Loss and Miscarriages

Posted by Shayla LaFreniere on Monday, August 5, 2013.

What nobody tells you when you’re trying to get pregnant is what a heartbreaking experience it can be.

Everyone tells you (especially parents) that kids will change your life forever and that they are the greatest love that you will ever know. They’ll warn you about all the sleepless nights ahead and joke with you about the battles you will be forced to wage with this tiny little human.

Your sisters and girlfriends will find great amusement telling you about how your body will transform in ways that don’t seem humanly possibly; and they’ll completely terrify you with horror stories about the unbelievable pain that labor brings.

Your doctor will tell you to eat healthy and exercise and take your prenatal vitamins. They’ll tell you not to worry if it takes 6 months to even a year until you conceive (no matter your age) because getting the timing just right to make a baby is harder than most people think.

Family members, friends and strangers a like will all want to give you advice about things that in most circumstances should really between no one other than you, your body and maybe your husband. They’ll talk to you about ovulation, hormones, pregnancy test, natural birth vs c-sections, episiotomies, breast feeding, and even sexual positions. Normal boundaries of human conversations seem to go out the window once you tell someone that you are trying to get pregnant.

But what no one tells you (until it happens to you) is that trying to get pregnant can also mean loss and despair and sadness and heartbreak.

No one tells you that even as a grown woman you might find yourself uncontrollably weeping each month when your normal menstrual cycle starts. No one tells you that that the 2 weeks between ovulation and the start of your period will be the longest weeks of your life each and every month. No one tells you that though you will try there is little you will be able to do to distract yourself from looking at your calendar and counting the days over and over and over again. No one tells you that religious or not you will most likely find yourself praying harder than you’ve ever prayed in your entire life.

And most of all no one tells you that miscarriage is a very real possibility.

I have thought long and hard about whether or not I wanted to share this on my blog… I try to be open and honest on here; but some things are so personal sharing them is about as uncomfortable as if I were to stand before you naked.

I have decided to share this because I wish I had been able to find a blog like this about this subject over the past few months.

Here is our story.

To be honest when Christopher and I first got married we didn’t think we were going to have children. But in September of last year Christopher came home after playing golf with his brother and said “I think we should try to have a baby”. I was really surprised because we had talked a lot about it prior to getting married and I thought it was settled. We both love children but because I was 36 and he 39 when we got married we just decided that though lots of people do it, having children in our late 30’s was not for us. After he said that he wanted to try we talked about it for a few weeks and decided that we would start trying in January.

Because of my age (I am now 37) my biggest concern was not being able to conceive; Christopher and I decided that we would not do infertility treatments. We want to have a baby but we don’t think our lives will be incomplete without one so we decided to leave it in God’s hands. Of course when I would mention my concern of not being able to conceive, people would say, “Oh Shayla, you’re so silly lots of people get pregnant at your age” and I would say, “Yes they do but lots of people don’t”.

Still no one mentioned miscarriage.

Then on the morning of Saturday, April 6th I noticed some light brown spotting. Being the avid researcher that I am I had read about a thing called implantation bleeding. So I came out of the bathroom and said to Christopher; “I think I might be pregnant”. He asked why I thought that, and I explained about the bleeding. He thought maybe it was just my period but my period wasn’t due until that Wednesday and I NEVER have spotting before my period starts. I took two pregnancy test over the weekend, one was negative and one had a very faint pink line, so faint that I thought maybe I was imagining it. The brown spotting continued throughout the day on Saturday and then on Sunday I noticed a tiny bit of light pink spotting. We decided I should call my OBGYN first thing Monday morning.

Sunday night was one of the worst nights of my life, I did not sleep a wink; by the time Monday morning came around I was exhausted and had a really bad feeling. I called my doctor as soon as the office opened and made an appointment for that afternoon. Christopher had to go into work but said he would leave early to go to the appointment with me.

The next 24 hours was a roller coaster ride of fear, joy and sadness.

They gave me a urine test at the office and told me I was 4 weeks pregnant; we were in shock and so excited! Then the nurse practitioner came in to do my internal exam and told us that everything might be fine but there was also the possibility that I was having a miscarriage. She said that they would need to do a blood test that day and then again in 48 hours to see if my pregnancy hormone levels were normal. She explained that first trimester miscarriages are very common and that if that is what was happening I shouldn’t worry that it meant anything about my fertility or chances of having a baby.

We left the office and tried our best to push the idea of a miscarriage out of our minds. But on Tuesday morning the doctor called to tell us that my blood work had come back and that even without the other blood test they were sure I was having a miscarriage because my pregnancy hormone was much too low.

