April 4, 2014 was my first due date. Probably news to most of the people reading this. Let me explain.
I am a planner. I try to stay organized and when Chad and I want to accomplish something - we plan for it. So, when we decided we wanted to jump on the baby bandwagon, we planned. Together, we thought spring would be the best time to have a baby - it would be after my busy season and right at the end of school so we would both have plenty of time at home with a new baby. Chad also mentioned that most animal babies are born in the spring, so it only made sense. Typical Chad theory. He didn't like the idea of a summer baby, because he had his birthday in the summer and it "sucked" as a kid and he said he was always on the fence - too young for one group and too old for another. Obviously, he didn't like the idea of a fall baby, because of hunting season. And, he thought it would be a lot around the holidays. Spring it was!
I stopped taking birth control in January 2013. I bought the book, and got the app. We are both young and (for the most part) healthy, so we started trying to get pregnant this past summer. Late July, we found out we were expecting. We were over the moon excited. I informed Chad that this was our little secret because "things happen and many women experience miscarriages and you never know... blah blah blah". No matter how much you plan, you can never prepare yourself for a miscarriage.
In August, I experienced some bleeding. I was freaked out - and so was Chad. I called my OB/GYN and they did a series of "quant" blood tests and doctor appointments. If you are not fluent in this type of speak - there is a hormone present in pregnant women called HCG. It's the hormone that makes the second line turn pink on the home pregnancy tests. In the first trimester or so, it is supposed to double every 24-48 hours. Test, get results. Test again, compare results. Test again, compare results. Mine were on the rise - doubling, tripling even. I was still not at ease, but it settled my heart a bit.
At six weeks, I went in for an ultrasound. My mom went in with me - as Chad was out of town. Everything looked normal - as good as it could look so early. We even got to see a little flutter of a heartbeat on the screen. Huge sigh of relief. My next appointment was set for ten weeks. We went on and everything was going great, I was feeling good for the most part and we didn't have any problems.
I had two options - schedule a D&C or wait it out. I thought on it over night. After hearing horror stories of people who had waited for the miscarriage to pass naturally, I called and was able to get in for surgery that Friday. I wanted to move forward. Filling out my medical history and going over the procedure with the nurse checking me in the day before my surgery was so uncomfortable. I didn't want to be there, I just wanted a healthy pregnancy. When she asked the reasoning for the D&C, I thought she had to be kidding. I was a mess, how could she not know? Shouldn't that be on the form? Did she really think that there was a possibility that I was getting an abortion - that was too much for me.
Mom and Chad were there with me at the hospital on Friday. It was horrible - sitting in the waiting room making small talk knowing what I was in store for. At risk of being called a crazy person, I kept thinking - maybe I am still pregnant, maybe they are wrong. I knew in my heart, but I didn't want it to be right. They made me take my wedding ring off before going into surgery and that bothered me very much. I can remember waking up shaking and sobbing in the recovery room. It was horrible. Thank goodness for the nurse. Seriously though, that woman was a God-send. The next few weeks were HELL. Not only was I going through physical pain, but I was too stubborn to just let myself heal (somewhat) emotionally. Nope, I was going to get moving and stay busy when I probably should have just stayed home and cried it out.
So now, I am one in four. That's what they call it these days. Apparently one in four women will experience a miscarriage. And that doesn't even touch the number of women dealing with other infertility issues. I am a member of a club that is fiercely private for the most part. Why is that? If one in four women go through this, why isn't it talked about? Why is miscarriage so guarded and private? Why was I so horrified to have to tell my boss that I needed the day off to go have a D&C? He was totally supportive, by the way.
Something is wrong with society here, I wanted someone to talk to and luckily I had that in a few close family members and friends. What about people who don't? I felt like a shadow of my former self - and sometimes still do. Going through the motions, putting on the happy face. Fake it 'til you make it, right? Miscarriage is a huge loss - that baby created in love was now gone and it should be okay to grieve, not plaster a smile on your face and pretend in front of your friends and family that nothing happened.
And then there are the pregnant people. They are everywhere at my age. I had to stay off Facebook for a chunk of time because so many of my friends were/are expecting and that was just too much to handle. Why me? Why can't I have a healthy, boring, normal pregnancy? I have had plenty of "poor me" and "that should be me, too" moments during these trials. And you know what, I am okay with that. It's not just something you "get over". It's a huge loss. Period.
Anyway, my point is here - don't ask people when they are going to have kids. It's actually none of your business and unless they volunteer the information, it's rude to ask. You have no idea what they might be going through (or have gone through). Clearly, there are exceptions to this, but honestly - random people I see once or twice a year think it is okay to ask me those types of questions. I don't ask about your sex life or reproductive organs. Keep your nose out of mine. It's frustrating, and sad, and a reminder that I'm not pregnant and having that baby that was supposed to be. Sidenote - if you are a friend - those rules may not apply to you. If you need someone to talk to about these types of issues and want to chat with me, I am open and available.
After the D&C, I had a follow up appointment with my doctor and he explained that everything went normal. Everything looked normal physically, and the test results came back normal on the D&C. Sometimes these things happen and we don't know why. We talked about the statistics of pregnancy and miscarriage and a number of other things. Miscarriages happen for a variety of reasons and we almost always never know exactly why. Apparently, my chances of having a miscarriage the second time around were exactly the same as if I had never gotten pregnant. He made a few suggestions with regard to vitamins and supplements and recommended two to three normal cycles before attempting to get pregnant again for physical and emotional healing. I was on board with that and we were busy trying to sell our house, traveling for work, and hunting season - of course.
