Miscarriage Journey: Part 1

January 6, 2021

October 2019

It was around October 23rd of 2019 when I went to my OBGYN to have my Nexplanon removed. Let’s talk about that for a quick minute. Nexplanon is a form of birth control that is a small rod placed under the skin of the upper arm. “Nexplanon uses a hormone that stops an egg from being released by your ovary and prevents sperm from reaching the egg. It also changes the lining of your uterus.” That is straight from their website. Like with any birth control, Nexplanon comes with a long list of risks and side effects: Irregular period, mood swings, weight gain, depression, blood clotting, headaches, nervousness, etc. I had this birth control from November 2013 (after Jack was born) to October 2019 with one short break in between, but that only lasted a few months. While on birth control I very rarely had a period. So, from January 2013 (when I first got pregnant with Jack) to October 2019 I did not have a regular cycle. That’s seven years. In my non-expert opinion, this is important and relevant to what I’m going through now. Another important fact is that Andy is not Jack’s biological father, so remember that. 

At the appointment I told my doctor my intention of conceiving fairly soon. That was that, she removed the birth control and within a week or so I had my period. It was rough. Very heavy bleeding and cramps were raging. It lasted a normal length of days and approximately two weeks later I ovulated. At this point I was completely unaware of the struggles to come and did not keep track of my period or ovulation days. I used the Clearblue ovulation kits and knew when we needed to get busy, but I didn’t record dates or anything like that. I thought everything would be so simple.

Pregnancy #1 

On November 27th, 2019 (approx. 10-11 days after I ovulated) I knew I might be able to go ahead and test. The norm is to wait at least two weeks, but I had read online that some women could get a positive as early as 10 or 11 days. It was very early in the morning and I woke up before Andy, so I snuck into the bathroom and took the one test I had. I was nervous, but more excited than anything. When I first met Andy I knew he was the one for me and I was so ready to start our lives together. I knew he would make the best dad. After three minutes I peeked at the test. Positive. I squealed quietly and did a happy dance in the bathroom. It happened so quickly and on our first try, so that must be a good sign, right?

I immediately took a picture of the positive pregnancy test and sent it to my big sister. We celebrated together over text. And now the really exciting part – should I tell Andy or surprise him somehow? Though I really wanted to surprise him, I suck at keeping secrets and I knew I wouldn’t be able to hold it in. I held the test behind my back and walked into the bedroom where he was still sleeping. I slipped into bed not so quietly so he would wake up. He stirred a bit and finally rolled over towards me. I looked at him, smiled and said, “I want to tell you something, but I don’t know if I should.” He was wide awake now. So, of course, I had to tell him. I reached over to the nightstand where I stashed the pregnancy test and showed it to him. His eyes widened when he realized what it was and he grinned from ear to ear. We snuggled up in a giant hug and cried happy tears together. Later that morning we closed on our first home together. It was the best day. We were so excited that we told some of Andy’s family and Jack. The next day I told my best friend who was in town, and by that weekend a handful of people knew. 

That same weekend I began cramping pretty badly. After doing some google researching and a phone call to my doctor and an ER visit, I was assured that it was normal at the beginning of pregnancy, as long as there is no significant bleeding. We photographed an elopement that weekend that kept me busy, but in the back of my mind I was worried. After a few days the cramping subsided and I felt normal. The next weekend after that on December 8th I began spotting. It was a Sunday so I had to call the weekend line for my OB. Luckily my preferred OB was the one on call. She asked some questions: What color is the blood? Have you been sexually active recently? How much? And I had been sexually active, so we summed it up to sex irritating my cervix and causing the light spotting. Again, I was still worried. I knew what was happening, even if I couldn’t admit it out loud. 

By that Tuesday the bleeding worsened and finally, I went to the doctor. Remember this was extremely early and I hadn’t had a chance to do my initial bloodwork or sonogram. Andy had a work meeting and I told him it was no big deal, I was probably fine and overreacting. So, I told him to go to his meeting. That was a mistake. While in the waiting room I began to bleed very heavily. By the time they called me back to the ultrasound room I had to empty my bladder. That’s where I passed Baby Bean. I knew as soon as he left my body. The clotting was unimaginable and the toilet full of blood. Full of blood and my baby. I walked out of the bathroom and into the tech room and told her I think I just passed the baby into the toilet. She gave me a small smile and said, “Let’s take a look to be sure.” Because I was so early (around 5 weeks) the tech did a transvaginal ultrasound. There was nothing in my uterus to see. It was empty. 

I lay there in the chair, crying unconsolably, half naked and exposed, in front of a complete stranger. The room was freezing cold. I don’t know if it was the temperature or the sobbing that made me shake more. She tried her hardest to comfort me. She told me how she had a miscarriage early on and twelve weeks later became pregnant with her daughter. She told me how common it is and everything would be fine. I tried to stay calm, but I really wanted to knock her out cold. There was nothing to make me feel better. I lost my baby and I was alone. My husband wasn’t there and I didn’t know how to tell him that my body had failed at protecting our child. 

Next I was directed into the patient room where my doctor came in to confirm what I already knew. Because I hadn’t done any bloodwork or seen a heartbeat yet, we couldn’t know exactly how far along I was. But according to the ovulation test I was around 5 weeks. Just like the ultrasound tech, she assured me that this was very common to miscarry early on and most women go on to have a healthy pregnancy afterwards. After giving me a RhoGAM shot, which is used to prevent building antibodies, she told me to go home, rest and gave me the all clear to try again when I was ready. 

When she left the room I cried to myself for what felt like forever, then called Andy to tell him the news and that I would be on my way home. I was so out of it I don’t remember what was said or even hanging up the phone. I just remember numbly walking to the check out and avoiding looking at the other women with growing bellies. When I got to my car I screamed and cried. It was a type of crying I hadn’t done in a long time. I texted my sister and best friend, called my mom and Gran, then drove home. 

Andy greeted me at the door with open arms and I, once again, folded into my own tears. Luckily, Jack wasn’t home from school yet, which gave me time to situate myself. While waiting for Jack’s bus to drop him off, Andy and I spent the next few hours watching the Star Wars from the beginning and eating Wendy’s spicy nuggets. I took what felt like a hundred trips to the bathroom as my body forced out every bit of evidence of the life that was growing inside me.

The next few days were a blur but all relatively the same. Andy took time off of work to stay home with me and we continued to binge Star Wars. We picked out our Christmas tree and got some things for the new house to make it cozy, but what really got me through was having Andy by my side. It didn’t matter what we were doing, just having him with me and giving me unconditional support and quality time was all that I needed and wanted. We talked for days about our feelings and what we were thinking about trying again. 

One thing we both agreed on was that this wouldn’t break our marriage, it would only make us stronger. Back then, before the trauma that would come, it was somewhat easier to stay positive. I heard it dozens of times that miscarriage is common early on and we would be fine next time. I was sure that soon we would get our rainbow baby and that this would be a small smudge on the bigger picture of our life. We didn’t realize the journey that was ahead of us, but we held onto hope.

To Be Continued.

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