Tuesday, 26 November 2013

"I'm sorry, I can't find a heartbeat."

Getting pregnant for the first time was an amazing feeling. Even though it was planned, I still felt like I was in shock for a couple of days afterwards. I took a pregnancy test a couple of days before my period was due, waiting the regulation three minutes with bated breath, and not daring to look and see what was happening. I took a deep breath, looked at the test, and found two bring pink lines! There was no doubt I was pregnant! I couldn't believe how strong that line was and I hadn't even missed my period yet! In retrospect, that should have been my first indication that something wasn't right.

I spent 9 weeks walking around blissfully pregnant. I only told a few people including my parents who thrilled. Knowing that I had a tiny little secret growing inside of me was a wonderful feeling and I never had any problems during  my pregnancy. No pain, no bleeding, and no morning sickness. I felt really lucky, but also a little concerned.

"Surely I should feel something," I thought. After all, I had to take low-dose birth control because the high amount of estrogen in The Pill had made me sick in the past.

A friend of mine who was six months pregnant at the time assured me that she had not had any morning sickness her entire pregnancy and told me that I was probably one of the lucky ones. That reassured me a little.

A few days before my first ultrasound, I went to a baby shower for that friend. I remember being excited that in a few months, I would be celebrating my own baby shower. I couldn't wait! I had had boy and girl names picked out already, having chosen them carefully several years ago in anticipation of one day having a baby.

The day of the scan came - two days before my 4th wedding anniversary, and I anxiously sat in the waiting room with my husband. After asking what seemed like a million questions, it was time to see our baby for the first time.

The Nurse Practitioner squeezed out a blob of cold blue gel and began to move the ultrasound back and forth over my stomach. For what seemed like an eternity, she moved the ultrasound around, left and right, the same concentrated look on her face never changing. Then she handed me a tissue to wipe off the gel.

"Let me try the transvaginal ultrasound. That one can usually pick up more."

She kept the screen turned away from me, maintaining a poker face that I have now come to associate with bad news. After trying some different angles with the ultrasound wand, she said those words that no pregnant woman ever wants to hear: "I'm sorry, I can't find a heartbeat. It looks like the baby stopped growing at 7 weeks."

She must have been an expert at delivering bad news to mothers-to-be because she didn't flinch. I suppose it was just another day at the office for her. When you see these things all the time, I would imagine you start to become numb to other people's pain. You have to in order to effectively do your job, but it is a moment that will haunt me for the rest of my life.

She told me what my options were - wait to see if I miscarried naturally, take a dose of cytotec (misoprostol), or go in for a D&C. I said that I wanted to wait a few days to see if nature took its course. The nurse sent me on my way with an order to go and get a blood test to measure my hCG levels. It would be the first of many blood tests that I would get over the following months.

Walking out of the hospital, I felt like my world had shattered. Minutes ago I had been anxiously waiting to see the tiny flicker of my baby's heartbeat; a baby that was going to change our lives and the start of our new family. Now, all those hopes and wishes had been extinguished along with my baby's life. All that I had left of this dream was an ultrasound of the baby who was never meant to be.

Friday, 22 November 2013

From the top...

I find myself creating this blog more than a year after I first had the idea to do so. After my first miscarriage in 2012, I desperately needed an outlet where I could release my emotions, And there were so many: anger, sadness, despair, guilt, shame, rage...the list goes on and on. For some reason, I couldn't bring myself to start something public. Part of me wasn't ready to share such a personal experience; instead, I poured my emotions into my private journal. And the other reason was that I figured that I had only had one miscarriage - does that really warrant creating an entire blog? After all, how much can I really write about?

Now, just over a year later, and having recently gone through my third consecutive miscarriage, I feel as though I definitely have "enough to write about." Awesome - I can finally put that writing degree into action. 

During my search for answers to the many questions that come with having a miscarriage, I found a number of helpful blogs written by women who had gone through the same thing as me. I hope that by starting this blog, I am returning the favour in some way. I hope that this blog will serve as an outlet for my own healing, a place to share my struggles and my journey to become a mother, and a resource for others who are going through the same thing.

There are a number of things that I have learned through the process of failed baby making. The biggest lesson (and the most distressing for an avid planner/list maker/Type A personality like myself) is that with pregnancy, you are not in control. You relinquish control of your body for nine months, cross your fingers, and hope for the best. Most of the time, things go according to plan. Your body does what it is supposed to do and you end up with a beautiful baby at the end of it. But sometimes, for one reason or another, it just doesn't work out. 

I have been pregnant three times in the last 14 months. My first pregnancy was a molar pregnancy. A partial molar pregnancy, to be exact. Never heard of it? Yeah, I hadn't either until I had one. The second pregnancy was an ectopic. I lost my baby and my left fallopian tube. This was followed by my third pregnancy - another ectopic. Each miscarriage was very different. Even my two ectopic pregnancies were almost polar opposites of each other, but all three have left me shattered. 

I have been down this road three times now, and I wish I could say that it gets easier the more times you suffer a loss, but it doesn't. There's a process and a routine that I have come to know well. You grieve, you cry, you scream and throw things. And then you pick up the pieces and move on. Because you have to. Because there is no other choice. And because at the end of the day, there is no other way but forward.