checked out. I stared at the ceiling and begged for a better outcome, begged that this wasn’t happening. My husband called his family and told them we wouldn’t be coming to the birthday party... we didn’t tell them why. My depression hit hard after that, and I spent a lot of time alone in the living room just staring at the wall.
We began fertility treatments officially a few months later, and we had another long road ahead of us. Two doctors, several unsuccessful rounds of treatment, and eight months later- we were pregnant again. I thought it was the best birthday present ever.
I made it the farthest with that pregnancy, and started to get hopeful. I made it past when I lost the first one, my betas were especially high, tripling even. The doctor even thought this one might go the distance. But I woke up at almost 6 weeks and found blood. No cramping, no clots, just blood. We of course got in for an ultrasound at the fertility clinic, and I saw that beautiful blob up on the screen; my little Angel. Measuring on time at that point. Not a huge deal. The bleeding was explained by a small bleed in the uterus, and I was told to take it easy and they’d have me come back in a week for another ultrasound. So I waited, and waited, and waited. The next ultrasound came around, and we confirmed there was no growth. We waited another week... still no growth. My doctor told me he felt confident in calling it another miscarriage... I still hate him for saying it like that.
A week later I still hadn’t completed the miscarriage, and rather than have a D&E procedure done to remove it, I opted to take medication to induce it at home. I regret that decision now. I passed the sac early on, and it was perfect... that was one of the hardest things in my life. Seeing it there, the thing that was supposed to be my baby. Knowing that right there, in my hands, was everything I ever wanted. After that, I had the most painful six hours of my life. The pain medication I’d been given wasn’t enough, the contractions brought on by the induction medication were too strong. I still have a hard time thinking about what I went through. No one should have to go through that. Afterward, I was in a lot of pain for at least a week.
Emotionally... I’m still a wreck. And I don’t think I’ll ever get over what happened that night.
That experience scared me. I wasn’t sure I wanted to get pregnant again after that. But we kept trying. And so, we turned back to fertility treatments. We saw a different doctor. We started repeat loss testing. And eight months later, we were pregnant again after a round of injectible medication and an IUI. It was the week of Thanksgiving... I wasn’t the most thankful person that year though. Right from the start we knew this one wasn’t viable. It was easier in some ways, that it came so early. But in other ways, it was very hard. I felt very defeated- this was my third loss. My third. We’d been trying to become parents for three years, and all we had to show for it was so much heartbreak.
We sought more in-depth loss testing during all this, and did discover a previously un-diagnosed uterine septum and a minor clotting disorder. Neither of which my doctor could definitively say caused our losses. So we are left with maybe answers, maybe situations for what we would do different if we ever do get pregnant again, and a lifetime of missing our babies.
Sometimes it’s hard getting through the day, I miss them and the life we would have had so much. It gets easier with each year that passes us by, but I still mourn them. I deal with the grief as best I can, and I keep moving along. I do little things here and there, buy little things, surround myself with reminders, try to honor their existence as best I can. I cherish all those little reminders. We have a good life, but it’s not the same without them here. And that’s okay, it’s not supposed to be. Someday I hope I can come to terms with that.
Stephanie can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org