Chad worked hard to keep me busy and out of the darkness that was my own personal pity party (for which I am very grateful). Mom, Alisha, and my sweet friend McKenzie helped keep me going with positive vibes, food, funny messages, and simply checking in on me (even though sometimes I felt like they were all in cahoots - taking turns making sure I didn't need to be put in a padded room). Joking, kind of.
I have had my fair share of meltdowns. At a September wedding, one of Chad's fraternity brothers' wives wasn't drinking and they mentioned they were trying to get pregnant. As I downed glass after glass of champagne and wine, she talked to me about their situation and I was probably the most awkward person ever. I pretty much listened, nodded, and drank (probably not the best idea for someone who hadn't drank for several months). And tried not to have a public meltdown. I cried the entire drive home. Like, ugly cry.
Two of my very good friends told me they were expecting within a week of my D&C. Their due dates are also in April. It was hard to be excited for them as I held back the tears. I tried, but I don't really think I pulled it off. I am happy for them, but sad for me. I bawled at my desk after receiving one phone call and had to bite my tongue (literally) when I received the news of another just three days after my D&C. It's complicated. I cried. A lot. In the shower, in bed, at my desk, in the car. Anything and nothing could set me off. Until you have been in this situation, you have no idea - and I hope you never are in this situation. I still cry.
Fast forward a few months to December and we were ready to give it another go. Well, I was ready to give it another go. Chad was apprehensive for multiple reasons - including the fact that if we did get pregnant in December, the baby would be due over Labor Day Weekend. That is Chad's favorite hunting weekend. I wasn't too concerned because I didn't really think we'd get pregnant right away anyway, but I jokingly told Chad if we did get pregnant, I'd consider "Hunter BowTech" as a name. Obviously, joking.
Well, wouldn't you know, during the move and the house sale and all the drama, we managed to make it happen. I had a dream a couple weeks into the month of two giant pink lines. I knew I was pregnant, but waited it out before taking a home test. I should have known by Christmas and so I took a test that morning. Surprise! We were expecting and I really felt like things were going to turn around for us. Due September 5, 2014, I was positive, excited, and ready to kick some pregnancy ass. We had sold our house, moved into our rental, and were expecting - again. Things were looking up.
I skipped work the rest of the week to wallow in my depressing hole, lied to my neighbors about having the flu, and spoke with my OB/GYN to schedule a series of tests to see if we could find answers. From what I have read (because you know I have been researching in books and online), most doctors won't even run these types of tests until you have had three miscarriages. Long story short, the only answer we found was that I'm healthy. For that, I am grateful. We can get pregnant, but haven't been able to stay pregnant. For that, I am not.
Unexplained infertility and recurrent miscarriage is what he called it. He explained that sometimes infertility isn't just those who cannot get pregnant, but the doctor was hopeful. He had suggestions including progesterone support if we are to get pregnant again. Google luteal phase deficiency if you are curious about the reasoning behind that. No firm answers though. No magic pill to take, I asked him about some vitamins I had read about and he basically said they couldn't hurt. We also talked about statistics and the future - he told me that if I experienced another miscarriage he would be referring me to a specialist. I don't want to have a third miscarriage.
You know, you think it is going to be so easy. And for some, it is. I'm jealous of those people with their innocence and naivety. My body was made for this, and when it doesn't do what it is supposed to do, I feel broken. After reading this, a long-lost friend with similar experiences told me, "You are strong and amazing, and your body is remarkable, even if also imperfect and fragile." Never again will I ask someone why they "don't have a bun in the oven". Close friends aside, that's just not an appropriate question or conversation. And it comes up all the time. And you know, we've talked this topic to death in our house trying to find answers - but we chose to wait almost five years before giving it a go -and maybe that is our downfall. Who knows? I don't regret not trying, because I surely cannot change it now. I just wish it was easy. If it was, I'd be eight months along ready to kick onion season to the curb and have a healthy baby. But, it's not.
How do I move forward from here? My hope has to outweigh my fear, but we are different people than we were in July when we found out we were pregnant, different than in September when we found out we miscarried the first time, different than in December when we found out we were pregnant again, and most certainly different than in January when we miscarried for the second time. This was posted on a blog I occasionally read and I think it really sums up what I am feeling a lot of the time.
A few blogs that have inspired me to share my experience include Northwest Nightingale, Golden Moments, and many others. The Lewis Note has an interesting post on Why Miscarriage Matters When You Are Pro Life. For a list of ways to help someone going through this (or any loss), I suggest reading Do's & Don'ts for Supporting a Grieving Loved One. And, if I were a better writer, my blog post might sound something like this article, What Not to Say to a Woman After a Miscarriage - complete with a list of things not to say - but, since she missed a few, here's another list of 10 Things You Should Never Say to a Woman Who's Had a Miscarriage.
I've been working on this blog post for a couple months - adding to it as I had time and was in the "right mood". It is mostly for me. It has been therapeutic to write it all down. I'm not looking for pity, I just wanted to get it out there. I feel a little better now that it is written. Tiffany & Chad "in real life" is not always happy and this blog is supposed to be a reflection of our lives together. So there, it's out there. Maybe my writings can help someone else.