My entire body started to shake uncontrollably and I could barely think or speak. The doctor kept asking me if I had any questions about what was happening but the only one I kept asking was “Are you sure?”

They told us that after the miscarriage passed we should wait until I had a normal period and then we could try again.

Nothing happened in May or June but in July we conceived again and once again we were so excited. Maybe even more excited this time because everything seemed fine and though the fear of another miscarriage was in the back of our minds we really didn’t think it would happen again. I took a pregnancy test on Saturday, July 27th one day after my missed period and it confirmed what I already new, I was pregnant!

Because of the previous miscarriage we decided I should go to the doctor on Monday and have them do a blood test to check my hormone levels but we weren’t overly concerned. On Tuesday they called to let me know that my blood work did confirm that I was pregnant but my hormones were low. They were not as low as the last time but low enough to be concerning; they said it might be fine but they’d know more on Thursday when they got the results back from Wednesday’s blood test.

Christopher and my sister Shara kept telling me to be positive but I felt like I couldn’t breathe; I could not believe this was happening again. They kept telling me to try to take my mind off of it until I heard from the doctor on Thursday; but I don’t know how that was even realistically supposed to be possible.

The doctor called on Thursday morning and the blood work confirmed my worst fears, my hormone levels had dropped; I was having another miscarriage.

After you’ve had a miscarriage you will be surprised to find out how many people you know have gone through the same thing. If you do a little research you’ll discover that miscarriages are much more common that you ever could have imagined. The American Pregnancy Association believes that an average of 1 in 3 pregnancies ends in a first trimester miscarriage; and that many women just think they’ve had an irregular period and don’t even realize that they’ve miscarried.

After you’ve had a second miscarriage you’ll discover that even recurrent miscarriages are more common than you would imagine.

After you’ve had a miscarriage your Doctor will tell you over and over again how common it is and that it is not your fault; they tell you it is most likely due to a Chromosomal abnormality and that is why your body spontaneously aborted the baby. Yup, that’s right the medical community calls it a “Spontaneous Abortion”; how awful is that!

After you’ve had a miscarriage (if it is before 6 weeks) your doctor may not so compassionately refer to your pregnancy as a “Chemical Pregnancy“. I don’t know if doctors have decided that this terminology will make you feel better about what is going on but to me it feels like they are discounting my pregnancy and my baby. The fact is from the moment the egg is fertilized there is a baby and at just 4 weeks there is even a primitive brain and heart and lungs; therefore it is much more than just a bunch of chemicals and should not be referred to in this manner medical or otherwise.

After you’ve had a miscarriage you and your husband will be left with a heavy feeling of sadness that will linger long after the miscarriage has passed.

After you’ve had a miscarriage you will have long discussions about whether or not you should try again (these discussions will be even longer after you’ve had two miscarriages).

After you’ve had a miscarriage your next positive pregnancy test will bring a tidal wave of emotions of joy and fear. People will tell you not to worry but it will be pretty much impossible not to fear that it will happen again and this fear will likely increase with each miscarriage.

After you’ve had a miscarriage you’ll feel frustrated and angry that there are often no definitive answers as to why this happens and therefore no cure or guarantee that it won’t happen again.

After you’ve had a miscarriage you’ll feel like your body has completely failed you.

After you’ve had a miscarriage you’ll feel hope that one day your body will be able to carry a baby to term and when you hold that precious little human in your arms all the pain and sadness will be pushed away by joy and it will all be worth it.

{ Angel Y. | Static-Romance } August 5, 2013 at 6:46 PM
Oh Shayla, tons of long distance hugs headed your way. After learning I will probably have difficult time getting pregnant, I couldn't believe the statistics on miscarriages and fertility issues. It's this huge weight that so many women carry that no one talks about. I admire your courage to share your story. It's not easy going through this and I can't begin to imagine what you're going through.

I want you and Christopher to have the family you both want. I'll keep you both in my prayers and wish the very best for you. I believe in the power of prayer. <3 Sending so much love your way.
{ Audrey } August 6, 2013 at 7:24 AM
My heart is broken for you-- for all of us. I had three miscarriages before I turned 25. The doctors labeled me with this horrible medical term: "habitual aborter." Ouch. I grew up and learned that things aren't as simple as the hens seem to try to make it out to be. I will say, two years out from it, my heart is finally starting to heal some... but those babies were always there and they are always yours.

Even though it's bittersweet, I hope your hearts feel some relief in knowing you're not alone.

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